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Houston Restaurants Get National Attention

For all the blustery proclamations issued from native Houstonians when our culinary scene is spotlighted by outside media -- "We know we're great; we don't need reassurance from Yankees!" -- it still feels nice to be recognized on a national level when we're doing something right, especially when we've been skipped over so many times before.

One of the most recent slights was being completely left off GQ's list of the best pizzerias in the United States last May. Alan Richman pored over 25 of the best pizza restaurants from Phoenix to Philadelphia, but Houston didn't merit a mention. Mentioned in our post on the slight was the fact that Dolce Vita was, in fact, turning out some of the best pizzas anywhere.

Dolce Vita (and our tastebuds) were vindicated this week, however, when the restaurant was named as one of America's 10 best pizza restaurants by MSN Travel. They even spotlighted our favorite pizza on the menu:

Chef Marco Wiles showcases wine and handmade rustic pizzas at this shabby-chic destination. Order the innovative Taleggio cheese, arugula, pear and truffle oil-drizzled pizza with a fruity lush Chardonnay and you'll appreciate the concept.

And while that's only a small mention, the New York Times had a field day with Houston, spending nearly two days in our city in its weekly "36 Hours" series and gushing over a few of our other favorite places.

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Unsurprisingly spotlighted were restaurants such as Reef, Max's Wine Dive and the newly opened RDG + Bar Annie, as well as watering holes like Anvil Bar & Refuge. But the paper gets kudos for highlighting a few lesser-traveled locales:

While the city's sizable Vietnamese community is now scattered, traces of Little Saigon still remain in Midtown, a mixed-use neighborhood dotted with banh mi joints. A retro-favorite is Cali Sandwich (3030 Travis Street; 713-520-0710), a ho-hum cafeteria with 1970s-style vertical blinds and prices to match: the freshly made sandwiches, including the barbecue pork, are $2.31. If you're hankering for genuine Texas BBQ, drive north to Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue (1703 Shepherd Drive; 713-227-2283; pizzitolas.com). It may not be as packed as Goode's barbecue empire, but Pizzitola's is the real deal, judging by the wood pits that have been charring ribs out back for 70-plus years.

Sadly, the paper made one huge faux pas when it referrred to "the tree-lined streets of Montrose" as a "slice of Austin." Tell a Montrose resident (especially one hanging out at Catbird's or Lola's) that their neighborhood is seen as nothing more than a mimicry of the Californian-infested Hill Country, and they'll likely punch you in the nose.

And you'd think -- seeing as how the Times visited the rowdy 611 in the course of writing this piece -- they might have figured that out for themselves the hard way. Maybe they went on a quiet night.

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