Over the course of the next few months, I'm counting down 100 of my favorite Houston dishes. I chose some because they are such quintessential Houston creations, others for their cultural or historical significance, and others because they are just so damn tasty. Share your own nominations in the comments.
#80 A Bowl of Chili at James Coney Island
There's nothing quite like a bowl of chili with chopped onions and saltines to warm you up on a cold day. And for 85 years, one of the best bowls of chili in the city has been served at the James Coney Island hot dog stands. The chili recipe hasn't changed in all those years, although the price has gone up a little. Chili was 15 cents and a hot dog was a nickel when the first James Coney Island opened downtown in 1923. And the most popular hot dog of the day was served with chili on top.
The chili dog was popularized in Michigan, where it was known as a Coney Island. (In upstate New York, it was called a Michigan dog.) Made with a hot dog on a steamed bun with mustard, onions and chili, the Coney Island was an instant hit in Houston. But the Greek brothers were probably unprepared for the popularity of chili served all by itself. John Wayne was among the many fans of the beanless chili served at the original location at the corner of Walker and Main Street in downtown Houston.
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The list to date: #100: Green Chile Chicken Kebabs at Chatkhara Grill #99: The All-Day Burrito at Cherry Top Bakery #98: "You Buy We Fry" Trout Basket at Hank's Fish Market #97: Chicharron de Barriga at La Michoacana Meat Market # 10 #96: Pakistani Breakfast at Kings Chicken #95: Fried Mojarra at Taqueria Jesus Maria #94: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake Ball at Coffee Groundz #93:Cheeseburger at Leonard's Famous Burgers #92: Lasagna at Doyle's #91: Cochinita Pibil at Tacos La Bala #90: Fajita Tacos at Taqueria El Charro #89: Kubideh and Zereshk Polo at Kasra Persian Grill #88: Trentino Gelato's Dulce de Leche at Shisha #87: Deviled Eggs at Nielsen's Deli #86: Italian-Cuban Sandwich at Logan Farms #85: Vegetable Trio in Sichuan Sauce at Spicy Sichuan #84: Salchi-Burger at Brisa Cocina #83: El Ultimo Taco Truck's Breakfast Tacos #82: Kielbasa on a Sizzling Comal at Polonia #81: Shrimp and Grits at Bistro Alex, Hotel Sorella