After a long shift, our Houston chefs have go-tos and must-haves just like everyone else. The intention was to gather a fabulous list of eats from our chefs, but it turns out that most of them just really need a stiff drink at the end of the night. That's crazy talk, right? Here are a few of those favorite bites and cocktails and where to find them:
Ronnie Nguyen of Roostar whets his whistle at State Fare with the Garden Variety, an Asian-inspired cocktail made with Thai chili-infused vodka, cucumber, lemongrass and ginger.
Kevin Bryant of Beaver's West heads out of town to Kemah to chill at Skallywag Suds n' Grub. "I love the feel of the place," he says, and the beer selection is pretty extensive. The food is pretty rockin' there as well. Try the fish tacos with pickled cabbage slaw. His drink of choice is a double Tito's and tonic with lots of extra lime.
Antoine Ware of Harold's Restaurant & Tap Room is a chef after my own heart. His pick lies at the Taconazo food truck on Fulton. He orders the quesadilla de fajita, which is really a taco but eats like a quesadilla. ¡Que rico!
A local pop-up chef and meat guru, Carter Wade Elkins, says the Oxtail Poutine at Hunky Dory is "what you need in your life." He likes to enjoy the savory mound of meat piled high on those fries with a craft brew like Real Ale's Hans Pils. Chef Elkins added an enthusiastic "I second that" in response to Chef Ware's Taconazo vote. Looks like we need to get out to Fulton Street for this taco, stat.
Martin Weaver of Brennan's prefers a Japanese whiskey neat or a good Old Fashioned. One of his favorite sips is at SaltAir's bar.
Lisa Carnley Benoit of The Cajun Stop likes to relax with a margarita on the rocks with salt and extra lime at El Tiempo's bar. This is not so much the case these days; the Cajun chef in EaDo has a bun in the oven and one of her virgin daiquiris works wonders, at least for the next few months. Her husband promises to deliver a margarita to the hospital when the day comes.
Chef Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ eases himself into a chair with a Garrison Brother bourbon. His current hangouts, when he finds the time, include Beavers West and Triniti.
Johann Schuster of Charivari loves the tacos de nopales or chicharrón at Taqueria Laredo on Washington and of course this has to be accompanied by a Mexican bottled Coca-Cola.
Pop-up chef Evelyn Diaz of E&E Catering loves the calm, cool and collectedness of The General Public's bar when she exhales with a Brass Old-Fashioned. The City Centre gastropub is a great place to end the day and share a complimentary "sundown toast" with other diners.
Kevin Naderi of Roost noshes on the PB&J wings from Hay Merchant and enjoys a Bulleit rye whiskey with a splash of water. We hear the crispy pig ears and Wagyu beef jerky are stellar eats as well.
Luis Martinez of Essentials Supper Club chows down on the fresh Latin home-cooked dishes at Nere Express in Katy when he's not busy popping up for private events. With a menu del día that includes pescado frito, canelones rellenos and pollo guisado, how can you go wrong? His drink of choice is a Buchanan's 18 with coconut water.
Now we have a hankering for tacos and whiskey. Let us know what your go-to spots are in the comments.
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