Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tagged: Jumping on the (Chuck) Wagon

I wasn't tagged by Emily, but I can't remember ever waiting for someone to ask me my opinion, so why start now?

Step 1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Mamacita (Houston, TX, USA)

Step 2: List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

Raven Grill -- logical to include this one, since I go there all the damn time. It's not even about the food so much as the friendly atmosphere, really. Though by no means should you go through life without trying the baked brie with olives, the molten chocolate cake (a cliche that they do exceptionally well) or the peanut butter pie. Not to mention the Sunday brunch: Eggs Benedict with ancho chili hollandaise and green chili cheese grits? Yes, please.

Spanish Flowers -- as good as (or better than) any other Tex-Mex in the city. This is the first place we went when we got back from Italy last month. Right now they have fresh strawberry lemonade that is to die for. Also, I hear they might have these frozen alcoholic drinks called "margaritas" or something. I should probably check that out.

NY Pizzeria -- love the sauce and the crust, plus the house salad is great. Conveniently they have a lunch special with a slice plus salad. Geniuses, they are.

Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen -- love the garlic bread and the shrimp & crabmeat spaghetti. Love them for naming a dish "Coon Ass Cole Slaw," although they have since changed it to "Cajun Cole Slaw." I've never met anybody who was offended by the term "coon ass," but maybe they got complaints.

Houston's -- I know it's a chain; bite me. They have excellent french fries and homemade lemonade. One time they had crabcakes that were so good I would have sold my children into slavery for a second shot at them. [Seriously, any takers?]

Honorable mentions:

Niko Niko's -- every place else, a gyro is just a gyro, but here they really are better. This is a pretty new one for me, so I need to do more exploring, I think. Field trip!

Mission Burritos on Durham -- one of my favorite places to eat, less for the food than for the kids' playground. Good sangria, though.

Cafe Express -- used to be one of my favorite places, but the food just isn't what it used to be. I still go there periodically in hopes that the situation has improved. The only things worth ordering now are the Shrimp Campeche and the brownie. Also, delicious tea + unlimited lemons + Splenda = a NAP (Near-Arnold Palmer). So that's one perfect meal there.

Step 3: Tag 5 more people.

Alrighty -- I tag Angela, since she's lived here for so much of her life and probably knows where to go; Girl con Queso, because she obviously has her priorities straight, and she also lives here; Sara, since I'm in her town all the time; Cajun Boy in the City, because I'd love to hear what he has to say (if he's Cajun, he knows good food), and last but not least Foodmomiac -- she's been in Chicago for only a couple of months, but I know she already has the best places scoped out.


  1. I personally think that the beginning of Cafe Express's decline was when they were bought out by Wendy's and ditched the heavy pottery plates for the dorky plastic ones. Still, it is possible to get a satisfying meal there fast, so all is not lost.

  2. I think that Cafe Express started going downhill when Wendy's bought them and they replaced those nice, heavy stoneware plates with the cheesy plastic ones. Still, you can get a decent meal fast there, and the breadsticks are almost guaranteed to placate small children.

  3. Raven I have always liked in theory more than practice. Great the first time but didn't really live up on subsequent visits.

    I like Mission Burrito, but the
    'distract kid' factor probably plays more into it than the cuisine.

    Same is true for Cafe Express... Plus all you can eat roasted garlic. Who can object to that! It was the first restaurant I went to in Houston that didn't start with 'Mc'.

    Spanish Flower is easily the best 24 hour restaurant in town unless you just hate Mexican food.

  4. The fact that Mission Burrito exists makes my life so much less McDonaldsy. Which is always a good thing.

    I would nominate Sheikh Chili for the amazing aloo kulcha.

    Gianetti's has the best ever chicken milanesa sandwiches.

    It's hard to believe that a top 5 list for Houston wouldn't contain any barbeque. I nominate the crazy good orange sauce at Luling City Market, though Lyndon's has a much better selection of sides.

  5. Okay, I misspelled that, the restaurant is called Giannotti's.

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  8. How can you like Luling City Market when Robb Walsh has written bad things about it?

    (Okay, okay, I'll try to stop being snarky now.)

    Seriously, I like Goode Company for barbecue. The atmosphere is hokey, I'll admit, but the food is good. I especially like the Czech sausage and the sauce, which, because it's thin and tangy, is a nice antidote to the syrupy sweet stuff sold in bottles. And the pecan pie is outstanding.

  9. Raven Grill and their molten chocalate cake is making me realy hungry!!! Along with Tony Mandola's Gulf COast Kitchen and their crameat shrimp spaghetti!!! drool

    Ps thanks for doing the tag. If you know of anyone else doing it please feel free to send me a message and I’ll update them too on the updated list of tag doers..I notice you did not put the old links please drop me a message so I can keep track

  10. Fresh Strawberry Lemonade!!! okay... now you make me curious how it taste like. Lemonade with strawberries? lemonade mix with strawberry juice? Hemmm....

    OOO La La.. snrimp and crabmeat spagetthi. Okay... I admit... I drooled.

    Thanks for your great list and I really love it. Thanks~ And I am really impressed and touched by the fact of you doing it in a volunteer manner.

  11. I think it's lemonade with strawberry puree.