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Apr 12, 2011 09:43 PM

Let's talk Puerto Rican - for a change

I get tired of all these posts about (your choice) Burgers, BBQ, Tex-Mex, Steakhouses:- categories in none of which Houston particularly shines. Let's hear it for a few neglected specialties like Puerto Rican as in Tex Chick - a little hole in the wall run by an ancient guy and his wife in what looks to be their former living room. Absolutely wonderful Mfongo or if you prefer fishy stuff bacalao followed up by a nice custardy dessert and all washed down with Malta. I'm talking about unique dining experiences. Why oh why do we see the same old lame posts about indifferent burgers oe whatever when there are a few excellent Indian/Paki places like Indika or Sabri Nihari or Korean places like the Telephone Thai or other wonders like Brennans. All the dross on this board is drowning out the good stuff and making Houston look bad. For some intrastate rivalry, check out the postings for Dallas.

Tex Chick
712 1/2 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77006

516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

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  1. Alright, let's do.

    While I disagree with your premise, I'm willing to hear you out. You named some places, but didn't really say anything about any of them except a couple of sentences about Tex Chick.

    You wanna talk? Talk.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DoobieWah

      I've posted plenty before about Indika (wonderful Fusiony Indian cuisine - personally I tend to go for their vegetarian sampler plate. Nice decor. Expensive but different), Sabri Nihari (excellent cheap Pakistani at 59 and Hillcroft - great buffet lunch, Nihari is good, as is haleem, nan is served the instant it is made.) and the Telephone Thai (or Kanomwon on Telephone Road - just about the best Thai in Houston - now run by the daughter of the late owner)

      516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

      1. re: kagemusha49

        Those restaurants have been discussed lots on this board. Especially Indika, which is a Houston treasure. But you can't talk about the same restaurants daily. I would like to find mofongo in Houston. I looked up Tex Chick, and I'm not likely to visit it based on the pictures and reviews. Houston's many ethnic eateries are frequently discussed here though. Next time I go to Dallas, I'll check that board, otherwise....why?

        Tex Chick
        712 1/2 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77006

        516 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

        1. re: Lambowner

          I guess the point of my original post is that this board is in a massive rut with little posted except incessant posts on indifferent burger/steak/tex-mex places. The Dallas and Las Vegas boards are much more lively. I think it needs shaking up and I guess I'm trying to do that. Oh - and if the appearance of Tex-Chick puts you off then you're going to miss a whole lot of great hole-in-the-wall places.

    2. I've been thinking about this since my reply earlier this morning, and I think it simply comes down to the number of users. I suspect we have a few who read and never post, (lurkers). But I would bet we have even more who peek in and never return. Not because we're doing anything untoward, but rather because Houston already has a well-established "review" site that people have been comfortable using for years.

      Someone suggests a place to them and they go search and "Viola", (inside joke!), they can read the reviews.

      Chowhound is a bit more exploratory, but ultimately more satisfying in that it provides a back-and-forth dynamic that a simple review site cannot. Heck, even the Austin board is busier than this one. (And I know lots of Austinites who come to Houston for the food!)

      All we need is more awareness of the forum. And a few "de-lurkers". (I know you're out there.)

      And not to get personal, but Indika and Kanomwan have been discussed to death. To advance your argument, please post some photos or an in-depth analysis of what you had, what you liked, what you didn't like, something about the owners or the waiters or the cats hanging around the back door.

      In other words, do your part. That's all anyone can ask.

      Physician, "Heal thyself!"

      3 Replies
      1. re: DoobieWah

        See my reply above - I'm trying to get this board out of a rut.

        1. re: kagemusha49

          I'm reading the thread titles on the first page, and I'm just not seeing what you're seeing.

          Pig cheeks, chaat, etc.

          I'm not sure what you are looking for.

          1. re: DoobieWah

            The exception that proves the rule? One of those is a request for a butcher not a restaurant.

      2. I think Houston is considered by most to be a better restaurant town than Dallas, wiith Dallas more of a chain town with worse BBQ and TexMex, and Houston having more young chefs doing a variety of concepts, with talent like Randy Rucker, yes Bootsie's has been mentioned on the board, Chris Shepard, Bryan Caswell, and many others.

        The BBQ, and especially the TexMex is pretty to very good here, especially the TexMex, and I disagree with your take on it. I am a train lover and am on a Texas train website where the talk is also dominated by the DFW crowd, although Houston is a far more dynamic railroading scene. Maybe people don't sit in front of their computers as much here, maybe they're out eating, or chasing trains.

        16 Replies
        1. re: James Cristinian

          If the best that Esquire can say about BBQ is Goode Company I think I've made my point. Your argument is week, I mean, come on, the BBQ is Austin is way better. And the Tex-Mex is nowhere near as good as you think it is.

          Goode Company Restaurants
          2511 Bartlett St, Houston, TX 77098

          1. re: kagemusha49

            We must be speaking different languages.

            What does Esquire's opinion of anything have to do with Chowhounds? You're assuming Esquire has a clue?

            What BBQ in Austin proper compares to what Clarence is serving at Pierson's? (I can answer for you: "Nothing".)

            If you can't find good Tex-Mex in Houston, (and can suggest that Dallas' is better with anything approximating a straight face), I don't see where we can have any common ground at all.

            Please correct me if I'm wrong, but what you would like to see is more emphasis on haute cuisine and celebrity chefs. You would like to see numerous threads extolling the virtues of Brennan's and whatever Monica Pope's new venue might be? More on Haven and less on Sam's Deli Diner?

            I have personally provided my take on literally dozens of my favorite restaurants, but there's not a planked salmon nor a lavender infused saffron broth to be found in any of them.

            Why? Because the food I love is simple food. And the places I go, particularly the ethnic places are all, (and I mean ALL), frequented by the peoples of the places they represent.

            I see a steady stream of ex-pats picking up to go orders at Hafez. Likewise at Cafe Pita +, Rita's Lebanese, Sushi Jin. I trust them far more than I do Esquire.

            The really miraculous thing is that the overwhelming number of places I frequent and have written about here are all within fifteen minutes from my home or my office...

   a Metro area of almost 6 million!

            If it offends you that I love, (and want to share), the places where the food is crafted by people who truly care about what they are doing and serving me for lunch and with no thought of appearing in the pages of The New Yorker, then I can't help you.

            All I can share is what I know. I write about the places I eat and I love the people who feed me at those places, because that is certainly part of the experience for me.

            You find them pedestrian? Sorry dude. I don't know what to tell you.

            "I" love them. I would bet that most people who care about good food and the people who serve it will as well. It's why I registered here.

            I truly hope you find what you're looking for.

            Even if I still don't know what it is.

            1. re: DoobieWah

              Er - I was replying to a post that cited Esquire as an authority on cuisine - that's all. I followed up the link and read it and replied as the Esquire article seemed to think that Goode BBQ was noteworthy. Now please tell me why my reply to an idiotic posted prompted your diatribe. My entire point in this thread is not that Houston cuisine is bad - it isn't - but that this board has become stale and dominated by posts about burger joints and BBQ joints. I'm happy to hear about interesting places - that's what I crave - not the endless stream of BBQ and burger joints - fundamentally I think we're on the same page.

              1. re: kagemusha49

                You say - "I'm happy to hear about interesting places - that's what I crave - not the endless stream of BBQ and burger joints."

                Um, you do realize, do you not, that all the threads have titles, and if the "endless stream of BBQ and burger joints," is not what you "want to hear about," all you have to do is to not click on those threads. There are always going to be folks, especially in Texas, that are keen to find the best of those two favorite dishes. Certainly I'm on that list.

                Surely you're not suggesting we all keep it to ourselves just because we've irritated you.

                And your assertion that Dallas has better TexMex than Houston is, frankly, too silly to discuss. Both cities probably have over a thousand TexMex places, and unless you've been to all of them, and have a definitive and provable result, I'd call it a tie. (Although Houston has a much larger Mexican population than Dallas and what I really believe is that it comes out ahead.)

                As for the rest of your comments, and DW's response, I'm with him. I think that what's really "endless" here is a listing of various restaurants representing cuisines from all over the world. Have you read his two "I love Houston" threads? They're full of suggestions other than BBQ and burgers.

                Just over the last several weeks here on this board, we've discussed Vietnamese, Indian, Goan (Portuguese-influenced Indian), several regions of China, Cajun and Creole, Colombian, Brazilian, Thai, authentic Mexican, upscale Mexican, Korean. Go back further, and I don't think you'll find many regions of the world that are not represented.

                However, as DW says, whatever you don't see or can't find, and want to discuss, you're welcome to initiate the discussion yourself. Do you expect the rest of us to do all the work for you? (That's a joke.)

                Regarding your odd comment about Esquire, on the one hand you lambaste this board as not being a good reference source. Has it occurred to you that if Esquire had perused this board, they undoubtedly would not have recommended Goode Co?

                Oh, and by the way, several of us are getting together for a Polish meal this coming weekend. As of now, we're planning on ordering pork shank and dumplings, among other things. Doubt there'll be any burgers or BBQ on the menu.

                But if there are, I'm gonna come here and post about it.

                1. re: Jaymes

                  I don't know why I bother if you folks can't be bothered to read. I said that the Dallas board was more lively than this board. How you translate that into my asserting that the Tex-Mex in Dallas is better than in Houston escapes me.

                  1. re: kagemusha49

                    "All the dross on this board..."?

                    I don't get why folks that are being insulted can't just either agree, or shut up and take it.

                    1. re: Jaymes

                      Allow me to say that I think that DoobieWah, Lambowner and Jaymes's posts are generally pretty darn good and worth reading.

                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        Allow me to suddenly like you a whole lot better.

                        Even if I do disagree that Houston's TexMex is one of the categories in which Houston does not "particularly shine."

                          1. re: Jaymes

                            Ha! Clever Jaymes! I seem to have drifted back to Chow at the right time. But,

                            "And the Tex-Mex is nowhere near as good as you think it is."

                            Well, it's better than I've had anywhere else.

                            1. re: Lambowner

                              Kagemusha49, at the risk of asking you to chat about something that you've already said is the subject of "endless," "incessant" and "lame" posts, I'm curious as to where the Tex-Mex is as good as "you think it is."

                              For one thing, when it comes to Tex-Mex, maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to me that Tex-Mex (as good as I think it is or otherwise) has changed considerably. Seems to me that it's much harder to find the yellow-cheese-and-chili-gravy sorts of old-school places. That doesn't bother me much, since I travel a lot in Mexico and prefer the more authentic-Mexican style of food. But I'm curious as to whether you (or others) have noticed this trend and, if so, what you think of it.

                              Also, in your first post, you mention the "Korean places like Telephone Thai."

                              Was that a "misspeak," or is Telephone Thai serving some Korean dishes?

                              And speaking of Korean, I've posted before that my favorite Korean restaurant in town is Bon Ga, up on Long Point. Have you tried that?

                              1. re: Jaymes

                                My bad I obviously meant to say Thai when referring to Kanomwon - sometimes my typing gets ahead of my brain. With regard to Tex-Mex - maybe the definition of Tex-Mex varies by city but just about everywhere I've ever lived a Chile Relleno has been a stuffed poblano pepper - preferably stuffed with cheese. In Houston it appears to be something more like an omelet - maybe the Houston way is right but I don't think so. Chile relleno quality is one of my tests of Tex-Mex.
                                And I agree with you - I'd prefer my Tex-Mex to be closer to true Mexican. I am kinda partial to dishes like higado encebollado and also to menudo and the various wonderful soups.

                                On the Korean side, it was a misspeak and I never did check out the Korean scene in the time that I lived in Houston - but thank your for the tip as I'm sure I'll continue to be revisiting.

              2. re: kagemusha49

                Ok genius, where is the great TexMex, Vegas?

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  See my reply above. I think Hugo's fits the bill - although some of the dishes like grasshoppers strike me more as being true regional Oaxacan specialties.

                  1. re: kagemusha49

                    Neither Hugo's nor menudo are Tex-Mex, they are Mex-Mex. Different cuisine. I had the grasshoppers at Hugo's once. The little legs stuck in my teeth due to the sticky hairs found thereon. Can't see the attraction, but I tried it. Also the big production Hugo's and other places make about squash blossoms every year confounds me. They taste like a flower, nothing special. Might as well let them reach their potential and feed more people as a squash. What am I missing there?

                    1. re: kagemusha49

                      The crazy thing is, this board was far more active when it was just the Texas board, with Austin having it's own. The split resulted in far fewer posters from DFW on the Houston board, and vice versa, you see one every now and then. So many folks lived in both Houston and DFW, plus the business connections, witness all the airline flights between the two cities. I still look at the DFW board on occasion, as others from up there do. Everybody wanted their own boards, but in the end, I think it had a negative impact.

              3. SO, after our little detour through geography and semantics, how about that Tex-Chick?

                You wanted to discuss it, I seem to remember?

                I've never been there. I did read a Houston Press review not too long ago.


                I know what Shilcutt thinks. What say you?

                Tell me why I should drive half an hour to go there.

                3 Replies
                1. re: DoobieWah

                  BTW, Using the Street View feature of GoogleEarth, I see that Tex-Chick is across the street from Black Hawk Leather and Video.

                  Tell the truth now, Kaga - Is that how you discovered Tex-Chick?

                  1. re: DoobieWah

                    In other words, maybe it's not so much the "Tex" as the "Chick"?

                    1. re: DoobieWah

                      OK ya got me DoobieWah - it was the leather and the kiddie porn that got me there. Meanwhile Shilcutt's review is reasonably positive. I can't see going to TexChick every day as the menu is extremely limited and there isn't much space. But it does deserve being on a foodie's map. And responding to other cheap shots (not from you) how did the back-shooters get the idea that this is not a food-related thread?

                  2. Gee, and I naively thought this might be a thread about Puerto Rican food. Maybe a bit less back biting and you'd get more visitors discussing FOOD.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: toodie jane


                      Or maybe it's just time to let this annoying and accusatory thread die a graceful death.

                      And start another one that really is about Puerto Rican food.

                      Instead of simply a ruse to take us all to task about what we have been discussing.

                      1. re: Jaymes

                        I agree, and I got sucked in and became a bit snarky after posting my "idiotic" thread. How 'bout this? I saw Anthony Boudain's Puerto Rican show and he went to a roadside place that served whole hog that they cut chunks off of. Looked and smelled great in my living room. Do you know of any place like this?

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          Inside the HEB at Hwy 6 and Bellaire, there is a filipino lunch counter, they sometimes have whole roasted pig (Lechon), you can buy by the pound.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Thanks for the comment, toodie.

                          Would you please stick around and join in on some of the 49 other threads on this page that ARE about food?

                          Pretty please?

                          After all, that was part of kage's initial beef.

                          (I think.)