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Aug 9, 2011 01:01 PM

Top Chef Is Coming To Texas, (Not Houson)

Today's Houston Chronicle cites a Bravo press release saying season nine,Texas will be show this fall, with the largest city Houston left out. Naturally, the natives are pissed, with the thriving restaurant scene, innovative and creative chefs, plus a great international community. Houston is the only true international city in Texas, with thriving Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, especially Vietnamese, plus naturally the Hispanic influence. It's all probably just as well, the national media always portrays Texas as a backward, cowboy hat and boot wearing, cow roping state. I expect more of the same from Bravo. Good luck San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin.

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  1. "Houston is the only true international city in Texas"
    Don't you think that's a little bit of an an overstatement? I live in Austin, and we also have thriving Middle eastern Asian and Hispanic communities. I bet any Dallasite would say the same. I would also take issue with the notion that Houston is the largest city in Texas. At this point, there's virtually no separation between the cities in the Metroplex, which comes in at 6.3 million as compared to 5.9 million in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area. Figures are via wikipedia, but I believe they were pulled from 2010 census results.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gilintx

      Houston is an international business center that happens to have great restaurants. It also has the largest medical center in the world, is the world leader in energy, the number one port for international trade, It has more downtown theater seats than any city except NYC, as well as the second most Fortune 500 companies,and number three in foreign consulates, Dallas isn't even close. Throw in the Johnson Space Center and great musuems. Houston has a population of 2.1 million, Dallas 1.2, Fort Worth 750,00. Last I checked, Dallas and Fort Worth weren't on speaking terms. Austin has few museums, one international flight to Cancun of all places. As Rick Bayless said on Top Chef Masters, Cancun isn't Mexico. I hate to bore others with this, but Gilintx challenged me, and I responded. Let's compare food scenes, shall we.

      1. re: James Cristinian

        I'll agree with you that Houston has Austin and Dallas beat at international businesses, medical centers, oil production, theater seats, Fortune 500 companies, consulates, space centers, museums, and international flights, though none of those really have anything to do with food. I'll take you at your word on Dallas and Ft. Worth not liking each other, though they do seem stuck at the hip nonetheless. When quoting the populations above did you take into account Garland? Arlington? Richardson? I don't really have a dog in this fight, not being from DFW and all: I just thought your first post went a little overboard.

        1. re: gilintx

          I was just defending my international line, maybe I shouldn't have brought it up, but as to food, I was trying to make a point about the variety and depth here. Yes, Dallas has the most suburbs, but not sure what they bring to the city proper. No mas on this for me.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            I'm dropping this as well. I don't think this derail is really contributing to the thread, and I honestly have nothing against you. Heck, I think we've agreed in previous threads.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              As someone who has lived in both cities and has a good grasp on the food scenes in both, ethnic food in Dallas doesn't hold a candle to Houston. The depth, quality, and exposure of international food is much stronger in Houston. No doubt Dallas has fine dining and high end on lockdown vs. Houston, but the only non-American foods Dallas has over Houston are Japanese restaurants, Neapolitan pizza, and (maybe) Korean. Everything else is better executed in Houston, or flat out doesn't exist in Dallas, and I think it's inevitable that Dallas will be surpassed in these areas considering how rapidly restaurants come and go in Houston.

              The fast pace and forward progress of Houston dining as a whole is pretty exciting and it's due to the intense competition in the area. A restaurant has to be very innovative and much better than mediocre to stand out in a city that has one of the largest restaurants per capita as well as a diverse population of discerning diners. Fortunately, Houston has multiple restaurants that "stick out", but that's a whole 'nother subject. On top of the restaurants, DFW has no stores/shops that approach the high quality and selection provided by places like Revival Market and Phoenicia.

              To elaborate on the exposure too: Dallas is fragmented in the sense that you have people that refuse to go north of 635, or ... even Northwest Highway or Mockingbird, and they proclaim there is no good food outside of that bubble. Sure we have some folks on the DFW board that have good knowledge on ethnic food, but this is a tiny sample compared to the rest of the people that have no clue about the places in Garland, Richardson, Carrollton, etc. The people that don't want to venture out of their neighborhoods are the majority in Dallas and that is the mindset the diners have here (the subject of these diners is also a whole nother rant in itself). Although there are Houston residents who don't leave that 610/Beltway 8 bubble, for the most part, someone from Houston would have no qualms driving 15-20 minutes to a different area of town for a "worthy" restaurant.

              Part of me wishes Houston to be in the spotlight that it deserves, but at the same time, I'm kind of happy the area falls under the radar and always surprises people.

              A Dallas visit was essential for Tom Colicchio since there is a Craft restaurant here, so that immediately ties him to the area. Though I'm guessing they probably covered the typical touristy spots or went to FW to portray the image that you had mentioned.

          1. re: GroovinGourmet

            Do you have taste buds? Houston is incredible

          2. Houston doesn't need props from a show like Top Chef. Consider it a compliment. Houston's food scene is amazing and we are lucky to have the vast choices we enjoy here, from restaurants to markets.