Saturday, September 18, 2010

When You Have Nothing Else to Say

Talk About Food!

Amanda's List of Houston Mexican Food Favorites

Pappasito's - Truly, this is a no-brainer. Curtis and I had our rehearsal dinner here, so it goes without saying that it's one of our favorites. For dessert, I always dip a plain flour tortilla in the melted garlic butter. Who needs sugar?

Los Tios - Praise the Lord and pass the pecan praline! (That's the little treat they give you with your check.) We ate here so often growing up that one of the waiters recently recognized my mom (and me!) after years of absence. I'm so glad we put this place back on the rotation. The nachos are not to be missed. My personal favorite is the Tex-Mex dinner, which has a taco al carbon with queso on it, a crunchy taco, and a cheese enchilada. In other words, it's the hog's platter.

Berryhill Baja Grill - Oh, fish tacos, it took me a long time to partake of you. Fish in a taco just seemed so wrong. But we both know that when I fell, I fell hard. Now I have graduated from fried unto grilled and it's such a thing of beauty. Thank you, Berryhill, for having live music on weekends.

Alicia's Mexican Grille - Evidence of the glory and goodness of God exists in their flavorful beef fajitas. I'm normally a chicken eater but the beef is not to be missed. The salsa is served warm and the tortillas are excellent.

Lupe Tortilla - Most people love Lupe for the fajitas, but the best kept secret is the chicken soft tacos. They're ridiculous. They're like giant, cheesy chicken enchiladas in flour tortillas with a bit of sauce on top. Please, just get them now.

La Hacienda - Since my WW days, I've been enjoying their chicken fajitas with corn tortillas. Did I really just say that? Yes. Oh my word, I'm growing up. Chalupas Sabrosas (ask for extra cheese) are my old favorite. The cinnamon and sugar tortilla chip on the way out the door is a nice little treat.

Chuy's - Ditto on the chicken fajitas with corn tortillas. Pre WW, I enjoyed the chicken quesadillas, which are made like soft tacos. See how confusing Mexican food can be? Aren't you glad I'm giving you this advice? Whatever you do, do not miss the creamy jalapeno sauce! Ask for it with your chips or you will hate yourself.

Churrasco's and America's - These two have the same owner and basically the same menu, which is South American. My favorite dish is the Pollo Encamisado, which is a chicken breast coated with plantain crumbs and fried. It's served over a layer of black beans. Oh my word, it's good. Instead of tortilla chips you get fried plantains with chimichurri sauce. Also? We had the empanadas as an appetizer recently and I dreamed of them for days. Days, I tell you! The shrimp empanada was the best thing I've eaten in 2010. No lie. May we also revisit the fact that I've not had French fries in nine and a half months? A moment of silence, please. If you love me, order the tres leches cake for dessert.

Mi Cocina - This is a special shout out to my favorite Mexican restaurant in the Dallas area. Ernie's chicken, I miss you with my whole heart. Will someone please go there and think of me while you eat it? You should be warned that there are no free refills. My husband would want you to know. But, sweet, sweet Ernie's chicken...

Now, every Texan knows that you pay a price to eat Mexican food. This is especially true if you or anyone in your party orders fajitas and you are downwind of them. Your clothes and your hair will smell like grilled onions and meat, possibly for the rest of the day. Do you know what I say to that? Vale la pena! It's worth the pain, people. Just order a Shirley Temple (Sprite with cherry juice) and keep the chips and salsa coming.

*PS - I think these restaurants would do well to print out this blog post, highlight their respective parts, and frame them on the wall.

58 comments:

Erin said...

I want mexican now...

Meghann said...

I'd have to add Ninfa's and Tia Maria's to that list. I REALLY miss the food in Texas. There is no good mexican food out here in Georgia. Sigh.

3girlsmom said...

I went to Chuy's a few weeks ago (we have one in Bham now!!!) and asked for the creamy jalapeno dip. The waiter REFUSED to bring it. He said he didn't like it and he didn't think I would either. I was so shocked that I didn't make a fuss. But I regret that now....

Big Mama said...

One of my dear friends always requests that her fajitas be "sizzled" in the kitchen as opposed to at the table. She says it allows you to leave with non-fajita hair.

Personally, I like to see the fajitas sizzle. It's part of the experience and I can wash my hair later.

mandythompson.com said...

When my husband and I were at seminary in Boston, we were sadly lacking in authentic tex-mex options. That's when I learned how to make my own dang quesadillas. And salsa. And burritos. And fajitas. And taco salad. and and and...

Thankfully, we're back in the dirty south with plenty to choose from!

Sugar Mommy said...

You are speaking my food-love language!

I have tried every one of those places except Los Tios and Berryhill. This will not be for long!

Alicia's is our absolute favorite in our local choices. We go there the night our Man comes home. I usually get Chicken Alicia, or the fajitas.

If Chuy's is too crowded, which it usually is after 6 (and almost every Sunday lunch), we head next door to Los Rosas. Not as spicy an atmosphere, but the food is authentic and good. And cheap!

My man took me to America's last month for my birthday. My #1 favorite! I had sorely missed Gloria's on Greenville Ave for a sad number of years before I could find a good substitute here in Houston.

America's has answered my fervent prayers for some good South American flavor! Seriously, the empanadas are too die for! God will serve them in heaven on His banqueting table. Of this I am certain!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

The other night, I took three of the fab five to "Taco Tuesday." Two things I learned:

1. Tennessee tacos are not like Texas tacos.

2. You've never lived until you've seen Olivia, age three, attempt to eat a taco.

In conclusion, I'd like to come visit Texas for some real tacos.

Amie said...

LOL@ order yourself a Shirley Temple. I haven't thought about those since I was a little girl, freah from Texas. :)

Ragan Savedra said...

Amanda you are a girl after my own heart! I love Pappasitos!!! It's by far the BEST fajita and margarita place Ive ever ever had!!!!! I also love Lupes! I want to try these others though! Excited! Thanks for the yummy post!

Gina said...

Iowa knows nothing about Mexican food. I grew up in Houston and remember a restaurant in South Houston/Pasadena called Monterrey House. They gave you those little pecan pralines in the bottom of the chip basket. It was a Sunday treat for my family to eat there after church.
If I were ever to come back for a visit, every meal would be Mexican food!

Cheryl said...

I've been craving some Mexicaan all day! I almost went to the store for the sole purpose of buying an avocado for some guac. But, I changed my mind!

~S~ said...

Sounds good! I've only ever been to Mi Cocina, though. It's my absolute favorite place on the planet. I love the cheese tacos. Unfortunately, my birthday dinner was a complete bust last month. Apparently, my pregnant body does not agree with cheese tacos. :(

This post makes me want to move to Houston!!!

Heather said...

Tuesday may not come fast enough friend, seeing as how I am drooling at the computer for pappasito's!!!

Nichole said...

If I wasn't deep in the clutches of "morning" sickness, I would so be mad at you right now for making me want Mexican food! Fortunately, like pretty much everything right now the thought makes me ill, so the fact that I have a sleeping baby and can't go get chips and queso is fine by me! Should I ever be in Houston I'll have to check a couple of these out. I'm guessing it's a whole different experience from Mexican in the Midwest.

Kelley said...

thank you for igniting my taste buds into a salivating fury! I grew up in West Texas and I desperately miss Tex-Mex although, I am now a pretty big fan of New Mexican food.

Jennifer said...

La Hacinenda is good, but have you tried El Gallo? It is near Spring Woods High School and it is to die for! I am sure your mom probably knows the owners because they are long time Spring Branch people.

Megan said...

Ha! My husband and I just moved to Houston and tried Chuy's last week. Their queso was out of this world:) YUMMO! I can't wait to try the rest of the places on your list!

JESSICA said...

You had me at plantains and tres leche. Yum, yum!
We are Cuban, and South American is about as close as you get to eating Cuban food here in Texas. You should really consider trying some Cuban cuisine if you can find a place that serves it in Houston. You might just add it to your rotation.

Darla said...

I'm cracking up at your list. It's all my faves too ... but, like Jennifer, I think El Gallo is good too. Here's what is so funny. One day one of my friends from church (Tallowood) sent me a message that said ... "I just ran into Beth Moore in the bathroom at Los Tios"). We live right by Los Tios (Kirkwood location - which is where you mom was)and I told my mom (who is from Little Rock). Now she goes to Los Tios every.single.time. she comes to Houston. I laugh every time and say "MOM, you aren't going to see Beth Moore" and every time she looks at me like ... what? who me? and acts like it's about the spinach enchiladas even though we all know it's really about Beth Moore.

Oh, and I used to be a big fan of Guadalajara when it was right by my house. Ever since it moved to the Katy Freeway I seem to forget about it. Pappasitos are our very, very favorite too. My husband and I split the small campfire shrimp fajitas every Sunday and it is PLENTY. Chicken, shrimp and grilled pineapple all in a tortilla. Can't wait til tomorrow!

Lis said...

I just spend two days in the Houston/Conroe area and we had mexican twice.. Not at any of these places but oh so very very good...

Lindsee said...

Oh girl! You described it so perfectly. Every single place. Well, except for Mi Cocina since I've never eaten there. It's truly shocking that after all these years, we've never "run into" each other at any of these places. For serious.

Erica said...

Girl...I loved the descriptions! I love how you have different favorites at each place. I am such a creature of habit. I need to explore a little : )
Cafe Red Onion has some awesome chicken enchiladas as well.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

You're speaking a whole new language to me, Amanda :) -- us Canucks know nothing of all this -- fajita hair? I still have to figure out hot rollers! :)
I may just have to come for a tour with you and Big Mama :)

This would be a gift.

Praying for you today, friend...
All's grace,
Ann

bethany said...

How funny, we have a La Hacienda here in Merced (ca) too. Probably not the same as your La Ha (the favored nickname for our's!) but just as good I'm sure.

Monica said...

Oh how I miss La Ha...

Shaun Groves said...

I am printing this page, this bible of Tex-Mex, and hitting EVERY one of these places while visiting Houston at Christmas. God bless us everyone.

Angela said...

Shirley Temple...oh ya!

The best part about Pappasitos is the half price fajitas on Wed. I dip my whole fajita in the butter. It is so healthy! ;-)

Kristie said...

With a potential relocation to Dallas possibly in our near future, and given my family's insane addiction to authentic Mexican food (when we travel, Hubs has me take out the yellow pages in the hotel room and start calling all the Mexican restaurants--he won't go if a white dude answers the phone)...this is very helpful information. Bless your ministry!

Tara G. said...

Stop it. Until I ordered my own case of Old El Paso taco shells on the latest Germany food run, I was stuck with Swedish taco shells over here. Let's just say they ought to stick with meatballs!

The Haines said...

OH MY... what are you doing to us?! You know there is NO good mexican food in South Carolina! I'm starving now!

Kim Safina said...

Amanda,

I thought I was the only Mexican Food snob!!! giggle giggle!!

Dave and I LOOOOVVvveee Mexican grub!

When you & Curtis bring the family to the Cali.coast
hint hint!!!
I have several GREAT restaurants that will make your eyes water and mouth sizzle.

My son is flying out to Texas for a wedding in a couple of weeks. I will give him your list.

Harvest Blessings & ((( HUGS )))

Mary said...

This native Georgian, transplanted to wherever the Marine Corps takes us (which happens to be Virginia for now) is dying for some Mexican food NOW! Maybe I will have to plan my next girls' weekend trip to Houston just to try out all the places mentioned.

You should definetely get a free meal from each place for the rave reviews you just gave. I'm just sayin.....

Dionna said...

Thanks to you, our family visited Pappasitos when we visited Houston in June. We all LOVED it and my girls STILL talk about it! But how could you not mention Freebird's? I know it's not as fancy - but it was my favorite, I think. I crave it so much. I think they need to expand to Idaho. :)

Carrie Beth said...

You make me want to catch the first flight out to Houston RIGHT NOW!

HappyascanB said...

What a fun post! I ate mexican no less than 3 times a week when I was preggers. Now, my 3 month old has such a sensitive stomach, I can't imagine eating mexican anytime soon.

Ahhhh....

But I loved this post and was thinking while reading it, "how fun and sassy is this post?" Then, your last statement about how these restaurants should post this post on their walls cracked me up! Super sassy!

And I love it!

courtney said...

The original Ninfa's just outside downtown is good. I'm partial to Fajita Willie's (but my cousin owns it) for fajitas. El Gallo across from Spring Woods HS for tacos al carbon, and my newest crave is El Rey and their beef Cuban tacos. I love that Houston has so many Mexican places that none of my pics are on your list!

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

I love Los Tios! They know my mom and I there too! :)

liz said...

this is my favorite post you've ever written!! :) woohoo!
i could talk for days on end about how much i love mexican food.
and robbie and i do talk about it...a lot! and probably eat it even more.
we should be embarrassed by how much we love it. but we're not.
you're right about all of it.
and everybody knows Lupe has the best beef fajitas, but i tried the chicken tacos, chalupa and tamales a few weeks back. they are incredible!
Chuy's is probably where we eat the most. ate there today, in fact.
and for some reason I think the food at the Pappasitos at Town & Country is better than the other locations- maybe it's all in my head? but every time we eat there we say that.
(i told you i could talk about Mexican food for FOREVER...)
i'll stop now.
and pretend i have a life.

Finally an Abrigg..... said...

Lupe Tortilla...hands down best Mexican food ever. I just think Pappasito's is better in Houston. Dallas struggles...seriously. This post makes my mouth water....

Heather F said...

Oh how I love mexican food!!!! I could eat it everyday!!!! I just went to a place in Houston called El Patio on Brazos and the quesadillas were awesome!! Oh and the queso had taco meat in it...wondeful!!! You should check it out!!

Amanda said...

Queso with taco meat is a wonder to behold.

Leyla said...

I feel awful to be commenting on this post when you have been blogging such beautiful, heart wrenching posts from Guatamala. I have read all of your posts and was so touched by your experiences, but never commented. So here I am writing something about Mexican Food! Crazy! Anyway, great choices at great restaurants! Here at the Riebel house we can eat Mexican everyday! Is there any other type of food in Texas? ha!

Nancy Mon said...

I would add brunch at Pappasita's with the Pappasita's review. Love that you can have chips and salsa with your pancakes, bacon and eggs. It is the perfect blend on a Saturday morning.

Monica said...

Ok I'm hungry now. Great post Amanda. I love love Mexican food.(smile)

keelymarie said...

officially. . .homesick for Texas!
and hungry.

and for the record, fajita hair is my fav.

Good Stewarts said...

Wow! That's some serious mexican food wisdom your passing on to us beginners. Thanks for the tips.

Amy said...

I got so excited that there was now a Mi Cocina in Houston for us to visit when we come in town...bummed :)

Vicki said...

Lucky I live in Houston and can try all these. Go to La Hacienda San Angel on Eldridge and W Little York for the best enchiladas. I love the chicken and mom loves the cheese!

dgsandbjsmom said...

You must eat out a lot to have a whole list of places. We have one mexican restaurant that we like within a 100 miles radius of us. It is a little whole in the wall place but they will make your plate the way you want it!

Allison said...

I have to get a plug in for little papasitos. Totally different (and better in my opinion) menu that regular papsitos and has the best chicken tortilla soup EVER. On a nother note, Chuys is opening a new place in COLLEGE StaTion! I am so pumped. And we got a new place called Fuego that has the yummiest fist tacos ever. just had them a couple of hours ago. You have to eat there next time you are in town!

Christine said...

A few years ago I tagged along on a business trip my hubs had to Houston, primarily so I could spend a few days with a dear friend from college. We went to Lupe Tortilla for dinner one night and the fajitas nearly made me cry they were so fantastic! I'm in SoCal...it's not like I don't have fabulous Mexican food a stone's throw from the house. But those fajitas were one of the best meals I have ever had!!

AKat said...

YUMMY!

The only decent place up here is called Aunt Chilada's.

Aunt Chilada's, haha!

And it's a FAR cry from Pappasito's. That's it. I need to come to Texas to visit, like, now.

Shelli Littleton said...

Oh word, I can eat my weight in chips and salsa! That is truly my favorite. My husband always asks for extra salsa ... when I run out (I don't "dip" my chip/ I use it as a scooper!), he replaces mine with his, puts the empty bowl in front of him and proudly takes the blame. He is one sweet man!

Lorna said...

Random... :) So I have been looking to get my daughter a pair of mooshu's after purchasing, where all do you find bows to accessorize with?? Order online? Looks like we don't have any dealers really near us so I am going to have order the shoes online as well... Did you have to order AB's online as well? Any sites you recommend?
THANK YOU~

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

This Georgia girl wants to come to Texas!! Sounds yummy!

PS: If the baby bug hits you again, I think you should go for it. I loveee having three. I think the hardest adjustment is going from one to two, after that it gets easier. Ha, until they are too old to eat off the kids menu!

KimB said...

I am really hungry now! :) I love Mexican food and now believe I need to move to Texas, since it seems to be a staple there! How in the world do you all stay looking so good with all that yummy (i.e. fattening) food around?!!!
I enjoy reading your blog, hope you and your beautiful family have a great week!

jonesbones5.com said...

I am thinking a Houston trip should be in the future! I hope all is well. Miss you my friend. The Moore sisters Rock!

Mokii said...

I am Mexican, and live in Mexico. It's great to read so many words in Spanish in this post. Definitely you have a Mexican inside.