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.