Friday, January 30, 2009
He loves his donuts. Here is a picture taken last summer of Matthew eating his fave donuts. And if you click here you can read and see some more about Matt and the donuts. Which by the way no one else in the house eats them. Just Matt.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
63. Nopales Laredo Taquería Houston
The porcupine of the plant kingdom, prickly pear cactus is associated more with cartoon humor than with cooking, in yanqui minds, at least. It’s something people fall into backward, not eat for dinner. But the nopales taco at this funky working-class taquería explains why Mexicans have been eating cactus pads forever. Spooned from the steam table into house-made tortillas, the fleshily tender, spicily sour strips of Opuntia ficus-indica combine the flavors and colors of green pepper, string bean, and asparagus. Sparked with tomato and onion, they make a satisfying alternative to meat fillings or a tasty lagniappe on a chicken-and-squash taco. A schmear of beans is free, as is coffee on Mondays when the Texans win. 915 Snover at Washington Ave., 713-861-7279. Open daily 6 a.m.—9 p.m.
The classic Cuban triad of black beans, plantains, and sour cream joins happily with Mexican tacos at El Rey, an unpolished but pleasing working-class cafe salvaged from a fast-food joint. In the taco cubano, those traditional beans and bananas share a soft flour tortilla with a selection of meat, including grilled chicken or beef, but the best choice is pork, available by request. Combine El Rey’s radioactive red salsa and puckering tomatillo sauce to bounce off the saccharine plantains, then observe it all magically take on a sweet-and-sour Asian character. It’s fusion cuisine at its least pretentious. 910 Shepherd Dr., 713-802-9145. Open Mon— Thur 7—9:30, Fri & Sat 7—10, Sun 8—4.
A giant bust of Carmen Miranda with orange-slice earrings and a pineapple and bananas on her head perches over the door. Inside, you can ogle a mural featuring a devil-horned and -tailed bathing beauty from the Mexican movie Qué lindo cha cha cha. The name and whimsical decor might suggest that Tacos a Go-Go is not serious about its wares. But this cantina-like Midtown storefront takes the trouble to stock Mexican sodas and beers, and its barbacoa taco—a heaping helping of luscious shredded lamb topped with lettuce and diced tomatoes—is some mighty serious eating. 3704 Main, 713-807-8226. Open Mon—Thur 9—10, Fri & Sat 9 a.m.—2 a.m., Sun 9—3 p.m.
It had been a long night. Our stomachs were full. BUT! We were on a mission. One more place to go. Hugo's! And they had margaritas. Can't a girl just get a margarita in this town? Geez! OK. So we are off. Hugo's is a very nice authentic Mexican restaurant. We had been there a few times before. But not for a taco. So this was going to be fun. And last but not least on our list the #35 taco you must eat before you die was the Acelgas y Papas taco at Hugo's. So, we get there. It is beautifully decorated for Christmas. The lights are dim. We wait for our table. We ordered our margaritas! Score. Finally. Then we sit and order the "taco". It comes out. And we all think it is OK. Not the best. So, Burt pulls out his article. Correction. Burt pulls out his Blackberry and reads us the article about Hugo's and says, "Hey, they mention a lobster taquito." "Should we try it?" And I am like Lobster? Why yes? I have yet to meet a lobster I did not like. So we do. We order a round. And another round of drinks, too. Got to have something to wash down the taco. When the waiter brings them out. We look. I take my picture. I think man that is a small taco. Then I take a bite. And this is where I started hearing choirs of angels singing. And the room started spinning. OMG. This was a GREAT taco. WOW! We all agreed. Me and Burt especially because we immediately ordered another one. And I am about to bust a gut at this point. But the taco. You don't understand. It was so good! I had to have one more before we left. Needless, to say we did not save room for dessert. But no harm. We had a great night. Lots of laughs. And some pretty darn good tacos.
While a decadent $6 lobster taquito initially grabs all the attention at this stylish Montrose-area Mexican restaurant, it is a far humbler offering that takes top honors. A down-to-earth duet of acelgas—Swiss chard—and diced potatoes is sautéed in olive oil with a hint of garlic. Just enough of the chard’s agreeably bitter taste remains to rub against the starchy sweetness of the papas. At an establishment where rabbit, octopus, duck, and goat are regularly served, how refreshing to be reminded that carnivores aren’t the only ones who can enjoy killer tacos. That Swiss chard happens to be high in vitamin A and low in calories makes the experience that much happier. 1600 Westheimer Rd., 713-524-7744. Open Sun—Thur 11—10, Fri & Sat 11—11.
Patron Silver Margaritas. The best margarita I have EVER had! Yes, #1 on my list. EVER.
The Acelgas y Papas
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Here is Darth Matthew! In this moment brought to you by Matthew, he is wearing Alex's Darth Vader mask from Halloween almost two years ago. And in his hand he is holding a tiny lightsaber from a Luke Skywalker action figure. That's my Matt. What on earth will he do next?