When I go back to visit Houston, Texas, there are some restaurants and attractions that always get a visit, or regrets if I don’t make it there.
For Mexican food, my favorite is Cafe Adobe, near the corner of Westheimer and Shepherd. There’s a terrible story there — my family used to go to the BookStop on S. Shepherd about once a month, but we didn’t know about Cafe Adobe, which was maybe 800 feet away. Once we found it, Cafe Adobe became one of our favorite stops. Their fajitas were fantastic, both chicken and beef, their chips nice and thin, the salsa outstanding — not too spicy, but plenty of tomato or tomatillo, cilantro, onion and black pepper. Their flour tortillas were freshly made. My son learned to eat refried beans at Cafe Adobe, along with his favorite cheese enchiladas.
Our other main choice for Mexican in Houston is Pappacito’s chain, which is run by the Pappas family, who also have Pappas Seafood, Pappadeaux’s (Louisiana-style seafood), a BBQ place, an Italian restaurant and a couple more. Pappacito’s has great fajitas, hot, freshly-made tortillas, among other goodies. Their weekend special is barbecued cabrito — let me tell you that there is cabrito and there is cabrito. Lots of Mexican restaurants try, but Pappacito’s got it right.
If you’re going to the Astrodome, Astrohall or Six Flags / Astroworld, you’ve got a good opportunity to check out either Pappadeaux’s or Pappacito’s — both are on the I-610 feeder across between Main Street and Astroworld.
For steaks, of course, you can not go wrong at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I also enjoy The Old San Francisco Steakhouse on Westheimer, especially for their huge blocks of aged swiss cheese and their prime rib. However, my favorite steak restaurant in Houston is the Taste of Texas, which is at the southeast corner of I-10 West (Katy Freeway, as it’s known to Houstonians) and Beltway 8 West.
For barbecue, we often made the trek to Alvin, Texas, which is on Highway 6 about 10 miles south of the Astrodome. The restaurant of fame was Joe’s BBQ. Joe’s served beef BBQ which had been slow smoked with mesquite for 24 hours. On weekends, they had All-You-Can-Eat BBQ’ed beef ribs, with beans, slaw and potato salad. Outstanding! I don’t always make it there when I visit Houston, but I try.
For pizza and lasagna, we liked The Colosseum in the Clear Lake area. This was a small family-run restaurant which made a very good thin-crust pizza and a lasagna that was surprisingly good — with 7 or 8 layers of thin noodles, too.
Chinese food in Houston, my oh my. General Joe’s for General Joe’s Chicken (also known as General Tsao’s Chicken and a number of other phonetically spelled variations). General Joe’s is/was almost a fast-food Chinese chain throughout most of Houston. More often, we went to Oriental Gourmet in the Clear Lake area or a couple of restaurants whose menus included Crispy Duck. A word of warning - if you get a dish with little red peppers, eat everything BUT the peppers !
For Indian food, there is no substitute for India’s on Bay Area Boulevard, unless it is the India’s in Baton Rouge — yes, they are related.
Of course, my number one attraction for Houston is the Space Center, which is southeast of Houston on NASA Road 1 (exit I-45 and head east). The Space Center spreads over a lot of prime real estate in the area — of course, the reason it is prime real estate is the Space Center. With the Space Center as an economic base, the area became much more than a few villages at the edge of Galveston Bay.
Copyright © 2005 Terry A. Stockdale. All rights reserved.