WHY: Ross Coleman and James Haywood prove exceptionally adept at distilling tastes and textures into dishes that leave you invigorated. WHY: Czechs began immigrating to Texas in the 1850s, and many settled in the fertile, blackland strip down the center of the state, including in the small town of West. Mai Pham is a freelance food, wine and travel writer based in Houston. Pecan Lodge's 'cue is so good that Texas Monthly named it one of the top BBQ joints in the state, and Food Network's Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. — Maine. — Daniel Vaughn, 900 East 11th StreetAustin, TX(512) 653-1187 | franklinbbq.com. Even after Lopez’s passing in 2015, the pillowy bites still satiate that puro San Antonio craving to the tune of 500 puffy tacos a day. WHY: While Hans Peter Muller continues to produce the European baked goods made popular here by his late Swiss-born father (you won’t find anything as ethereal as this distinctive version of Black Forest cake), this second-generation pastry chef has also become Cowtown’s finest burger meister. All photos by Bill Addison unless otherwise noted. The cheeseburger is really where it’s at, and we’ll let the menu description speak for itself: “A half-pound of finely ground American beef flat grilled in its own juices. Chef Bryan Caswell’s restaurant isn’t lauded as one of the best seafood restaurants in the US without reason. WHY: Don’t be alarmed at the tarp-like tablecloths and rolls of paper towels at the table. — B.A. The Best Fast-food Tacos in Texas By José R. Ralat Salsa Macha Is Setting Texas on Fire By José R. Ralat What Was the Point of UT Hiring Steve … In 2014 Houston entrepreneur Ignacio Torras coaxed Luis Roger, an accomplished chef and fellow Barcelona native, to move to Texas and partner on a venture that glorifies their home country’s cuisine. 4210 Roseland StreetHouston, TX(832) 834-3411 | bcnhouston.com, WHAT: A James Beard-nominated strip-mall sensation that beautifully showcases the uniquely Houston fusion of Cajun crawfish boils with Vietnamese flavors. Toot Sweet’s expertise expands far beyond cupcakes (try the artisanal breads and breakfast pastries), but the cupcakes are where the true joy lies. The Village Bakery is the self-proclaimed inventor of the now-ubiquitous sausage kolaches. Here are all of the restaurants you should try when you are in the city. WHY: Yes, it’s only open once a week, and it usually sells out before the lunch hour, but Snow’s BBQ is exceptional. Between the weather, wood, and meat, there are plenty of variables to deal with when cooking in an offset smoker, but Cattleack’s barbecue never seems to suffer. No single offering here stands above the rest; the mixed-and-matched plates (technically, sheets of butcher paper) of barbecue each lucky guest can order has become iconic in itself. 2731 South WW White RoadSan Antonio, TX (210) 885-9352 | 2msmokehouse.com. WHY: Last year Yu reinvented his tasting-menu innovator Oxheart into Theodore Rex, a more laid-back restaurant with an a la carte menu. This sausage-centric restaurant is an Austin gem, serving sausages made in-house or by a local sausage-maker with brilliantly creative toppings. WHY: Chef Laurie Williamson and her husband Robert left behind successful careers in commercial filmmaking and opened their restaurant in a restored 1870s-era limestone farmhouse in 2003. WHAT: A sanctuary of a restaurant in Dallas’s congested downtown, where one of the country’s outstanding Japanese chefs practices the art of soba. WHY: Austin is brimming with al fresco spaces — it’s got the ideal weather for ’em — but there is something special about chef Andrew Wiseheart’s restaurant. And if you want to try one of the city’s finest chicken fried steaks, that will set you back just $8.95. The Lone Star State has some of America's finest bars and restaurants. They serve boarding house style, all-you-can-eat fried chicken and loads of sides. It’s a warm and inviting restaurant with a large outdoor patio for al fresco dining, and there’s a wide variety of burritos available in some creative styles (including one with corn). Just to gild the lily, you can get yours topped with a runny sous-vide egg and a side of béarnaise. Don’t mess with Texas, especially when it comes to food. — B.A. As we all know, some of the best Texas restaurants are located off the beaten path. WHY: Todd David at Cattleack is the only pitmaster in Texas serving whole-hog barbecue on a regular schedule, and that’s still just on the first Saturday of every month. She took special pride in her version of tacos al carbon, skirt steak served on a hot comal with caramelized onions and a stack of fresh flour tortillas. WHAT: Austin casual with sophisticated execution. Some bacon, cured in house for five days (sensing a trend? The Best Chinese Restaurant in Every State. See why the Lone Star State is a total standout in our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state. Best food and prices are reasonable for such delicious food and wonderful service!!! 12 in the entire state of Texas, and Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard called them America’s Best Sports Bar in the Central Region. By 10 a.m. on a Friday there will be more than 90 people in line at this modest establishment, which traces its roots back to 2009 and a turquoise trailer. Texans have a famous breed of zeal and loyalty for their homeland; there will be vehement disagreements over our choices. — Robb Walsh, 2028 Postoffice StreetGalveston, TX(409) 762-3696| rudyandpaco.com. Don’t discount her handmade chocolate bars, either. These days, pecan pie is a staple of Texas desserts in bakeries and even over Thanksgiving, sometimes taking pumpkin’s place. Finally, the top slice of bread. This sandwich is a beauty, one of the country’s finest homages to, well, the noble pig. — D.V. 306 Pearl ParkwaySan Antonio, TX(210) 314-3929 | curedatpearl.com. Sourcing much of the interior directly from Ireland, the bar’s proprietors have succeeded in making the place both authentic and unique. On an oak-shaded patio in Austin’s South Congress, you’ll find one of the best lobster rolls in America. — B.A. As the name suggests, Big Top is circus-themed and beautifully furnished with vintage mementos. He’s run delis in both New York and Los Angeles, but today he calls Houston — and Kenny & Ziggy’s — home. Opt for the classic plain glazed for the most wonderfully simple doughnut. Weekend brunch crowds fill every seat in the restaurant’s cavernous dining room, clamoring for the straight-up goodness of dishes that veer closer to home: peppery fried chicken with biscuits. The classy and upscale Houston fine dining destination Chateau, a formal dining room located upstairs from more casual eateries at the multi-part concept La Table, is gleaming, fancy, and undoubtedly romantic. Hugo’s menu, on the other hand, is a national survey of the country’s most legendary dishes; Ortega’s genius for employing spice and intensifying meaty flavors creates the through-line between them. WHAT: Barbecue con ganas, made by a former La Barbecue employee and his high school best friend. WHAT: The last standard-bearer of a Texas culinary tradition along the Rio Grande. Ace pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph brings the meal home with sweets like strawberry sorbet covered in salted cream and a caramelized apple tart with smoked juniper ice cream. ), is then added, then topped with a little pulled pork that’s slow-roasted overnight. Round Rock's doughnuts are known for their orange-yellow color and their puffy, yeast-risen appearance. Gino’s Deli Stop N Buy – San Antonio 3. The restaurant (which, in true Austin fashion, began as a food truck) is also a major booster for the local farming community — going so far as to emblazon farm names on the dining room walls. One day, a contestant ate five steaks, a salad, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, and a bread roll; the steak came out to four and a half pounds, and so the 72-Ounce Steak Challenge was born. New staples now include Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish boils, duck breast over mole coloradito, Italian bread dumplings with braised mustard greens, and Indian thalis (trays) filled with dishes like vinegar-tinged Goa pork and turmeric soup. 1. — Nadia Chaudhury, 2027 Anchor LaneAustin, TX(512) 614-2260 | contigotexas.com. Anvil Bar and Refuge was one of the first bars in the United States to serve classically styled cocktails like The Brave (mezcal, tequila, amaro, Curaçao, and Angostura bitters, served at room temperature) at lower prices. the best food and drink in every state for 2019. In southeast Texas, garlic- and chile-laced beef links bursting with juice (don’t call it fat in SETX) are the barbecue gold standard, and the Patillo family has been serving them since 1912. What does “modern Southwestern-American cuisine” mean? You can blame it on us; we won’t mind. WHY: This Dallas taqueria is no mere taco spot. WHAT: A Tex-Mex landmark whose timeless signature — skirt steak fajitas — defies and transcends chain-restaurant bastardization. Daniel Vaughn is the Barbecue Editor at Texas Monthly. But Texas is a state so immense, so full of mythology and ambition, and so populated with such compelling and culturally specific dining options, that it stands plainly as a region unto itself. Dallas is fast becoming a magnet for the country’s brightest young chefs; Head to the best restaurants in Dallas to see why You’ve seen Franklin on TV. WHY: With scores of options in Austin and San Antonio (for starters), and plenty of controversial and passionate words written about origins and ownership, it’s safe to say there is no one absolute best place for breakfast tacos in Texas. So it goes at Franklin, where Aaron Franklin serves some of the best of Texas's greatest culinary claim to fame (a devastating fire in August 2017 destroyed the smokehouse and caused $350,000 in damages, but it reopened four months later without skipping a beat). It’s helped along by sommelier Lisa — also his wife — who hones a smart wine list with intriguing choices from the West Coast as well as Europe and South America. Then the real star of the show is added: house-cured ham, rubbed in ancho chile, dried chile flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper and brined for six days before being baked and sliced paper thin. 701 East Yandell DriveEl Paso, TX(915) 533-1144 | no website. Kurry Takos – Austin 4. Start a meal in this bright, luxe-casual dining room with Fearing’s iconic, smoky, and creamy tortilla soup, then feast on Granny’s fried chicken, shaken with flour and spices before being fried to perfection in cast iron. A Round-Up of 50 Famous Texas Foods. — Amy McCarthy, 2121 McKinney AvenueDallas, TX, 75201(214) 922-4848 | fearingsrestaurant.com. 1302 Nance StreetHouston, TX(832) 830-8592 | trexhouston.com. Jessica Elizarraras is the food and nightlife editor for the San Antonio Current. The Best All-You-Can-Eat Deal in Every State. WHAT: A modern Indian cafe and bakery serving Indian street food with a Gulf Coast spin. This barbecue spot features big, meaty beef ribs, which they rub with salt and cracked pepper before slow-cooking them over post oak wood; pork spare ribs, which get salt-and-pepper rubbed just like the beef ribs; and their newest entrée, baby back ribs, which are dusted with a “magic” spice mix and basted with a sweet glaze. Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, Fearing’s features modern Southwestern-American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach. Sense of place Southwestern-American cuisine with a dynamic sense of place BoulevardBeaumont, TX ( ). 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