Monday, September 3, 2012

John T. Edge on Houston Cuisine

In this month's Oxford American, John T. Edge writes about Houston's awesomely diverse food offerings:

Houston has identity issues. It’s less shiny and slick than Dallas. Less self-consciously Texan than Alamo-worshipping San Antonio. I would say it’s less weird than Austin, which likes to style itself as famously weird, but there’s evidence—the Beer Can Housemuseum, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, that runaway octopus meal—to the contrary.

It's an ungainly place, the largest unzoned city in the U.S.  Here strip joints and strip malls bracket Craftsman bungalows.  And concrete culverts are called bayous.  It's not exactly a tourist mecca.  Or a nexus of media collection and dissemination.  In Houston, chefs like Shepherd and Caswell and barkeeps like Heugel work outside the glare.  

Food wonks have recently fallen hard for the antebellum revivalist cooking of Charleston--home base of the impish Sean Brock, recently profiled lovingly in Vogue (Jeffrey Steingarten) and the New Yorker (Burkhard Bilger).  But the new immigrant + city-proud chef algebra that makes Houston the most vital place to eat in the South right now hasn't garnered much magic-hour photography and breathless glossy magazine prose (until now).   

I disagree that Houston is "less self-consciously Texan" than San Antonio, but Edge is right that Houston is a great place to eat.  Check out the whole article: Savoring Mutt City (Oxford American)

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