I know that I’m not the only person who uses the Houston Press’ annual “Best of Award” list as a shopping guide. I find new restaurants to try, new shops to visit, and am entertained by the categories I never would have thought of myself. I usually keep the printed copy in my office for a few weeks or a few months. I have been know to keep my bookmarks in my “pending” folder for much longer.
Here’s a brief round-up of a few from the very very long list of categories and choices. Do yourself a favor and click through to the Houston Press listings to find out why they chose each of these, and to get suggestions on dishes to order when you visit.
Latino Food categories:
- El Real was named Best Tex-Mex Restaurant and Best Enchiladas.
- Latin Bites Cafe was named Best Neighborhood Spot in Tanglewood and Best Ceviche.
- Taqueria La Macro was chosen for Best Taqueria and for Best Breakfast Tacos. This place has been on my “must try” list for a while because of their famed Trompi-Burger, which I hear is fabulous.
- Best Mexican Restaurant: Hugo’s. I agree. Hugo’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Houston. This is also my pick for Best Brunch, though Pondicheri Cafe is the official choice from the Houston Press.
- Best South American Restaurant: Churrascos Sugar Land.
- Best Cabrito: El Hidalguense. I am adding this to my “must try” list.
- Best Nachos: Refresquería Tampico. I’ve been there, but have never tried the nachos. And now I have to go do that.
- Best Salsa: Taconazo. I want to find out how a food truck beat out every other place in Houston for Best Salsa.
- Best Empanadas: Artista.
- Best Tamales: Alamo Tamale & Taco #1.
- Best Fajitas: The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation. I agree (see photo above). I’ve even done a review on them.
- Best Mexican Bakery: El Bolillo.
- Best Margarita: Bodegas Taco Shop. (The Readers’ Choice was El Tiempo Cantina.)
- Best Drive-Through: Taqueria El Rey. Fabulous, though I don’t know if they’re the best. Maybe I should do another taste-test to check.
And in the Not-Quite Latino Food categories:
- Best Meat Market: Las Tarascas. The category isn’t technically Latino Food (the Reader’s Choice this year was Revival Market), but the choice is.
- Best Cheap Seafood Restaurant: Mambo Seafood. Again, not technically a Latino Food category, but included because, well, if you’ve ever been to Mambo Seafood you know why I included it.
- Best Patio: El Pueblito Patio.
- Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant: Radical Eats. This is another restaurant that’s been on my “must try” list. I just like the idea of a vegetarian Mexican food restaurant.
And for the liquor… It was no surprise that Spec’s Midtown was named the Best Liquor Store. Have you ever been there? That place is just awesome. And the Best Bartender? Andres Chapa of 191 Wine and and Mixology. Proof that I don’t get out enough is that I’d never even heard of this locale, much less of Chapa.
For all types of shoppers, in a city that loves to shop… The Galleria was chosen as Best Mall… Really? There were others being considered? Best Flea Market this year is Traders Village. It’s not their first year to win this distinction. I love that I live in a city where picking the Best Flea Market is just a normal thing.
For the literary types… Best Bookstore is Murder by the Book. I’m pretty sure they’ve been chosen before. As the number of bookstores in Houston dwindles, I wonder if we’ll just start rotating the distinction every year among those left standing. Inprint was chosen as Best Reading Series.
I don’t follow sports, so I don’t know if choosing Jose Altuve as the Best Astro is a good pick or a joke. And, since I also don’t follow sports writers, I don’t know if choosing Stephanie Stradley as the Best Sports Columnist is a good pick or the Houston Press trying to defy typecasting.
In entertainment and the arts… Recuerdo 106.5FM was chosen as Best Spanish Radio Station. I listen to them every once in a while. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s “Latin Wave: New Films from Latina America” was chosen as Best Film Festival. Karina Gonzalez, the Houston Ballet’s principal dancer, was chosen as Best Dancer. And Painter Justin Garcia was chosen as Best Artist.
And that’s just the beginning.