Houston: Feasting Fun at Menu of Menus

Photos by Apollo Stackwell

By Katharine Shilcutt | HoustonPress.com

Photos by Apollo Stackwell

As I was leaving Spring Street last night, I noticed a line winding around the ruddy brick building for Menu of Menus. Even at 8:30 p.m., people were still clamoring to get in. And why not? Inside was a treasure trove of treats from more than 30 restaurants and — for the first time since the Houston Press has put on the yearly dining event — a food truck court outside.

It was a splendid feast, and that’s not even counting all the wine and booze.

New establishments like Xuco Xicana (still referenced as El Patio on their booth, unfortunately) and The Rolling Hunger wowed the crowd with Jalisco-style hot wings topped with crumbled queso fresco and Korean-style chicken tostadas, respectively.

Upstairs, a one-two punch of happiness waiting in one of the corridors: old-fashioned Dr Pepper floats from Another Time Soda Fountain were being served directly across from the dangerously delicious Deep Eddy sweet tea vodka booth. I judiciously avoided indulging too much in either libation.


Photos by Apollo Stackwell

Just down the row, I found another happy pairing: fresh Shipley’s donuts (with take-home foam donuts!) and taro milk tea from The Teahouse. And waiting at the end of the second floor tour? Braised short ribs and butternut squash risotto from The Capital Grille that were so good, I wanted to camp out behind their booth all evening long, begging for more samples.


Back downstairs, just as it was getting stuffy, Craig Hlavaty and I escaped into the crisp dusk air to see at least a hundred people enjoying live music and getting to know four of the city’s best taco trucks: MMM Cupcake, The Rolling Hunger, Zilla Street Eats and Sylvia’s No Borders truck. My heart swelled several sizes taking in the sight. And then my stomach swelled as I used the last available space to greedily gobble down Sylvia’s cheese enchiladas (which are every bit as good, if not better, than the cheese enchiladas at El Real right now).

Food trucks of Houston, I expect to see many more of you here at Menu of Menus next year.

But where to dispense my two voting tokens? One had to go to The Rolling Hunger, the fabulous new Korean-Mexican-Vietnamese fusion truck for those chicken tostadas. And the other went to Branch Water Tavern for its elegant spoons of tuna tartare with yogurt caviar, crispy potato and wasabi puree. Both were smartly sized, traveled well and stood out among the many pork-based dishes (although, to be fair, the pineapple-habanero sauce-topped pork carnitas tacos from Rudyard’s were outstanding) and canape-style foods of the evening. In the end, though, the grand prize for the evening went to Humble favorite Italiano’s.

Where did your tokens go, attendees? And did you leave with a full belly and a well-used wine glass? If not, there’s always next year.