December 1, 2018

Pizza - El Canton Pizzeria - Jalisco Style Thin Crust Pizza (NOW CLOSED)

But first, read this article by Mike Riccetti:
Pizza in America - A Brief History

March 2022: I have learned that El Canton on Mason Road has closed. But check out the commentary and links on this page.

In parts of Mexico, a super thin crust pizza has taken over as the local pizza style of choice. I used to joke that "they beat every air bubble out of the dough before it goes into the oven". It's an almost matzoh cracker like pizza crust.

But over time, I have actually come around to this pizza style and now I like it. Or at least, don't freak out when one is served to me in Mexico. The first time that I saw them pounding down the dough with a rolling pin, at a little restaurant on the west coast of Oaxaca, I probably was observed doing a slow motion "Nooooooooooooooooo". And truthfully, the pizza that night wasn't very good. But since then, I have had some terrific pizzas in CDMX, in Puebla and in Oaxaca along this theme and I now "get it".

El Canton does this style of pizza very well.

And about once a month, I crave it so badly that I make the trek out from our home in the Heights (Woodland Heights) to Mason Road for one. My favorite is the Sayulita (see menu). They feature specials throughout the week. The staff is very friendly.

On a recent visit, they brought foccaccia to my table and two house made salad dressings. Feeling adventurous I tried some of the house dressings on the focaccia and loved it ("hey, those are for the salads!"). I even tried my pizza with some and the combo worked, though it will probably get me blacklisted from whatever purist Italian pizza association that might learn of my indiscretion.

Anyway, here are some fun photos from my visit. I do highly recommend El Canton. Just go there knowing that a Jalisco pizza is different from what you may have had elsewhere.

Mexican - Fiesta Loma Linda (NOW CLOSED) (Crispy and Puffy Tacos) (And Pecan Pralines)

Fiesta Loma Linda
2111 Telephone Road

Our favorite because of the classic, Houston style puffy tacos that they continue to make and make well. Originally a classic diner, the owners friendship with the owners of the now long gone Loma Linda Restaurant by Palms Center, follow the original Loma Linda recipes. And they still make the classic praline on premises. You will get one when your check comes. 

This style of taco shell used to be more available at Houston restaurants. But, to my knowledge, now only Fiesta Loma Linda and Los Tios carry on the tradition. When these two are gone, there won't be anyone carrying on this tradition and it will be lost. 

Hence, I have set out to try to master the recipe myself in order to preserve it for historical purposes.

With journalist and barbecue aficionado, J.C. Reid.

A closer look at the taco shells which I hope to duplicate in my kitchen.

Vietnamese - Nam Giao Vietnamese Restaurant - A Real Houston Treasure - Slightly Under the Radar

One of the men's fitness and health magazines used to have a series called "eat this, not that" and I always thought it would be cool, when reviewing an ethnic restaurant to follow the same tack and recommend a group of dishes that a first time visitor could order with confidence.

A few days ago, my buddy, Will Springfield 
lucked into meeting a person who gave him a list of favorite Vietnamese restaurants and recommendations on their specialties.

Houston Vietnamese Restaurants Map - Some Favorites

Today saw a visit to Nam Giao on Wilcrest. Nam Gio specializes in the regional dishes of central Vietnam. I had been there a few years back and somehow, it fell off my radar even though I absolutely loved everything I had on the menu.

Here is the magic list that Will got:

So today, Will, Gary, Evren and I met up for a lunch. We went with the house specialties, as recommended on this list and by the lovely lady who attended out table. Here follow photos to whet your appetite. 

You will have a great meal here. Just let the staff guide you.

Here is what the table looked like after we four hungry guys finished with it:

And here are some fun shots of our lunch together:

Cheap Eats Houston - The Giant Shrimp Egg Rolls at Ambassador Chinese Restaurant on Richmond

I've posted elsewhere on the Ambassador. But I wanted to also do a shout out under my Cheap Eats category as two of these enormous egg rolls are a meal. About five dollars plus tax and tip. There's sweet sauce and Chinese mustard on the table for them.