Houston, We Have Liftoff!
Too lame of a headline? I mean… my dad has a ph.D in aeronautical engineering (humblebrag for him) so anything space/ NASA related kinda feels like it works for me. In any case, I made a quick pitstop in Houston to see an old high school friend and she took me to dinner at Hugo’s, a local staple & one of her favorite restaurants.
Clare had been raving about the food scene in Houston for a few days before I’d arrived, and to say that I was skeptical would be a massive understatement. Considering I ‘grew up’ in LA, lived in NY the last six years and have traveled to my share of countries around the globe, there are few culinary surprises that really catch me off-guard. There’s food. There’s good food. And then there are life-changing meals that make you question everything you hold true about the world and your existence. Hugo’s isn’t quite in the latter category, but it definitely surpasses ‘good food.’
It was the first time I tried Chapulines, which are “pan sautéed grasshoppers served with guacamole, tortillas and chipotle tomatillo salsa.” See image above. And see those little legs and antennas poking out? It took everything I had to pull a Bourdain/ Zimmern and put that in my mouth. *that’s what she said.* Coming from a traditional Chinese household, I don’t really get queasy when it comes to eating weird things, but bugs certainly push that threshold. Crunchy, flavorful, mild… not exactly what I was expecting but not what I wasn’t expecting either. Worth checking out and trying, just ‘cuz you can.
Next, Clare ordered Lechón (braised tender suckling pig with crisp skin) to share and Barbacoa (lamb marinated in chiles, onion, garlic and avocado leaves, then slow roasted in agave skin and served with chopped onion, fresh cilantro and warm tortillas) for me. She got the Cachetes de Res (beef cheeks with salsa de pasilla), which I totally stole a bite of.
I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious everything was. It wasn’t too heavy, showcased some really unique flavors and left me curious about the rest of the menu – pretty much all you can ask for from a positive dining experience, right? Any Houston readers out there? What’re some of your favorite spots around the city for the next time I’m in town??
1600 Westheimer Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524 7744