"Gogi" means "meat" in Korean, but the Oh My Gogi! food truck doesn't cater to carnivores only—when ordering a kimchi quesadilla, you can fill the tortilla with short ribs, chicken, Spanish pork, or veggies. Indeed, the truck is more concerned with playing with your food than limiting your options. Its menu combines Mexican street food with Korean barbecue, complete with homemade marinades and secret sauces. Add-ons such as a fried egg to fries and caramelized kimchi make meals out of barbecue tacos, which come with meat, double meat, or doubledouble meat. To find the truck at any given hour, fans can check Twitter and Facebook or commit to sleeping on top of it.
Chefs at Aztecas Margarita Bar & Grill prepare a full menu of authentic Mexican fare including guacamole made to order, dark mole poblano sauces, and fresh ceviche. The pollo Azteca—marinated and chargrilled chicken breast with Azteca sauce, grilled onions, and chili con queso—ignites palates with more flavor and fewer missing teeth than chewing firecrackers. Meanwhile, mariscos mex-tex enchiladas with sautéed shrimp and crab topped with house-made ancho poblano cream sauce follow up orders of Azteca nachos and twice-fried, cheese-filled jalapeños rellenos. The red, green, and yellow walls adorned with exposed bricks and flat-screen TVs surround diners during the day and dancers twirling to live music or DJs throughout the night. Behind the full bar, bartenders pour signature margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, infused with fruit flavors such as guava or mango. An outdoor patio holds additional seating for dining alfresco or picnicking without bears.
Towering palm trees, shady cabanas, and flickering tiki torches help create a distinctively Caribbean ambiance in El Pueblito Patio's outdoor seating area, distinguishing it from the rest of the dining area and earning the restaurant the award for Best Patio from Houston Press in 2007 and 2008. The chefs also look for inspiration beyond the borders, combining Mayan, Aztec, Spanish, and African culinary influences that typically characterize Guatemalan and Mexican cuisine. Fried plantains, fiery salsas, and a closely guarded blend of house spices help to lend iconic Latin flavors to the menu of grilled redfish, sautéed gulf shrimp, and roasted chicken. Large fronds and domesticated clouds shade the patio, which encourages diners to enjoy their meals out in the fresh air while savoring a drink with one of the bar's numerous tequilas.
Berryhill Baja Grill continues an 84-year-old culinary tradition begun by Walter Berryhill, who sold his handmade tamales around Houston with nothing but a pushcart, a tortilla press, and his personal recipe. Today, the grill’s tamales pack savory cornmeal and fillings such as beef, pork, and spinach within cornhusks recently liberated from overcrowded cornucopias. Elsewhere on the menu, fish tacos combine tempura-battered fish, special sauce, and cilantro in a hearty corn tortilla, and pollo platters smother grilled chicken breast with affection in the form of poblano peppers and mushrooms—the hugs and joint tax returns of the food world.
Eating at a fast food stop can be scary: a lot of the time, it’s impossible to know where the ingredients come from. So even though the Sandy Witch Sandwich Company’s website claims the shop was “cast from the darkest of spells,” the homemade food makes it quite the inviting refuge for late-night meals. Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, Sandy Witch makes all of its food right on site whenever possible. Visitors find those homemade touches in the slow-roasted pulled pork of the Witch of Endor, and in the homemade meatballs of the Rasputin. Even the sides carry a homespun tune, including the hash, which, much like the very first airplanes, has its many parts held together by a fried egg.
La Guadalupana Bakery and Café puts a south-of-the-border spin on the classic café concept, filling cups with cinnamon-spiked coffee and plates with decadent Mexican pastries. Croissants are their specialty—they fill the flaky crescents with eggs and meat to create breakfast sandwiches or frost in almond icing for a flavor as subtle, yet complex as an online review written by James Joyce. The bakers also craft a range of pastries that showcase Mexican culture, such as sweet pumpkin empanadas, traditional cookies, and decadent slices of flan, along with savory Mexican entrees.