Dining Around Houston, TX

Houston has a well deserved reputation as one of the fattest cities in the U.S. Its inhabitants tip the scales at 110% of the ideal weight of the U.S. population. And while our citizens love to drink, this weight problem is not because of the beer. Houston is a seriously good food experience.

Without a doubt, Houston has the most vibrant, multi-cultural dining experience anywhere in the United States. Forget New York and L. A., they are just over hyped, overpriced parodies of excellent cuisine. Houston, with its authentic ethnic neighborhoods, offers the real thing.

Sushi from Japan, Russian bialys, Chicago style hot dogs, Philly cheese steaks, even authentic N.Y. bagels are available here. But Houston is a car town, so to partake of this gourmand's delight, one must be prepared to drive. If so, the rewards are phenomenal as all of the above can be had within 30 minutes or less, if one is in the know.

The secret to Houston's ethnic food is to understand its neighborhoods. There are distinct areas where traditional cuisine is prepared. If you want Chinese, go to Kim Son in Chinatown. Corned beef? Go to Katz's in Montrose. The atmosphere may be hectic and not so grand but you can be assured of tasting the authentic item. Food is a way of life here. Every local has an opinion and none of them are shy. If you are looking for something, just walk into any busy store and ask. Someone will overhear and give their advice.

Of course, fine dining is also available in Houston. America's in River Oaks and RDG/Bar Annie in the Galleria are just two of the more prominent, five-star restaurants available. Innumerable other establishments dot the landscape from downtown to Westchase.

This culinary journey through Houston ends on the highest note, barbecue. Barbecue is not just food here. It is a way of life and justly so. Days have and will again be frittered away on the vagaries of the perfect sauce or rub. Do not leave Houston without visiting the multitude of barbecue joints. Otto's, Goode Company and Pappasito's are a good start.

Houston loves food and proves it everyday. It looks forward to having you as an honorary citizen when you tip the scales at 110% of you ideal weight.