Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In Search of Houston's Best Bun Kabab

Say what?


I first encountered the bun kabab at the snack bar at Dilpasand Mithai on Hillcroft a year and a half ago. On one of my visits there to try the barfees I ordered one, not having any idea what I was going to be getting. After eating one the concept was not much clearer. It was a vegetable patty, seemed to be mostly mashed potato, on a hamburger bun, with onion and shredded lettuce, black pepper, maybe some garlic powder, and lots of ketchup. I had asked for one 'spicy' but the predominant flavor I got was ketchup.

Since then I've learned the bun kabab is a very popular snack in Pakistan and it occurred to me maybe I had just gotten a less than primo example of one. Since then I had ordered one at another Indo-Pak snack bar on Highway 6 but though it was on the menu board, they no longer served it. Then when I discovered the second location of Dilpasand Mithai recently and saw it on the menu, I went for it.

It proved to be a good choice. Delivered piping hot from the kitchen and with lots of heat, it was a perfect light snack for a hot summer afternoon, tasty and filling without being too heavy; there was only a very modest amount of ketchup.

I had been strolling through the Desi Food Warehouse in the same shopping center and didn't have my camera with me so was unable to take a shot but a couple of weeks later, back out on that side of town and craving something light to eat, - okay, I wanted another bun kabab - I stopped in again. Ramadan was underway and the restaurant was not serving any food to eat on premises but fixed one to go (the kitchen staff is Mexican, I believe), so I retreated to my car in the parking lot and took the picture above.

The ones I had previously were on the smaller 4" buns but this one used the larger sized bun and was a lot more filling and not quite as spicy but very good. The resemblance to a Whataburger is obvious; change out that checked wrapping paper for mustard colored and you could probably fool a lot of people - until they bit into it. This is not a mashed potato fritter, just mashed potatoes (maybe some mashed lentils, maybe onions, I think).

This has become something of a minor obsession for me, just what I need to help me get through the (hopefully) last few weeks of sweltering summer when I'm not eating much more than sandwiches and snacks. I happened to remember that Salaam Namaste, a Desi game room and Indo-Pak fast food place on W. Bellfort, just off 59, had bun kabab on the menu and I stopped in to try it, only to discover they have three - a meat bun kabab, a 'special,' which includes egg, and a vegi kabab. What is this I wondered? I was directed through a door to the sister restaurant, Sweet 'n Namkin, for the vegi bun kabob. These two restaurants have totally separate kitchens, both 100% Halal, with Sweet 'n Namkin also 100% vegetarian.


This was another good one; the patty had been sauteed just a little I think and browned up a bit and included small chunks of onion and lentil and perhaps some other vegetables. There were some thick slices of roma tomato and only a dollop of ketchup (more was offered on the side), and a generous amount of raw onion and cilantro. It wasn't quite a spicy as the one at Dilpasand but was very satisfying.

I went back online to do some more research and discovered something I had totally missed before, the meat and egg combination is the most popular variety in Pakistan; I thought this was just supposed to be a veggie snack.

So of course I had to go back to try the 'Special' at Salaam Namaste.' What I got was the least photogenic of any I've had so I didn't take a picture but it turned out to be the best. A thinner patty of veggies, topped with a thin 'omelet' folded over multiple times, with onion, roma tomato and cucumber slices and lots of cilantro, the spiciest one yet, too, and on top of that, a shaker of spice on the table (including at the least cumin and tumeric) that kicked it up even more.

So I've still got to try the beef bun kabab at Salaam Namaste. A Beef Kabab Roll or Chicken Kabab Roll is common as a snack food offering on Pakistani menus here, but not the Bun Kabab. I've checked at Alfa Capri, another Desi game room/snack bar just a few doors down on West Bellfort, and they don't serve a bun kabab and I've checked the menus of several other Pakistani restaurants and haven't found another one to try so the quest goes on but may be over already, too.

In the meantime I had come across this Pakistani blog comparing the bun kabab to McDonald's and coming down squarely in favor of the bun kabab. I don't know how authentic the McDonald's burgers are they're getting from those kiosks pictured in Karachi but I'll have to join the chorus of comments: I'd rather have one of these, too.

My earlier report on Dilpasand Mithai.

Salaam Namaste. I have been going to this restaurant off and on for several years but not much in a couple of years; it's undergone a renovation of sorts and there's more emphasis on the food and less on the game room aspect now.

My earlier report on Sweet n' Namkin which is undergoing a maker-over of it's own, becoming more of a vegetarian restaurant and less of just a chaat and sweets bar.

Oh yeah, and another good thing about these? So far, no one has asked me if I wanted fries with one or wanted to SuperSize it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

El Punto Criollo

506 Hwy 6 West (??), less than 1/2 mile south of I-10 SEE AMENDED LOCATION BELOW and a report on a revisit here.


I was on my way to check out another restaurant on the far west side when I happened to spot this one. I knew from the word criollo that this was not another taco trailer so I swung around to check it out. Cuban?, Puerto Rican?, I wondered; it wasn't until I got close enough to read the menu in the window that I discovered it serves Las Delicias de Venezuela. I had forgotten that Pabellon Criollo is the national dish of Venezuela. It's on the menu here along with arepas, empanadas, pastelitos, cachapas, tequenos, and chicha Venezolana, a rice based drink served sweetened and chilled. There are also hallacas listed on the menu and I thought I'd really lucked out. Hallacas are the Venezuelan version of a nacatamale, typically including more than one meat, capers, raisins and olives as filling and I've never been able to sample one yet but she said it should be covered up on the menu as it is only served during the holiday season, as is typical.

The lady is very friendly and cheerfully answered a lot of questions I peppered her with; she speaks pretty good English. I had more trouble communicating because of the roar of traffic on the highway than because of a language barrier.


Though I had my heart set on something at the other restaurant I decided to pick up a couple of empanadas to sample since I've been out on this stretch of Highway 6 only a handful of times and wouldn't likely be back soon. I got a beef and a chicken ($2 each) and was impressed with how hefty they were. I was offered a variety of salsas, red and green, one described as hot, but I asked about the guasaca, the Venezuelan creamy avocado dressing. She seemed pleased I knew of that and procured some from the refrigerator.

I had actually just left a dentist's office and made it all the way to 6 in amazing time; I wasn't supposed to eat anything for another quarter hour, lest my teeth self-destruct, so I hopped in the car and headed on down the road where it turned out the restaurant I had my sights on was closed; sure was a good thing I brought a spare lunch along.

Most Venezuelan empanadas I've had were snack-sized; these were close to being the largest I've ever had, about as big as a burrito, and crammed full of meat. The chicken one was the tastiest, shredded chicken breast with some red pepper and other herbs apparent, tender and juicy. The guasaca was surprisingly tart and complemented the chicken quite well. The beef empanada had tender shredded brisket and was a little more simply seasoned and not quite as interesting. The guasaca didn't go with it as well and I wished I had also taken some of the salsa. These things were big enough that two was a meal.

With the recent closure of Miguelito's I guess we now have more Venezuelan mobile units (3) than brick and mortar places (2) in the area.

Edit: now located next to the parking lot of World Food Market, on Beechnut just west of Highway 6, with an awning and table for comfort.

El Punto Criollo on Facebook

Edited 1/28/12

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

El Caldero Boricua

15115 Bellaire Blvd, outside Highway 6

I loved this restaurant before I ever got to the door. Just the aromas wafting across the parking lot convinced me I was in for something good. It's a small place, seating only twice as many as the legendary Tex-Chick in the Montrose, and kind of cramped at that. The way the menu is set up is a bit confusing, too. Basically it's a la carte ordering but not everything available is listed and perhaps most perplexing, main courses are cheaper than sides sometimes. Don't fret, the counter person will help, making suggestions for things to try if you're new.


On my first visit I tried the pasteles, a Puerto Rican tamale of sorts (there are Puerto Rican tamales) but made with mashed plantain or green banana instead of masa and with a filling of savory pork, steamed in a banana leaf. The melding of fruit and savory was a bit odd to the palate at first but it was very good. I also got a portion of 'yellow rice,' which apparently means arroz con gandules here. This was awesome, one of the most flavorful rice dishes I've ever had, rivaling the best rice dishes at our Persian or Afghani restaurants. There are apparently three sides available to choose from, white or yellow rice and .... plain beans? There isn't a clear listing of what the sides to choose from on the menu.

As I waited a brief time for my food, I observed a couple of women at the next table having a feast, the table loaded down with great looking dishes, only one of which, tostones, I could identify. I really wanted to be nosy and ask what everything was.


That was a half portion of the yellow rice ($3) and I was still a bit hungry so I inquired about desserts. There are only two available, not shown on the menu board or menu; one I have forgotten but the other was 'coconut pudding.' That sounded like just the ticket.

Although the word was not mentioned I believe this is the dessert known as Tembleque, served chilled with a generous dusting of warm cinnamon. I had asked for a small portion; that was said to be a half portion ($4).




On another visit I went for the Pernil ($2) and yellow rice, a double portion ($5). The aroma of the roasted pig filled the small restaurant as the server removed the holding pan cover and I made my way over to the counter to marvel as he peeled back the layer of skin and fat covering the pan and forked out portions of the meat, no knife needed. Some dishes are held on a steam table and there are also readily visible pots of food simmering on a stove behind the counter. This looked like it was going to be awesome. An online source says Puerto Ricans like their meats fatty; that's pretty easy to see. I included pictures from two perspectives because I couldn't really capture just how much food that was nor how good it looked with just one. Unfortunately, somehow, though the pan was covered and the meat simmering in its own juices and covered by the layer of skin, it was tough and stringy, a major disappointment.

It is easier to tell from this photo, by the way, that the 'yellow rice' is arroz con gandules because of the visible bits of meat included.

As I had been paying for my meal on my first visit the cashier had asked where I was from and I had replied 'just a couple of miles from here.' The significance of that question didn't hit me until later.

On my second visit a woman was busing some tables who looked familiar to me and she recognized me from my first visit and asked if I had been there before, pointing to the exact spot I had been sitting. She observed I had appeared to be really hungry and really enjoying the food; I guess I made something of a spectacle of myself. She was one of the women sitting at the table next to mine whose bounteous spread I had envied. She asked me where I was from. I said Houston and asked where she was from; she said New York. Then I told her what she and her friend had been having had looked very good and asked what it was. The only dish she named was, I thought, Catfish Stew. Puerto Rican Catfish Stew sounded awesome but I couldn't find it on the menu; I think probably what she had said was Codfish stew, i.e., the bacalao guisada, and I misunderstood. Whatever it was, it looked good.

One of the offerings not listed on the menu, although there is a picture, is the Jibarito, the Puerto Rican version of a steak sandwich using mashed, fried plantain in place of bread. It's listed on the menu board as $7 but I was told it is now $9.

El Caldero Boricua

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pasha

2325 University Blvd.

It's hard to believe, all the years I've lived in Houston and all the times I've gone to the Village to eat, I'd never been to Pasha until this summer. I'm not sure I even knew it existed until a couple of years ago, it's kind of easy to miss. For years, my go-to places in the Village were Alfred's/Kahn's and Antone's, later joined by Istanbul Grill. There were other places I ate at, uh, what were they now?, but these were overwhelmingly my favorites. And let me pause to make the point that to me, the neighborhood will always be 'The Village,' as it was referred to when I was a kid growing up. I don't know when Rice bought the naming rights but to me, it'll always be The Village, not Rice Village.

But I did learn of Pasha a couple of years ago, with some good recommendations, and set out to correct the error of my ways this summer when I took a break from focusing on street food.


I hadn't visited one of our Turkish restaurants in a couple of years when I first stopped in and I was hungry for doner. This was the lunch special portion preceded by a Shepherd salad, seasoned and marinated thin slices of beef and lamb, cooked on a rotisserie, some pieces still pink in the center, juicy and lusciously flavorful, and a very generous portion for a lunch special. It was better than I remembered ever having elsewhere.

Pasha is quite a different space than Istanbul just around the corner; quiet and peaceful, a respite from the bustle outside, linen table cloths and stemmed glassware, but not at all stuffy, at least not when I was there for lunch several times.

In the dim light of the restaurant, I couldn't decide what the item at the top of the plate was; I didn't remember mention of potato and there was a bed of rice underneath the pile of meat, anyway, but a wedge of potato dusted generously with paprika or something similar is what I guessed. The light from the flash makes it more readily identifiable but it was not until I cut into it that I realized it was a wedge of tomato. It tasted as much like a tomato as it looked like a tomato and was a waste of space on the plate and the complimentary basket of pide had been at room temp and a little stale but otherwise this was an excellent meal and I kicked myself for waiting so long to come here. Then they brought out the complimentary shot of hot Turkish tea and I sat and sipped and savored for another 20 minutes or so, a blissful few moments of repose from the blazing sunlight and busy-ness outside. Do you get the idea I like this place?


Only a few days later, back in that part of town and craving some more doner but also wanting to try something different I went back and decided I could fulfill both desires by ordering a doner sandwich. On this occasion (and every other I've been) the complimentary pide was warm and wonderful but I discovered it doesn't make for a very good sandwich. The pide at Pasha is too rigid and impermeable, the small pieces of meat and other ingredients kept falling out because the bread was so rigid. Worst of all, one of the real joys of the first meal had been that bed of rice underneath the meat that had soaked up all the juices and which I lingered over down to the very last grain; the bread simply doesn't soak it up like that and remains rather dry.

Now about those fries. You have a choice of three sides, Shepherd salad, fries, or cup of soup of the day. Given my disdain for fries - I usually eat them only when they're automatically included with a sandwich or something - I decided to go with them since I'd already had the salad and soup wasn't appealing on another sweltering day, but it was a bad choice. They were mediocre, probably frozen. They were accompanied by an enormous squeeze bottle of ketchup, one of the few food substances on earth I avoid more than fries, that was plopped down on the table with what seemed like a sneer. This wasn't anywhere near as satisfying a meal, and I didn't get the complementary tea, either. I don't advise the sandwiches at Pasha, stick with the plates. I did manage to salvage a little more from this experience - I discovered that drizzling what I had left of the zataar that accompanies the complementary pide classed up those fries enough to make them more palatable, more palatable to me than the ketchup would have (the squeeze bottle remained untouched).


Live and Learn being the order of the day I couldn't wait to come back so a few weeks later I stopped in again. I'd been eating some very big meals at other sit-down venues and wanted something a little light so I went with Menemem, a traditional vegetarian dish. Several cuisines have dishes involving eggs and vegetables and this is the Turkish version and it was great, tomato, onion, bell pepper, eggs and feta, served with Turkish rice. I particularly liked that the vegetables were still crisp-tender instead of being cooked to a soft, mushy state and I was every bit as enthused about this dish as I had been about the doner on my first visit. The rice was great too and I finished off every last grain even though it had not benefited from any meat juices; I grew up in Brazoria County where they grow, or used to anyway, a lot of rice and I love rice in almost any presentation, more than potatoes.

And on this occasion the grilled tomato both looked and tasted a lot more like a tomato should.


This meal was so light I followed with a dessert, something my rather small appetite usually doesn't allow room for. I went with the Sutlac, a baked rice pudding, served chilled topped with minced pistachios. As smooth as flan though not as creamy, I loved this also, plus I got my shot of hot tea to sip.

I haven't hit it for dinner when things might be a bit more formal but Pasha is a great lunch spot and judging by the pictures on the website, there are lots of great dishes yet to try.

Pasha

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Pita Bakery and Deli

9804 Hillcroft

This place used to be Super Pita before a change of ownership in May. I thought they were out of business once when I drove by because the windows were so barren but lately there's almost always a crowd. A young waiter told me they spruced the place up a bit and the food is much better. I only went to Super Pita twice and tried something on the steam table. It wasn't too bad but not memorable either. Now the steam table appears to be gone, at least at lunch, and food is freshly prepared. That's a plus. I got the impression from the take-out menu that the emphasis is on sandwiches although it's still possible to get most of the dishes that were available before off the menu and about half the dine-in customers have been having plates.


Sandwiches come on baguettes, pitas or laffas, all baked in-house, with typical Middle Eastern fillings such as falafel, schawarma, kabobs, etc., plus schnitzel. There are also some 'Gold' sandwiches with typical Western deli fillings like roast beef, smoked turkey, salami, etc. I tried a falafel pita on my first visit. When the falafel had been cooked (5 pieces) I was called up to the counter to pick my toppings. There are about 15 to choose from, none labeled. The edge of the pita is cut and folded back and the fillings stuffed inside. The man said 'Hummus?' and I said yes. 'Anything else - Israeli salad?' I said yes. 'Anything else?' 'Tabouli' I said. 'Anything else?' I saw a green sauce that I guessed might be spicy and pointed at that. Spicy? he said. Yes. 'Anything else?' Then there was the red sauce. 'Spicy?' I said yes. I was beginning to feel a little guilty about loading up so much but he kept saying 'anything else?' I think I stopped at that point, I'm not sure, maybe I got one or two other things. I think the red and green sauces were the Yemeni condiment schug. Those were listed by name on the Super Pita menu and though they're not listed on this one there have been so few changes in the menu I'm guessing that's what they are.

He squirted a couple of other things on the sandwich out of squeeze bottles and wrapped it up with a side order of fries which came with the sandwich ($4.95) and weighed in at about 2 ozs, a perfect size order of fries as far as I'm concerned.

Well the truth is I'm not very fond of pitas or falafel to begin with but I had just been to Zabak's a few days earlier and I thought it would be good to do a comparison. The pitas are thick and hearty and a bit dry for my taste; the falafel was, well, falafel, and no, not as interesting as Zabak's. With all the added condiments, though, it was not bad as a sandwich and I was pretty confident they had offerings I would like better. I had got too many condiments and couldn't sort them all out, taste-wise.

Looking over the menu I became fascinated by the laffa sandwiches. They had been on the Super Pita menu but I'd never noticed them and I resolved to try one on my next visit to see if I like laffa better than pita. Laffa is an Iraqi flatbread that is more like a thin naan or thick chapati rather than a pita; too thin to be used as a pocket bread it's used as a wrap.


I also wanted to try the shawarma so on another visit I got a shawarma laffa; this time I added just the hummus, Israeli salad and some grilled eggplant. Laffa are about 10" in diameter and weigh from 3 to 5 ozs (hand-made and irregular); the filled sandwich weighed in at 15.5 oz on my kitchen scale and I loved it. The laffa is like a soft, pliable naan and is just what I need - another type of bread I like. I could gritch that the shawarma was a little too dried out and the eggplant added a bitterness than was unwelcome but this was a very good sandwich - actually, big enough for two sandwiches ($10.95) - and a new favorite sandwich. The fries this time were a little underdone.

Okay, so the resemblance of a laffa to a large flour tortilla and the sandwich to a burrito can't be overlooked but there's no lard, obviously, and where else in Houston can you get a Kosher falafel or schnitzel burrito?

Like other Israeli restaurants, Super Pita at this location before and Saba's on Fondren, the menu includes dishes brought to Israel from other countries. Besides the laffa there is sabich from Iraq, a Morrocan style fish dish, a Tunisian style tuna sandwich on the breakfast menu, a Bukharian pilaf, a goulash and a couscous. I was fascinated by the Egyptian dish Foul Mudammas which dates back to the Pharaohs. It's served here as mashed fava beans on top of a bed of hummus in a bowl, topped with the green spicy sauce and accompanied by a couple of pitas. Though it's offered as a side ($4.95) it's enough for a meal in itself, though I prefer it a little spicier, with some cumin or chili powder and a hard boiled egg.

The grocery shelves and bakery display cases are less impressively full than when it was Super Pita but sitting in bakery section, waiting for my Foul Mudammas, the aroma of the fresh challah and pastries being brought out was driving me crazy. I picked up some laffa - three loaves are $2.50. Heated up in every home-maker's modern home substitute for a tandoor, a toaster oven (or in my case, a pop-up toaster) it crisps up a bit and makes a great accompaniment to many dishes.

This little neighborhood in Meyerland has a collection of some good eateries - New York Coffee Shop and New York Bagel Shop just a block away, The Russian General Store a couple of blocks away and Fioza, which is highly recommended by Ziggy Smogdust, just across Brays Bayou.

My Pita is kosher and closes for all Jewish holy days.

UPDATE:  MY PITA HAS UNDERGONE SEVERAL CHANGES OF OWNERSHIP I THINK.  

THEIR BAKED GOODS, INCLUDING PITA AND LAFFA, ARE AVAILABLE NEARBY AT THE RUSSIAN GENERAL STORE AND BELDEN'S SUPERMARKET; I'VE SEEN THEM AT CENTRAL MARKET AND AT AL NIMER SUPERMARKET AND ROASTERY AND AT JERUSALEM HALAL MEATS ON HILLCROFT.

My Pita

At last, Red Velvet Fried Chicken....

So there's chicken and waffles (so old hat) and now Red Velvet Fried Chicken. And lest you think it's just fried chicken on top of a piece of Red Velvet cake, nooooooooo. Read about it here.

and some comments here.

But it's not here, it's in San Fran.

I don't foresee wanting to go home with a 10 piece bucket but this makes me curious and I'd like to try it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

El Mofongo Boricua

1925 Highway 6 South, between Westheimer and Briar Forest



Ever since I started getting into street food, lo these many sun-baked parking lots ago, I've been reading up on street food around the world and become fascinated with the subject. Certain countries are known for their street food cultures, Puerto Rico among them. A recent article by the site Budget Travel named Puerto Rico as one of 14 destinations worldwide for street food aficionados. I've wondered why we didn't have any Puerto Rican here, indeed why we have, for most of the last 30 years, had only one Puerto Rican restaurant (actually, that should be spelled Puertorrican I think). And then I not only discover this trailer but also another Puertorrican restaurant on the far west side which I'll be reporting on soon.

I headed out to try them out only to be frustrated a couple of times to find them closed so I called and found out the current hours (only 2pm to 10pm, Friday thru Sunday). I showed up about 2:30 on a Friday afternoon and there was no one in sight. Later is better, here; in fact, though you can't count on them to be open precisely by 2pm you'll often find them open past 10pm; the two times I've been I asked how late they'd been open the night before and the answers were 12 Midnight and 1am.


I talked to Chely himself, a wrecker driver during the week who is not as old as his graying hair and beard make him seem; he asked me my name on the phone and where I was from, which I thought was a little strange. Then, when I got there, he asked again (and recognized me from my call). But don't worry if you can't name some town on the island you hail from, you'll be welcome here, as I was. As another customer explained to me as we stood around chatting, Puerto Ricans are very outgoing and like to talk; I observed that's generally true of Texans, too, and we should get along famously.

On my first visit I tried the arroz con gandules, rice with pigeon peas, capers, stuffed olives, considered by some the national dish, with pernil. The rice was rich, flavorful, great, but the pernil was even better. I watched as she (I presume Chely's wife, who does most of the cooking inside the trailer) kept slicing pieces off the roast for my plate, even pulling out another knife at one point to cut through the crispy skin, and worried there might not be enough for the rest of the evening but then I realized it was not my problem. This was just sublime; I couldn't stop taking more bites of the pile of meat on the plate though it was obviously enough for two.

And of all the variations of rice and peas popular in Caribbean cuisine, I like the Puerto Rican version best I've decided after just one sample but this is one of the items prepared ahead of time and warmed up in a microwave so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

I saw the pinchos being cooked by Chely over mesquite charcoal on a grill; trust me, there's lots more meat on them than the picture on the trailer indicates. I also saw pinchos de pollo being consumed - they seem to be the most popular - and they looked great. Unfortunately no one was a sharer. I also saw fried pies - didn't get the name of them - a corn meal like batter with cheese filling that looked more like the cheese was incorporated into the dough rather than stuffed in a pocket.


I inquired about the cuajito, defined online as pork belly (buche) in a spicy sauce. Chely said pancha de puerco as he rubbed his considerable tummy and offered me a sample. I'd say the sauce is savory, not spicy, but there is hot sauce (Louisiana brand) on the table. I loved this; definitely better than beef tripe.

I've also tried the Mofongo y carne frita which Chely says is his best dish but I just don't get mofongo and I didn't care for the carne frita (fried pork cubes) nearly as much as the pernil.

When I had first approached the window on my first visit I had noticed a baseball bat across one of the cabinet tops inside and I wondered if things sometimes got a little rowdy later in the evening. As I was standing around chatting with another customer, Chely stuck his head out the window and called me over to witness the mashing of the plantains for the mofongo. Inside I saw a beautiful wooden mortar, about a foot tall with 1 inch thick sides, sitting on a chair. It was apparent the pestle that came with it was barely long enough to stick out the top and using it would result in seriously scuffed knuckles; hence the baseball bat, which allows for two-fisted pulverizing action as the fried slices of plantain are ladled into the mortar.

The trailer can be missed easily if you're hurrying along on Highway 6, partially obscured by trees in a mostly vacant shopping center parking lot, but when they're open there'll be a line of Puerto Rican flags staked out along the highway and you can't miss it. Later is better, for sure, given the heat these days. Both times I've been it was late afternoon and it was sweltering, even under the shade provided by some young trees. Take advantage of the late hours and go after it starts to cool off. This is not fast food; I've waited 25-35 minutes for my order. I have seen lots of people coming up to pick up to-go orders and more than one picking up something called in but eating on site.

BTW, I asked another customer about the Puertorrican community here and why there aren't more and he said, in essence, they're coming. Puerto Ricans have mostly emigrated to Miami, then, NYC, then Orlando, but now they're discovering Houston, drawn first by the Space Center, then the Medical Center and now the petro-chemical industry. This is just fine with me, so long as there are more cooks and restauranteurs in the mix, not just astronauts, doctors, scientists and engineers

El Mofongo Boricua on Facebook - there's not much on the page and the hours are wrong. The current hours, as of this post, are Friday-Saturday-Sunday, 2pm to 10pm, but as noted above they tend to run late.