You know, just to be certain. Instead, buttery, yeasty kolaches with authentic fillings like apricot, poppyseed, and cream cheese are displayed side by side with more obscure offerings, like sweet buchta rolls and, at Christmas, the braided bread known as vanocka. Read all his columns in the archive. The Lemon Lusty cupcake — made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon curd, topped with lemon buttercream — is the perfect way to celebrate spring. 51 Rainey StreetAustin, TX(512) 366-5530 | emmerandrye.com, WHAT: The best brisket in Texas. - Joanna De La Cerda. There are 110 cocktails on the menu, but the bartenders can make far more. 1722 Routh Street (One Arts Plaza)Dallas, TX (214) 220-2828 | tei-an.com, WHAT: Proof that a passion for chuck-wagon vittles supersedes that for finer fare. Mixed in with shredded, slow-roasted pork shoulder topped with avocado, cilantro, and onion, all wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla, it's the star of a taco you’ll be dreaming about. The Best Fast-food Tacos in Texas By José R. Ralat Greg Abbott’s Politics Create a Vaccine Stampede By R.G. A winning spread here might include chicken, shrimp, and andouille-sausage gumbo depth-charged with smoked fish (an homage to thiéboudienne, the national dish of Senegal, where gumbo’s predecessor originated); crisp shreds of turkey-neck meat cradled in bibb lettuce leaves with Vietnamese nuoc mam cham for dipping; and catfish tikka masala. — José R. Ralat, 2701 Main Street #120Dallas, TX 75201(214) 272-7163 | facebook.com/revolvertacolounge or purepecharoom.com. Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and fried chicken to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. Overnight stays include breakfasts (maybe grits and eggs scattered with bacon lardons) made with the same city-meets-country finesse. There are certain foods that automatically make you think of Texas when you eat them: barbecue, chicken fried steak, and queso to name a few. Yum!" Their take on takoyaki combines octopus fritters with beefy chili, molten cheese, and smoked jalapeno — a Frito pie from an alternate, aquatic universe. Make sure you spring for the real maple syrup. 13628 Gamma RoadDallas, TX(972) 805-0999 | cattleackbbq.com, WHAT: Southern comfort food in one of Dallas’s swankiest dining rooms from one of the city’s stalwart chefs. Multiple locationsLaredo, TXtacopalenque.com. He’s since claimed the James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics award and is the Beard House’s most frequently featured Texan. If the fowl poos on your number, you win! WHAT: A tasting-menu restaurant in middle-of-nowhere West Texas that actually lives up to the romantic fantasy of such diversions. — J.N. This humble, unassuming restaurant located in small-town Sweetwater (located about 40 minutes down I-20 from Abilene) has been in business since 1952, when Lizzie Allen began cooking fried chicken for locals, and today it’s run by two of Lizzie’s grandchildren, Billy and Suzan, and has become a must-visit for those in the know. — J.R.R. WHY: From colorful breakfast and dinner thalis to a phenomenal Indian-spiced, gluten-free, chickpea-crusted fried chicken, three-time James Beard award nominee Anita Jaisinghani takes the stuff of traditional Indian street food — chaat, dosas, pani poori — and turns out beautiful, artistically plated food that vibrates with authenticity while still showing contemporary Gulf Coast flair. From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to more popular establishments that specialize in an authentic dish , you’re sure to find a Mexican joint in the Lone Star State to please your taste buds. WHY: Czechs began immigrating to Texas in the 1850s, and many settled in the fertile, blackland strip down the center of the state, including in the small town of West. They’re seasoned with just salt and pepper and finished with some butter. The Most Romantic Restaurant in Every State. Sure, a fancy atmosphere is nice, but it’s the quality of food that really determines an eatery’s appeal. Best Dining in Houston, Texas Gulf Coast: See 177,952 Tripadvisor traveler reviews of 8,792 Houston restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more. WHY: The fishing boats are docked a few blocks away and the specialty is Gulf red snapper — called “pargo” here, as it is in Nicaragua, homeland of Francisco “Paco” Vargas (there are also baskets of plantain chips on every table). WHY: Chefs (and hip-hop DJs) Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya “Tako” Matsumoto run an izakaya in a former barbecue restaurant, and they take their culinary cues from their surroundings. Best Dining in San Antonio, Texas: See 178,020 Tripadvisor traveler reviews of 4,833 San Antonio restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more. 2704 Navigation BoulevardHouston, TX(713) 228-1175 | ninfas.com. 10 of the best fast-food sandwich chains across the US; 10 popular foods you need to try on your next trip to Chicago; 18 of the best places to eat in Philadelphia, according to a local; I lived in Austin, Texas, for 12 years. The Best Chinese Restaurant in Every State. Texas has no shortage of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, making it’s difficult to narrow them down to a simple list of the best. Let’s hash it out while standing in line for brisket and potato salad at Cattleack Barbeque in Dallas, or maybe over a Deluxe Mexican Plate at Garcia’s in San Antonio. If it’s your first visit, we suggest you go for the straight-ahead buttermilk pancakes, big pillows of deliciousness that you’ll want to climb into and take a nap. Grab some of the state’s best seafood and take in the view from a table on the pier. WHAT: A celebration of Pakistani cooking from the skilled hands and elastic mind of chef-owner Kaiser Lashkari. The Best Airport Restaurant in Every State. Smoky brisket, breakfast tacos, chile con carne, and 200,000 square miles of belt-busting beauty. 3002 FM 89Buffalo Gap, TX(325) 572-3339 | periniranch.com. 1600 Westheimer RoadHouston, TX(713) 524-7744 | hugosrestaurant.net. Dunston’s has been around since 1955, making it the city’s oldest steakhouse, and it’s also its least expensive. All the basics are covered here — spaghetti alla carbonara, pasta norma — and they’re all done very, very well; but make sure you try the rigatoni with spicy lamb meatballs, San Francisco-style cioppino, and veal piccata. Sure, this collection includes singular steakhouses, barbecue standard-bearers, Tex-Mex strongholds, and cafes serving outstanding burgers, breakfast tacos, and kolaches: the foods that make Texas defy trendiness. — D.V. — B.A. Teiichi is a master of soba noodles, which he makes by hand and serves both cold and hot, and it’s best enjoyed at the end of a seven-course omakase, which you need to call ahead to request. Served on a toasted, grill-shined bun. One of the most heralded pizza spots in Texas. WHAT: The last standard-bearer of a Texas culinary tradition along the Rio Grande. With many dining venues on-site, diners can choose from anything from the outdoor patio to the more upscale Gallery. The restaurant (which, in true Austin fashion, began as a food truck) is also a major booster for the local farming community — going so far as to emblazon farm names on the dining room walls. Which is probably why it's always so busy. 12 in the entire state of Texas, and Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard called them America’s Best Sports Bar in the Central Region. 2713 East 2nd StreetAustin, TX(512) 893-5561 | kemuri-tatsuya.com. Fan favorites include their signature beef brisket and pork ribs, but desserts aren’t to be overlooked either, with delicious options like peach cobbler, pecan pie, and blackberry. She took special pride in her version of tacos al carbon, skirt steak served on a hot comal with caramelized onions and a stack of fresh flour tortillas. Six- or nine-ounce bacon-wrapped fillets go for just $13.95 and $17.95, respectively; an eight-ounce rib-eye costs $18.95, and an eight-ounce New York strip costs just $17.95. This Austin restaurant is so good, their food … — Nadia Chaudhury, 2027 Anchor LaneAustin, TX(512) 614-2260 | contigotexas.com. Relish them simply, mounded on a woven bamboo mat alongside a dashi dipping sauce simmered with duck meat. WHAT: Whole-hog barbecue done the old-fashioned way. WHAT: A border town legend, serving breakfast and lunch dishes that embody its unique corner of America — all while detailing your ride. The restaurant’s migas, enchiladas, tacos, and tamales are made with the same care the Vasquez-Valera family has employed for three generations, served in a homey East Sixth space with an absolutely killer patio. Through videos and a best-selling book, “Franklin-style” barbecue can now be found on most every continent. If you can eat it all (as well as a variety of side dishes) in one hour, you can have it for free. You’re heard his acolytes’ brisket gospel. The burgers, brunch fare, and family-style dishes like half a roasted pig head are worthy of renown, but in-the-know locals drop by on Tuesdays, when an eight-ounce Angus sirloin from 44 Farms served with seasonal vegetables costs just $15.50. — M.P. It really is that good. Many of the restaurants in this roundup don't offer much in the way of ambiance, but they deliver food so delicious and memorable, you'll go well out of your way just for a meal … The turkey is what presidentially pardoned birds aspire to be. New staples now include Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish boils, duck breast over mole coloradito, Italian bread dumplings with braised mustard greens, and Indian thalis (trays) filled with dishes like vinegar-tinged Goa pork and turmeric soup. WHY: In a town changing so fast it’s perpetually in danger of losing its roots, Tamale House East is a welcome oasis of both continuity and evolution. Though there are others that can replicate that magic — Los Barrios, Teka Molino, Henry’s Puffy Tacos — Ray’s Drive Inn, with its throwback Spurs signage, virgen shrine, and “Budweiser y Tacos” neon, is a living time capsule of old-school San Antonio. Does it get more Texas than that? Top 100 Restaurants in Texas, according to Yelp. WHY: Lovably grouchy Maynard Haddad runs the combination business started by his father — Najib Haddad, a Syrian immigrant —in 1958. WHY: Lifelong cattle rancher and chuck-wagon cook Tom Perini turned an old barn into Texas’s most popular steak destination 35 years ago. I still love the trailer. But the richest terrain is the soba — fresh buckwheat noodles, notoriously difficult to form and cut, that Teiichi Sakurai crafts daily. Don’t discount her handmade chocolate bars, either. Barbecued shrimp taco with mango and pickled red onion; barbecued short rib enchilada with queso fundido; mesquite-grilled wagyu ribeye with West Texas mop sauce; and “Texas carpaccio” — wagyu beef with Texas olive oil, grana padano, crispy capers, and pickled golden beets. Featured on The Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Zagat, The Waffle Bus earned its spot by turning out some over-the-top waffle-inspired sandwiches. WHY: Ninfa Laurenzo, known as Mama Ninfa, opened her restaurant in 1973 in front of her family’s tortilla factory. 2775 Washington BoulevardBeaumont, TX(409) 833-3156 | no website. 2969 CR 422Talpa, TX(325) 636-4556 | rancholoma.com, WHAT: The best restaurant on Galveston Island — and arguably the entire Texas Gulf Coast. WHY: Ronnie Killen’s steakhouse and barbecue restaurant singlehandedly put Pearland, a small town south of Houston, on the national meat map. The emphasis here is on quality ingredients. Walmart. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. 1. Try the raw seafood tower, decked with seasonal shellfish, ceviches, and crab claws. WHY: Texas is an endless font of mega-successful Tex-Mex fast food, from statewide standard Taco Cabana to hipster hegemon Torchy’s, but a regional chain slinging freshly cooked tortillas and menudo, with a fresh salsa bar at every location? Steaks at Killen’s start at $42 for an 8-ounce wet-aged fillet, and top out at $175 for a flight of four different four-ounce wagyu New York strips. Toot Sweet’s expertise expands far beyond cupcakes (try the artisanal breads and breakfast pastries), but the cupcakes are where the true joy lies. The Pakistani affinity for beef plays so well in Texas that Lashkari dreamed up on-point “friendly fusion” weekend specials, such as smoked brisket masala, to bridge the cultures. In that short time, they upgraded to a brick-and-mortar, they served our last president, and Aaron Franklin took home a James Beard award. If you’re dining chef-side in Dean’s Kitchen, or at the Chef’s Table, look for the ebullient chef; he’s almost always present. Ten writers with deep local roots joined me in whittling down a small nation’s worth of restaurants to the crucial 38. The color comes from the high-quality eggs that are used in the dough, and the “rustic” appearance is a result of using the same recipe since the 1920s. — B.A. The brisket, with its peppery exterior, falls apart as you pick it up. You can spend the whole day at Clayton’s, the largest beach bar on the Texas coast, and never need to leave the beach. Asia Café was made for takeout (the space isn’t exactly super-welcoming), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not slammed most nights. Start with the bread. 408 W. 8th StreetDallas, TX(214) 948-4998 | luciadallas.com, WHAT: The taqueria with the little back room that’s a Mexican food game changer for Texas. The meal, ticketed at $97 per person, typically careens through seven or eight courses and lasts a concise 90 minutes or so. WHAT: A taco chain to rule them all, rooted in regional tradition. However, the Vazquez’s brick-and-mortar in Austin’s North Burnet neighborhood cranks out food with even more precision and also offers picadas, masa creations that split the divide in texture between tortillas and thicker sopes. Top-ranked colleges offer outstanding on-campus dining—students can easily access healthy, quality food across a wide range of cuisines and dietary preferences. — J.N. The Best Italian Restaurant in Every State. But Big D’s burgerphiles will tell you it’s worth braving the fray, and hey, you don’t mess with Texas, right? Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, Fearing’s features modern Southwestern-American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach. Let’s not kid ourselves here — just order all three, because you know you want to. These 25 Restaurants Serve the Best Chili in America. Don’t mess with Texas, especially when it comes to food. Despite a large menu with all the Italian-American classics, there is one dish that stands out. 10, 2018. The pargo elegante, topped with avocado and crabmeat, is stunning. Austin without Tacodeli, which has ten locations, just wouldn’t be the same. This barbecue spot features big, meaty beef ribs, which they rub with salt and cracked pepper before slow-cooking them over post oak wood; pork spare ribs, which get salt-and-pepper rubbed just like the beef ribs; and their newest entrée, baby back ribs, which are dusted with a “magic” spice mix and basted with a sweet glaze. The brainchild of two former DJs, the 38-seat restaurant is fun, energetic, and soulful, serving bowls of ramen that people line up out the door for. As we all know, some of the best Texas restaurants are located off the beaten path. We're thrilled to celebrate the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Texas gallery here. Meghan McCarron is Eater’s special correspondent and the former editor of Easter Austin. WHY: It’s been less than a decade since Aaron and Stacy Franklin started slinging brisket from a trailer along the interstate. Yeah, everyone knows Fred’s for killer burgers, but as any cattle drover can tell you, the CFS is the true prize. And make sure to order his signature tortilla soup. Sure, you’ll find tons of tasty eateries in places like Houston, Austin and Dallas, but you can’t deny the special thrill of stumbling into a little-known gem in a rural Texas town. Bill Addison is Eater's national critic, roving the country uncovering America’s essential restaurants. — B.A. 1704 East Cesar Chavez (and other locations)Austin, TX(512) 981-1760 | veracruzallnatural.com. No rice, no beans, no problem. Robb Walsh is a the three-time James Beard Award winner who divides his time between Galveston Bay, Texas, and Galway Bay, Ireland. WHY: Lashkari and his wife, Azra Babar Lashkari, are ever-present in their boxy strip-mall restaurant in the city’s Mahatma Gandhi District. WHAT: A 12-seat think tank of a restaurant, from two chef-scholars meditating on the cuisines of Mexico through tasting menus. WHY: From its inception as a pop-up inside Grace Bible Church to its eventual launch inside a former Tex-Mex dive in December 2016, 2M Smokehouse has quietly set the tone for what San Antonio locals want out of their barbecue experience. Where else can you find pretzels stuffed with chorizo-spiced mushrooms that taste meaty despite being vegetarian, whole chicken-fried fish heads, and breakfast pizzas topped with quail? — D.V. — N.C. 1201 South Lamar BoulevardAustin, TX(512) 433-6521 | oddduckaustin.com, WHAT: Tex-Mex classics and community, from third-generation Austin taco royalty. It may not be a massive breakfast menu, but everything on it is just about perfect. 2800 Kirby Drive, Suite b132Houston, TX(713) 522-2022 | pondichericafe.com. Their menu offers fried gizzards and fried livers alongside the expected fried chicken basket, with no fancy explanation as to why the chicken tastes so good. Then the real star of the show is added: house-cured ham, rubbed in ancho chile, dried chile flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper and brined for six days before being baked and sliced paper thin. It all sounds so bizarre, and it all comes together so seamlessly and pleasurably. And it’s Doña Juanita herself who — with the help of her family — prepares Purépecha’s menu, an ever-changing carousel of traditional Mexican ingredients presented in untraditional ways. Snoopy’s Pier is swimming in a seafood shack vibe — no surprise, given that it was once an old fisherman's hangout. This local hangout has been slowly establishing a great reputation since it opened in 2011, largely thanks to its comfortable vibe and scratchmade dishes. Finally, the top slice of bread. A downtown mainstay that’s been pulling in crowds since 2000, La Traviata is turning out a different homemade ravioli every day, and its lineup of pastas is classic and comforting. (For more on that, read my case for Texas’s culinary superstardom.) This is partly because his pepper-crusted, mesquite-grilled strip; bone-in cowboy ribeye; his spicy-fried quail legs; hominy laced with green chiles and bacon; and sourdough bread pudding with pecans and whiskey sauce can’t be beaten. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. These days, pecan pie is a staple of Texas desserts in bakeries and even over Thanksgiving, sometimes taking pumpkin’s place. Along with that, some vegetarian options are also available. The Pickett House, located in Woodville, is one of the best family style restaurants in Texas. Their southern food will make you feel like you’re sitting in Grandma’s kitchen. Ace pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph brings the meal home with sweets like strawberry sorbet covered in salted cream and a caramelized apple tart with smoked juniper ice cream. Start a meal in this bright, luxe-casual dining room with Fearing’s iconic, smoky, and creamy tortilla soup, then feast on Granny’s fried chicken, shaken with flour and spices before being fried to perfection in cast iron. Go forth, and feast at Dallas’s most worthy dining destinations, boasting everything from incredible vegan tacos to excellent nigiri and stunning lacquered quail. It’s not unusual for Vera’s to be sold out of meat before it closes at 2 p.m., but the first to go is what Vera calls “Mexican caviar.” That would be cow eyes. — D.V. WHY: While Hans Peter Muller continues to produce the European baked goods made popular here by his late Swiss-born father (you won’t find anything as ethereal as this distinctive version of Black Forest cake), this second-generation pastry chef has also become Cowtown’s finest burger meister. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, check out their Strawberry Irish Cream Crème Brûlée or S’mores waffle sandwiches. Chef Hugo Ortega, a finalist for the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest, cooks food that’s elegant, inventive, and inspiring. 5251 McCullough AvenueSan Antonio, TX(210) 338-0746 | restaurantmixtli.com, WHAT: The home of the puffy taco. They even serve a cold fried chicken that’s also delicious, and that’s saying something. The cheeseburger is really where it’s at, and we’ll let the menu description speak for itself: “A half-pound of finely ground American beef flat grilled in its own juices. Tucked into a strip mall in Houston’s sprawling Asiatown, the Viet-Cajun crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles are truly transcendent — boiled then tossed in a buttery, spicy, garlicky, lemongrass-infused sauce that coats each individual mudbug. No single offering here stands above the rest; the mixed-and-matched plates (technically, sheets of butcher paper) of barbecue each lucky guest can order has become iconic in itself. WHAT: Austin’s deserving crowd favorite for righteous breakfast tacos. A Round-Up of 50 Famous Texas Foods. — B.A. The juice will run like a faucet once you’ve cut a link open, so have a slice of white bread, or better yet, a pile of rice dressing — similar to dirty rice — ready to capture it all. —M.M. One of Bon Appétit’s 50 best new restaurants of 2012, Tatsu-Ya also happened to be the first brick-and-mortar ramen shop to open in the city. Some bacon, cured in house for five days (sensing a trend? Houstonians pack into his deli for housemade pastrami, corned beef, softball-sized matzo balls, knishes, smoked fish flown in from New York, blintzes, stuffed cabbage, and other traditional Jewish favorites, all made with love to Gruber’s exacting specifications. ... My mom’s apple crisp is the best in all of Texas, honest! But a recent re-visit to Garcia’s, run by the same family since 1962, confirmed my devotion to its Deluxe Mexican Dinner plate: The oversize platter includes two cheesy enchiladas and a pork tamale covered in chili con carne and additional cloud banks of yellow cheese (say yes to the option of chopped onions); a freshly fried crispy taco stuffed with ground beef, shredded iceberg lettuce, and diced tomato; sides of rice and refried beans creamy with lard and bacon fat; and, brought first as a starter, a chalupa smeared with guacamole. In a Thrillist article about popular grocery stores, author Dan Gentile said he was “severely disappointed that H-E-B isn't the most popular chain in Texas.” (Texas’ choice? For pure Texan comfort, order the upscale rendering of chicken-fried steak, golden and crisp and covered in peppery white gravy. This sandwich, from Austin's Noble Sandwich Company, is a work of art. — B.A. The beautiful salad bar is so well-presented it may rival the meat service; indulge in the marinated vegetables and pretty salads like arugula with sliced mangoes. 4601 Washington AvenueHouston, TX(713) 842-7114 | kitchen713.com, WHAT: Authentic Vietnamese pho house in Houston’s Chinatown area. It's not hype. Dressed in traditional Texas fashion with mustard, lettuce, red onion, and dill pickle. Muller wows his loyal cafe clientele with inventive Texas-raised Akaushi wagyu burgers — towering, sizzling-hot creations that thrill the palate. The Best Fast-food Tacos in Texas By José R. Ralat Salsa Macha Is Setting Texas on Fire By José R. Ralat What Was the Point of UT Hiring Steve … WHY: Last year Yu reinvented his tasting-menu innovator Oxheart into Theodore Rex, a more laid-back restaurant with an a la carte menu. Then there’s the back room — the Purépecha Room — a reservation-only, eight-course tasting-menu space appointed to resemble the Michoacán kitchen of chef-owner Regino Rojas’s mother. What’s an unassuming Downtown Fort Worth restaurant and beer bar during the week becomes a showstopping brunch destination on the weekends. It gets a light layer of whole-grain mustard and aïoli, both also made in house. Mexican flavors also murmur through McHugh’s modern American menu — masa-fried oysters over sopes with black beans and avocado mousse, bison tartare with huitlacoche puree, braised lamb neck with hominy stew. The Lone Star State has some of America's finest bars and restaurants. Uygur has more fun with unfamiliar varieties like fiocco, blood salami, and two spreadable salamis, neither of which are ’nduja. And if you want to try one of the city’s finest chicken fried steaks, that will set you back just $8.95. The entire experience is about as classic steakhouse as you’re likely to find. The chili here is made with big chunks of venison, served in a thick and spicy cumin-kicked chili sauce and topped with a handful of shredded cheese. Real Texas chili can be found at Armadillo Palace in Houston, which celebrates old-school ranch-style cooking. It’s like a graduate-level course for cured meats where spectacular pasta is just for extra credit. That’s next level. Serving Texas beef is rarer in Lone Star steakhouses than you might expect, which makes the gorgeously marbled wagyu ribeye raised by local farmstead Marble Ranch a double treat. Pay 10 bucks when you arrive, take a seat at a communal table, and you’ll be treated to a family-style feast of fried chicken (some of the best you’ll ever try), creamed corn, carrots, potatoes, mac and cheese, okra, beans, cobbler, and more, all prepared according to Lizzie’s old recipes. Or maybe she just knew the New York City slices she ate while attending NYU would inspire her own pizzeria to greatness (there is a certain invincibility those slices can make you feel while eating one walking down the street Saturday Night Fever style). You might as well mix in some sauce, made from owner Robert Patillo’s grandmother’s recipe. Amid smoke-stained walls lined with old Japanese beer ads and beat-up Texas license plates, they serve delicious aberrations like “guaca-poke” and sticky rice tamales with beef tongue and chorizo. — B.A. Kermit in Bangkok (frog legs in a house-made yellow curry garnished with almonds) hangs with the Degenerado (aged chorizo and carne asada topped with frijoles de olla and a quail egg). Cover 3, which has multiple locations in the Austin area, is all about sports, providing access to all major networks; the bar even dedicates an extensive page on its website to upcoming game times. Everything really is bigger in Texas, particularly the famous 72-ounce steak at The Big Texan Steak Ranch. WHAT: A handmade-pasta shop whose impeccable noodles are second only to the salumi. Pecan Lodge's 'cue is so good that Texas Monthly named it one of the top BBQ joints in the state, and Food Network's Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. WHY: With scores of options in Austin and San Antonio (for starters), and plenty of controversial and passionate words written about origins and ownership, it’s safe to say there is no one absolute best place for breakfast tacos in Texas. WHAT: A sanctuary of a restaurant in Dallas’s congested downtown, where one of the country’s outstanding Japanese chefs practices the art of soba. In between you’ll find an $85 42-ounce porterhouse, a $125 six-ounce Japanese wagyu New York strip, a $125 American wagyu rib-eye, and several other luxury cuts for those looking to burn a whole lot of cash. We love a good greasy spoon restaurant here in Texas. Opt for the classic plain glazed for the most wonderfully simple doughnut. 4210 Roseland StreetHouston, TX(832) 834-3411 | bcnhouston.com, WHAT: A James Beard-nominated strip-mall sensation that beautifully showcases the uniquely Houston fusion of Cajun crawfish boils with Vietnamese flavors. WHY: Todd David at Cattleack is the only pitmaster in Texas serving whole-hog barbecue on a regular schedule, and that’s still just on the first Saturday of every month. As the name suggests, Big Top is circus-themed and beautifully furnished with vintage mementos. 842 Fredericksburg RoadSan Antonio, TX(210) 735-5686 | no website. WHY: This Dallas taqueria is no mere taco spot. Barbecue is a Texas staple, which is why both the Austin and Dallas/Forth Worth airports offer the option of dining at The Salt Lick BBQ, widely regarded as among the best barbecue purveyors in the state, providing authentic Texas barbecue for a fantastic layover or if you’re simply hoping to get in on the Texas goodness one last time. He’s run delis in both New York and Los Angeles, but today he calls Houston — and Kenny & Ziggy’s — home. — Daniel Vaughn, 900 East 11th StreetAustin, TX(512) 653-1187 | franklinbbq.com. All photos by Bill Addison unless otherwise noted. 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