Pomegranate seed and spinach… make a fantastic sweet, savory, slightly bitter, crunchy and leafy filling for a South Indian style dosa. Who knew! Pondicheri in Houston combines traditional Indian dishes with innovative ingredients with amazing finesse. We sought out Pondicheri (it was mentioned on a Food Network type show) during my recent trip to Houston. It was worth the drive and a wonderful start to a day in the museum district. The keema was delicately spiced and light in texture (almost as good as my sister’s). Even the breads traditionally fried in oil, like paratas, where somehow dry and crispy, flavored by fillings instead. Described online as “Texan Indian Food” it was a good example of a transnational dual appreciation of distant tradition and local taste. It was a beautiful experience.
In the theme of transnational appreciation and local identity, our afternoon in Old Town Spring was just as fun. Loaded Nachos at the Loose Caboose, lured the tourist in us with barbecue brisket over nachos, the lovechild of Tex-Mex and Texas Barbecue.. The combination of barbecue sauce and nacho cheese was surprisingly tangy-salty delicious.
In contrast to the picnic table, plastic fork, paper towels, liquid cheese, shredded meat and sweet-spicy sauce playful experience, our lunch at the Black Sheep Bistro in Old Town Spring was sophisticated, white table cloth, fork-knife, delicate, plated and refined. Jim’s halibut over spinach was my favorite. The cultural origin of the dish didn’t matter. It was just tasty.
We ate very well in Houston, at home and out. From Pondicheri I learned that I can mix textures, fruits and vegetables, techniques without sacrificing familiar tastes. From the Loose Caboose I learned that local traditions can cross over to even more delicious territory. And, from, Black Sheep Bistro, I learned, well made food tastes good everywhere.
Cooking is an art that ranges from nachos to seared halibut and beyond. We enjoyed it all.
Bowing to innovative culinary skill,