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Brisa Cocina Mexicana

I was irritated with Frank Bruni. How could someone with so much insight about food be so obviously pig headed?

Bruni’s enthusiasm for Bazaar may have matched my own when he named it one of the best new restaurants in the country, but I was stunned when Feast became his next pick. I am huge Feast fan, but Houston is not entirely visitor friendly and many restaurants deserving national attention are often overlooked as a result. It was great to see NY Times venture outside of their familiar stomping grounds. The only thing that really bugged me was that Bruni pandering to his base when he described Houston as the “land of big steaks and bold Tex-Mex”. Is the elitist attitude really necessary?

Every time someone makes such a sweeping generalization, I want to show them what the real Houston looks like in just one part of the city – the new Chinatown. Not the usual collection of pseudo-Chinese restaurants and gift shops that occupy a tidy span of 7 or 8 city blocks, but an entire city where real people live and eat. A place where pho, pupusas, boiled crawfish, dim sum and beignets very naturally occupy the same stretch of the road.

176 Vietnamese and cajun cultures collide at Boiling Crab

Frank Bruni, in particular, could also use a visit to Rainbow Lodge, so he can see the formation of the wholly new brand of Gulf Coast cuisine created without the benefit of fanfare that surrounds young NYC wunderkinds like David Chang. Great food is becoming as much the foundation of this city as oil and much of it is grounded in the diverse cultures of it’s residents.

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April 19, 2009   7 Comments