By Jim Ayres
Stockyards have never been my thing. Fairground food annoys me. Houston’s steer wrestling and bull riding are certainly world-class, but TGRA is more fun and just as world-class, to boot. I really wanted to go to the Zedd concert, but my glow stick days are behind me.
No, friends, I didn’t go to the Houston Rodeo this year. I went to Rodeo Goat. Seemed a fair trade to me. Certainly, a more delicious one.
Rodeo Goat is all about burgers. Sumptuous burgers, the kind where that first drippy, massively flavorful bite is as good as the last. Aside from a couple of salads and the usual chili-cheesy fried sides, food-wise, burgers are all Rodeo Goat’s got.
My friend Anthony and I stopped in on a cloudy Saturday afternoon after navigating the endless construction for street parking. He arrived first and had waiting a basket of chips and some of the silkiest queso I’ve ever had.
But we were here for burgers. Rodeo Goat has this gimmick where two fancy burgers go head-to-head for bragging rights and a spot on the menu. One order equals one vote.
Anthony chose the Bodacious Burger over the competing Truffle Shuffle. Good move. With bacon, crispy onions, jalapenos, BBQ sauce, and jalapeno mayo, it looked bodacious and he said it was, though maybe a bit much in toppings.
I, the purist, went right for the River Oaks Country Club burger, “just like Eloise made in 1963” according to the menu. Lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle and cheddar — nothing else but mustard and mayo — and I was a happy guy.
Cocktails are a nice surprise at Rodeo Goat, where the bar is geared to beer. On our visit the lemonade, strawberry and whiskey combo was made with Jack Daniels. The online menu says blackberries and Texas whiskey. Whatever combo you find, order it!
Need more comfort? After a rough day, head to Gloria’s. Best known for brunch, Gloria’s also serves hands down the best chicken soup I’ve ever had.
Chicken soup recipes are something families feud over. But I think everyone would agree that Gloria’s lightly salted but nicely seasoned broth with huge chunks of chicken, vegetables, and rice is just the thing for feeding a cold.
Another comforting secret at Gloria’s is Camarones al Mojo de Ajo. More than one employee has whispered that this is his or her favorite dish. Six jumbo shrimp are sautéed in a garlic, butter, and wine sauce, dusted with something akin to Old Bay, and served with rice and grilled veggies.
Of course, who can measure the comfort of the bean dip dropped off with the chips and salsa at Gloria’s? It’s just one more reason why I keep coming back.
Some say comfort food is all about decadence or childhood memories. I find comfort in many kinds of food, healthy and otherwise. Rodeo Goat and Gloria’s are great examples of both sides of the coin.
2015 Dallas Street Houston, Texas 77003
Gloria’s Latin Cuisine
2616 Louisiana Street Houston, Texas 77006