Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hey look, another list!!

Let's talk about one of the all time greats. Fajitas.

Legend has it that fajitas were invented in Houston by "Mama" Ninfa Laurenzo in 1971. After her husband died and she faced financial difficulty, Mama Ninfa opened a restaurant. One day, a customer asked her for something special. Mama Ninfa decided to place char-grilled strips of beef, along with grilled onions and peppers, inside a tortilla and serve these along with guacamole, sour cream and all the fixin's. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, whether this story is true or not is largely immaterial. It's a good story. And it's a good segue to our list.

1. Of course, the best fajitas are at the original Ninfas on Navigation Boulevard. None of the other Ninfas are related to this one, and none of the Ninfas are still owned by the original family. But, this one is owned by the son of a woman who worked with Mama Ninfa from the get go.

In essence, these are the best fajitas in the world. People drive from all over Houston to this restaurant, which is somewhat in the hood. All the food is good, and so are the margaritas. But the best reason to come here is for fajitas. There really is no room for discussion on this point. The rest of the places are in no real particular order, but this is number one.

2. El Tiempo. This group of restaurants, including the signature 1308, are owned by the family of the late Mama Ninfa. These are very good fajitas. You can get filet mignon fajitas, if you want to. These are served in a slightly more fancy way and come with a dipping sauce. Don't get me wrong, these are very good. But not quite as good as the original.

3. Lupe Tortillas. Now, in my opinion, Lupe can be a bit hit or miss. These places are PACKED on the weekends. There are too many little kids running around. And the wait can take forever. But these fajitas are great. Perhaps the best part are the tortillas. Just great. I will say that a few times I've had fajitas that were fat too well done. (Meaning burnt). But this is a solid option, especially if it's not a weekend.

4. Cadillac Bar. These fajitas are a bit different. They come with mushrooms and other veggies. There is an option with melted cheese. A little different. But the fajitas are good.

5. Goode Co. Taqueria. Of course, Goode Co. is known more for the BBQ and the pecan pie, but the taqueria is damned good too. If you ask me, the BBQ has gone down hill a bit in recent years. Perhaps I've become spoiled by the food in the BBQ Corridor of Central Texas, but still. Take a little pride. Anyway, back to the topic. These are good solid fajitas. Way better than the salmonela inducing Pappasitos (more on this in a coming post), Goode Co. is always a solid option if you're around Kirby.

6. Guadalajara. This place does not get enough credit. They have good food. And the prices are reasonable. Sure, the fajitas aren't as good as Ninfas, but nobody can compete with those fajitas. Solid option.