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Houston

barbecue chicken ribs french fries cole slaw salsa texasYou could spend a month checking out Houston's great restaurants and still have options to spare. It's not just Tex-Mex (though there's plenty of that to be enjoyed) -- you'll find all sorts of cuisine from around the globe, from traditional American Southern to Italian and Asian. Houston is a meat-lover's paradise; there are plenty of places to sink your teeth into a juicy T-bone or some delicious pulled pork. And don't miss a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the fajita.

Finding the Best Restaurants on the Road

Cullen's Upscale American Grille, on Space Center Boulevard, is run by chef Paul Lewis, who studied in England and earned stripes at the Four Seasons in Houston. Steaks and seafood are the specialty here, with more upscale choices in the elegant main dining room and less expensive casual fare at the "Grille."

Foodies familiar with the original Uchi in Austin were thrilled when it opened a second location in Houston in 2012. The restaurant's creative and beautiful sushi dishes are worth the sometimes-lengthy wait for a table (reservations are highly recommended).

In Clear Lake, Tommy's Restaurant and Oyster Bar is your destination for crawfish enchiladas, Louisiana-style gumbo, oysters on the halfshell and seafood platters -- with a hefty dose of gracious hospitality on the side.

For a bit of a splurge, head to Oxheart, which offers a choice of three menus each evening. Dishes change regularly, but might include options such as heritage chicken poached with lemongrass, galangal, Vietnamese herbs and young ginger, or gently steamed vermillion snapper with smoked pine nuts and sofrito of preserved shellfish. The dining room has just 30 seats; be sure to reserve ahead.

Pappas Bar-B-Q, which has multiple locations around the city, is a Houston-bred joint, committed to filling you up with real Texas barbecue. You can't go wrong with combination platters of sliced beef brisket, pork ribs, smoked sausage, ranch beans, potato salad and coleslaw.

Ninfa's, on Navigation Boulevard, is where you go to find the roots of the national fajita craze. It began with tacos al carbon, created by Mama Ninfa, which you'll find here in Tex-Mex heaven.
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