Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a little sizzle in my life

This week I find myself in Houston, Texas.  It's the beginning of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  Like everything else in Texas, it's BIG - it's full of concerts, entertainment, a carnival, you name it and it seems to be a part of this almost month-long event.  It's all the buzz around town.  But that's not what I'm here for... but I do wish I were here to enjoy some of the fun!

What I have gotten to enjoy is some of the Mexican flavor of South Texas!  If you know me, you know I love Mexican food. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with beef, cheese, chips and salsa in any State...but in Texas, oh the joy of the local flavor!   Last night I ate at a little Mexican dive called  Tecate.  The guy who took us actually has a Margarita there named after him. The restaurant was good, but the one I want to focus on is a regional chain gone somewhat national, Pappasito's Cantina.

My first experience at Pappasito's Cantina was in Dallas probably ten years ago.  It made an impression then, and made one again this week. From the time I first stepped off of my Southwest flight and entered the gate area, I was reminded that "Pappa" has claimed a stake in the Texas food market.  I believe I saw four different Pappa restaurants before I made it to baggage claim.  I knew then and there that I would find a Pappasito's Cantina for dinner.  And I did!

I arrive during Happy Hour, which means there were lots of people in the bar area enjoying one of the things Pappasito's is known for - their margarita.  I am able to be seated immediately and instantly homemade chips and warm salsa were placed in front of me.  Then they brought some sort of creamy green sauce that tickled my tongue!  It was great!  After about three chips a plate of sizzling hot fajitas came by my table.  I instantly knew what I was ordering!!

 I ordered a combo of beef and chicken with an add-on of Smoked Jalapeno Sausage.  While the chicken was impressive, the beef and sausage were simply outstanding.  The Sausage was some of the most flavorful and best tasting sausage I have ever eaten.  It came with a bowl of bar b que sauce which found it's way to my shirt to create a nice set of stains.  But the sauce that actually made it to my mouth was oh-my-goodness good!

The fajitas were more than enough - the single size could probably feed two people.  The steak and chicken came over a bed of sizzling onions and lime on the side.  It came with guacamole, salsa, cheese, rice and beans.  This big boy could only eat about half of what they brought me - though I did eat all of the 8 ounces of sausage and all of the steak.

This place was fun!!  It was buzzing with laughter in a really cool Southwestern environment.  The service was impressive and I left stuffed.  I know this is a regional chain with a few other Pappa establishments throughout the country.  But for those outside of Texas, please time the time to make this a stop for you if you're ever in Texas.

The only disappointment - when reading their menu I discovered that "Pappa" was Greek.  It just seems like he should of hailed from Mexico.