You see, there are certain foods that I took for granted while growing up in the Lone Star State. Some originated in Texas, some didn’t. Some are sweet, some are savory. Some are healthy, some are junky. (Just kidding. They’re all junky.) Regardless of their nutritional composition, enjoying these foods in manageable moderation has become a Texas visit tradition. Here are a handful of culinary delights that populate my “must-eat” list once I touch down at IAH.
H-E-B Blueberry Muffins
From an entire genre to a rather specific grocery item found at only one particular grocery chain, the blueberry muffins found in H-E-B bakeries are to die for. I think I discovered them during my college years when I’d spend summers at home, but I can’t really remember life before them. If you haven’t had one and you live within driving distance of an H-E-B, buckle up and go buy (at least!) one. Tip: Unwrap the muffin before putting it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then enjoy it with a fork and a nice, cold glass of milk. Thank me later.
Yes, Luby’s is a cafeteria. Yes, that means most of its patrons have silver hair and are eating dinner around 4:00 pm. Well hey. I’ve got some grays going on and I’m certainly not too cool for the early bird crowd. Those of us who grew up going to Luby’s for lunch after church on Sunday can agree: It just doesn’t get any better than a fresh batch of Luby’s macaroni and cheese. While I occasionally alternate the second side items that share the stage with my fried fish and macaroni, I’ve been ordering basically the same thing there as long as I can remember. One day Bryson will have his very own tray to scoot down the line. I see red Jell-O and lots more macaroni in our future.
Blue Bell Ice Cream
This list is not complete without mentioning the following regional restaurants that do not currently have real estate in the middle of the Pacific: Sonic, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger (pronounced Waterburger, for those of you who don't know any better), Carrabba’s, Jason’s Deli, and Panera Bread. Maybe one day this aloha marketplace will realize your value, old friends.
It’s worth repeating: I realize the foods I’ve listed here are not healthy foods. They all spend most of their time in that tiny triangle atop the (old) food pyramid. That’s why it’s a good thing that they’re only available to me a few times a year.
I mean, I do make an effort to exercise most days of the week, but it's still nice to know that if my jeans fit a little snugger after a nice, long visit home, it's just because of the humidity. That's why they say everything's bigger in Texas.
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queso photo credit: _4cryingoutloud via photopin cc
Shipley's photo credit: chiolachic via photopin cc