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Where To Eat Now (According To EATER and TURNER)

As dedicated foodies and constant travelers, the TURNER team always appreciates a good nationwide restaurant round-up. And year after year, EATER’s annual “America’s 38 Essential Restaurants” is one of the very best. It’s wide-ranging (everything from fine dining to casual cafes), well-written, and always adventurous. The 2018 list, just announced this week, is no exception.

EATER’s Bill Addison detailed the criteria that the publication works with to create the list. “Which places become indispensable to their neighborhoods, and eventually to their towns and whole regions? Which ones spur trends, or set standards for hospitality and leadership, or stir conversations around representation and inclusivity? Which restaurants, ultimately, become vital to how we understand ourselves, and others, at the table?”

In other words, you’re guaranteed to come away from the EATER essential restaurants list with a list of your own filled with the places you want to visit and the restaurants you want to check out while you’re there. Here are a few that made the EATER list that we can heartily recommend.

Himalaya

Location: 6652 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX

Web: himalayarestauranthouston.com

EATER Says: “Effervescent, always-present owner Kaiser Lashkari and his wife, Azra Babar Lashkari, turn out nearly 100 distinct dishes at their boxy strip-mall restaurant in the city’s Mahatma Gandhi District.”

TURNER Says: At Himalaya, you’ll experience arguably the very best authentic Indian and Pakistani cuisine in all of Houston. Don’t miss the Hunter’s Beef Plate, which is the Indian version of pastrami, marinated and cured perfectly in traditional spices.

Next Eats: While you’re in Houston, check out Pondicheri’s, a modern Indian café and bakery helmed by James Beard award nominee Anita Jaisinghani. Order the Texan, an inspired mix of chickpea masala fried chicken, dal, gunpowder uttapam, sautéed greens and keema fries.  Thank us later.

Mary & Tito’s Café

Location: 2711 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM

Web: No website, if you can believe it!

EATER Says: “There is no better indoctrination into [New Mexico’s] culinary nucleus than the cafe started by Tito and Mary Ann Gonzales in 1963. Both have died, but their daughter Antoinette Knight, her family, and the restaurant’s longtime cooks keep the recipes and spirit alive.”

TURNER Says: We love Albuquerque cuisine and Mary & Tito’s Café is the perfect place to get the real deal. It’s totally old-school, but the flavors are enormous. Their famous red chile will not disappoint.

Next Eats: To continue with the old-school Albuquerque vibe, hit up Frontier, located right across the street from the University of New Mexico. Roasted green chile, homemade flour tortillas and a rightfully legendary sweet roll – heaven!

Xochi

Location: 1777 Walker Street, Houston, TX

Web: xochihouston.com

EATER Says: “Each of Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s four Houston restaurants lend distinction to the world-class greatness of the city’s dining scene. Since opening in early 2017, Xochi quickly ascended as the finest of their bellwethers.”

TURNER Says: The flavors of Mexico’s Oaxaca region come to life at Xochi. The menu features colorful housemade masas, an endless variety of moles, handcrafted chocolate and delicious ribbons of cheese (called quesillo). And the décor is just as good as the food.

Next Eats: Continue your exploration of Ortega and Vaught’s culinary empire in Houston at Hugo’s, located in the city’s happening Montrose district.

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