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Restaurants On The Way To Reliant Stadium Final Four 2011


jrichman
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Hi All,

Myself and my family will be heading to the Final Four this weekend. Our flight gets into IAH airport at 1:15 PM and we want to get some food prior to the games which begin at 5PM (I believe) - are there any suggestions on restaurants that we can go to that will be on the way from the IAH airport to Reliant Stadium? Looking for some local places - no chains please! Thanks!

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When we were there for a bowl game last year, we had NYE dinner at El Tiempo and it was a wonderful experience. We had a blast!

We went to the one on Montrose and thought it was great. But, a lot of people say the one on Washington Ave is better.

There were 4 of us. We ordered one crab quesadilla and a parrilladas for 2. We were completely stuffed and took home enough leftovers for a big lunch the next day. (They fixed us up with a big package of fresh tortillas and extra beans, etc. to take home.)

Good margaritas. Fun atmosphere.

The meat for the parrilladas came on this amazing metal tower thingie with a sterno underneath. I particularly enjoyed the quail and the sausage.

edited because I can't spell and to add more detail

Edited by onrushpam (log)
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Disclaimer: Houston is not home to great barbecue. That being said, and since you asked, out-of-staters are often happy with what we have to offer, even places local bbq fanatics consider so-so at best. A poster from SF recently lauded the Pappas BBQ stand at IAH Terminal E on CH. Pappas is a big local operator of multiple formats so could be considered a chain but their places are better than average chains. I mention the one at IAH since time may be of the essence.

There is also a Pappas on S. Main near Reliant, within walking distance, in fact, although forecasts are for temps approaching 90, unseasonably warm and undoubtedly muggy.

The next closest bbq to Reliant would be Goode Co. on Kirby, about 10 -15 mins from the stadium considering traffic is probably going to be really heavy. Goode Co. comes in for a lot of disdain from local bbq experts but is our most famous name joint and where a lot of tourists wind-up.

I haven't been to either Pappas or Goode in at least 5 or 6 years and wouldn't even mention them except for your requirements.

The best bbq in town is Pierson and Co. on the near NW side, off Loop 610. It would be about 20-25 minutes to Reliant along the West Loop to the South Loop - I should say that will get you to the Reliant exits on the South Loop, not necessarily into the lots and into the stadium. Pierson's has very limited seating in house.

El Tiempo is a very good rec for Tex-Mex should you decided to indulge. It is the family of Ninfa Laurenzo who is credited with launching the fajita craze back in 1973 from her original restaurant. It is a bit pricey for Tex-Mex. The Washington Ave location is regarded by most as the best.

Mama Ninfa's on Navigation is where it all started and would be another possibility; it is a pretty small facility, however, and will likely be very crowded.

Cajun would be another regional possibility you might consider. I would recommend Mardi Gras Grill, not far from the El Tiempo on Washington.

There is a Pappadeaux right across the S. Loop from Reliant. That is another concept from Pappas, above; it's actually a better Pappas choice than the Brisket houses, but another Cajun relatively close to Reliant would be Beaucoup's, on OST (Old Spanish Trail/US 90-A) about 10 minutes from Reliant. I haven't been to any of the Pappas restaurants in at least 6 or so years.

Houston is the best city in the state to sample international cuisines so if you're interested, just ask.

Edit to add Google Maps page for Pierson's since their website is apparently lapsed.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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Thanks so much for the reply - we'll be staying in Sugarland any good restaurant recomendations for a really nice Sunday Brunch in Sugarland - particularily interested in Tex mex in the area of Sugarland near our hotel.

Thanks!

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I'm not going to be much help on this. I don't do Tex-Mex very often and know very little about Sugar Land restaurants at all.

Here's a list from a local restaurant review site of the options - there are probably a few not listed. Of those listed you'll see a Pappasito's - that might be the best choice (see above reply about Pappas - again - better than average for chains). The Ninfa's is part of a separate chain operation out of Austin and not related to the El Tiempos or the original Ninfa's on Navigation and is mediocre. Casa Ole is an awful local chain. Lupe Tortilla is another local chain with mixed reviews as are Gringo's and Los Tios; I've never been to the first two and my only visits to Los Tios were years ago and I wouldn't recommend it. Others I'm not sure about. Berryhill Baja is a local chain and is okay but is not Tex-Mex, obviously. I'm not sure about Mission Burrito, i.e., whether that means Mission style burritos as in San Francisco style. Huarache Azteca Express was awesome but is closed and wasn't Tex-Mex anyway.

Of the ones I see on that list I might try Cafe Adobe - I've heard good things about other locations but have never been.

There are others on this board who will know Tex-Mex better than I do and may know Sugar Land; hopefully they'll weigh in.

Edit to add a link for Cafe Adobe - the menu looks pretty good to me and they do brunch, I just can't speak from experience never having eaten there.

Edited by brucesw (log)
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Thanks to everyone for all the information - on Saturday afternoon we ended up going to Gatlin's BBQ - what an amazing experience. Between the friendly service and absolutely delicious food I highly recommend this place! This is quite possibly the best brisket sandwich that I have ever had - and the sides, dirty rice, cole slaw, and baked beans were all amazing as well. I am going to have to make another trip top Houston soon just to get back to Gatlin's!

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