The Dumbest Article You'll Read About Tex-Mex All Year

The Daily Meal's list of Houston's best Tex-Mex restaurants includes no actual Tex-Mex restaurants.

By Katharine Shilcutt November 12, 2014

We've found something more existentially disturbing than Taco Bell's waffle breakfast taco.

Yesterday, The Daily Meal—a website for "all things food and drink"—unleashed upon Houston the most embarrassing round-up of restaurants since Moon Handbooks recommended eating at Corner Bakery for a good Bayou City breakfast. In an article it had the gall to title "Houston Restaurants: 5 Best Tex-Mex Restaurants," The Daily Meal contributor Alexandra E. Petri, a New York-based writer, rounded up the website's best Tex-Mex joints as voted on by their readers.

"Chili’s Grill & Bar is a very popular Tex-Mex chain also located in Houston, and is best known today for its sizzling fajitas, premium burgers, and baby back ribs," write Petri, with what I'm assuming is a straight face. "Del Taco, another of the best Tex-Mex chains in the States, also calls Houston home and is known for its breakfast burritos and American-style tacos."

Here's the problem, though. None of the five restaurants listed could realistically be considered Tex-Mex by even generous standards. Let's take a look at the list:

  1. Chipotle: this is classic Den-Mex, as evidenced by the fact that the entire, Colorado-based fast food chain is based around burritos.
  2. Taco Bell: perhaps the French would consider Taco Bell to be Tex-Mex, who knows; the reality is that the California-based fast food chain is Cal-Mex, period, end of story.
  3. Chili's: Chili's hasn't been a Tex-Mex restaurant since Brinker took it over in the 1980s and made it into the baby back rib empire it is today.
  4. Del Taco: there is one Del Taco in Houston. One. Explain to me again how this is the No. 4 most popular Tex-Mex restaurant in the city?
  5. Chuy's: the most enduringly popular local example of New Mex (a.k.a. New Mexican cuisine); any Houstonian worth their salt will tell you that Chuy's—while commendable—is not Tex-Mex.

In fairness, I understand that The Daily Meal is only regurgitating the results of a poll, in which its [potentially Martian] readers voted these five restaurants as the among the best Tex-Mex chains in the country (though, notably, the word "chain" is conspicuously absent from the article's headline).

From there, however, this is what should have happened: The Daily Meal looks at this list, realizes it has no real-life correlation to actual Tex-Mex food nor to what Tex-Mex restaurants are popular in Houston, and scraps the entire article. Alas, here we are. At a Del Taco.

In response, Houstonia has compiled a list of the Top 5 Best New York City Restaurants for our friends up north. We think it's only fair that those food-deprived New Yorkers should be pointed to the best options in their own city, in case they've never experienced the truly vibrant NYC dining scene for themselves.

  1. Einstein's Bagels: bagels are really popular in New York. You can get a bagel and American-style cream cheese at one of the many authentic Einstein's around New York.
  2. Sbarro: nothing says New York like a slice of pizza. Try a slice of cheese or maybe even an American-style pepperoni pizza at a Sbarro near you.
  3. Gray's Papaya: this is a true New York secret! Gray's Papaya is best known for American-style hot dogs with many varied toppings.
  4. Panda Express: if you visit New York, you have to visit Chinatown—but you don't have to eat there. Get some American-style beef with broccoli or orange chicken at Panda Express.
  5. Planet Hollywood: Times Square is truly the beating heart of the Big Apple. You can enjoy big bites of American-style food at Planet Hollywood, a unique New York dining experience. 

I hear Planet Hollywood has a pretty long waiting list for reservations. Better get on that now, travelers.

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