Editor's note: This story originally was published in October of 2009. It was updated 10.26.10.
I've been smitten with garlic for as long as I can remember. I vividly recall being about 8 years old and being shunned by my troopmates after mom handed me a garlic-spiked slab of meatloaf wrapped taco-style in Wonderbread as I left for a Girl Scouts meeting.
Garlic, a cousin to the onion, sometimes is called the stinking rose. It is famous for its pungency, its health benefits (it's a powerful antioxidant) and its unmatched ability to repel vampires.
And it is a favorite of Houston chefs. Here is our guide to some of Houston's best garlic-centric dishes. Grab some mints and give 'em a try.
The dish: Dracula's Garlic Cream Soup
This is simply the best cream soup served in Houston. It has a velvety consistency on the tongue and a rich finish. It's topped with herb-roasted croutons and an artistic splash of whipped cream.
Where to find it: Charivari Restaurant
The dish: Garlic Bullet Naan
This fragrant flat bread is dotted with pieces of garlic, green chiles and fresh herbs. Served straight from the clay oven to the table, this bread is as good as it gets.
Where to find it: London Sizzler
The dish: Stanky Whore Pie
What's not to love about this super pungent, not politically correct titled pizza? It's topped with garlic (of course), goat cheese and anchovies (don't make that face!). And if the pie alone isn't adventuresome enough, it comes with a vampire-slaying garlic butter dipping sauce. This pie is not for the shy.
Where to find it: Late Nite Pie
The dish: Gambas al Ajillo
Several tapas restaurants serve versions of this dish, but this new Katy kitchen has a confident hand. The delicious appetizer features a half-dozen medium-sized shrimp sauteed with garlic, saffron and herbs. Don't ask me to share.
Where to find it: Cafesitos
The dish: Huachinango al Mojo de Ajo
From its moles to its mixed grills, this popular restaurant excels at sophisticated, regional Mexican cuisine. And I would like to say I've tried the whole menu, except that I order this dish every time I return. It's fresh red snapper that is sautéed in garlic oil and blanketed with not-so-finely chopped garlic. And it's just awesome.
Where to find it: Pico's Mex-Mex
The dish: Garlic fries
What happens when you take the humble french fry and cover it with garlic confetti? You have a piquant and perfect snack. These family owned burger emporiums offer five other variation on the fry, but why anyone would pass on garlic topped potatoes is a mystery to me. Oops, forgot the best part: these babies can be yours for just $1.75.
Where to find it: Jax Burgers Fries and Shakes
The dish: La Moule à l' Escargot
This small eatery got a second life when Belgian Catherine Duwez arrived on the scene. Formerly of Cafe Montrose, Duwez brought in tow her mighty menu of mussels. Our favorite are these that are served in a garlic butter sauce. The mussels always are fresh and plumped nicely and served with a perfect portion of frites.
Where to find it: The Broken Spoke