This summer, I’m living in Baytown, Texas for my internship. For those of you who have never heard about it (I’m guessing most people), it’s a town outside of Houston that’s very known in the Oil & Gas Industry…but definitely not known for its food. Coming from the endless and incredible restaurant options that Palo Alto offers, this was a bit of a struggle at the beginning. But, after doing some digging (in other words, eating), I found some gems in the area that I now recommend to everyone.
1. El Toro
Having been in California for the last two years, the first thing on my Texas checklist was to satisfy my Tex-Mex craving. If you’ve never have never had it, Tex-Mex is its own style of food. There’s something about melted cheese and Mexican food that goes so well together. Even though I grew up Houston eating Tex-Mex, I had never heard of El Toro before living in Baytown, so I was skeptical.
It did not disappoint. The food is delicious, the portions are plentiful, and the service is quick. If I’m ever in a rush for lunch, this is my first stop. Best part? You get a free ice cream cone on your way out.
#SpoonTip: Make sure to order from the lunch menu to get the best deals.
2. Nara Thai
The fact this is a Thai restaurant that specializes in sushi set my expectations for the place pretty low, but by the time my meal was done, I was a huge fan. I had the same dishes I always get at Thai restaurants, and would highly recommend it: Tom Yum Chicken Soup and a Pad Thai, all washed down with a refreshing thai tea. Delicious. Not only was the food good, but the staff was very attentive and polite, a great addition to a good meal.
Whenever we have work meetings during lunch, I always cross my fingers that we go to Antonio’s. You can never go wrong with delicious Italian food, unless you go on Monday, because it’s closed (definitely has happened to me). One of the best parts of the restaurant is its delicious Vegetarian Lasagna, so no matter who you bring to lunch, they will leave with a happy stomach. Last but not least, if you’re looking for a great dessert, this is your place: the Tiramisu from Antonio’s is one of the best.
*Disclaimer* I am not putting this here as an authentic Chinese restaurant, because it’s definitely not. That being said, 888 is delicious. Not only that, it’s also the perfect take-out restaurant for when you’re feeling lazy and just want to eat while you binge-watch Game of Thrones on your couch (I may or may not be doing this a lot).
By far my favorite on this list, Cuban Cafe looks like the last place you want to step into from the outside. In fact, you probably won’t realize you’ve driven past it unless you’re looking for it. Unlike some of the other restaurants on the list, this is a tiny, family-run cafe that has a certain charm to it.
I enjoyed this place so much that I once made my parents drive an hour just to meet me here for lunch. Without a doubt, they serve the most delicious and filling Cuban sandwich I’ve ever had. I usually order a sandwich with a side of yucca and a side of plantains, which is enough to feed a small village, but it’s only 12 dollars. You’ve gotta love Texas prices.
Moral of the story? It doesn’t matter where you are, if you look for good food you will find it.