Mi Casa Es Su Casa: Polanquito

I am no food critic but I am a foodie, and a world traveler. And when we travel, we eat well. One of my family’s most recent trips was to Mexico City last spring. It was my first time there and we enjoyed dining at some iconic restaurants -- Contramar, Rosetta, and Pujol. We also had an incredible walking tour by Morenita Experience in which we saw numerous commissioned Diego Rivera murals at a government building, and learned so much about the rich history of the city. Other than The Blue House (Frida Kahlo Museum) and the breathtaking indigo Jacarnadá trees (which were in full bloom everywhere -- especially at Bosque de Chapultepec), the most memorable thing for me was probably the Mexican food, which is very different from our usual Houston Tex-Mex experience. The authentic diversity in Houston restaurants is one of the things that makes our city so appealing, and you can certainly find little food gems tucked away in obscure places. Owning a successful restaurant in America is a dream, but for many people it is also their livelihood (doing the only thing they know to do).

New restaurants pop-up in Houston all the time and it’s always fun to try them. Many times my family will visit new, well critiqued and publicized Houston restaurants, but other times we may see something just passing by and think, Wait, when did that open? And that’s exactly how we discovered Polanquito, described as a little piece of Mexico. We decided to try it for lunch on a Saturday and it did not disappoint. Instead of tortilla chips they brought out homemade chicharrones (pork rinds), which out-flavored any of the bagged varieties I’ve eaten from gas stations to supplement a low carb diet. We also ordered tortilla chips and guacamole and I remember thinking that it was some of the freshest, most flavorful guac I have ever tasted -- paired with thick homemade tortilla chips. Everything was great. We also noticed a sign that said BYOB, so we decided to go back for dinner a few days later with a bottle of wine. When we entered the parking lot there were very few cars so we began to second guess our decision. But then we remembered our lunch and agreed, Let’s give it a shot! We were the only patrons in the dining room and the owner/chef came out and treated us like royalty. I ordered the chili relleno and my husband ordered the posole, and after a while we switched. We were both blown away by the distinct variety of flavors in every single dish (even the rice). I asked the chef how long they had been in operation and he said they opened about seven months ago, but had only been serving dinner for two months. As we were finishing our meal a few other couples (who appeared to be in the know) walked in. A game was playing on the large screen TV at the bar, the music was on trend, and the bathrooms were brilliant. The only thing that kept me wondering about was an older man who had been thoroughly cleaning every single window in the dining space from top to bottom the entire time we were there -- frequently standing back to make sure there wasn’t a single smudge in sight. I was thinking, Man, he really takes pride in his job! By the time we paid and got up to leave the same man was sitting alone at a table (looking exhausted) cupping a glass of cold beer. As we were heading out I couldn’t help walking over to him and saying, “The windows look amazing!” And he responded, “This is my son’s restaurant."


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