Devouring Houston: Exploring Houston One Bite at a time

Houston has so many incredible food establishments...from sumptuously designed restaurants to fun storefronts selling gourmet cookies. From Mexican Food Carts to the Best BBQ in the World. And...I want to expore it one bite at a time.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Hugo Ortega, Executive Chef and Proprietor, is well known in the Houston Foodie Circles.  I had not visited Hugo's in a while, so I thought it was time!  Walking in Hugo's, I could feel the buzz of energy.  Very lively, lots of conversations.  The place was completely full at 6:45 on a Wednesday evening.  Everyone there looked to be having a good time.  And, I couldn't help but let that rub off on me!

We started with the Empanadas de Plantano Plantain -- turn overs stuffed with frijoles refriotos ($9).  They were good.  Mild.  Light.  Tender.  Not too fried.  The bean and cheese sauces under the empanadas were a great pairing with the empanadas, as were the fried string chips.  The crunchy contrast with the soft beans and soft outer empanada was really yummy.  A touch of sweetness from the plantain.  Nice start.

Empanadas de Plantano Plantain

For a main entree, I ordered the Pollo Asado Con Salsa de Ancho - smokey grilled chicken with ancho chili sauce, avocado relish, potatoes, and tortillas.   The chicken was delicious.  So tender that it fell off the bone.  The smokiness was the perfect compliment.  The flavor permeated all the chicken, yet didn't over power the dish.  The relish on the side was fresh, crisp, and light -- a great compliment to the smokey chicken.  The potatoes were crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, with a touch of spice. 

Pollo Asado con Salsa de Ancho

My dining companion ordered the Carnitas - tender slow cooked pork, served with Salsa Mexicana, cilantro, and onions ($17).   A nice porky flavor.  Very meaty.  Very hearty.  Very substantial.  A bite of the pork with a tortilla and the fresh pico de gallo was a very balanced, flavorful combination.


Next up, dessert.  We tried two delectable-sounding sweet concoctions.  Let me start with the Churros Rellenos con Dulce de Leche -- churros stuffed with dulce de leche, Mexican hot chocolate and house made chocolate ice cream ($8.50).  Oh. My. Gosh.  Heaven sent this delicious dessert straight down to our table.  Maybe I loved it so much because I'm not ordinarily a big fan of churros.  But, this dish....all I can say is yum.  The soft, sweet dulce de leche (aka milk-caramel sauce) paired so nicely with the sweetly-fried crunchy texture of the churros.  The chocolate sauce on the plate also a great compliment.  The ice cream topped the dish off nicely with many textures and flavors -- creating a symphony of yumminess in my mouth.

Churros Rellenos con Dulce de Leche

The second dessert we tried was the Piramide de Chocolate - Criollo Chocolate and flourless bizcochode chocolate, with dulce de leche cream and Xoconostale (wild prickly pear sauce).  Criollo chocolate is known as a high quality cocoa, used by the top chocolatiers.  So, this dessert would have to be delish!  The light mousse-like chocolate on top of the crunchier chocolate cake was an excellent contrast.  The pear sauce would seemingly be a great pairing -- the tart with the sweet.  But I couldn't get paste the extreme tartness of the sauce, even in a small quantity.  It was just too over-bearing.  But, without the sauce, the chocolate dessert just left me bored. bored with chocolate?  It seems impossible, but it was true.  The Churros blew this dessert away.

Piramide de Chocolate

Some other tasting notes from Hugo's:   The guacamole was fantastic -- velvety, smooth.  Great avocado flavor.  The Hot Chocolate (as in cup of) was amazing!  Not too sweet.  A touch of cinnamon.  I would bathe in this stuff if allowed.  It tasted like true hot chocolate, as God intended it to be, not a commercialized version.  The Gran Reposada Margarita was fresh and light, but lacked a punch of flavor.  It was weak.   The black beans had a nice bean flavor, but needed more spice, more seasoning. 

The service was nice, friendly, and knowledgeable.  The prices are fair.  I had a positive experience.  I may just go back for the Churros and Hot Chocolate because they were that good! 

1600 Westheimer
Houston, Texas 77006

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