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Where to eat right now: 10 hot, must-try restaurants for January

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Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Eatsie Boys Cafe, Matzo Ball Pho
January's cooler temps make it perfect for the Matzo Ball Pho at the new Eatsie Boys Cafe.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Eatsie Boys Cafe counter
The Eatsie Boys Cafe recently celebrated its opening. Amber Ambrose
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Fat Bao, Buns, tacos, Peking duck
What you'll find at Fat Bao: Tasty buns filled with flavor. Don't miss the Peking Duck. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Maine-ly Sandwiches, Lobster Roll
Maine-ly Sandwiches is run by a Maine transplant, so you know the lobster rolls are legit. Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Angela's Oven, Pastry Case
Through the looking glass: The pastry case at Angela's Oven Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Pho-Jita, Shrimp Pad Thai
Stop by the Pho-jita Fusion truck for this rockin' pad thai.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Muiishi Makirritos, Rice Bowl
The rice bowl at Muiishi Makirritos is a hodge-podge of lively flavors.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Eatsie Boys Cafe, Matzo Ball Pho
Eatsie Boys Cafe counter
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Fat Bao, Buns, tacos, Peking duck
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Maine-ly Sandwiches, Lobster Roll
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Angela's Oven, Pastry Case
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Pho-Jita, Shrimp Pad Thai
Ruthie, where to eat right now, January 2013, Muiishi Makirritos, Rice Bowl

Hello, January! Need a lunch or dinner recommendation? Here’s where you should eat right now in Houston. 

Eatsie Boys Café
In one of Houston’s most endearing success stories as of late, the Eatsie Boys celebrated the grand opening of their new café on January 7. Fans will be glad to see some of the group’s longtime staples on the menu (like the Eggman Sandwich), plus the fabulous ice creams and other new additions (the ballyhoo’d matzo ball pho). How far this trio has come from launching just two years ago.

Fat Bao
Just-opened in the center on Kirby at Richmond (southwest corner) is Fat Bao, a small fast-casual joint offering a dozen or so different bao, or Asian buns. You’ll want to aim for about three buns per person. Our favorite is the Peking Duck, but we heartily recommend the softshell crab and pork belly buns, too. No word yet on how a restaurant with the word “fat” in its name will fare.

MF Sushi
The high-end sushi market is beginning to crowd… Not that we’re not complaining. MF Sushi is a new Japanese spot on Westheimer at Fountain View, headed by Atlanta transplant (and sushi master) Chris Kinjo. The fish cuts and sushi rice rival those you’ll find at the cross-town Kata Robata, though the kitchen dishes are less refined.

Muiishi Makirritos
Asian-inspired food trucks are my favorite kind, so it’s no surprise that I adore Muiishi Makirritos. The truck is run by Matthew Mui, who’s also a sous chef at Soma Sushi, and it offers delicious delicacies like macaroni-and-cheese eggrolls, bibimbap, pork bunz, Japanese fried chicken, and rice bowls. Follow them on Twitter for a location.

Brooklyn Athletic Club
Taking over the Zimm’s Little Deck space on Richmond is the Brooklyn Athletic Club. Gather your buddies for some vittles, cocktails, and lawn games. Food options fall mostly in the NY-style comfort category — like sausages, Reuben sandwiches, and short rib mac-and-cheese — but you’ll also find salads and a few lighter options, too. It’s open for lunch and dinner.

Maine-ly Sandwiches
A friend recently turned us on to Maine-ly Sandwiches off I-45 North in Greenspoint. As far as sandwiches go, most of the ones here are fairly standard. But the menu’s standout is the Maine Lobster Roll. The lobster is steamed fresh, mixed with the tiniest bit of mayo, and spread into a grilled bun. Simple, savory, and satisfies an unfilled niche in Houston.

Pho-jita Fusion
Don’t let the name fool you — the Pho-jita Fusion truck is really more Thai than Vietnamese (though they do offer pho). And the sweet-as-pie husband-and-wife team that runs it has deep roots in their Mexican, Thai, and Laotian heritages. The resulting dishes are deliciously caliente, like the fabulous “Thai-cos” topped with green papaya salad and the ever-popular Pad Thai. Follow Pho-jita on Twitter for a location.

Angela’s Oven
Baker Jerry Shawn opened his Angela’s Oven storefront a few years ago, but just recently expanded the hours to Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The lunch menu includes a small selection of soups, sandwiches, and quiches — all of which are fine for a try — but the breads and pastries are the real standouts. You’ll find no better almond croissant in town.

Ambrosia
Small plates rule at the new Ambrosia, these with an Asian flair. The small menu changes often, but current winners are the crispy samosas and naan pizzas — which are great for the sharing — and Korean-style ribs, which you might not want to share at all. The bar menu features a nice list of creative cocktails, too. Ambrosia is tucked away on a side street off Shepherd near 59.

Biryani Pot
Craving Indian? Hurry over to Biryani Pot, an Indian newbie on Westheimer near Voss. Don’t go for the ambiance — since there is none, really — but do go for the wonderful curries. Dip some bready naan in the chicken version for a flavor trip unlike any other in the city.

Need more recs? Try our where to eat right now lists from previous months:

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