No one knows Houston restaurants better than the people who run them, own them, and work in the kitchens. In this continuing series, CultureMap is asking our favorite foodie personalities around town where they go for great eats when they're not working.
Gigi Huang practically has restaurants in her DNA as the scion of the family that has operated the Hunan restaurants for over 30 years, making her own mark with Gigi's Asian Bistro. Huang talks to CultureMap about what restaurants best explain Houston, spicy fried chicken and red velvet.
Restaurant for a special occasion: Tony's is always a great place. I'm always there for birthdays, they have such great desserts.
Restaurant to take out-of-towners to: When my chef Junnajet Hurapan came to visit Houston for the first time, I took him to three restaurants to give him an idea, kind of a broad scope of the Houston food scene: the original Carabba's on Kirby, the original Pappadeux on Westheimer, and the El Tiempo on Richmond — they all are great examples of flavors, portion, themes and people that tell people about Houston.
I also took him to Chinatown, of course, to Fung's Kitchen for dim sum.
Favorite meal: Max's Wine Dive, the fried chicken. It's just great fried chicken, nice and spicy.
Breakfast/Brunch favorite: Breakfast is always a cup of coffee at Starbucks and now that they have breakfast — boiled eggs and cheese to go. For brunch I like Kenny and Ziggy's — I put cream cheese, scrambled eggs and pastrami bacon on my bagel — or Smoothie Island, for their egg white omelet with spinach.
Sometimes you want to eat light, and sometimes you want a hearty breakfast.
Dessert: Sprinkles Cupcakes. My favorite is the red velvet. It's weird because I don't really like red velvet cake, but I love their red velvet cupcakes.
Other articles in the Houston Chef's Table series: