Photo by Julie Soefer

Consider the potato. The humble tuber can be prepared in such a wide variety of ways that suit just about every class of restaurant.

A burger joint would feel incomplete without french fries or tater tots. Dining at a steakhouse wouldn’t be the same without a baked potato or mashed potatoes. Of course, Houston’s restaurants go above and beyond those more ordinary preparations with a number of potato dishes that show elevated technique or use the potato as a basis for creative toppings.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 of Houston’s most creamy, crunchy, and gooey potato dishes. What sets most of them apart is that multiple techniques are typically used to make them — everything from searing to baking to confit to frying. However they’re made, it’s a win for Houstonians.

Note that this list doesn’t include traditional french fries. We’ll consider them another time.

Andiron - Pommes Anna
For his new steakhouse, restaurateur Michael Sambrooks wanted a statement making, destination worthy potato side. He found it in the Pommes Anna, a classic French side made of overlapping layers of thinly sliced potatoes. Simply seasoned with butter, salt, and diced onion, it’s crispy on the outside and soft in the middle — giving it the texture and flavor necessary to stand up to the restaurant’s wood-fired steaks.

Feges BBQ - Money Cat Potatoes
Inspired by a dish Justin Yu created for his famous, pre-Oxheart, brunch pop-up, Feges roasts the potatoes, smashes them, then fries them to order. The dish is then tossed in the restaurant’s signature gochujang barbecue sauce before being topped with Duke’s Mayo and green onions. More than being delicious, the dish is also an homage to a person who contributed to both the love story of husband-and-wife chef-owners Patrick Feges and Erin Smith and the evolution of their business.

“I fell in love with the Money Cat potatoes at Morningstar while I was working down the street at Southern Goods,” Feges explains in an email. “We were planning on doing patatas bravas but switched to honor Morningstar [Editor’s note: a coffee shop in the Heights that closed in 2020], who used to buy brisket from me to make kolaches. Erin and I met because David [Buehrer, one of Morningstar’s owners] hired Erin as the chef of Blacksmith, and David connected us with the people at Greenway [Plaza, where the first Feges BBQ location opened in 2018]. We owe a lot to him.”

El Topo - Papa Costra
The West U. restaurant confits potatoes, then smashes them on a griddle to get them crispy. After that, they’re wrapped in a blanket of melted cheese for a dish that’s a little salty, a little crispy, a little gooey, and utterly decadent. Even better, this dish will be one of the El Topo classics to appear on the menu at Teshica, its new concept that will open in the coming weeks.

Squable - Bacon Fat Hash Browns
CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Chef of the Year winner Mark Clayton created this dish for Squable’s brunch menu. Described by the chef as his take on pommes paillasson, it’s made by poaching shredded Kennebec potatoes in bacon fat. After being coated in potato starch, they’re fried twice then topped with hollandaise, smoked trout roe, and chives. Crispy, crunchy, and rich, it helps alleviate any lingering pain from Saturday night

Riel - Truffle Pierogi
Riel pioneered the wave of caviar tots that have popped up on menus around town, but that’s only one of its potato masterpieces. Rather than try to explain what makes the truffle pierogi so compelling, we’ll turn it over to Riel chef-owner Ryan Lachaine.

“I f—ing hate using the word ‘elevated,’ but we took the potato and cheddar pierogi I grew up eating and kinda jazzed them up. We slowly sauté leeks in butter and combine that with same potato mixture that we use in our regular pierogi. They’re poached in a mixture of butter and water then quickly sautéed on the plancha. We cover them in a beurre blanc with some caviar mixed in.”

Burger-Chan - Loaded Tots
Just like its burgers, this Galleria-area restaurant lets diners customize its tater tots by letting them add chili and cheese, Spam-chi (Spam, kimchi relish, scallion aioli, and green onions), or“loaded” — a nod to loaded baked potatoes that’s topped with sour cream, cheddar, chopped bacon, and green onions. The result is a creamy, crunchy, gooey, delightfully messy twist that’s way more satisfying than just about any french fry.

Kenny & Ziggy’s - Potato Knish
People know about the latkes at this Jewish deli, but true potato obsessives seek out the round potato knish. Yukon Gold potatoes are seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, caramelized onions, and other spices and then wrapped in a laminated dough that’s baked until golden brown. Crispy on the outside, soft and warm in the middle, the Kenny & Ziggy’s knish is pure comfort on a plate. Like everything else at the restaurant, it’s served in such a hefty portion that just about anyone will have half to take home.

Ostia - Crispy Potatoes
Chef Travis McShane’s signature side takes three days to make since the potatoes are allowed to dry after being steamed on day one and blanched on day two. On day three, they’re fried to order to bring out the crispiness of the uneven edges. Rosemary, sea salt, and very garlicky aioli further enhance the thick cut wedges.

Steak 48 - Hasselback Potatoes
Every steakhouse serves potatoes in a variety of forms, and Steak 48 does its part with five different options that include double baked truffle potato and potatoes au gratin. Still, the hasselback potato stands out. Skewed, sliced by hand, steamed, and fried, the process produces oversized potato chips that are crispy, fluffy, and completely irresistible.

Truth BBQ - Tater Tot Casserole
Inspired by one of his grandmother’s recipes, pitmaster and owner Leonard Botello IV combined frozen tater tots with a range of ingredients that includes cream of mushroom soup, rotel tomatoes, cheddar, sour cream, and bacon. Like all of Truth’s best dishes, channeling a little nostalgia makes for a memorable bite that’s creamy and gooey enough to be a decadent alternative to the potato salad served by most barbecue restaurants.

Andiron pommes anna

Photo by Julie Soefer

Andiron's Pommes Anna.

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3 steps to get a Texas medical marijuana prescription online

Easier Than You Think

Getting a prescription for medical marijuana in Texas is easier than you think. With telemedicine appointments, Texans can get qualified from the comfort of their homes.

In 2015, the Compassionate Use Act passed, legalizing medical marijuana treatment for Texans living with intractable epilepsy.

The program has since expanded several times, allowing treatment for more than 150 conditions including PTSD, muscle spasms, neuropathy, cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, and more.

Texas Original, the leading medical marijuana dispensary in Texas, makes the process of receiving a prescription online easy. It all starts with a few simple steps:

Step 1: Schedule an appointment
To find out if you qualify for medical marijuana in Texas, schedule an appointment with a doctor registered in the Compassionate Use Program. Appointments can be completed securely online from the comfort of your home.

To connect with a doctor, visit Texas Original’s website and fill out the form. Make sure to check your email for a confirmation after submitting.

Step 2: Meet with the doctor
During your telemedicine appointment, the doctor will review your medical records and confirm if you are eligible for medical marijuana in Texas, then discuss your treatment plan.

Once approved, your doctor will add your prescription to the online medical cannabis registry, where licensed Texas dispensaries can access it.

Step 3: Place an order
After your appointment, call 512-614-0343 to place your first order. The dispensary team will help you select your products, then schedule you for a pickup at a location nearest to you.

Texas Original’s medicine is made locally in Texas, and all products undergo rigorous testing to ensure quality, consistency and purity.

As a legal treatment for more than 150 conditions, medical marijuana provides Texans with a legal, safe option to help alleviate common symptoms like pain, insomnia, nausea, and anxiety.

If you or a loved one are interested in getting a medical marijuana card in Texas, reach out to Texas Original to get started. Plus, enjoy a 20 percent discount on your first order at Texas Original.

Regal River Oaks manor and sprawling Spring estate list among 10 most expensive Texas homes in November

texas' priciest purchases

Discerning Texas buyers only have one month left in the year to purchase that next dream home. Fortunately, the Lone Star State offers plenty of luxury, multi-million-dollar homes for savvy shoppers.

With that in mind, the Houston Association of Realtors has revealed the most expensive inventory (read: the 10 priciest properties) currently on the market from November onwards throughout Texas.

These posh properties range from new-build masterpieces and marvelously modern estates and astonishing abodes. Locals will want to check out the Jacobean-inspired mansion in River Oaks neighborhood and the a massive 10-acre, 40,000-square-foot retreat in Spring.

1. 319 Verna Trail N., Fort Worth
List price: $15.9 million

319 Verna Trail N., Fort Worth home for saleThe Lazy H ranch is located on 50 acres of land.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

The No. 1 most expensive home on the market in November was 319 Verna Trl. N. in western Fort Worth. Dubbed the Lazy H Ranch, this private property is located on 50 acres of sprawling land. Each of the four bedrooms in the main house have their own en-suites, with an additional two half baths elsewhere. The 6,500-square-foot main home also boasts a media room equipped with a 100-inch TV, and a state-of-the-art kitchen with Miele appliances. Outdoor features include a reverse osmosis pool, a gas fire pit, a climate-controlled patio (made possible by the home's GeoThermal system), and an infrared sauna in the pool bath.

Elsewhere on the property are two casitas, each boasting two bedrooms and two bathrooms with fenced patios and large backyards. The eight-stall stable barn contains a vet room with a commercial washer and dryer, refrigerator, office, a half bath, tack room, a separate saddle room, and two workshops. A stable caretaker's apartment is also located on the property. Additional amenities include a hay barn, equipment barn, eight pastures, and much more.

2. 862 Grape Creek Road, Fredericksburg
List price: $14.9 million

862 Grape Creek Road, Fredericksburg home for saleGrape Creek Estate is an ideal private compound for a family.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Privacy is the central idea behind Texas' second most expensive real estate listing in November. 862 Grape Creek Road in Fredericksburg contains two estate homes and a guest house across 116 acres of wooded Hill Country land.

"The property is fully fenced, gated, a paved road system connecting all improvements, under ground utilities and 3 wells with large cisterns," the listing says. "The property was designed for a family compound offering privacy between the two main homes and guest house."

3. 4625 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas
List price: $14.75 million

4625 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas home for saleThe ceilings on the first floor range from 12 to 22 feet high.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

3217 Del Monte Drive, Houston home for sale

Photo courtesy of HAR.com

The sixth most expensive home listed for sale in Texas last month was 3217 Del Monte Dr. in Houston.

A modern home at 4625 Walnut Hill Ln. in Dallas is the first new construction home that made it on HAR's list of the most expensive Texas listings last month. The listing brags that the 11,858-square-foot home is "Preston Hollow modern living at its finest" while also being priced at the lowest cost-per-square-foot in Dallas.

"The house is surrounded by over 70 evergreen trees coupled with a tall aluminum fence, establishing a very private sanctuary," the listing says. "[The fence's] automatic gates open to [the] granite driveway and leads to [a] five-car garage with aluminum doors featuring epoxy floors."

The house features five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, one half bath, high ceilings throughout the first floor, an open-concept living space, wood flooring, marble accents, and more.

4. 419 Lighthouse Drive, Horseshoe Bay
List price: $14.5 million

419 Lighthouse Drive, Horseshoe Bay home for saleThere are lake views from every room at 419 Lighthouse Dr. in Horseshoe Bay.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

While modernity has been a dominant design feature between the top three most expensive homes, 419 Lighthouse Dr. in Horseshoe Bay takes a much different approach. This grandiose Spanish Colonial lake home sits on two connected lots with waterfront access to Slickrock Creek which leads into the Colorado River.

The two-story home was built in 2015 with six bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, and three half baths. The house's exterior is constructed from solid, hand-cut limestone blocks that creates a distinguished appearance that also exhibits a timeless luxury. A few other defining characteristics of the home include multiple antiquely-carved 17th century doors, reclaimed ceiling beams, antique French limestone floors, French oak wood floors, and more.

5. 4231 W. Lawther Drive, Dallas
List price: $13.98 million

4231 W. Lawther Drive, Dallas home for salePhoto courtesy of HAR.com

Those who enjoy the coveted White Rock Lake area of Dallas will definitely covet this home on the sought-after Lawther Drive in Lakewood. Sitting more than 3.6+ acres of prime land along White Rock Lake, this property offers an unparalleled waterfront living experience. Five bedroom suites, 5 full baths, and 3 half bath soffers ample space and privacy; a gourmet kitchen with custom cabinetry and top-of-the-line Viking, Subzero, and Wolf appliances, perfect for master home chefs.

Three living areas, three suites, and a game room with a wet bar make for ideal gathering places for family, friends, and guests. Ideal for a getaway or party space, an 2,775 square-foot basement makes for even more community space. Car collectors and large groups can park it in the13-car covered parking area.

For privacy, guests can crash in the 785 square-foot full guest quarters, while a three-stall barn, pool house, an 820 square-foot workshop bring the outdoorsy lake life home. Take in the scenery at the 2735 square-foot of exterior patios and porches, which offer majestic lake views.

6. 3217 Del Monte Drive, Houston
List price: $13.5 million

3217 Del Monte Drive, Houston home for saleDespite still being under construction, 3217 Del Monte Dr. in Houston is already proving to be a beautiful masterpiece.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

This resplendent new construction home in Houston's River Oaks neighborhood was the only property in Greater Houston to make it onto HAR's list of the most expensive homes for sale in November. The home 3217 Del Monte Dr. is inspired by English Jacobean manors and was designed by local luxury home builders Fifty Seventh + 7th.

While the home isn't completely finished yet, architect Robert Dame has a grand vision for the final product, which includes a two-floor entryway, a personal library, a dining area with a show-stopping steel and glass wine room, a catering kitchen, a bar and tasting room, and much more. Once finished, the home will have six bedrooms, which includes a second-floor primary suite that opens to a terrace.

7. 4020 Glenwick Lane, University Park
List price: $13.4 million

4020 Glenwick Lane, University Park home for saleThe second floor balcony overlooks the turfed yard and pool.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

As of December 1, the luxuriously modern home at 4020 Glenwick Lane in University Park is under contract, but it was the seventh most expensive Texas real estate listing in November. The property is located on a .59 acre lot in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Dallas.

The 10,111-square-foot home features five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, two half baths, and a three-car oversized garage. Additional highlights include Italian-imported travertine tile throughout the home, Sky Frame phantom doors that connect the indoor and outdoor spaces for a perfectly seamless look, a turfed back yard, a marble waterfall wet bar, pool, fountain, and spa.

8. 2449 Mountain View Court, Cedar Hill
List price: $12.9 million

2449 Mountain View Court, Cedar Hill home for saleIt costs a pretty penny to have views like this 24/7.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

While guests may not find mountain views at 2449 Mountain View Ct. in Cedar Hill, they'll definitely be satisfied with the stunning panoramic visuals of Joe Pool Lake from the comfort of the backyard resort-style pool. This Dallas-Fort Worth paradise property boasts a 13,739-square-foot mansion on more than four acres of land.

The Mediterranean-style abode boasts eight bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and two half baths. Three ornate floating stairways lead to the second floor, which showcases similar breathtaking views that reach hundreds of miles into Fort Worth and Las Colinas. The gourmet kitchen is equipped with quartz counters, Wolf and SubZero appliances, a butler's pantry, and a wine room. But the most impressive features of the property are located just outside the home.

"Designed for a luxurious lifestyle, the magnificent mansion features...a resort style pool featuring two grottos, waterfalls and water features, a sunken fire pit, fire sconces, and a cabana with outdoor kitchen and bath," the listing says.

9. 19525 Doerre Road, Spring
List price: $12.79 million

19525 Doerre Road, Spring home for sale19525 Doerre Rd. is perfectly suited to host retreats, vacation rentals, or can be turned into an assisted living center.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

November's penultimate priciest Texas real estate listing is none other than the gargantuan retreat center at 19525 Doerre Rd. in Spring. The property consists of one gargantuan main estate, and five separate estates on 10 perfectly-manicured acres of land.

Other features of the property include an attached five-car garage, a detached six-car garage with a garage apartment; a two-bay RV garage, a fitness center, resort-style pool, tennis court, and sand volleyball court. Huge families can look forward to a 40,000-plus-square-foot space offering anywhere from eight to 30 — yes, 30 — bedrooms.

10. 2502 Oestrick Lane, Austin
List price: $12.5 million

2502 Oestrick Lane, Austin home for saleFloor-to-ceiling windows display the entirety of the back yard, but ceiling curtain tracks surround the room to provide guests with the ultimate privacy.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

The final property that was among the most expensive Texas listings in November is a gorgeous award-winning home situated in the hills of West Austin. 2502 Oestrick Ln. is a five bedroom, five full bathroom and two half bath Hill Country paradise brimming with natural light and expertly-designed modernity. The home sits on a 3.7 acre estate and was originally built in 2014, according to the listing.

"The interior spaces are studies in the manipulation of natural light, achieved through the strategic placement of windows, skylights, and innovative ceiling geometries," the listing says. "The choice of warm, luminescent materials for cabinetry and walls juxtaposes the industrial simplicity of concrete floors, cultivating an atmosphere of calm sophistication."

With a list price of $12.5 million, it's no wonder how this innovative residence has earned its many accolades, including The 2018 Architecture Master Prize and the 2017 American Architecture Award.

American Symphony music documentary showcases Jon Batiste's triumph over trying times

Movie Review

Singer/musician Jon Batiste has a boundlessly infectious personality, whether at concerts, on stage at the Grammy Awards, or in his former role as bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

And as a new documentary American Symphony demonstrates, his ability to stay upbeat in spite of enormous recent personal struggles is nothing short of remarkable.

The film, directed by Matthew Heineman, follows Batiste in 2021 and 2022, years that would prove to be of great consequence. In those two years, Batiste would win both a Grammy and an Oscar for his work on the Disney/Pixar film, Soul; win Album of the Year at the Grammys for his fifth album, We Are; and prepare to debut his work, American Symphony, at Carnegie Hall in New York.

At the same time, his partner (and soon-to-be wife) Suleika Jaouad had a recurrence of leukemia after being in remission for 10 years. As if to underscore the wildly fluctuating emotions with which Batiste was dealing, the day that he was nominated for 11 Grammys also happened to be Jaouad’s first day of chemotherapy, a head-spinning turn of events that few could deal with adequately.

The film tracks Batiste as he goes back-and-forth between the important things that demand his time, while also giving a primer on the musician’s career for those who may not be familiar with him. The result is a portrait of a man that both underscores his musical brilliance and gives a glimpse behind the curtain of how people going through a cancer battle deal with the toughness of the disease and treatment.

Heineman attempts to give Jaouad her own time in the film, highlighting her own accomplishments as a musician, writer, and budding painter. Through no fault of her own, though, the overwhelming nature of the cancer and Batiste’s exploding career push her to the background. The love story between the two of them is strong and clear, but most of the feelings are felt through the perspective of Batiste.

Jaouad says to Batiste at one point, “I feel like we’re living a life of contrasts,” and the film is all about the juxtaposition between their two lives, again mostly by showing Batiste’s two lives. One day he’s giving an exuberant performance and winning the top award at the Grammys, and the next he’s back in Jaouad’s hospital room, where she stayed for five weeks.

The multiple stressors in his life take their toll, with Batiste confessing to panic attacks and taking time to talk regularly on the phone with a therapist and practice breathing techniques. At one concert, Batiste dedicates a song to her and pauses for a long time before starting, clearly having a big emotional moment.

Still, because of Batiste’s natural personality and the love he and Jaouad have for each other, the film never becomes a depressing watch. Instead, it inspires with his artistry – typified by the title symphony, which brings together disparate elements for a unique experience – and a relationship that appears to have the ability to weather many storms.

American Symphony blends together two stories that could each warrant their own showcase, but it becomes something richer by demonstrating how they – and the two people at the film’s center – complement each other. Batiste’s music has the power to touch your soul, but this film indicates he has much more to offer than just that.


American Symphony is now streaming on Netflix.

Jon Batiste in American Symphony

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Jon Batiste in American Symphony.