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Where Chefs Eat: Victoria Dearmond of Underbelly/One Fifth

Where one of Houston’s best pastry chefs eats pho, BBQ + more

The Hay Merchant/Facebook

Welcome to the latest installment of Where Chefs Eat, a look at where the city’s best chefs spend their hard-earned money on food they didn’t actually have to cook. You can usually find her churning out delicious desserts like the Citrus Upside Down Cake at Underbelly or V’s Fresh Chocolate Chip Cookies at Hay Merchant.

Dearmond seriously loves Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean dishes, answering four of our eight questions with Asian flavored replies, and she also loves places where she can stay a while and chat with the staff. Check out her Houston favorites.

Eater Houston: Where's your favorite Houston barbecue joint?

Victoria Dearmond: My favorite BBQ in town is Gatlin's. Greg Gatlin, the owner, is great, and I love being able to hang out with him and the family. Also, those collard greens.

Where do you grab a killer cup of coffee?

Best cup of coffee is Blacksmith. Not only because I have the easy access of it being across the street, though - the roast is always on point, and I enjoy trying all the different types of beans.

What about breakfast or brunch? Where's the best early meal in town?

I tend to snag breakfast at work, but I do love dim sum at HK Dim Sum. I have no problem going by myself and crushing way too much food then eating leftovers for lunch later.

Which Houston restaurant has the best bowl of pho?

That is a very strong question... Cali Sandwich, Pho Binh by Night, and House of Bowls are all great. But I've honestly been on a wonton soup with egg noodle kick lately over pho.

What's the restaurant you're most excited to see open in the next few months?

Not surprisingly, I am most excited about One Fifth opening. It's going to be a great dining experience for guests, and I can't wait to make some delicious desserts using everything that's available to me now.

Where's your favorite special occasion (date night, anniversary) restaurant?

Special occasion? My day off counts as a special occasion, right? ... unfortunately, those days for me tend to fall on Tuesdays when Coltivare is closed, but I try to get there other days. I’m also a big fan of sitting at the bar at Provisions and chatting with Stuart.

Where is Houston's finest fried chicken?

Favorite fried chicken is Chicken and Joy, the Korean fried chicken spot inside H Mart Grocery Store. Garlic chicken is addicting, and the sweet and spicy is sticky-icky delicious. Plus, they all come with pickled daikon that calms the spice.

What's your favorite sandwich in town?

Sandwiches are pretty high on my favorites list, and the chargrilled pork banh mi at Cali Sandwich is a go to for me. Add a fried egg and revel in the glory that is crunchy bread and eggy goodness.