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MasterChef Winner Christine Ha Shares Her Top Five Places to Take Out-of-Town Guests

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Although she's been affectionately dubbed "The Blind Cook," Christine Ha could easily be known by many other titles, including "MasterChef Season 3 Winner." The legally blind chef isn't only immensely talented and humble, she's also one the busier chefs associated with our local dining scene. Apart from writing for TV Guide, studying for grad school exams and promoting her cookbook Recipes from My Home Kitchen, she's also busy keeping us in suspense about prospective restaurant plans. Through all of that, Ha's work seems to have remained true to Houston and to her talent, as evidenced by Ha's recent pop-up at MKT Bar, which saw a packed house and sold-out offerings. The beloved local chef has even found time to tell Eater about her favorite local haunts. In this Eater map Ha tells us where she takes out-of-town guests when they want a taste of good local food, and why these five places are her top picks. Smaller, out-of-the way and mostly mom-and-pop restaurants, Ha's picks reflect her image as the down-to-earth chef who values taste and quality.


· The Blind Cook [Official Site]

· Ha's Cookbook [Amazon]

· Other Local Picks from the Pros [-EHOU-]

Winner and hosts [Facebook]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Uchi

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904 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 522-4808
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"Like the city of Houston itself, Uchi is sophisticated without being pretentious. My favorite dishes to order are the hama chili, Brussels sprouts, and bacon tataki."

2. Pho Danh

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11209 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072
(281) 879-9940
"Located on an unassuming corner inside the Hong Kong mall, this pho joint consistently delivers some of the best pho in town. I eat my pho simply with just the thinly sliced rare eye round steak, which I ask for on the side so I can drop it into the hot broth myself. Only a squeeze of lime and nothing else — call me a pho purist."

3. A Ly Oriental Restaurant

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11360 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX
"Across from the Hong Kong mall lies this restaurant that has become a frequent family spot for celebrated occasions. It’s not fancy nor is it expensive, but the food is always solid. When I come with a big crowd, we usually order from the variety of set menus which comes with several courses for a reasonable price. When I dine with a smaller party, I order a la carte the Peking duck, salted fried squid, and the beef and Chinese broccoli flat rice noodles."

4. Nu Cafe

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9889 Bellaire Blvd, #112A
Houston, TX 77036
(713) 771-7771
"After eating our way through Chinatown, I like to end with dessert at Nu Cafe. They call it snowflake ice, I call it thousand layer ice — either way, it’s delicious ice. A block of delicate ice is infused with intense flavors like taro, coconut, lychee, mango, or green tea; and then it’s thinly shaved into one long layer folded onto a plate like silken fabric. Select your toppings of choice — I personally like to add fresh mango and the little lychee-flavored balls that burst on your tongue with each bite. The presentation is interesting, and the taste is even better."

5. Tacos Tierra Caliente

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Alabama Ice House
Houston, TX 77098
"This taco truck sits across from the West Alabama Ice House, and their tacos are not only authentic, they’re dirt cheap (as authentic Mexican street-style tacos should be). My favorite is the barbacoa which comes on a corn tortilla with mounds of diced onion and cilantro on top. You can get free avocado slices if you ask. Be careful with the hot sauce — they’re muy caliente. Carry your taco goodie bag across the street and enjoy them with a beer at the ice house. This is a true Texas gem."

1. Uchi

904 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006
"Like the city of Houston itself, Uchi is sophisticated without being pretentious. My favorite dishes to order are the hama chili, Brussels sprouts, and bacon tataki."
904 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

2. Pho Danh

11209 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77072
"Located on an unassuming corner inside the Hong Kong mall, this pho joint consistently delivers some of the best pho in town. I eat my pho simply with just the thinly sliced rare eye round steak, which I ask for on the side so I can drop it into the hot broth myself. Only a squeeze of lime and nothing else — call me a pho purist."
11209 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072

3. A Ly Oriental Restaurant

11360 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX
"Across from the Hong Kong mall lies this restaurant that has become a frequent family spot for celebrated occasions. It’s not fancy nor is it expensive, but the food is always solid. When I come with a big crowd, we usually order from the variety of set menus which comes with several courses for a reasonable price. When I dine with a smaller party, I order a la carte the Peking duck, salted fried squid, and the beef and Chinese broccoli flat rice noodles."
11360 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX

4. Nu Cafe

9889 Bellaire Blvd, #112A, Houston, TX 77036
"After eating our way through Chinatown, I like to end with dessert at Nu Cafe. They call it snowflake ice, I call it thousand layer ice — either way, it’s delicious ice. A block of delicate ice is infused with intense flavors like taro, coconut, lychee, mango, or green tea; and then it’s thinly shaved into one long layer folded onto a plate like silken fabric. Select your toppings of choice — I personally like to add fresh mango and the little lychee-flavored balls that burst on your tongue with each bite. The presentation is interesting, and the taste is even better."
9889 Bellaire Blvd, #112A
Houston, TX 77036

5. Tacos Tierra Caliente

Alabama Ice House, Houston, TX 77098
"This taco truck sits across from the West Alabama Ice House, and their tacos are not only authentic, they’re dirt cheap (as authentic Mexican street-style tacos should be). My favorite is the barbacoa which comes on a corn tortilla with mounds of diced onion and cilantro on top. You can get free avocado slices if you ask. Be careful with the hot sauce — they’re muy caliente. Carry your taco goodie bag across the street and enjoy them with a beer at the ice house. This is a true Texas gem."
Alabama Ice House
Houston, TX 77098

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