May is officially National Salsa Month, but in Texas circles, chile con queso is king. Now that I've crisscrossed the state gladly ruining my suppers, my question is simple: Of all the great yellow cheese concoctions in all the great Lone Star Tex-Mex joints, which one stands alone? I think it comes down to a head-to-head taste test between two quesos, both memorable and with stellar stories.
Is Jose Working Tonight?
Eat: When I visited Molina's Cantina in Houston, I ordered the menu's largest helping of Original Jose's Dip. It was my first ever. Coming out promptly and piping hot, the orange-yellow queso filled the old style clay bowl and arrived with the trademark spicy taco meat topping the cheese. It was gone in 10 minutes. Houstonians love this 67-year-old cantina--for its hustling and polite bow tied waiters, its family feel, and especially for Original Jose's Dip.
Unless you ask around, you'll find no mention about the dip's namesake. The story, though, is worth an inquiry. Decades ago, Jose the waiter worked the dinner shift. An entrepreneur at heart, Jose, unbeknownst to the cooks, took to slipping meat into the regular queso. Customers appreciated the generous gesture. But when Jose took a week off for vacation, dozens of "Jose's dip" requests came from tables. Jose had made his mark on the regulars, and today, the legendary Original Jose's Dip is considered one of Molina's signature creations.