Recipe: Felix Mexican Restaurant Chile Con Queso by Michael Graves

Source: Felix Mexican Restaurant, Houston, Texas – A recipe that I worked on when doing recipe testing for The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh. For many of us growing up in Houston, we remember this queso very fondly. It is still available at El Patio on Westheimer.

My own personal theory is that Felix Tijerina might have known a French chef or had access to a French cookbook, as his particular queso is very reminiscent of the cheese sauces of France.

The Recipe
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 pound American cheese, grated (2 cups)

Combine oil, onion, salt, pepper, tomatoes, cayenne, sugar, paprika and garlic powder in heavy pot and simmer 25 to 30 minutes over medium heat.

Mix flour and water in small bowl; add to onion mixture gradually, stirring until smooth and thick. Add cheese, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Cook until well-blended and smooth. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Note: A similar recipe attributed to Felix’s appears in the Houston Junior Forum cookbook, Buffet on the Bayou. But the sugar is omitted and the paprika is increased to 3 tablespoons.

- Jay Francis, VP-Membership, WHCA

Recipe-of-the-Month: Fifteen-Second Carrot Cake by Michael Graves

My friend Elyssa’s photo of the recipe after she made it. Used with permission. - Jay.

My friend Elyssa’s photo of the recipe after she made it. Used with permission. - Jay.

In the 1980’s, I found a quick and easy (and terrific) food processor recipe for a carrot cake baked in a standard bread loaf pan. I lost the recipe. It was only years later (thanks Ebay) that I tracked down the out-of-print magazine and recovered the recipe. It is my default carrot cake recipe these days and I know you will enjoy it.

For more of my writings on food, check out my blog: Bye the way, if you aren’t currently a member of the WHCA, please feel free to contact me about how and why you should join.

Jay Francis
Woodland Heights’ Own Culinary Historian
and WHCA VP of Membership

Fifteen-Second Carrot Cake


  • 2 medium carrots, peeled (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • Cream cheese frosting or rum sauce

Grease and flour an 8 ½ × 4 ½ × 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Shred the carrots or zucchini with the fine shredding disc of a food processor and remove (1 ½ tightly packed cups). Process the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla with the metal blade for 2 seconds. Do not over-process.

Evenly sprinkle the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon over the mixture; process until smooth about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the mixture with the pecans and add the shredded carrots and process until the pecans and carrots are evenly distributed, 4 seconds.

Turn into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

If using the cream cheese frosting, cover top and sides of the cake with it. Garnish with extra pecan halves making crosswise rows fairly close together so that each slice has a row of pecans.

If using the rum sauce, leave the cake unfrosted and pass the sauce with it, and, if you like, a bowl of whipped cream. Makes 1 carrot cake.

Cream cheese frosting

  • ½ stick unsalted butter cut into 4 equal pats
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

Process together all the ingredients with the metal blade of a food processor until smooth.

Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark corn syrup
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup light rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan constantly stir over low heat until boiling the sugar, corn syrup, cream and butter, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum and vanilla. The sauce may be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Serve the sauce hot or cold. Makes about 2 cups.

Your Opinion Counts by Mark Sternfels

My fellow WHCA members: I would very much value and appreciate your opinions on two initiatives:

  1. what you think the WHCA Board or WHCA Members can do to increase the percentage of Woodland Heights neighbors becoming dues paying members,
  2. what additional things/projects would you like to see your memberships dues allocated tor?*

My intent is to gather and publish everyone's ideas to WHCA members and Woodland Heights non-member neighbors to then present these findings to the WHCA Board for feasibility review and possible implementation. Please email your responses to

Thank you,
Roger Moxley
VP, Membership

*Current dues allocation: enforce deed restrictions, police land use, support park upkeep, manage constable patrol, liaison with City/County, oversee street repairs, produce monthly newsletter, maintain website, support Facebook & Twitter, beautify common spaces, fund common area maintenance, partner with Travis and Hogg, fund & manage Lights in the Heights, oversee community socials and gatherings, support community needs, provide public forums, monthly meetings for public, watch traffic issues, coordinate sewer and utility work, fund community grants, maintain historical records, partner with preservation and historical organizations, oversee urban development issues, monitor crime patterns, provide instant messaging capabilities to public, and fund & manage the Historical Home Tour.

Block Captains by Mark Sternfels

Neighbor Missy Wright is leading an effort to reinstate the block captain program. This team of volunteers distributes WHCA information to the front porches of the neighbors' on their designated block. It's a great way to meet/say hello to neighbors while helping the WHCA reduce postage costs. We’ve received a great response so far but need many more volunteers for the blocks of the streets listed below. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Missy Wright.  Do you live on one of the street blocks listed below?

Block Captains Still Needed for: 

  • Key 700, 800, 900
  • Pecore 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 800, 900
  • Redan 100, 200, 800, 900
  • Rural 3600
  • Merrill 400, 500, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100
  • Omar 500, 800, 1000, 1100
  • Highland 400, 700, 900, 1000
  • Bayland 200, 300, 400, 800, 900, 1000, 1100
  • Woodland 300
  • Euclid 400, 600  Byrne 100, 200, 300, 500, 600
  • Teetshorn 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 900
  • Usener 800, 900, 1000, 1100
  • White Oak 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2400, 2600  Stude 1000, 1100
  • Ridge 800
  • Sledge 700
  • Voight 1000, 1100
  • Forester 1100
  • Greenleaf 1100
  • Payne 100, 200, 300
  • E. Woodland 100
  • E. 6 1/2  1000, 1100
  • E. 7th 1000, 1100
  • E 7 1/2 1000
  • Pineridge 3500
  • Oakridge 3500
  • Micheaux 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900, 3500
  • Julian 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900, 3400, 3700
  • Watson 2300, 2500, 3400, 3700
  • Northwood 3000
  • Florence 2700, 2800  Beauchamp 2600, 2800, 2900, 3000 3200, 3500, 3600, 3700
  • Morrison 2600, 2700, 2800, 2900, 3000, 3100, 3200, 3300, 3400
  • Houston 2400, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2800, 2900, 3000, 3100, 3200, 3300 3400, 3500
  • Bradley 3700
  • Sage 1500
  • W. Norma 100, 200
  • North 100, 200
  • Bruce 3700
  • Quitman 100
  • Railey 500
  • N. Sabine 2700
  • Vieux Carre 100
  • Wrightwood 1100, 1200

Join Us  In Thanking The Current Block Captains:
Aaron Titus-Byrne Alaina Hebert-Beauchamp  Allison Hartzell- Omar  Allison Kirby- Woodland  Alyssa Holub- Oak Ridge Andrea Gorney- Bayland  Ann Grandich- Pecore  Carla Reed- Omar  Caroline Johntson-Northwood  CeeCee Nix- E 7th ½  Christina Azzarello- Parkview  Courtney Bachmann Forshey-Redan  Cynthia Pacheco- Woodland  Lallie Smith-Omar David Jordan-Euclid  David Langford-Omar  Debbie Hall-Omar  Dee Anna Miles-Kibler- Teetshorn  Delara Aubon-Teetshorn  Erica McCready-Merrill  Heath Bersch-Bayland  Jackie Witt- Highland  James Clarke-Woodland Jan Greer-Northwood  Jeanette Azzarello- Parkview  Jeanette Jenkins- Bayland  Jennifer Jacobs-Wendel Jennifer Nunnally- White Oak  Joan Carlson- Woodland  Judy Meitzen-Woodland  Kellie Farrell- Euclid Kelly Hare-Bayland  Kelly Jacob-Julian  Laura Hipps-Euclid  Lori Bigler-Ridge  Marcia DeBock- Woodland Margaret Dower- Highland  Marianne Smith- Highland  Mark Brannigan- Woodland  Mary Curl- Byrne Melanie Gehman-Beauchamp  Melissa McKee-Norhill  Michael Graves-Beauchamp Michaela Supkis-Redan Greg Wood-Redan  Missy Wright- Bayland  Nancy Tooker-Ridge  Pam Roche-Beauchamp Patricia Shepherd-Ridge  Patrick Rutledge and Friends-Gladys, Wendel, Usner, Thelma  Roger Moxley- Redan Rosie Walker-Euclid Sandra Gunn-Byrne  Sharon Greiff-Woodland  Sheryl Curtain- Bayland  Simone Adams- Bayland Christine Soderstrom- Euclid  Wendy Butler- Smith- Bayland

2015 Membership Drive — Join Today by Mark Sternfels

We hope many of the Woodland Heights residents enjoyed the Spring Fling which the Woodland Heights Civic Association (“WHCA”) put together and sponsored on March 28, 2015 at the Norhill Esplanade. The Spring Fling (and other events put on by the WHCA throughout the year) are made possible through resident’s payment of the $50 dollar membership dues. To date, we have 97 residents signed up for WHCA memberships. This is less than half of the number of residents that signed up for WHCA memberships last year. Please take a few minutes to sign up for your WHCA membership either online or by sending in your membership form which can also be found and printed from the same link.