The release of Lisa Fain’s new queso book has us thinking about queso even more than we usually do, which is a lot. In honor of one of Houston’s most essential foodstuffs, we’ve sampled and sampled some more to compile a list of our favorites, as well as some miscellaneous Houston queso folkways worth checking out. Please note that we have confined our efforts to chile con queso, the dip of the Houston gods, rather than addressing such worthy cousins as queso flameado, or fried or grilled Mexican cheese. Go ye forth and scoop.

1. Pappasito’s

Classic and well nigh perfect, this picturesque yellow queso is notable for its mellow onion savor – a gift of the sweet minced bits suspended throughout, along with tomato, cilantro and a little green chile. It’s thick enough to cling, thin and supple enough to ooze. Its seasonings don’t overwhelm the rich dairy bloom that animates a well-made queso. In short, it is the stuff of cravings. And, like all the finest examples of the genre, impossible to stop eating. Not cheap at $8.45 for a so-called medium (there is no “small”), but spring for the $9.95 “large” size and, in true Pappas form, you’ll get a vatful.