Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | September 27, 2010

Vegan City Spotlight: Houston, Texas

There is something for everyone in Houston, even vegans. I decided to spend the weekend in Houston and check out some all-vegan restaurants that are outside of my usual client-hotel-client-hotel driving and dining route. So here I am, sitting in a restaurant called Field of Greens Healthy Cuisine in the River Oaks area and absolutely loving this place. I’ll admit this is the second time I’ve been here this weekend and the fact that they have free Wi-Fi makes it even better. Fields of Greens is an all vegetarian/vegan restaurant with lots of great healthy food (most of their vegetarian options can also be made vegan). The first night I came, I tried the Vegan Macrobiotic Platter which was a medley of steamed vegetables, kale with miso sauce, organic brown rice, daily beans, a tofu quiche and a side soup (vegetable was the soup of the day). It was so much food; I didn’t even come close to finishing it all – especially since I wanted to try one of their five vegan desserts. It was so hard to pick just one dessert but I went with the Warm Apple Maple Granola Crumble with vanilla soy ice cream. I think this was the absolute best vegan dessert that I’ve tried so far. It really tasted like just like a non-vegan Apple Crisp and vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

Now that I’m here for a second time, I decided to try the Zucchini and Squash Quesadillas on a whole wheat tortilla and with vegan cheese. Of the two dishes I tried, I definitely prefer the quesadillas. Other interesting menu items include: Vegan Fish Taco Platter, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, and Vegan Grilled Vegetable BBQ. They also have a pretty extensive kids menu too. This is the first time I’ve seen an all-vegan kids menu. The first time I came, there was a family of five with three little vegan boys enjoying their meals. I absolutely love this place. Here is their website: http://www.fieldofgreenscuisine.com/.

The other great thing about Field of Greens is its location. It is right next to a Whole Foods and right across the street from Ruggles Green, another great Houston restaurant for vegans. My co-worker Faiz took me to Ruggles Green last week. It’s not an entirely vegetarian place but their “environment-friendly” theme, you can imagine that there is something for vegetarians and vegans to choose from. Since Faiz knew the manager, and told him I was vegan, the manager immediately suggested a quinoa and vegetable dish that was great. He also brought out a bowl of berries after for dessert. Here is their website: http://www.rugglesgreen.com/.

Also I visited my first all-vegan chain restaurant this past weekend called Loving Hut, which was in the Westchase area of Houston. This Asian-themed fast casual chain has a lot of outlets all over California and in a few other cities, but I had never heard of them – unfortunately there aren’t any in Boston. The website says: “Loving Hut is currently the fastest growing International vegan fast food chain in the world with branches in Milpitas, Palo Alto and San Francisco. Internationally, branches are currently open in Formosa (Taiwan), Au Lac (Vietnam), Singapore, Indonesia, Tokyo and Hong Kong. More branches will be opening in various locations all around the world in the coming months.” I ventured out to the Houston Loving Hut for lunch on Saturday and ordered the Chow Mein and Banana Cake for dessert, both of which I would order again. The Chow Mein consisted of wheat-noodles, lots of veggies, and tofu in a light soy sauce. Check out their website: http://www.lovinghut.com/index.php.

Two other restaurants in the Downtown Houston area that I would recommend are Guadalajara and Bombay Pizza. These are my two favorites near the Hilton Americas Hotel, where I stay when I’m working here. Guadalajara is an excellent Mexican restaurant with a completely separate vegetarian menu with lots of vegan options. I’ve tried the Vegetarian Fajitas (but make sure to ask for them without cheese). Bombay Pizza is a small pizza joint on Main Street and they make vegan pizzas if you ask for it! I’m happy I have these two options very close to the hotel, especially since my co-workers frequent both pretty often.

I’ve only had one negative vegan experience in Houston so far. This past week, I went to Ninfa’s Restaurant on Navigation (near the client site) with some co-workers for lunch. When so many of my co-workers had told me how amazing it is – that it’s good Houston Tex-Mex – I was excited to try the real deal. We were handed huge menus but I couldn’t find anything vegetarian on the menu. I decided to ask the server if they had anything veggie. If they didn’t, I planned to just get a tortilla with rice and guacamole (and maybe beans if they weren’t made with meat or lard). The server told me that they don’t have anything vegetarian. When I tried to order the tortilla with rice and guacamole she responded, “Our rice is made with chicken stock.” Fail. She recommended the Caesar salad, but I told her that I don’t eat cheese either, or anchovies for that matter. I ended up getting some plain lettuce with two slices of avocado and two pieces of cucumber. Uch. Their website is really not worth going to if you’re vegan but here it is: http://www.ninfas.com/index.html.

Other than that one disappointing experience, I have had a very easy time being vegan in Houston and have tried some amazing all-vegan and vegetarian restaurants. I only have three more weeks working here so hopefully I’ll get back to Field of Greens one more time before I leave.

Field of Greens - Vegan Macrobiotic Platter

Field of Greens - Apple Granola Crumble

Field of Greens - Zucchini & Squash Quesadillas

Loving Hut - Chow Mein

Loving Hut - Banana Cake

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