Monday, October 27, 2008

VeganMoFo: The Top Ten Inside 610

If you've been to Houston, you know that there are two main loops around the city.... the "beltway" on the outside and the 610 loop on the inside. Pretty much everything cool in this city occurs inside 610 (sorry to you outside the loopers!). Believe it or not, Houston is actually a pretty easy place to eat out for vegans, you just need to do your homework and have a bit of patience. I'll help you out with the homework part. Here is my top ten list of places to eat inside the 610 loop.

1. Mo Mong - A hip Montrose hang out for "Asian fusion" cuisine, Mo Mong has several vegan tofu and noodle dishes. By far my favorite is the tofu luc lac which I order pretty much every time I'm there.

2. Madras - There are a plethora of Indian restaurants in the Houston area, many with vegan options, but Madras remains my favorite for vegetarian south Indian cuisine (think: dosas!). Just be sure to tell them you don't eat dairy. Not a place to go for ambiance, but great, spicy food.

3. Field of Greens - A mostly vegetarian cafe with plenty of salads, sandwiches, and dinner plates; many of which are vegan or can be made vegan. I'm a fan of the California club and the macrobiotic platter.

4. Late Night Pie - This pizza joint used to be located in a garage until recently (how cool is that?). While waiting for our pizza I always get in a game of pac-man. They aren't stingy on the toppings and the crust is excellent.

5. Rickshaw Bambu - In the mood for veggie sushi? Rickshaw is one of my favorites because of their use of soy paper for the vegetarian roll. They also have vegetable nigiri, inari (for those who like it), sweet potato fries, and a coconut curry tofu side that always hits the spot.

6. Thai Cottage - There are numerous Thai restaurants I enjoy inside the loop, but Thai Cottage delivers delicious food at the right price. The bamboo shoots in the tofu vegetable curry make it a hit for me. They also have locations outside the loop.

7. Cafe Brasil - A popular hangout for the university crowd with a wonderful outdoor seating area. The Brasil chef salad is a star, especially when you can add grilled tofu on the nights they have it. Plus they also serve my favorite ginger brew. (please excuse the cell phone photo!)

8. Tafia - The only upscale restaurant on my list, Tafia uses local, organic ingredients in many of their dishes and always has one vegan item (tofu with portobello) on the menu. I usually opt to get a salad and a sampling of a few of their veggie side dishes like swiss chard with garlic confit or roasted carrots with dukkah spices. A great place for special occasions.

9. Pepper Tree - A 95% vegan eatery with an excellent buffet (on the weekends they include sushi). I sometimes overeat on the fried foods here, but they also have a wonderful salad bar selection. Vegan dessert too!
10. Niko Niko's - This is the place for Greek fast food in the city. They have plenty of outside seating to enjoy their falafel pita (minus the tzatziki) with a side of hummus. Or try the veggie kebob.


Anyone else who lives or has been to Houston have their favorites inside the loop? Be sure to list them in the comments! A great resource for a more complete list of Houston restaurants, both inside and outside the loop, is at the blog vegan Houston.

20 comments:

pixiepine said...

Ohhh yay that's a nice list!

jessy said...

what an awesome resource! thank you so much! if i'm even in houston i want to visit all of these places! they all look glorious, indeed! thanks for putting this list together! wow!

Virginia said...

how lucky you are to have so many options! thanks for the list, just in case i ever happen to need it!

Amey said...

nice... what a great write up! Now I just gotta come to Houston!

shellyfish said...

You're really making me want to visit Huston woman!

VeggieGirl said...

Now I know where to dine if I visit you!! :-D

twoveganboys said...

Wow. All the food looks delicious!

twoveganboys said...

Wow. All the food looks delicious!

Mihl said...

Are there nice houses inside 610? Because I wanna move...

Jes said...

The Pepper Tree plate looks delicious! Who knew Houston had such tasty looking vegan food?!

aTxVegn said...

You're lucky to have such a nice selection of vegan friendly places to eat. Do you have some good Mexican food options too? Just curious.

Bianca said...

I went to Houston a few years back to visit a family friend...and we ate at The Hobbit Cafe. They had lots of vegetarian options, but not as many vegan ones...I had the black bean burger but didn't ask if it contained eggs. When I go out to eat, I sometimes just don't ask....I'd rather find out later and never order it again.

The restaurant was really cute though. I have a picture of me next to the Gandalf cardboard cut-out.

Ren said...

This is great. We're visiting family in H. in Nov. We're definitely going to check out some of these places. I've been to Niko Niko's... it's got special memories for me and my hub.

Ruthie said...

Sweet post. :)

The burgers at the Hobbit are vegan, but the bun contains honey, if that bothers you. :o) Russell usually orders the Hobbit wrap which is the size of a plate. I find the Hobbit cafe fun but way over priced for the quality of food.

Being a cheapskate, I am a huge fan of mission burrito (the one on west alabama, NOT the one in the village) for a killer vegan mexican bowl with vegan spanish rice, two types of beans, sauteed spinach and mushrooms and roasted red peppers plus corn off the cob and homemade salsa and barbecue sauce, plus a lot more veggies. For like less than 5 bucks.

And as you know I am in love with Fadi's, which is a skip away from the inner-loop in Meyerland. Not cheap by any means, but if you consider you can eat two meals worth of food for $8, it's a bit like Pepper tree. I told my folks it's like Mediterranean Luby's. Grab a tray, line up at the bar, grab a basket of pita chips, tell them you want the vegetarian sampler with everything that's vegan and you'll get hummus, baba ganoush, the worlds best cabbage salad, cucumber salad, fattoush, lentil salad, fresh pita baked in their fire oven (you can choose whole wheat sugar free pita, too) plus a hot plate of potatoes, rice, okra, eggplant, green beans and more.

Drools... :-)

I also have to say I had a HORRIBLE experience at Madras last time I went. The waitress didn't understand what "no dairy" meant due to a language barrier and when I complained about something soaking in yogurt the manager came out and said the naan, samosas, and Channa masala all contained cream or ghee but brought out what we had originally ordered and expected us to pay for it. Then they added 15% to the total because they are increasing their prices but haven't changed the menu yet. What what?! I love Indian food but am now scared to go out for it in the city because of the language barrier and my fear of ordering food I end up not being able to eat and being charged up the wazoo for it. I really love the Indian food guy at the Farmers market though.. wish he didn't charge $8 for five cold veggie samosas though...

kerri said...

Thanks for the great list! Just moved to Houston from NYC and have basically been living at Field of Greens ever since. Look forward to trying these places out!

Kristen said...

mais!
and hunan garden on shepherd. :)

i was only veggie when i lived in houston, and now that i'm vegan, i'll have to do some more investigating. i'm moving to austin in a week, and i'll be back in houston for visits at some point. we should collaborate on a vegan guide for houston!

Bert said...

Out here in the land of the meat eaters and the hunters (i.e. outside Loop 610 in Houston) there are some really interesting - mostly Asian - vegetarian/vegan restaurants too, especially along Bellaire Boulevard near Beltway 8. Two of our favorites are Hometown Vegetarian (excellent faux chicken with basil) and Quan Yin (chicken and onions). Amanda I am sure you are familiar with them and with some others in the area too.

We regularly make the trek inside the Loop (in fact we did it last night!) to Field of Greens just for their stellar Vegan BBQ sandwich. Better than the real thing. And not half as bad for you.

Bex said...

what an awesome write up. I feel like taking a little tour now. I'll be there in a couple days ok?

Jennifer said...

La Fendee in Montrose is my husbands favorite.

Stella said...

Tofu? Jalapeños? Check, check.

(Furiously taking notes.)