The way we eat is changing
What do you think of when you think about going out to eat in Houston, TX? Houston classics like steak and potatoes are taking a back seat to new ways of eating. All over Houston, people are trading their steak for tempeh. They’re trading their mashed potatoes for ramen, udon, and soba. They’re asking for bean sprouts instead of green beans. What the heck is going on?
It’s part of a larger trend
Americans tend to take meat for granted, despite the fact that it’s a rare and expensive commodity in the rest of the world. The reason it’s expensive is because it requires an incredible amount of resources to produce. And so the US government subsidizes its production. But more and more often, people are encouraged to consume less of it.
The trend started decades ago with people who refused to eat “anything with a face.” Then it became important for a whole new subset of people to eat food that didn’t impact the environment as much. And now eating less meat has gone mainstream because people are always concerned with their health, and they see eating less meat as a way to live longer.
Restaurants followed suit – even in surf-and-turf happy Houston.
It was maybe 20-year-ago that most people in Houston had never even heard of veganism. 15-years-ago most folks in Houston would have rolled you around in cow patties and covered you in chicken feathers if you mentioned you didn’t eat meat, let alone food produced from animals. What do you mean you don’t eat honey?
Now you’ll find restaurants all over Houston catering to vegan tastes – and it’s not just vegans eating at them, either.
Roots Bistro – rootsbistrohouston.com
Local, green, and organic isn’t just a catchphrase, tagline, or a marketing plot for the folks at Roots Bistro. You’ll find a delicious Raw Beet “Ravioli” ($11) on their lunch menu – absolutely to die for, even if you’re not into eating vegetables exclusively. You’ve never had roots like this. Vegans beware – this isn’t a strictly vegan restaurant, although you’ll find plenty of options to satiate you – like the Market Veggie Flatbread ($14) if you have it with olive oil instead of cheese. There’s enough meat on the menus for carnivores, too – a little something for everyone, regardless of taste.
Tapas have been trending for a while now. It’s a Spanish word used to indicated small, savory plates of food served with wine or beer at a bar. Think of it as Spanish bar food. More and more Houstonites are coming around to the idea that bar food is more than fried mozzarella sticks and zucchini drowned in ranch dressing and marinara.
Merche – mercherestaurant.com
You won’t find this hotspot downtown, or in any other trendy part of town. It’s tucked away in the corner of a medical center. You’ll find simple specialties like Sarita’s Flat Bread ($11.95) on the menu, which includes scrumptious details like Applewood smoked bacon and fresh spinach, grated parmesan, and sour cream. We can eat sour cream by the spool full. This is much better. And that’s saying something.
I bet you never thought you’d see ramen noodles make a comeback in your life after you left college and got a real job. Right? Wrong. Ramen is back in a huge way, so much so restaurants are filling their menus with delicious specialty varieties and flavors.
Soma Sushi – somasushi.com
Who doesn’t love sushi? Sushi trended so hard in the 90s it’s now something of an American staple – people will raise their eyebrows if you tell them you don’t like sushi. Soma is in the noodle game in a big way, too. You’ll find tons and tons of ramen and udon on their lunch menu. Prices are reasonable. Don’t miss the ramen with traditional Texas BBQ pork belly. It’s east meets west meets dirty south Houston – and it literally melts in your mouth.