Random Ephemera

Houston's Best Summer Dining, Revisited

At Alice Blue, a strong focus on vegetables yields decadent salads and vegetable sides.
At Alice Blue, a strong focus on vegetables yields decadent salads and vegetable sides. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
It's that special time again. Time for the Houston Press to round up its most popular dining coverage, this time concerning all things summer dining. We figured you could use a little break from the heavier, meatier way of life for these hot summer days. Here now, our top posts to keep you eating light, healthy and even vegan/vegetarian right now. Also, since Houston Restaurant Weeks is such a summertime staple, you can find our top menu picks included at the bottom too.

Mango and kale salad? Perfect for summer. - PHOTO BY ERIKA KWEE
Mango and kale salad? Perfect for summer.
Photo by Erika Kwee
The 10 Best Summer Salads to Try in Houston

"I've been craving something green and delicious," wrote my friend in a message requesting salad recommendations. Despite my general penchant for green and delicious things, I found myself stumped after recommending my beloved standby, Local Foods (the vegan Caesar is life-changing; the market vegetable salad is less novel but no less delectable). Where were all the good salads in Houston hiding? After just a little exploration, a wealth of green and delicious salads unearthed themselves from local restaurants. Bookmark these for refreshing summer eats.

It's vegan.
Photo by True Food Kitchen
The 10 Best Vegetarian Restaurants for Vegetarians

Certainly no one would ever dub Houston the vegetarian capital of the U.S., yet there are a surprising number of ways to eat creative, meatless meals thanks to the diverse restaurant options in Houston. The following restaurants not only offer quality vegan and vegetarian options, but they often offer dishes that capture the spirit of the cuisine without making anyone feel deprived by a lack of meat.

The Goldie Hawn taco at Dizzy Kaktus features fried cauliflower. - PHOTO BY DIZZY KAKTUS
The Goldie Hawn taco at Dizzy Kaktus features fried cauliflower.
Photo by Dizzy Kaktus
Houston's 10 Best Vegetarian Tacos

Okay, taco fiends: it's time to talk VEGETABLES. Traditional Mexican tacos — the kind you'll find on the streets for dirt-cheap deliciousness — are simply chopped meat on tortillas, maybe with some cilantro or onion. But the rise of fusion and Tex-Mex taco spots in town means the number of creative, vegetable-based tacos has multiplied. From meat substitutes to tofu to grilled or fried vegetable options, Houston offers a wide array of delectable, vegetarian-friendly tacos. So let's get to it.

A go-to template, with a few tweaks. - PHOTO BY NICHOLAS HALL
A go-to template, with a few tweaks.
Photo by Nicholas Hall
If You Don't Know Esquites, Now's the Time to Learn

Summer is potluck season. If you're like me, potlucks are stressful. "What should I bring? Will they like it? What if someone else brings it? What should I bring?" The questions ping around like ten-year-olds playing Marco Polo, and there is no home base.

Over the years, I've adopted many coping strategies. Sometimes I default to something simple and seemingly foolproof, like beer. Or something boring and absolutely foolproof, like paper plates (the planet be damned, you can never have enough paper plates at a summer cookout or pool party). Lately, though, I've settled on a new plan for nearly certain summer potluck success. Conveniently, it doubles as an easy summer side standby, party or no.

Seafood stew at Liberty Kitchen? Oh yeah. - PHOTO BY POP RATIO
Seafood stew at Liberty Kitchen? Oh yeah.
Photo by Pop Ratio
The Best Bets for Houston Restaurant Weeks 2017

A total of 250 restaurants. Five weeks. Tons of dining deals. Yes, it's time once again for Houston Restaurant Weeks, returning to town from August 1 through September 4, in an effort to raise a whole lot of money for the Houston Food Bank. Last year Houston Restaurant Weeks was able to raise more than $2 million, which is pretty astounding. Needless to say, it's a great cause.

If you're the type of person looking to try that splurge restaurant that's been just out of reach all year, now is the time. In fact, the deals abound so much, it can be downright difficult to decide where you want to go. The Houston Press has perused the menus of $20 lunches, $22 brunches, and $35 and $45 dinners, all of which are two or three courses (some with amuse-bouches as well), to find the best bets.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.