Looking for plant-based takeout inspiration in this quarantine era? Here are some of my top picks for vegetarian eats to-go, most of which are situated inside the Loop. Make sure to take advantage of some of the amazing specials, tip generously, and order directly from the restaurant for pickup or delivery (vs. through a third party delivery app) to help as much money go directly to the restaurant as possible!
Banyan Foods: Banyan Foods sells a lot of popular products at Central Market and other stores around Houston. They've now opened up their own "Tofuber Eats" service delivering a variety of ready-to-cook tofu-based items—from frozen curry tofu egg rolls, frozen tofu crumbles, vegan calamari, and green tofu tamales to refrigerated entrees like tofu fried rice, crystal noodles and kim chi. There's a $50 minimum on all delivery orders, and every order comes with a free Banyan Foods item. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.
Korny Vibes: This 100 percent vegan cafe in Montrose features plant-based comfort food like "chickn" sandwiches, "wyngs" and more. They're currently running Korona meal specials composed of a sandwich, a side (fries, mac 'n cheese, onion rings, etc.) and a set of three wyngs (choose from buffalo, mango habanero or BBQ) for just $16. For the adventurous, try a KV Mystery Bag—keep an eye on their Instagram or website for these occasional flash sales. Each mystery bag includes a main entree, a dessert and a drink for just $15. The thick and crispy onion rings are not to be missed. Place your orders online, open from noon to 8 p.m.
Ramen Tatsuya: For the first time ever, Ramen Tatsuya is offering a to-go menu—luckily for me and all the vegetarians in Houston as it's home to my favorite veg ramen in Houston. (Of course, the full menu, side dishes, and beverages are also available for non-vegetarian household members.) For other plant-based snacks, try the spicy edamame or the curry bowl, made with potato and carrots in a rich Japanese curry sauce. Take-out is available every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m—order online.
Verdine: In addition to their normal delicious menu, Heights-based vegan restaurant Verdine is also offering a "Stronger Together" menu featuring items like white cheddar mac, jackfruit carnitas, coconut quinoa and veggie burger patties that you can prepare at home. These items are available for pick up only, so you can either call the restaurant or place an order in-person. For all other items on the regular menu (may I suggest the orange cauliflower, modern day caesar, or the waterworks cheeseburger?), receive a 5% discount.
Dumpling Dudez: Craving dumplings? Dumpling Dudez has you covered with freshly-made dumplings that are ready to steam, pan-fry or bake at home. Vegetarian flavor options include the steam/fry-ready "Tradish-Vegan" dumplings (made with fried tofu, leeks, mushrooms and glass noodles) or the ready-to-bake vegan curry mash dumplings (made with potato, carrot, quinoa, green peas and curry). Depending on the flavor, you may have to place a pre-order. Each dozen is around $15 and pickup is in EaDo.
Lua Viet Kitchen: This is one of my favorite places inside the loop for super-fresh and vibrant Vietnamese food. They have an entire plant-based section of their menu (the shaking tofu and crispy lemongrass tofu are among my top picks). They are offering either 20 percent off your entire purchase with promo code "beatthevirus" or you can donate the 20 percent discount to The Chance for Hope Foundation (helping support children with cancer) with the code supportchildhoodcancer. View their to-go menu here.
Boheme: Though not really a vegetarian hotspot, I can't pass up mentioning the amazing deals happening at Boheme—if you place a direct to-go order with them, you'll receive free delivery (within 3 miles) and 20 percent off your order. This discount does not apply to third party delivery apps. Alternatively, if you buy a bottle of wine, you'll receive a free order of their Vietnamese fries (though this deal cannot be combined with the 20 percent discount). I think that's incentive enough to order a bottle to go with their inimitable veggie-topped vegan pizza.
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Cafe TH: Don't forget about neighborhood gems like this Vietnamese cafe in EaDo! Offering their classic vegan staples like pho, curry, or the tofu stir fry, Cafe TH also offers one of the tastiest vegetarian deals in any Vietnamese restaurant I've seen: the Trifecta Sanjay, featuring a small tofu banh mi, stir fried tofu and a small bowl of curry. Cafe TH is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, and until 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday with all regular menu items still available.
Coltivare: In addition to ordering a la cart off the regular menu, Coltivare has also added a "cook-at-home" section—you can pick up the fixings for a margherita pizza, a take-and-bake mushroom and ricotta lasagna, or a vegetable minestrone soup to heat up at home. Or opt for the "Date Night To-Go" package for 1-2 people, which features an entirely vegetarian menu (salad, grilled cabbage, margherita pizza and cacio e pepe) for $40. (Note: they're still closed on Tuesdays.)
Oporto: This Portuguese tapas spot is offering takeaway curry packages—you can get an entirely vegetarian one featuring a cauliflower potato curry with patatas bravas, baked goat cheese or tomato bread and salad (plus rice and freshly baked naan). Or you can opt for the vegetarian paella, accompanied with fresh bread, salad and bolo de bolcaha (portuguese tiramisu).