good eats in Houston, Austin, San Antonio?
A friend and I will be driving through Texas in a couple weeks with short stops in Houston (dinner), Austin (lunch) and San Antonio (dinner), and I'd love to get some suggestions from locals on good, relatively inexpensive, authentically-Texan places to eat in these cities.
Here's the catch: I'm vegetarian. This probably rules out BBQ places! Texmex would be great, I just need some veggie-friendly options. Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Also, we're hotel-hunting too and wondering which parts of town would be best in Houston and San Antonio?
Houston - I don't know your budget, but I would stay at Hotel Zaza (boutique higher end, on the W scale) which has a great pool and scene, it's in the Museum District right near Rice U. You could actually take the light rail from there to t'Afia which would be a great dinner option for you - emphasis on local food, vegetarian options, and Asian/Med influence and if it is a Tues-Thurs night the bar menu is free with their cocktails, things like hummus. Or I would go to Hugo's which is close enough to Zaza that they should drive you (~2 miles) which is finer Mexican but would have some veg options. Just getting an appetizer and desserts there is worth it. Another non-vegetarian restaurant that is innovative and has great sides and salads for a veg diner is Reef, again, another light rail candidate from Zaza. Texans sometimes think vegetarians eat fish so watch out.
If you don't care too much about location the Residence Inn downtown isn't that bad and if it's during the week it won't be too deserted downtown, there aren't a lot of food places around there but the light rail is nearby.
You know Jennaliz, I got to thinking and there is this little funky place called the Last Concert Cafe. It is close to downtown, and they have mexican food with more vegetarian options than most places. It is a hippie kind of place with music depending on what night you go. Go to this and read up on their mission to serve you the best local, non-processed, and healthy foods:
Then check out the menu.
I have been a huge fan of La Mexicana (dive) in Houston....I am sure there might be better pricier places but this place always satifies. I did check the menu taken your request to heart before posting up. They do have a nopalitos en chipotle (cactus leaves in chipoptle). I really like the jumbo burrito with fajita meat, but they do have an option for the veggie only. I am sure if you told them they would accomodate your request. Roadfood did a piece on them and I attached it below. The link for the restaurant is on their site along with pictures!
If you are on your way to Austin you can run by Lockhart...Texas BBQ capital. If you go you might not come back a vegetarian though. I prefer Smitty's, but for a fair game Kruez and Black's are also better than what we have available in Dallas and from what I have heard in Houston also. Maybe your friend can get some BBQ and tell you how good it is?
The folks on the Austin board would be a good source to get something local...probably Threadgills (home cooking), Hoovers (home cooking used to run the Night Hawk kitchen....yes the same one as the frozen dinners), Trudys (Tex-Mex), Mi Madre's (Tex-Mex), Torchy's Tacos (Tex-Mex), Maudies (Tex-Mex), Nubian Queen Lolas (Soul Food), those are some from the top of my head. Austin probably has a bigger vegetarian following than Houston or San Antonio.
I have no clue about San Antonio....I don't live there and I haven't been too many times.