Readers of my food writing can ascertain pretty quickly I am not a vegetarian. Despite what Jonathan Safran Foer would advise, I do eat animals as well as products made from animals. Explaining why I believe it is my right to eat animals as well as why I often enjoy doing so is beyond the scope of this article. However, let it be known that I recognize that eating less meat is good for the environment and for one’s health. To that end, I strongly support not only limiting the amount of animal products (especially those derived from factory farms) in your diet. An easy way to do so is to conduct a little self-education, read labels, and eat vegan meals.
Up until recently, I did not follow my own advice as often as I should. With the new year brings new optimism and new hope for my meat-lusting, highly habitual self, so I’m seeking out more animal-friendly food options. And, without a hint of hyperbole, I can say there’s no better place to start in Houston than Radical Eats.
Radical Eats first drew my attention when a vegetarian college friend and native Houstonian raved to me about their “amazing” vegetarian- and vegan-friendly brunch. I was (stupidly) suspicious about committing to an entire vegetarian brunch, so I checked out their mushroom enchiladas, which turned out not just to be “good for being vegan” (let’s ditch that condescending phrase once and for all, okay?) but REALLY GOOD.
In 2014 I will continue to return to Radical Eats for more than just the enchiladas and you should too. Some items on their menu are satisfying albeit not particularly inventive: a black bean burger, guacamole and chips. Many others are equally creative and delicious, such as the crunchy, hearty “falaco,” their taco + falafel “love child,” or the aromatic lemongrass eggplant salad with brown rice noodles, peanuts, tomatoes, and purple onions.
Evidence that Radical Eats is strongly committed to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients can be seen in their ever-changing “Urban Harvest” salad, which comprises whatever attracted the chefs’ attention during their most recent visit to the eponymous farmers’ market. And because the menu is so strongly shaped by the availability and quality of regional foodstuffs, it is easy to never have the same meal twice at Radical Eats. Seasonal specials include, for example, a vegetarian version of chile relleno enogado, a traditional late summer Mexican dish, with roasted vegetables, beans, Oaxaca cheese, wild mushrooms, and pomegranate seeds.
Recently, Radical Eats changed locations, moving from the Heights to the heart of Montrose, but loyal fans have followed them thanks to their consistent cuisine, which now actually includes some meat options for obstinate carnivores (there’s one in every family, yes?). Their central habitat should make it even easier for Houstonians all over the loop to re-commit to Meatless Mondays, and maybe even give veganism a chance in 2014.
507 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006