03 November 2012

Houston: Radical Eats

Oops!  Becca and I spent last weekend in Houston visiting with 3 of our fave peeps.  It was sunny.  Take that, East Coast.  (Too soon?)

Our wonderful hosts, Dane & Teresa, kindly had their ears to the ground for the vegan beat.  They took us to this totally lovely Tex-Mex hole with a 100% vegan menu.  A-MAZING.  Not only does their website have a super fun blog and recipe section, but the restaurant itself is comfortable and chill.  Perfect place for a Saturday lunch.

Radical Eats
3903 Fulton St
Houston, TX  77009
(713) 697-8719

The ordering process was a little confusing.  The place is switching from counter to table service, so it's a work in progress.  We walked in and were immediately greeted by a server who walked us through the specials, gave us menus, then had us choose a table.  We gave our orders to our server from there, but paid at the counter before we left.  They're friendly.  No big deal.  [EDIT] Check out T's comment below about Texas.

Free chips and salsa are kind of a given at Tex-Mex joints, but this place adds jalapeno sauce to the mix.  The homemade chips were super good and salty, so dense and crispy that it's not hard to see that these little triangles used to be tortillas.  The subtle flavor of the salsa complements the chips well.  It's got a nice slow burn so you don't notice the heat until you're swallowing.

The jalapeno sauce was hot enough to blow up a Beanie Baby, but you can still pick up on the roasted, seedless jalapeno flavor.  I'd been a jalapeno sauce virgin and I enjoyed it immensely.  I don't usually like the taste of these little chilis raw.  Roasted, though.  Exquisite.

I pretty much wanted to stick my face in everyone's plates, but restrained myself with difficulty.  I settled for elbowing my lunch compadres out of the way as I greedily snapped pictures of their food before they touched it.  Then I spent like a grillion minutes writing food notes down instead of having what's called a "conversation."  On top of THAT, I had to borrow St. Emily's camera and make her send these pictures to me afterward.  I am a total b-word sometimes.  Will it ever stop?  Who could ever love me?  When did I make such a wrong turn on this road called life?

LOL J/K I'll be obnoxious for like ever.

Emily and Dane both got the lovely Mole Enchilada Plate Special.  It seemed odd to prepare such a dish without some good and melty vegan cheese - that texture and flavor was definitely lacking.  Add that to the fact that some of the veggies inside were undercooked and the thing had a prime deficiency.  The spicy mole was good, though, with an earthy flavor.  The rice and beans happened to beat out the enchiladas for taste.  All in all, not the best meal at our table.

Becca's Torta for $5.50 wasn't very Tex-Mex either, but it was one hell of a sandwich.  Does that not look like a big ol' slab of cooked dead animal?!  Don't freak.  It's nice, melty grilled eggplant, refried beans, greens, vegan "gourmet" cheese, and what we think is vegan garlic aioli but might be veganaise and wasn't included in the menu's description.  Becca ordered hers without tomatoes, but it also came without the pesto and vegan sour cream that was promised in the menu.  It turned out just fine.  Better with pesto, though?  We may never know.

Then there were the tacos - YUM.  Order 3 and you've got yourself a solid meal.  The Street Taco at $2.50 (middle below) is filled with potatoes, portobello, red chili gravy, cilantro, and onions.  It was so delish that T gulped it down in one hot second.  The Fried Avocado Taco for $4.15 (left below) has got baja style fried avocado, as promised, Asian slaw, and creamy rooster sauce.  This thing was magic - the flavors you usually see in fish tacos came together to perfectly set off the cornmeal encrusted fried avocado.  Can you go wrong with fried avocado?  I don't think so, silly.

I nabbed the best of all 3 of the tacos: the Po' Boy for $3.50.  With cajun rice, bean & corn fritters, Louisiana hot sauce, and remoulade sauce, this thing went straight to the French Quarter of my heart.  In a nice way, not in an artery-clogging way.  The cajun flavor was authentic enough to fool me, and the hot, tangy sauces dripping over the crispy fried cornmeal & beans were HEAVEN.  Every taste was in perfect balance with its compatriots.  This thing owns.

We left with full bellies and skipped, hand in hand, into the sunset.  And by skipped hand in hand, I mean braced ourselves against the wind, and by into the sunset, I mean into Dane's Prius.


  1. One thing that I would add is that this place is like a hippie-dippie-vegan oasis in a giant sea of "Texas edition" SUVs and barbecue joints :) This is why some of the little things (like the table service and pesto confusion) are but teeny tiny blips on the radar.

    1. Thank you for saying that, T! An important point. I'll call attention to that in the post.

  2. I don't care if you are a total b-word, I will always love you.
    Your mom

  3. Correction! Mine did not have sour cream in the dairy sense, but veganaise, and actually I'm 99% sure it was Wildwood's garlic aioli, which is always what I want on my sandwiches in the first place.

    1. Kay thanks! I'll fix that. Your sandwich was merely an abstract representation of what the menu said.

    2. Still good though. I'd eat it. OH WAIT I did that already. I'd do it again. [That's what she said.]