My most recent trip to Houston, Texas checked all of these boxes - as long as loved ones' smiles can count for the gorgeous view! When it came to eating, though, I really did dine like a celiac queen.
While I enjoyed several other restaurants - like Whole Foods and Outback Steakhouse - here are three that stood out as some of the tastiest gluten free friendly restaurants in Houston!
This restaurant is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to celiac dining. I first tried Ruggles Green a few summers ago and I've been dreaming of it ever since. Not only is the food delicious and celiac safe, but "gluten free" is clearly indicated on the menu and the options range from burgers to pasta to pizza.
For a peek at the salmon salad and veggie pizza that blew my taste buds away, check out my previous review here. This time I enjoyed a turkey burger on a gluten free bun and their award-winning sweet potato fries. While Ruggles mistakenly put real mozzarella instead of the daiya cheese version and I needed to wait for them to re-fire a new burger, it was a scrumptious meal when I finally dug in!
The burger also tasted just as delicious as leftovers the next day and the fries added a sweet and salty kick to my salad a couple nights later!
I know: Italian restaurant plus celiac sounds like the setup to a bad joke. My gluten free mom raved about her meal at Carrabba's for months, though, so I knew I had to try it for myself.
Carrabba's does offer a gluten free menu that includes everything from soups to salads to pastas to entrees. I ended up ordering the grilled chicken with a side of roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach - plus a house salad (minus the croutons, obviously). Because the GF menu mentioned that there was no separate grill for GF items, I asked to speak to the chef. He agreed to pan-sear my chicken instead.
The Italian house salad was a basic mix of crunchy mixed greens and carrots and salty olives and peppers, but with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar, it tasted perfect. As for my main entree?
O. M. G. I'll start by saying that I'm not a huge chicken fan because it can be so difficult to make juicy and tender...but Carrabba's chef must have graduated from Hogwarts because he worked some major magic! The meat literally fell apart with only a poke of my fork and the seasoning created a rich, peppery flavor. I can say with 100% confidence that this was the best chicken I've ever tasted.
While the potatoes and spinach were definitely saturated in much more oil than I'm used to, but they blew me away with their flavors. I'd never had sautéed spinach before and I totally intend on trying to replicate Carrabba's - though probably with some chicken stock instead of only olive oil. As for the potatoes, they boasted crispy edges and pillowy middles that made it hard to stop eating!
We actually planned on eating elsewhere for one of my last days in Houston, but when that option didn't seem celiac safe (No "vegan" is not the same thing as "celiac"), we ended up at Zoe's instead - and boy were we happy with the results! Zoe's offers a gluten free menu that ranges from kabobs to soups to beans to salads.
After taking my sweet time trying to decide the winning order, I eventually chose the salmon and veggie kabobs with a side of hummus and salad. (My aunt knew I'd never tried hummus before and told me Zoe's would be a great first time!)
Our food arrived quickly and I immediately started drooling. The salmon boasted grill marks that any Instagram foodie would immediately share, but still tasted juicy and tender. As for the grilled zucchini and squash? They disappeared in a flash - and I loved that the chef kept the seasoning simple to let the veggies be the star.
I can also officially say that I'm a newborn hummus lover. Zoe's tasted creamy, a little tangy and a little sweet - and I loved using it as a dip for the rest of the plate. Finally, the salad added a much-needed crunch that rounded out the entire dish. Proof that Zoe's really is a delicious choice for anyone? My sister, who is known for turning up her nose at most fruits and veggies, pronounced the veggie and ham pita-dilla (a Mediterranean twist on the quesadilla) and side of white beans her favorite meal of our whole trip. Even against Ruggles Green's quinoa pasta!
The truth is, it's nearly impossible to have the perfect vacation that meets all of your priorities and expectations. At least in the case of gluten free food, though, my trip to Houston proved to be safe, (mainly) nutritious and 100% delicious.
|Especially with my trusty smoothie bowls for breakfast!|
And Ruggles Green and Zoe's Kitchen...if you ever want to relocate to San Diego or Colorado Springs, I definitely wouldn't mind!
What are your vacation priorities? What's the best gluten free food you've ever eaten on vacation? Comment below!