Six Women, Five Bites, One Sip - Restaurants to Visit
Got a craving for something hearty, or rather something sweet? Find inspiration from this selection for a little local nourishment!
Thelma Portillo-Ubeda, Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins
The Wheel Kitchen, Tomball –25510 Zion Luther Cementery Rd.
This inviting café offers a diverse menu featuring ingredients from an impressive number of local farmers and producers so every meal is like a virtual farm tour. Chef-owner Portillo-Ubeda cans fall pumpkins from Atkinson Farms (Spring) and Apollo FARM (Livingston) for use in her year-round pumpkin muffins, combining them with eggs from Three Sister Farm (Tomball), butter from various producers including Gramen Farm (Tomball) and honey from Apollo. They pair delightfully with her custom-roasted Indonesian and Guatemalan coffees from Houston roaster Lola Savannah.
Sarah Lieberman, Cappuccino with Local Milk
Dandelion Café, Bellaire–5405 Bellaire Blvd.
For an extra-tasty excuse to get that morning latte, pay a visit to this homey coffee shop that uses whole milk sourced from family-owned Mill-King Dairy (McGregor). Unlike those bulk-produced gallons at the grocery, this milk is lightly pasteurized, which Lieberman says allows it to retain more nutritional value—plus it just tastes better. Watch closely and you may see the barista shake your milk before steaming; since Mill-King opts not to homogenize its product, the cream naturally separates and must be blended to ensure proper consistency. Add some zip with housemade seasonal syrups using fruits and herbs from Plant It Forward Farms (Houston), like orange or peppermint.
Stephanie Hoban, Avocado Toast
Ripe Cuisine, Food Truck
The organic and vegan Ripe Cuisine truck is a fixture at the Tuesday University and Saturday Urban Harvest farmers markets. A popular favorite is her avocado toast, which varies slightly based on what produce is available and may include grapefruit from her brother’s tree or heirloom tomatoes from a market vendor. Whatever the topping, the toast foundation comes from vegan sunflower and flax seed bread from Artisana Bread in Houston.
Susan Sahwani-Garcia, Assorted Ice Creams
Chocolate Wasted, East End–724 Telephone Rd.
Local indulgence comes in cups and cones at this bakery and food truck catering to ice cream lovers of all walks looking for the exceptional. For her orange marmalade variation, Sahwani-Garcia sources homegrown and farmers market oranges from the East End, whips up a batch of orange marmalade from scratch and incorporates it into a mixture of cream, sugar and organic milk. Blueberries from The Berry Best Texas Berries (Silsbee) partner with lavender for a freshly floral experience in the aptly named Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream. Every two-gallon batch is churned by hand, allowing for strict quality control that really pays off.
Kiran Verma, Texas Red Snapper
Kiran’s, Upper Kirby–2925 Richmond Ave.
Relish the warmth of North Indian cuisine with a Texas twist at one of Houston’s most beloved locales. Tuck into red snapper that has marinated overnight in a rich combination of cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt before being cooked to perfection in a tandoor grill. Chef Verma sources the snapper and its accompanying Gulf crab from Blue Horizon Seafood located a few miles away, which owner Frixos Chrisinis hand-selects directly from fisherman. The dish also pulls in seasonal mushrooms from Indian Creek Mushrooms (Coldspring) and fresh greens from Sustainable Harvesters (Hockley).
Chotima “Cho” Namcharoen, Pad Thai
Aim Thai Restaurant, Acres Homes–9734 West Montgomery Rd.
It’s hard to know which is more alluring: the warm and gracious personality of owner Cho or the authentic Thai cuisine coming out of kitchen, which she shares with her mother and a slew of family members. A kitchen garden onsite provides abundant herbs and spices used throughout her cooking including lemongrass, kaffir limes and leaves, turmeric, Thai basil and galangal root for curry. Ask for an after-dinner tour the next time you visit and pick up a bag of housemade taro chips or plantains!