Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gluten-Free: in Houston, Texas

After spending our entire lives in Ohio prior to 2010, my wife and I are both now officially Texans!  Our house in Ohio, which we really liked and will probably never be able to replace, sold quickly after we essentially put it on the market at "fire sale" pricing once we came to the conclusion that the logistics of two-State living was going to be really difficult to maintain, if not impossible.

Now that were are both in Texas full time, we are getting a feel for the Gluten-Free diet scene here in the Houston area, and so far so good.

Houston, TX : Gluten-Free Benefit #1 :
Citrus in the back yard

This lovely grapefruit tree is within just a few feet of our back window.  It is actually quite a large tree -  around 25' high by 30' wide - and although it is technically the neighbor's tree, it hangs over the fence into our yard area a good 10 feet or more, so there are plenty of tasty grapefruit hanging into our yard for easy picking.

And, if grapefruit were not enough to enjoy, there is another orange tree nearby also hanging into the yard.  So, fresh citrus is always a great thing in my book!  mmmm!  Makes up for the summertime heat and humidity in Houston, TX perhaps :)

Houston, TX : Gluten-Free Benefit #2 :
Some Nice Restaurant Options
Having only been in Houston, TX for a short time, my experience with gluten-free restaurants in the area is limited, but it is growing as I find out what is in the region and "safe" for Celiac persons.  Earlier this year, we went out with a group of people to a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao, which although pricier than I would prefer, had quite a nice selection of meats that are supposed to be gluten-free, as well as a fantastic "salad bar" (much more than salad on it) with a wide variety of gluten-free items too.  I found the meat to be fantastic quality cuts that were quite tasty, but it was all much too salty to be my ideal (that fact alone will keep me from eating there regularly).

A much preferred gluten-free friendly restaurant for regular attendance in Houston is a restaurant with fantastic and rather healthy Tex-Mex options : Taco Milagro restaurant on the corner of Kirby and Westheimer.  Everything we have tried at Taco Milagro is AMAZING, and we now suffer from gluten-free Tex-Mex cravings on a regular basis... cravings that this restaurant alone can satisfy!  Highly recommended!  I must issue a well-deserved THANK YOU to Heather of who emailed me welcoming us to Houston, and who also wrote a great review of Taco Milagro's gluten-free diet menu items.  Her review had us sold before we ever went, and it only got better with first-hand experience!

On the more mainstream side of things, there is always P.F. Chang's China Bistro within 15 minutes drive, though I am sure I will be spending much, much more time at Taco Milagro than PF Changs.  I like Asian food quite a bit, and though I like some of the gluten-free menu items at Changs, I find there food to be a bit "generic" for me and also overly salty (like most restaurant food).

Houston, TX : Gluten-Free Benefit #3 :
Decent Access to Gluten-Free Items

As one may expect of any major city, Houston offers a pretty decent array of stores that cater to the gluten-free diet : be it ingredients or finished products.  There is easy access to CostCo for much of our fresh produce, and even an occasional Rotisserie chicken (they make a decent roasted chicken that is gluten-free according to the package; bit salty, but nice flavor).  We also have Whole Foods Markets in the area, and a chain of stores called H.E.B. (Here Everything's Better) and their associated "Central Market" store(s), and other more specialized diet stores too.

I have been pleased with HEB gluten-free selections, including some of their own branded HEB products - like their pasta sauces - which clearly state "Gluten-Free" on the label, and these self-branded items have been quite reasonable.  HEB impressed me with their wide selection of products in general.  This is the store where I first encountered the awesome gluten-free yogurt from Cultural Revolution (which is in the midst of being re-branded as "Kalona SuperNatural").  The store has a lot of Schar brand gluten-free items (pasta, crackers, cookies, and more) in addition to a wide range of others.  I generally do not buy pre-made gluten-free desserts and snacks (we tend to make our own), but it is nice knowing there are options close by if "needed".

Houston, TX : Gluten-Free Future...
I will certainly have much more Houston, Texas gluten-free insight after being here full time for more than a couple weeks.  My wife and I have plans to get out and check into more restaurants, shopping, and the gluten-free scene in general to see what this region has to offer those with Celiac Disease.

As we find more wheat-free and gluten-free diet-worthy notables in the region, I will certainly blog about them.

And last, if anyone in the Houston, TX region wants a copy of our Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Dessert Recipes book and wants to avoid the shipping charge, just contact me and I can arrange for you to stop by and get one without the added shipping. (send email to me at: my-first-and-last-name-appended-together AT

Note: this is likely going to be the last batch of printed books, as we are nearing a release of an "e-Book" (Amazon Kindle) version of our gluten-free cookbook, since our new Houston residence does not have the room for storing thousands of books at a time like we used to be able to do.  So, if you prefer hard-copy, now is the time to get one while we still have some remaining from our most recent printing (note to local GF merchants: if you want to retail our book, just contact me to work out details. Thanks).


Lynn Barry said...

Congratulations on selling your house and relocating to Texas.

Mike Eberhart said...

Thanks Lynn. The one thing for certain is that I will not miss those Winters that came with Ohio, and with you being in New York State, you know what I mean. Hopefully the lake-effect will not be TOO bad this year :)

I Am Gluten Free said...

Mike - I am so delighted to read this post. We are traveling to Houston to perform in February and I've already printed this out to take with us. Thank you! Happy T-giving!

Mike Eberhart said...

I Am... glad to hear it may come in handy. February should be a nice time of year to come to Houston (vs. summertime when it is just awful with heat/humidity). Happy Thanksgiving to you also. m