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Eat Healthy in 2018 and Enjoy!
By Robin Barr Sussman

Each year, most of us resolve to a cleaner, leaner and more responsible diet. But busy people don’t always have the time and energy to prepare a nutritious meal day after day. These six spots — located in popular areas all over restaurant-rich Houston — make healthful food both approachable and delicious. Dig in!

If fresh is on your agenda, trust Local Foods, which sources ingredients from farmers and ranchers in the Houston area. You can’t miss with the gorgeous salads and inventive sandwiches, which are large enough to split with a friend. Try the roast beef with curried cauliflower and horseradish aioli on a sesame bun. For a perfect winter lunch, the lime-kissed chicken posole soup with poblano peppers soothes the soul.
2424 Dunstan Road, 713-521-7800; 2555 Kirby Drive, 713-255-4440; 5740 San Felipe Road, Suite 130, 713-789-0642; and downtown location at 420 Main St., 713-227-0531;

Formerly named Shade, chef Claire Smith’s rechristened Heights cafe is a breath of fresh air. The updated menu features colorful Mediterranean fare that tastes as good as it looks. Highlights include a marinated shrimp salad with shaved vegetables and citrus vinaigrette and the light tuna crudo with tomato and basil. For that carb reward, sample the homemade bread and pastas like eggplant agnolotti with goat cheese, sweet peppers and scallions. Weekend brunch means egg dishes galore or house granola with yogurt and fruit.
250 W. 19th St., 713-864-2050,

True Food Kitchen calls itself the purveyors of nourishment for the wellness-aware. The menu is based on health guru Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet emphasizing flavor-forward choices served at the peak of freshness. Favorites include the organic kale salad, turkey burger with smashed avocado, sustainable seabass with sugar snap peas and ancient grains and butternut squash pizza. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
1700 Post Oak Blvd., 281-605-2505,

This national chain takes the guesswork out of dieting. Calorie counts are listed on the menu, which includes dairy-sensitive, vegan and vegetarian choices. For starters, indulge guilt-free in spinach and Brussels sprouts dip or lobster ravioli. Creative salads incorporate proteins and fruit, or choose a meaty entrée like beef short ribs or braised lamb shank. Seafood lovers will relish the luxurious selections, including cedar plank roasted salmon with crushed potatoes (580 calories, FYI).
CityCentre, 842 W. Sam Houston Parkway North, 713-464-5252; 4410 Westheimer Road, 713-621-5452;

Here’s a handy Galleria-area eatery popular for a quick lunch. The counter-serve menu, complete with vegan and vegetarian choices, proffers smoothies and bountiful protein-filled salads to heartier fare like turkey burgers and thin-crust pizzas. For dinner (table service), consider the tender grilled pork chop served with fresh vegetables. At happy hour, expect healthier than usual bar food at a great price. Think falafel bites, chicken satay and blackened shrimp with mango pico.
5092 Richmond Ave., 713-904-3547,

New Pokéworks features a customizable “Poké Your Way” menu for guests to build their own bowl with a variety of healthful, quality ingredients. Besides the tuna classics, choose proteins ranging from traditional fresh ahi tuna and salmon, flown in daily, to options of albacore tuna, scallops, shrimp, sous vide chicken and organic tofu. Also popular is the signature sushi burrito.
213 Heights Blvd., 832-271-7392,




Here’s a fresh take on a warm, bubbling casserole that substitutes spaghetti squash for pasta. Think of it as comfort food without all the calories or “Marvelous Meatless Monday!” If you don’t eat dairy or follow the Paleo diet, just omit the cheese.

1 spaghetti squash
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
2-5 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash lengthwise and place the halves skin-side down in a baking dish with an inch of water. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the squash meat is tender.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and carrots, with a little water to prevent sticking. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables with some red pepper flakes and a dash of salt, if desired. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are barely tender, for about 10 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, basil and oregano to taste and allspice. Squeeze in 2 to 5 cloves of garlic. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grate the mozzarella and Parmesan and set aside.

Remove squash from the oven and allow it to cool until you can handle it. Remove seeds with a spoon and squeeze any excess water out of squash meat. Break up the squash meat up into strands with a fork or potato masher. Combine squash well with remaining vegetables in the sauté pan. Add half of the mixture to the base of a large, oiled baking dish. Top with half the cheeses, the rest of the squash and then the rest of the cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

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