I want part of my blog to be focused on Houston, so today I list some of my favorite local restaurants and why I think they are so great. I’ve only been here for about two years, so I know I’ll find more fun places. The four below are casual spots. Perhaps a later post will be for some nicer restaurants, but you could find reviews of those in any magazine!

1. Ruggles Green

From their website: Ruggles Green is Green Restaurant Certified by the Green Restaurant Association. We offer delicious menu items that incorporate organic, all-natural, hormone-free, preservative-free, products that are always delicious. We strive to preserve the environment through our actions in recycling, conservation, the use of sustainable products, and simple common sense.

Favorite menu items are their Tofu and Tomato Salad, and the Veggie Nut Burger. Also great are the Sweet Potato Fries, Jenny Dipper salad, and the Hi Protein Hempenadas. Just eating at a Certified Green restaurant makes you feel like you’re doing something right!

2. Stone Mill Bakers

This bread shop and lunch spot is a favorite for an indulgent and carb-loading day. First, huge samples are available of muffins, cookies, or breads. That is always a good start! And their sandwiches are just as tasty as their baked goods. My favorite is Turkey Avocado on Honey Whole Wheat. And the sandwiches come with a cookie! All homemade, all delicious. Not that you want to look, but the nutritional info is listed on their website.

3. Picnic

Another super-cute lunch/dessert place is Picnic. What a cute name! Their website even has a list of local spots to have a picnic in Houston, and your box lunch comes in a picnic box if it’s to go. But 9 of 12 months of the year are too hot for that. Their tuna salad and chicken salad plates are delicious, and again, come with a cookie! All homemade right on the spot. I think homemade breads make a restaurant even better. Cookies, soups, and breads change daily, so you have to keep going back to taste them all.

4. French Gourmet Bakery

I don’t have a picture of the best cookies in town, but their iced ginger and chocolate chip cookes are fabulous. Their phone customer service is not great, and the outside decor will give you flashbacks to the 1980s, but their goods make up for it. They have a lunch menu, but I have never tried it. I have only had the cookies, and they are good!