Probably the best thing about living in Houston is the astounding array of Tex-Mex. This is especially great for those who are gluten-intolerant. While so much food around the country is wheat-based, at least Tex-Mex has options. Corn tortillas easily replace wheat tortillas, and what you find inside, and next to, these simple, healthy staple foods, provide a haven for the gluten-free. Best of all, Tex-Mex tastes so darned good! Still, us gluten-free-ers know when we venture outside of our kitchens, we have to be ever wary of hidden ingredients. Gluten could be lurking in anything, and sauces, condiments and flavorings are its favorite hiding places.
This is not a worry at Taco Milagro. As clearly stated on their menu, ”All items are gluten free, except for the flour tortillas, hamburger buns & fried fish tacos.” It is because of this commitment that I wanted to honor them with my first real restaurant review. That, and the fact that my family goes there almost weekly because we love it so much. It turns out that the owner actually has celiac disease, and the restaurant has been gluten free since it opened 13 years ago. So she knows more than anybody the importance of addressing this growing issue in restaurant fare.
Taco Milagro is a casual restaurant, without waitstaff. You place your order, then, if you like, you can sip a selection of drinks, including a margarita made from their diverse tequila selection, while waiting for your order to be filled. You can also help yourself to fresh chips and a variety of salsas at their salsa bar, free of charge. When the sun is setting, and the weather is pleasant, head outside and grab one of the many tables in the nicely-spaced courtyard.
Not only has Taco Milagro been recently rated the healthiest Tex Mex in Houston, AND the majority of their items are gluten-free, but their food is quite simply, delicioso. Start with the fresh handmade guacamole. It’s some of the best around. Even my one-year-old daughter can’t get enough of it.
Oh, and I forget to mention: Taco Milagro is affordable. My favorite dish of the restaurant is the Pork Coloradita (pictured above). Its a steal at $8.25 and probably the median price of all entreés on the menu. The tender pork, braised for 12 hours in-house, just falls apart and melds with the smoky, succulent guajillo chili sauce. It could easily sell for double the price anywhere else. The pork comes with two cheese enchiladas (corn-based) and your choice of a side salad or rice and refried beans. I choose the fresh salad garnished with pickled onions. I love this dish, and can’t wait to go back for more!
A new take on the chile rellenos is their grilled poblano chiles stuffed with soft, melty, chihuahua cheese, pecans and dried fruit. The pecans give a ‘meaty’ texture to the body of the meal and the sweetness of the apricots give a nice balance to the heat of the peppers and piquant gaujillo chile sauce. It is all rounded out nicely with a topping of crema fresca and grated cotija cheese. This also happens to be a perfectly filling vegetarian entreé, if you are looking for that.
My standard go-to is the sweet potato and swiss chard enchilada. The tanginess of swiss chard mellows out nicely with the sweet potato. This dish is another excellent vegetarian alternative. Actually, I have tried every one of their enchiladas and like them all. The velvety molé on the pork barbacoa enchilada is scrumptious and the enchiladas de Res with chipotle beef and spicy mexican tomato sauce deeply satisfies any Tex-Mex craving you might have.
Whiles casual in nature, on Fridays and Saturdays you can get some really well dressed clientele, presumably meeting for happy hour and hoping to ‘be seen’ on the scene. Apparently the place is standing room only around midnight on these nights. They also have salsa lessons on Wednesday evenings.
At the same time, it is a very family friendly restaurant as well. My three-year-old son loves the outdoor patio and water fountain, and he also loves the kid’s burritos, which are available in a gluten-free version by request. They just substitute the flour tortilla for corn tortilla.
After all this, try to save room for their rich, creamy flan, which really is “Muy Fino” as advertised.
A sign in their restaurant reads “not the same old rice and beans” and indeed it is not. If you are looking for something different, something scrumptous, something healthy and that suits your dietary needs, all in a fun, casual atmosphere, you can find it here. Whether you live in town or are just visiting Houston, you must pay a visit to Taco Milagro. And of course, your non-gluten-free friends will enjoy it as much as you.