First of all, let me say; I ‘ve come to the conclusion that I’ve never experienced Dallas. Now, of course, I grew up there. My whole entire childhood is tied to memories of walking through Trader’s village with my family and getting turkey legs, getting chased by stray dogs walking home after school in Pleasant Grove, and my daddy buying us McDonald’s and tamales after my brothers got a fresh fade every Saturday morning. Chocolate-covered ice cream cones at Montgomery Ward and smelling Sweet Georgia Brown’s in the air after church every Sunday, wishing one day I could go inside and eat up everything. Yes, I lived in Dallas, but I never lived in Dallas. As in, I up and left for college at 18, and moved to Los Angeles about a month after I moved back home following graduation. As in, if someone asked me the best places to go for a drink or nice club, I would have no clue. The last thing I remember about Dallas nightlife was the time I lied to my parents and went to Club Cirque with my friends for my 18th birthday. Shaking. My. Head.
But I digress.
Anyway, I finally had the chance to move around my city as a grown up and a tourist in between paint sessions and fixing up my mother’s house, and now that I am transitioning into a vegan lifestyle, I had a clear mission to filter through the barbecue restaurants and find some vegan/vegetarian-friendly spots. I wasn’t expecting a bombardment of options, but I sure got it. Dallas, I am so proud of you.
I swung through Oak Cliff, fell ALL THE WAY IN LOVE with Deep Ellum, rode around Richardson and Uptown. I couldn’t try them all, but I found some dope and equally delicious Dallas vegan spots for the non-meat eating Texan.
Cosmic Cafe, Oak Lawn
I’m a sucker for a good atmosphere. Not only does it work to have great food, but the setting itself should make for a great dining experience. I could sit in here and meditate if I wanted! The Indian-inspired Cosmic Cafe has this vegan dish called the Buddha’s Delight that is A-mazing! I took some home and my mother even finished it! That’s how I knew it was the bomb. The curried vegetable, garbanzo beans, samosa, and nan (Indian leavened bread) was like ascension on a plate. Namaste’, Cosmic Cafe (bows with hands together). I see you (pounds fist on chest.)
Goji Cafe, Dallas
A few months ago I discovered zucchini noodles and it was a wrap. I tried ratatouille, spaghetti, and threw spices and vegetables in a pot and hoping it came out good. I wanted to try every zucchini noodle recipe under the sun! When I browsed over the Goji Cafe menu and saw the Righteous Raw Pasta, I bounced up and down on my seat like a little kid. The raw tomato sauce had cashew nuts, sauteed onions, bell peppers, and hints of garlic. For such simple ingredients, and big flavor, I had to question what I was doing wrong. Now, I ain’t never got my zucchini noodle sauce to taste this good!
Spiral Diner and Bakery, Oak Cliff
I looked through all the pages of the menu stocked full of hamburgers, nachos, breakfast food all day, and warm brownies sundaes. “I looked to my cousin, puzzled, and asked, “Well,where’s the vegan food?”
“Everything is vegan.” She replied calmly.
(Holds menu up to the sky while angels collectively sing, “aahhhhh”) I wanted to dive in! For a restaurant with the description of “vegan comfort food,” they had a lot of impressing to do, and…okay, I was pretty blown away. The Nacho Supreme was the bomb diggity and apparently a crowd favorite. At least 5 other people in the restaurant were chowing down on the heaping plate of chips topped with cashew based nacho cheese, quinoa, black beans, black olives, cilantro, corn, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapenos. I also tried the El Paso burger with cashew quinoa patty, guacamole, chipotle vegan mayo, red onion and jalapenos. Winner, winner, no chicken dinner!
Reverie Bake Shop, Richardson
photo courtesy of reveriebakeshop.com
Of course, thou shalt not forget about dessert. It’s a sin, I say! My dietary lifestyle may have changed but my love for sweet things has not. As a self proclaimed dessert connoisseur, Reverie Bakery hit all marks and passed every test–no question. The Raw Chocolate Pistachio Bars? My soul, y’all; I could feel it in my soul. I also tried the Raw Triple Berry Cheesecake, the Raw German Chocolate Cake, and the Banana Creme Pie. Do you know how tough it is to find a raw vegan dish that’s actually better than the cooked version. (Starts a slow applause) Reverie Bakery, you are the real MVP.