Having spent the holiday with our own families, my best friends and I celebrated our Christmas dinner last night at Campania in West Village. The uptown pizzeria serves up a variety of traditional Italian pies and pastas, using accidentally vegan ingredients as their bases. After investigating several pizzerias offering vegan fare in Dallas, I was partial to celebrating our holiday at Campania for three reasons: novelty, proximity, and, most importantly, the BYOB policy! Bret, Jenn, and I cabbed it over to West Village, each toting our favorite bottle of red. We arrived at the pizzeria expecting to find a typical, stuffy uptown hangout. What we indeed found was a friendly neighborhood pizza joint spinning Neko Case's The Virginian,and clientele representing all facets of society. Service was great, and dinner was fantastic! My pizza included artichoke hearts, eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes (which more than made up for the absence of cheese on my pie), and Bret and Jenn shared their own vegetarian pizza. With a vast assortment of fresh vegetables, the pizza and pasta variations at Campania seem limitless!
Take advantage of Campania's delivery service, or enjoy a night out with a group of friends and your own favorite bottle.
Being an Uptown hotspot, Mi Cocina in West Village is a favorite haunt of mine and many of my friends. Sure, my choices for vegan food are limited as with most Mexican restaurants, but I must admit I love a good Mambo Taxi and the cooks at Mi Cocina are always happy to accommodate my dietary needs. Mi Cocina's guacamole dip and complimentary chips and salsa are vegan, and an order of veggie nachos can be made vegan by omitting the dairy. A good friend of mine likes to call my veggie nachos "Makeshift Mexican Bruschetta" because, although the cooks claim the beans are vegan, I generally order mine without beans (it's a texture thing).
Try Mi Cocina on a Saturday night for good people watching and a Mambo Taxi from the beautiful and sweet Leslie or Ana while you wait to be seated. Reservations can be made for large parties and valet service is available, but I suggest taking a taxi if you plan on
It appears that Mi Cocina has a vegan menu item I'd been overlooking. The Latin Stir Fry includes fresh veggies stir fried with Latin spices and is served with a side of guacamole, pico de gallo, and corn or flour tortillas. Order the meal without rice, as it is made with a chicken broth base.
One might wonder what possessed me to fight the holiday shoppers in search of sorbet in one of the busiest shopping centers in town...and in near-freezing temperatures no less! But when I learned from my friend and Spiral Diner employee, Eli, about Sorbeteria's tasty and completely vegan frozen treats, I decided to brave the traffic and weather to sample the goods myself.
Having designed and constructed their shop using mostly recycled materials, this eco-friendly confectioner's philosophy is simple. "Fresh and clean on the palate. Made with real fruit. Far better for you than similar treats-and with fewer calories, too." Operations manager Anthony Tompkins led me through a tasting of every flavor. I enjoyed samples of several berry, citrus, and tropical flavors, but Anthony and I were in agreement that the pear sorbet was extra special. And there were no feelings of remorse or guilt after my stop at Sorbeteria. Made with freshly puréed fruits from local vendors and lightly sweetened with natural cane, each scoop is only around 60 calories!
On the cusp of the hip and trendy Bishop Arts District, Bolsa is considered one of the "it" places to dine in Dallas. A recent review by D Magazine raved about the restaurant's well structured and extensive wine list and ever changing menu, giving nods to executive chef Graham Dodds' memorable culinary creations. I often find that great chefs enjoy a challenge, and considering the fact that one of the best vegan meals I've had in town was created by Dallas' own Abraham Salum, that review of Bolsa was all I needed to get me on the phone with chef Graham Dodds. The chef assured me that creating a vegan meal would not be a problem, so my good friend and fellow vegetarian Sara and I decided to give Bolsa a try, taking a taxi in case the wine list really was as good as D Magazine touted. After a nightmarish cab ride across town, we arrived at the demure hotspot and were happy to learn the wine list really was that good! Organized by price, the wine list offers a heavy selection of South American wines ranging from $25-$55. While some bolder reds were not available at every price range, the daily updated list did include several organic and sustainable wines suitable for vegans. Sampling
several different reds, we ultimately settled on a bottle of the Chilean Viu Manent Carmenere with our dinner. Sara and I decided to start with a bowl of the accidentally vegan Butternut Squash Bisque. The creamy bisque was equally beautiful in color and flavor, and with the accompanying assortment of crackers, I was tempted to order seconds as my entrée. Sara's selection for dinner was the "Twig and Branch" flatbread topped with arugula, Dallas goat cheese, and oven-roasted grapes, and Bolsa partner Royce Ring, who visited with us for a short chat, confirmed that the flatbread could be made vegan by omitting the cheese. I probably would have selected the flatbread for dinner as well, but having remembered our prior conversation, the chef was already preparing me a vegan eggplant parmigiana. My first bite into the lightly crusted eggplant, topped with grilled portobello mushroom slices and a bright pomodoro sauce, was a nearly religious experience! I savored each bite with reverence, wishing the experience would never end. And although difficult to part with, the better part of me had to give Sara a taste. Of all my friends, only Sara's love for fresh vegetables and new culinary adventures rivals that of mine. Not surprisingly, her reaction was equal to mine in delight and awe, but alas, dinner at Bolsa did have to come to an end. Fortunately, I can look forward to more vegan culinary crafts from the justly celebrated chef Graham Dodds.
My obsession for red wine and dark chocolate has further been enabled by the good people at Brix Chocolates. Brix, a term roughly defined as the sugar content of a grape before it is harvested for wine, is a new line of chocolates specifically formulated to compliment wine. Using only the best cacao from Ghana, the California based chocolatier combines all natural ingredients to offer various levels of depth and complexity to pair with its equally complex wine suggestions. Brix Extra Dark Chocolate, their one vegan-friendly confection, suggests pairing with full bodied reds such as cabernets or zinfandels. I plan on pairing my box of Brix with a bottle of Michael~David's vegan-friendly 7 Deadly Zins!
Brix Chocolates and several Michael~David wines are available at all local World Market retailers.
After a busy few months of work and other social commitments, I finally had the chance to meet up with a couple of my Spiral Diner friends yesterday for a day of gluttony and fun! We all happened to have the day off and needed to finish our holiday shopping, so I suggested we catch up over shopping and brunch at Northpark Mall. I knew of a few restaurants at Northpark that offered vegan fare, but my friend Nicholas had his heart set on celebrating Monday with a mojito. We weighed our options and decided on Kona Grill since I knew my dietary needs and Nicholas's weekly Cuban adult libation needs could both be met there. I had been to Kona many times before with various groups of friends, so I was prepared to order the Oriental Salad (my standard Kona meal), but I quickly changed my mind when our server handed us a separate extensive menu of vegetarian
and vegan options! The menu included several salads, sushi rolls, noodle plates, and pizzas. For brunch I had a vegetable sushi roll, roma tomato and asparagus cheese-less pizza topped with fresh basil, and an Argentine malbec. Brunch was fantastic, and with so many options remaining, we clearly had no choice but to revisit Kona for post-shopping dinner! Upon returning to Kona Grill, we were warmly greeted by the manager and were lucky enough to be seated in a fellow vegetarian's section where the service couldn't have been better. My embarrassingly large dinner included seaweed salad, another vegetable sushi roll, and a ramen noodle plate with grilled tofu. Once again, the meal was amazing! Needless to say, I'll be back to visit Kona Grill very soon. With so many vegan options and such a friendly and accommodating staff, this may very well be my new favorite veg-friendly hangout at Northpark!
Visit Kona Grill for Happy Hour from 3:00-7:00 and/or Reverse Happy Hour from 9:00-11:00 Monday through Friday for half price appetizers, pizzas, and sushi rolls.
Members of several raw meet-up groups and my Jivamukti satsang had the opportunity to meet classically trained raw vegan chef Frank Giglio at a potluck meet and greet hosted by Jivamukti yogini deAnna Anderson and health coach Susie Haces. Frank is in town promoting his
new un-cook book and presenting a raw food workshop where he will discuss the many health benefits of an all raw vegan diet and teach a raw food prep class. Attendees of the meet and greet were able to experience a short demo taught by Frank, where he created some warming winter dishes that made for wonderful additions to our potluck. Upon my arrival to the event, I was kindly greeted by Susie and introduced to the humble and brilliantly self-aware Frank Giglio and Johnny Raw Appleseed, owner of the soon to open Bliss Cafe on Greenville Avenue. Johnny's contribution to the potluck was a gorgeous platter including raw sandwiches, raw chips, and an out-of-this-world raw dip, all of which I very much hope will be on the menu at Bliss Cafe. Always over the top (in a good way), my fellow yogini Misty contributed raw "tuna" lettuce wraps buffet-style with fillers including diced tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and raw vegan mayonnaise. Susie Haces offered a warmly spiced raw vegan eggnog, and my fellow yoginis Sara and Diane collaborated on a dish of sliced jicama wraps with pineapple salsa. Other contributions to the potluck included raw vegan chicken-fried-steak, the often overlooked, but always necessary tray of crudités, and I took the seasonal opportunity to present my raw snow-capped marzipan nuggets (see post below for recipe). deAnna and I discussed the high level of creativity and quality at the potluck and expressed our enthusiasm about culinary possibilities for future gatherings. Because of this rare occasion of having such an esteemed guest like Frank Giglio, I do believe the bar has been raised yet again!
For more information on the health benefits of living foods and natural healing, contact Susie Haces for a personal health coaching session. Her knowledge on the issue and charismatic demeanor may be the best holiday gift you can give to yourself and the community!
A few years ago, I took a Christmas vacation to Germany to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends. It was that trip that helped set my new standard for celebrating the holidays. While there really is nothing like sipping Glühwein and snacking on marzipan at the Nürnberg Weihnachtsmarkt, I do enjoy the challenge of recreating a German Christmas in Dallas...Glühwein and all! For my raw foodist friends, I came up with this raw version of spiced marzipan nuggets. Each nugget is filled with live nutrients, super foods, and lots of love!
In a food processor, combine all marzipan ingredients and process until smooth consistency is reached, using a spatula to scrape down sides.
On a large cookie sheet, place a dollop of marzipan mix in small parchment cups. Top and gently press walnut half in the center of each filled cup. Lightly drizzle agave nectar over each walnut and sprinkle cups with coconut shreds.
Place uncovered cups in refrigerator overnight. Serve chilled.
The Mint Asian Fusion Café is the newest veg-friendly addition to The Shops of Highland Park. Like its sibling location Asian Mint in North Dallas, The Mint offers a nice selection of organic wines, signature cocktails, and a casual chic atmosphere that reminds one of the west coast. Enjoy a Green Tea Tini and Fresh Summer Rolls for starters. The beautifully presented rolls
are loaded and topped with super fresh vegetables, hints of mint, and the accompanying peanut sauce, with its subtly sweet and ultra smoky flavor, make this appetizer a hearty meal in itself! For a lighter start, try the nutrient dense and brilliantly green seaweed salad. Several dishes can be made vegan, but the already vegan Stir-Fried Asian Vegetables with Tofu is the perfect main course. Served with a side of jasmine rice, the dish includes an assortment of Asian vegetables and crispy tofu cutlets in a savory brown sauce. Moreover, the staff at The Mint are friendly and extremely attentive. Completely in tune with today's gastronomical variations, the servers make it a point to learn of any food allergies or preferences.
Visit The Mint on Friday nights for $7 Mango Martinis or on Saturday nights for $7 Green Tea Tinis.
1. Summer Rolls are vegan without Peanut Sauce (you can use sweet & sour or the dumpling sauce, though).
2. Pad Kee Mow - tofu/veggie, no egg 3. Pad See Lew - same thing 4. Stir Fried Asian Veggies and Tofu 5. Ginger Chicken, no chicken add tofu 6. Fried Rice, Green Basil Fried Rice, Pineablle Cashew Tofu Fried Rice, & Yellow Curry Fried Rice - all with no egg, of course. 7. Sweet Sticky Rice for dessert.
Whether she's aware of it or not, my good friend and Jivamukti Yoga instructor deAnna Anderson is one of the city's greatest assets! Jivamukti Yoga, founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in New York, is an all-encompassing yoga practice incorporating meditation, mudras, mantras, pranayama, asana, and most importantly the vehement message about the diet of compassion...the vegan diet.
With her connection to people of all walks of life, deAnna uses her popular asana practice as a platform to mindfully spread this message with compassion and conviction, and her recent collaborations with the Waking Dallas Raw Radical Health Meetup Group have widely expanded her audience.
Although all past Jivamukti Satsang potlucks have been entirely vegan, deAnna's joint efforts with the rawists and other forward thinkers have really raised the bar of awareness in our community!
Our most recent potluck included dishes such as Raw Vegan Ckicken-Fried-Steak, Raw Spirulina Pie, Cranberry Chia Pudding, and a number of fresh fall salads. Additionally, Radical Health Super Foods and ecologically and ethically conscious fashions by Walleska ecochicc were available for purchase.
As the only certified Jivamukti Yoga instructor in Dallas, deAnna offers a wealth of information and methods you can use to become a true vehicle for change in our community. Check out her website for class schedules, workshops, and other events.
Pan-Asian restaurant and sushi bar Oishii is regarded by many as one of Dallas' best kept secrets. Located in a sparsely occupied strip mall on Wycliff between Maple and Dallas North Tollway, Oishii is truly an oasis of fine dining in a rather questionable part of town. As we all shared a bottle of J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon, my dining companions devoured various not-even-close to-vegan sushi rolls while I delighted in
my beautifully crafted vegetable roll. And although Oishii has several options suitable for vegans, my favorite part of the meal was the Biddhist Delight, a savory dish consisting of tofu, vermicelli, and an assortment of fresh vegetables. So fresh, in fact, that one of my omnivorous companions seemed to enjoy my entrée more than his own. As he so eloquently commented, "Wow! The vegetables actually taste like vegetables," he proceeded to pick from my plate and ignored his own. I must admit his reaction made me feel as if I had won a small battle for all vegans.
Try Oishii on Tuesday nights for $1 sushi rolls or Wednesday nights for half-priced bottles of wine.
Anybody who knows me knows that I love this season more than any other! Many of my fondest childhood memories occurred around this time of year, and it so happens that all of my major life changes (veganism included) took place around the harvest season. That being said, I like to celebrate each autumn with a warm mug of mulled wine and these super moist and chewy Autumn Harvest Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from the PPK).
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cups evaporated cane juice sweetener
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp grade-b maple syrup
1 medium acorn squash (seeded, steamed, and puréed)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 cup Calimyrna figs (diced)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except sweetener) and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine sweetener and all wet ingredients and mix well. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and combine to an even consistency. Fold in walnuts and figs.
On 2-3 cookie sheets, place tablespoon sized dollops of cookie dough about 2 inches apart. Bake sheets on separate racks for 15-20 minutes. Let baked cookies cool completely on a cooling rack before serving.
Although well known to many locals, I only recently discovered why Green Papaya has such a large following in Dallas. The quaint Vietnamese bistro provides complimentary valet, a quasi-chic atmosphere without the pretension, and has several vegetarian options, all of which can easily be made vegan by omitting the egg. Menu items include Goi Cuon Chay (tofu spring rolls served with a perfectly seasoned peanut sauce), Com Chien Chay (tofu and vegetable fried rice), Hu Tieu Xao Tofu (noodles with tofu, Chinese broccoli and bean sprouts), and Tao Hu Xao Voi Rau (mixed vegetables and tofu served with rice or pasta). With a respectable wine list and quite possibly the best peanut sauce I have ever tasted (it really is all about the little things), my only worry is the bistro's dangerously close proximity to my home!
I recently attended a raw vegan potluck with my Jivamukti satsang and came up with this super easy cashew butter cup recipe. Any type of raw nuts will suffice, but I prefer the subtle sweetness of cashews. Keep in mind that texture and soaking time will vary with different types of nuts.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
2 Tbsp raw agave nectar 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs 1/4 cup raw agave nectar 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
Soak raw cashews in room temperature distilled water for 30 minutes. Combine soaked cashews, agave nectar, coconut oil, and salt in a food processor and mix until consistency is even. In a muffin/cupcake pan, place a dollop of nut butter in foil or parchment cups. Using finger tips, level the nut butter in each cup and place pan aside.
Grind cacao nibs to powder form in food processor. Once ground, add agave nectar and coconut oil and process until consistency is smooth. Top each cup with chocolate mixture and place pan in refrigerator. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.
Due to my sheer incompetence in creating a decent veggie burger recipe, and the questionable quality of almost every pre-packaged vegan burger on the market, I've been forced to venture out for a quality, freshly-made veggie burger. Luckily for me, there's Houston's! With locations in Park Cities and Addison, I've decided to give up all efforts in creating my own veggie burger and just treat myself to Houston's once a month. Made with a combination of brown rice, black beans, beats, oat bran, and a soy glaze, Houston's veggie burger can easily be made vegan when ordered sans mayonnaise, cheese, and bun. Occasionally an accidentally-vegan rustic bread is available in place of the bun, but it's absolutely unnecessary in qualifying this as the best vegan burger in town! Additionally, Houston's couscous and hand-cut french fries are vegan, and most of their seasonal vegetables can be ordered vegan and/or steamed. At the Park Cities location, ask to be seated in Michelle's section, as her knowledge of vegan menu items and wonderful personality will make your experience at Houston's an exceptional one!
Houston's 8300 A Preston Road Park Cities (214) 691-8991
With the vast variety of gourds available at the market this time of year, celebrate the season by indulging your sweet tooth with this autumn-inspired breakfast cake! Although I tend to favor sweeter gourds such as Fairytale pumpkins and Butternut squashes, this recipe can be made using any buttery textured autumn gourd. Avoid using large carving pumpkins and Spaghetti squashes, as they have a stringy texture unsuitable for this recipe.
1 cup palm oil shortening
2 cups evaporated cane juice sweetener
1 cup autumn squash purée
1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whip together shortening and sweetener. Add all wet ingredients and mix well, using a spatula to scrape down sides of bowl. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Combine dry ingredients to the wet mix, scraping down sides often to reach an even consistency. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips, using hands to knead batter together.
Grease and line a large baking dish with natural parchment paper. Evenly spread batter in dish and bake for 40-50 minutes (oven temperatures vary, so modify baking time as needed). Remove dish from oven and allow to cool completely before serving.
After a recent trip to visit my brother in Northwest Spain, I'd been on a mission to find palatable vegan tapas in Dallas. My only experiences with Spanish tapas in town included fat-laden potatoes, olives, and way too much vino tinto! Having been accommodated by other Lombardi restaurants in the past, I decided to give Sangría Tapas y Bar a try...and they certainly did not disappoint! With their impressive wine list and standard menu items including Pimientos del Padron (fried peppers native to Northwest Spain), Marcona Almonds, and Esparragos y Setas a la Plancha (asparagus and oyster mushrooms sautéed in garlic and olive oil), I was happy to indulge in the Spanish feast! General Manager Gerald DuBose was extremely accommodating. On a whim, he had his chef prepare me a special dish consisting of mixed sautéed vegetables and informed me of other dishes that could easily be made vegan (Vegetable Paella and Vegetable Fideua) with advance notice. I plan on returning to Sangría Tapas y Bar very soon to sample their paella and fideua...and probably a little too much vino tinto!
Try Sangría on Tuesday nights for half-priced bottles of wine, or hold off until the weekend for $6.00 bottomless brunch sangrías.