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.