Tofu In Texas
(AKA The Diary of A Fast Food & Pizza Addict)
By Shari Black Velvet
Don’t ask me why I’ve named this article Tofu In Texas. I don’t really like tofu, and I didn’t have any in Texas. But it begins with T. And sounds good. And if you want tofu in Texas, you can get it.
It was my first trip to Texas. My first stop was Houston. There are two places or businesses that you need to know about in Houston. One is Sinfull Bakery and one is Pat Greer’s Raw Rah Kitchen. With these two you don’t really need anything else. Houston is not quite as thriving with vegan businesses as some other cities – but these two are around and make up for it. We’ve interviewed Brittany from Sinfull Bakery and Pat Greer over at http://www.saveascream.com/sinfullbakerypatgreerskitchen.htm but I will tell you a bit more about them here. Sinfull Bakery has a website at www.sinfullbakery.com where you can order cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cookies, scones, sweet breads and more. They are available in Wholefood Markets and sell their products at the Farmer’s Market and various other places such as local coffee shops. I met Brittany during my trip to Pat Greer’s Kitchen and got to try out some Sinfull cookies and sweet loaves. They were all so good and actually lasted me a long time. The pumpkin and cream cheese loaf was exceptional. I actually ate it for breakfast while I was in Dallas a couple of days later. I’m kicking myself for not actually trying the cinnamon rolls as they’re apparently quite legendary but I had so many cookies and no room in my bag or my stomach for anything else!
I walked all the way to Pat Greer’s Kitchen (quite a walk on a scorchingly hot day). The Kitchen is in a housing area in Houston. It looks like a house but there’s a sign outside so you know you’re in the right place. Inside, Pat’s staff are hard at work. Pat Greer’s Kitchen is a takeaway, so at the moment you can’t sit in and have a meal. At the front you’ll find racks of Pat’s food. On the left side are the fridges with meals such as Pizza Bella, Veggie Lasagne, Garden Burgers, desserts such as Coconut Dream Pie, Luscious Lemon Pie and Rawkin Apple Pie and different flavours of Kombucha. Did I mention that Pat Greer’s Kitchen is a raw food kitchen? Everything is raw. I tried the Garden Burger and it was so good. It tasted as good as a cooked veggie burger. The bun was two leaves of cabbage instead of a bread bun, and the burger looked like a regular burger. I was very impressed with the taste and if I lived around Houston would definitely eat more of these. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a hot burger – it tasted perfect as it was. I also tried one of the desserts – the Coconut Dream Pie. It’s not so much of a pie, but more a cross between a mousse and a pudding. It had a nice sweet taste, the only thing is, it’s gone too quickly! If you’re ever in Houston, make sure you give Pat Greer’s Kitchen a try. Check the website out at http://www.patgreersrawvegankitchen.com. The kitchen can be found at 412 W. Clay St., Houston, TX 77019 USA. Oh, and Pat rules! A lovely lady.
Sinfull and Pat Greer’s Kitchen were the only food outlets I had time to try in Houston. I was there for less than 2 days before I headed on to Dallas.
First place on the menu in Dallas was Spiral Diner. I was itching to visit this place as it was a 100% vegan diner. Spiral Diner actually has two locations although I just visited the Oakcliff one as it was the nearest. It’s at 1101 N. Beckley, Dallas, TX, 75203. The second location is in Fort Worth at 1314 W. Magnolia Ave, TX 76104. After checking in at my hotel on my first day, I took the opportunity for a ride in the hotel’s courtesy van and got them to take me straight to Spiral Diner. It was around 7.30pm and the diner is open until 10pm in the week (or 5pm on Sundays). It was hard to choose what to eat as Spiral Diner has so many great meals on their menu. I could have literally eaten everything (well, maybe not the tofu...). The best thing is that they make fast food and the prices are good. I decided on a Patty Melt (the spiral burger patty with melted cheez and grilled onions on grilled toast with mayo on the side) with a Strawberry shake (actually I wanted the vanilla shake but they were out of vanilla). You can check out their menu at www.spiraldiner.com – They sell wraps, burritos, burgers, Philly Cheez Steak, salads, tofu scramble, pancakes, soy meatballs, all sorts of sandwiches, cakes and more. The diner also sold other items such as my two fave vegan things in the world – Eco-Planet Non Dairy Crackers and Tings! Ahhh, I was in heaven. The question was, how many of these would I be able to fit in my suitcase to take back home? Unfortunately not as many as I wanted! (Note to self: Although it’s always good to take the smallest suitcase possible on holiday as it’s easier to pull, it’s a bummer when you find some awesome vegan food that you want to take back home because there’s not enough space for it all!) Spiral Diner also sells Sweet & Sara marshmallows (yes, these tempted me too, but I restrained myself!), and a bunch of vegan products and chilled food items to take away.
I went back to Spiral Diner a second time on a Sunday and it was packed that day. I was surprised at how busy it was. Must be the place to go for Sunday lunch. Apparently they do an ‘all you can eat pancakes’ on Sunday. I decided to have the V-L-T though, with a Martha The Librarian shake to go with it (banana, strawberry & chocolate ice-cream with peanut butter). If I lived in Texas, Spiral Diner would definitely be my hang of choice, a great place full of great people and so much great food.
However, there was a second place on my list of places to go to while in Dallas, so I didn’t visit Spiral Diner every day. No… instead, two of my days involved a trip to Pizza Lounge. Pizza Lounge (www.pizzaloungedallas.com) is at 841 Exposition, Dallas, TX, 75226. It’s right opposite Fair Park DART rail stop. Pizza Lounge is, as its name suggests, a pizza lounge which also sells beer. Checking out the menu on the website in advance of my trip I was ecstatic to discover that it sells vegan soya cheese pizza as well as vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. I could honestly live off these two items. Pizza Lounge is not 100% vegan but these two vegan items makes it a Godsend in my book. They also sell Regrubmah, which is a cheeseburger on a pie (there’s a vegan version), a tofurkey Brat and also vegan Bloody Marys (they even had a big sign outside mentioning these). Oh and did I mention a few vintage velvet seats? I HAD to sit in a nice velvet chair. The vegan cheese pizza was amazing. So good. Pizza Lounge is open from 11am until 3am and they even deliver till 4am – so if you’re in Dallas and can’t go out, or wake up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs, give them a call and get a vegan cheese pizza (they use Daiya cheese). I went back a second time with Norman Matthew of Murder FM who isn’t vegan and he tried the vegan cheese pizza and enjoyed it too. So even if you’re NOT vegan, you have to go to Pizza Lounge.
Dallas has other vegetarian and vegan diners and restaurants. Happycow lists Kallachandji’s, Cosmic Café and Bliss Raw Café and Elixir Bar – but I was already too smitten with Spiral Diner and Pizza Lounge to go anywhere else. Maybe next time I need to go for a month rather than a few days. Mind you, I’d probably still be at Spiral Diner and Pizza Lounge every other day. I did make a stop at Wholefoods Market after a touristy trip to Southfork Ranch though. There’s a Wholefoods at 8190 Park Lane at the Park Lane mall. It was a large store, as are most of the Wholefoods. I spent a long time perusing each aisle. Wholefoods is another of those places where you wish you were a millionaire so you could buy everything. It has so much good vegan food and other vegan products.
It’s good to know that even though Texas is famous for its ranches, there’s a growing vegan/animal rights scene. Forks Over Knives (www.forksoverknives.com) was also being shown at one of the theatres in Dallas. So whether you like tofu or not, you’ll find lots of terrifically tasty treats in Texas. Hmm.. maybe I should have called this article ‘Terrifically Tasty Treats In Texas’…