There's an exciting new place to get vegan food in town: a restaurant inside the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
The Hyatt is the hotel attached to the iconic Reunion Tower, already well known for being home to Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck, peeking out from inside the blinking ball.
But the hotel has also long had its own marquee restaurant called Centennial Cafe, located on the second floor. It's a more practical, affordable, everyday kind of place that serves the important hotel function of being open three meals a day — although they've been known to close early at dinner, depending on hotel occupancy — and has always had good food and service over the years.
Executive chef Hermann Hiemeyer oversees the restaurant's regular menu which changes seasonally.
But in early 2019, the hotel welcomed Tiffany Pineda, a trainee in the company's culinary management program, who has created a menu with 16 vegan dishes, including five for breakfast, in time for the holidays and New Year healthy resolutions.
Pineda is 24, and has logged hours in diverse kitchens around the country, including working for celebrity chef Rick Bayless.
She's also a yoga instructor who was a vegetarian and vegan herself for seven years. Drawing from her passion for plant-centric eating, she designed a set of dishes for the traveler who wants more than a plate of vegetables.
The vegan dishes include:
Meatless Patty Melt, with seared seitan, vegan provolone cheese, caramelized onions, mushroom, and black garlic aioli.
Veggie Taco, with vegan tempeh chorizo, red cabbage slaw, salsa verde, and crispy chickpeas; this dish is also gluten-free.
Harvest Bowl, with roasted sweet potato, poblano tempeh, millet, avocado, garlic kale, and crunchy chickpeas in a maple-tahini vinaigrette.
Farmhouse salad, with kale, fennel, roasted squash, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta, with orecchiette, caramelized onion, spinach, mushroom, scallions, and pine nuts.
Roots & Shoots, with beluga lentils, pickled root vegetables, kale, smoked sunchoke puree, black garlic, candied sunflower seeds, and root chips.
At lunch there's a white bean hummus with veggies and pita chips, and a new Waldorf salad with citrus dressing.
Breakfast is especially challenging since so many dishes are based on eggs, but Pineda has an "egg" scramble made with mung beans, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and green onions, with tomatoes and hash browns; and a vegan bennie with a spinach-chickpea patty, tomato, arugula, mung bean egg, and vegan Hollandaise.
Pineda recently represented the Texas region in Hyatt's annual Good Taste Competition, advancing to the semi-finals in Seattle, where she was the only Corporate Management Trainee to compete against seasoned chefs across Hyatts from all over the country.
She says she hopes the dishes will appeal to vegans and non-vegans, as well.
"I know the challenge it can be to find healthy and satisfying options, especially while traveling," she says, stating that she sees the future of food being "very plant-centric, which is crucial to create healthier communities and more sustainable food systems. "