Happy New Year edition
Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 hot restaurants for January
Well, 2012 is over. No regrets. Let's not dwell on the past. But let's also not put undue pressure on ourselves for the future. No speeches about resolutions or abstaining from alcohol or, God forbid, a regular exercise program.
For now, let's just talk about salads and vegetables and things that are green. Vegetables are one of the big trends for 2013, you know. No time like the present to jump aboard. February will come soon enough.
Even if you don't love Snappy Salads, and of course you do, it is becoming hard to avoid, what with a third branch in Richardson and another headed for Southlake. This is the gold standard for easy salads of a gourmet bent, with better-quality ingredients – grilled salmon, baby greens and so on – than the usual salad spot.
Be Raw Food and Juice
If you were to put all of the good-for-you restaurants in a list, then Be Raw would almost certainly have to be at the top. No meat, no cheese, no animal product at all, just fruits and veggies, assembled in magical ways to make you forget that everything you're eating is a plant. You haven't lived until you've tried the coconut kale enchiladas topped with a "sour cream" made of ground-up cashews.
Located in the Krishna Temple in East Dallas, Kalachandji's has been a Dallas treasure since it opened in 1971. You don't have to practice Hinduism to appreciate its restful atmosphere or its one-of-a-kind vegetarian buffet. The food is a cross between straight veggie and Indian, with good homey stews and the best cinnamon-swirl bread in town.
Original Market Diner
If you want to feel like you're in another city, step inside Original Market Diner. The bustling atmosphere could persuade you that you're in a diner outside Boston. The cuisine is officially home-style but executed with a crisp, urban panache. There are 24 veggie sides, including the new Greek slaw — basically a quinoa salad with diced bell pepper, spinach and feta cheese in an oregano-laced vinaigrette.
There were once many Dixie Houses; there is but one left, in the center of Lakewood. Yes, it's a part of the Black-Eyed Pea chain, and, yes, the menu may be identical. But if you're going to get your four-veg plate — mashed potatoes with gravy, soft green beans, glazed carrots and, of course, black-eyed peas — with complimentary rolls and cornbread, this is the place to do it.
Vegan palace Spiral Diner provides a haven for diners who don't want to consume animal products. There is no haggling with the server; just order anything and you're home-free. Spiral specializes in vegan versions of foods we already know, like Philly cheese "steaks" and "meatball" subs. But don't overlook the salads, such as the chef's salad with greens, carrots, cucumber, avocado, olives, tomato, "cheese," bacun bits and grilled tofu in a dairy-free ranch dressing.
There was a time – in the '90s, to be exact – when there was only one restaurant in Dallas that came to mind when you said "healthy restaurant," and that was Dream Cafe. Our choices have expanded, but Dream Cafe perseveres with its high-end, slightly sprouty take on comfort food. The quintessential Dream meal is the Global Dinner, with organic black beans and brown rice and your choice of chicken or tofu, with tofu being the obvious choice, duh.
Sundown at the Granada
The miracle of Sundown is its ability to do vegetarian (no meat) or vegan (no meat or dairy) versions of anything on the menu. Vegan chili, vegan flatbread pizza, vegan tacos, vegan benedict, no problem. But salad is our theme, so consider the Greenhouse, a chopped medley of every vegetable, legume, fruit and nut in the house, tossed in a dairy-free agave-avocado dressing.
Texas de Brazil
You may wonder what a churrascaria like Texas de Brazil, dedicated to skewered meats of all kinds, is doing on a salad-and-veggie list. But like most churrascarias, it has a mega salad bar that you can order solo, no meat. The salad bar boasts 50 to 60 items such as grilled portobello mushrooms, steamed asparagus with strawberry sauce, Brazilian hearts of palm, Greek olives, and jasmine rice. Just be careful: It's all you can eat.
Fadi's Mediterranean Grill
Although best known for having a magnificent Mediterranean spread in a surprisingly cosmopolitan atmosphere, the secret at Fadi's is its plethora of veggies. You can specify "vegetarian" when you place your order, and what you get is a wonderfully exotic mix: cilantro zucchini, coriander potatoes, eggplant with pomegranate molasses, and Egyptian okra. It's enough to make you forget you've ordered vegetarian entirely.
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