Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A meat eater on a vegan bus

So last Saturday I did something I didn't think I would ever do..spend a day eating vegan food. For those that know me they are shocked at reading that. My son also agreed as he called me while we were at the first stop. When he heard what I had planned for the day there were a few moments of silence then he replied " Dad, you don't belong on a vegan tour!" Thanks to an invite from Steven Doyle whom I have been on the very carnivorous Burger Tour in the past. We started the day boarding the official food tour bus that turns heads every place it goes. After sitting there wondering exactly what I was going to be putting in my body that day I was shocked to see that at our first stop at Anvil Pub in Deep Ellum that we could get chili and nachos. My stomach began to feel at ease so here we go. After a little discussion my table decided to go with the vegan nachos so that we all could share and quickly get to our next stop . Our food came and to be honest you could not tell any big difference between these and nachos you could get at any random bar or restaurant. These nachos used vegan chili and cheese and I would have no problems eating them again.

Our next stop was Sol's Nieto Mexican Grill on Mockingbird Lane...just by the name alone I was thinking a mexican grill is vegan? We were fed a buffet sampling of a few things from their vegan menu ( rice, beans, grilled peppers. etc) and once again I was thinking this isn't bad I could eat this on a regular basis. The quesadillas were my top choice here.
On we went to the next stop and this is where I was like uh oh this is gonna be the real vegan food that I had my doubts about. Bliss Raw Cafe lived up to those fears. When we arrived there was not enough seating for us so we waited outside and got curbside service. First we were brought drinks one orange one that tasted like a V8 juice and a hemp horchata drink that had a bold cinnamon taste. The food was given to us and my stomach put up the stop signs. Bliss is known for it's raw menu choices and these were just too bland for this meat eater to digest. The plates consisted of veggie sushi rolls, some type of raw pizza and pad thai....none of this appealed to me. As I talked to some other vegans with us I found out they were not big fans of the"raw"vegan lifestyle so I didn't feel too bad for not eating all of mine.
Our next stop took us near the Bishop Arts District as we hit up Spiral Cafe. My first thought was " Man there are a lot of hippies here" lol. This place seemed to be the mecca for vegans as it was very busy the entire time we were there. The offerings we had here were quite surprising when I saw we were getting BBQ sandwiches I began to get excited. That excitement was quickly bashed into the ground as it tasted nothing like BBQ, more like salamander , don't ask me how I know what they taste like. But the grilled Seitan used reminded me of the texture of one. The other offerings were the big WOW! factor for me. First was their variation on a meatball sub. This was amazing it tasted just like a regular meatball sub and then some. I will be back for another one of these and will bring other meat eaters to try it as well. Next was The Mitch Tofu Club...Tofu? I have never had tofu in my life before like this. Not that I've had a lot of tofu..maybe twice. This was a flavor explosion, sweet and spicy and also a big bonus for me was the natural drinks from the fountain. I really liked the watermelon cream. I wish we had more time to have finished all of the sandwiches but our next stop was waiting for us.
Zen Sushi in the trendy Bishop Arts District was our next stop. We were given a preview of the new vegan menu they were to start up. Now first I am not a sushi person at all, but these are veggies so I figured I'm game. The first offering was edemame which I love and these were spiced a little to give them a different taste. Also offered was an aged tofu dish with fried tofu, onions and a ginger sauce, this was really good, almost desert like. The vegetable gyoza was also a big hit these veggie dumplings seemed to put a smile on everyones face. I was really impressed by the presentation here you could tell they had the passion for food here and I will be sure to go back and try the sweet potato sushi roll that I saw on the new menu.Our last stop was one that was really the main reason I wanted to go on the tour, Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum the new venture by Jay Jerrier and by far the best pizza you never had. I was happy to be a part of the group that was able to get a sneak preview before Cane Rosso opens to the public. Jay loves making pizza and you can tell, even in these vegan offerings. We were given slices of a faux margherita with vegan cheese, a marinated kale, butternut squash , a vegan chorizo , a focaccia pizza that was out of this world with flavor and one " cheater " pizza for those that wanted some meat after a day of veggies..Now who would want that? hmmm. Jay was gracious enough to give us each a to go pizza of our choosing..and yes I chose a meat pizza.And with a sabering of a bottle ( a new tradition on these tours ) the vegan tour had come to an end. To sum up my day as a vegan...not too bad I was really shocked that I liked it. I went in this thinking it was going to be bland and tasteless and I was proven wrong. While there are some items I won't try again, I think I could actually be a vegan if I had to based on the foods I had tried and I'm sure there are plenty more that my newly acquired vegan friends can introduce me to. But right now it's time to plan the pizza tour.


  1. Good reviews, I will have to try the new pizza place!

  2. Glad you found a few things worth repeating. I'll second your lack of appeal at Bliss, and I'm a vegan...