A few Days in Dallas

Last week, I spent a few days in the Dallas – Fort Worth area for work, and tacked on an extra half-day to the trip for a little bit of foodie fun.  

Though there is plenty to see (and eat!) in Texas, I was most excited about seeing the people – especially Sarah and Laura.

I first connected with Laura a few years back through Foodie Pen Palsthen met her in person a while back when she was visiting her bestie Kristina in Chicago.

I ‘met’ Sarah through Laura as both were classmates in the same RD program, and Sarah and I quickly bonded over our love of vegetarian food (She loves my Dad’s oatmeal recipe, and I’m a huge fan of her Spicy Lentil Enchiladas!)

I was so excited to meet Sarah and to see Laura again!

FIRST STOP: Good Karma Kitchen

Our afternoon of fun begin at the Good Karma Kitchen Vegetarian Food Truck where Sarah used to work.  Sarah had so many great things to say about GKK from the quality of the ingredients, to the cleanliness of the truck, and the talent of the chefs… and having been an insider herself she would certainly know!

Good Karma Kitchen was parked at a Food Truck Pod that had a large shaded seating area with misting fans. Though it was far too hot to enjoy the hiking paths behind the trucks, we were perfectly comfortable in the shade.  We also were able to enjoy some live acoustic guitar music coming from the little cantina in the back of the pod.

We each cooled off with a cup of Unsweetened Organic Peach Tea while waiting for our meals to be made-to-order.

The three of us decided to share a few dishes in order to try as much of the week’s menu as possible.  Check out our awesome spread:

Sarah & Laura

 

We started out with their “Crazy Loaded Nachos”.  Laura is on a Soy-Free diet, so we skipped the taco crumbles and requested extra black beans instead.  The nachos were as delicious as they looked!

We also split an order of the Avocado Sandwich.  We had them cut it into fourths for ease of sharing.  I love that there was a thick pickle slice and generous heap of guac on each quarter.  

The salt & pepper kettle chips on the side were SO crispy and delicious that I wrongly assumed they were made in-house.

Last but not least, Sarah and I split an order of the Spicy Asian Tacos made of Soy Curls marinated in Korean BBQ Sauce.  Moist, Sweet and Spicy with a bright slaw and garlic-ginger pickles… These were amazing!

Sarah & Me

 

CENTRAL MARKET or Bust!

With full bellies, after lunch the three of us headed to a nearby Central Market – a grocery store chain loved by Texans for very good reason.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a grocery store snob –  I regularly pay a premium to do the majority of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market.  And Chicagoans, sorry, but I’m just not impressed by Mariano’s – their products (including the bakery & deli) are way too processed for my picky preferences.

Central Market, however, left me very, very, very impressed.

My photos of Central Market don’t do it justice.  I’ve been told too many times in other grocery stores to put my camera away, so I only took a few here, though I have a feeling their Foodie staff wouldn’t have minded.  Here’s just a small taste of the Central Market experience:

Their produce section is enormous – easily 3x the size of the produce area at my local Whole Foods Market.  There are countless organic options, and even more exotic fruits – like these Tamarillos which I’ve only ever seen elsewhere in Colombia.

I nearly swooned in Central Market’s Bulk Bin section.  With this many Teas available in bulk, just imagine how many nuts, grains, and spices they had.

And as someone who doesn’t even like beer, imagine my surprise when I not only found one that I liked – but one that I loved enough to risk flying it home in my checked luggage.

This is the beer of my dreams.  Though technically its only 40% beer, and 60% grapefruit soda.  I love how light and refreshing this tastes on a hot day.  And it’s accidentally vegan too – as confirmed by Barnivore.com!

 From the Bulk Bins I picked up Wasabi Powder for just 4 cents and my first-ever Matcha!

I also picked up some snacks for the hotel room including Organic Bananas, Mini Plums, Emergen-C drink mix, Gnu Fiber Love bars (these were super tasty!), Thunderbird bars, and a Bearded Brothers bar (made locally in Austin).

I also picked up some Hot Chili Lime Beanitos (LOVE!) and – perhaps randomly – Central Market brand Whole Wheat Pasta, which Laura says is her absolute favorite pasta.

My Central Market grocery haul

 

Time for Tex Mex

After Central Market we all called it a day, but then Sarah, her husband Justin, and I met up a couple hours later for dinner at Mi Cocina, one of their favorite places for Tex-Mex.

As you’d expect, the Guacamole was fantastic.  I also loved my Spinach Enchiladas in Ranchero Sauce, which were a very fresh, healthy tasting dish.

But want to know my favorite part of having Mexican Food in Texas? Individual Salsa dishes!

Everywhere I ate in Texas, when Chips & Salsa were brought out, each person received their own personal dish of salsa for double-, triple-, and heck, even quadruple- dipping.  Pure Bliss!

Thank you Sarah, Laura, and Justin for such a fantastic taste of Texas – and of Southern Hospitality!

Greenville Avenue

The rest of my time in the Dallas-area was spent in work-related activities, though one of my coworkers and I did make it into the city one night for dinner, specifically to the Greenville Avenue neighborhood.

Yelp suggested Sundown at Granada as a veggie-friendly spot in town and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of vegan options on their menu including a Curry Quinoa Stir Fry and a Jalapeno Ginger Ramen, and their focus on local & seasonal ingredients.

I ordered the “Machu Picchu bowl” which included Black Beans, Sweet Potato Mash, and Avocado Sauce over Quinoa (though I subbed in Brown Rice instead).  It came with a lovely side-salad too.

After dinner, we walked around the Greenville Neighborhood which was absolutely gorgeous.  In addition to the cutest little houses I’ve ever seen, there was also a Green Grocer and several cafes and restaurants, most with patio seating options.

But my favorite thing of all about the Greenville Neighborhood is the Pet Bunnies I saw grazing in one family’s front yard.

I’d certainly tip my hat to that.

I’d love to hear from you!

If you’ve been to Texas – what do you love about it?

Have you ever seen Pet Bunnies enjoy an evening outing?