No, I'm not posting this from a Prius while my wife crochets hemp clothing in the passenger seat on our way to live in a giant sequoia. I went to a vegan restaurant. I'll admit it. And even more, I enjoyed it.
In case you hadn't heard, Spiral Diner is our local vegan restaurant which has received tremendous praise from the Fort's vegan community. Its so popular, they opened another one in dallas. I think the article in the paper that discussed this made a big deal about Cowtown having a vegan place. Anyway, I'm here to provide a comprehensive review of my trip (to the Fort's location, of course).
First things first. Whenever somebody says they ate vegan food (in my experience) they always say something like "its good for what it is" or "its better than you'd think". To me that sounds like its not very good, but its better than the worst thing you can imagine ("so Mrs. Lincoln, other than that did you enjoy the show"). Before going, I made a big deal about how I wasn't going to order a hot dog made for vegans or some other meat dish, made for vegans. It seemed like the right idea to have - eat something that vegans can easily make at home - salad.
Wrong. I got the Jamaican Jerk BBQ San'ich. After looking at the menu, I just had to see how they took tempeh and made it into a meat type substance (wow, that sounds delicious). But before I get to that, let me start with our appetizer and drinks.
My wife and I started off with hummus (yuppie bean dip) which my cultured wife had eaten before. The chick pea spread came with a topping of paprika and a side of organic, free range, hemp corn chips. I was not suprised with how good it was, but I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Good stuff. We also enjoyed free trade iced tea with unrefined sugar and cage less ice. It made me feel bad about the herd of ice cubes I keep penned in my freezer.
For the main meal, my wife ordered a Sweet Luv'Us Hummus Wrap with fresh veggies (sweet potato, broccoli, avocado, cucumber and other things), and wrapped in a politically correct flour tortilla. I had a bite, and it was delicious, but I out Whatabur....Tempeh'ed her.
The Jerk "chicken" is made of tempeh, which appears to be a soybean patty with the beans softened and left in their normal form. The patty was marinated and blackened, then put on a piece of post-apartheid hydroponic wheat bread, and served open face with a special message from the chef written in mayo on the other piece of bread. You'll just have to go to see what it says. Here's a hint, it says "Jerk" and the waitress spits on you (not really).
The san'ich also comes with a slice of grilled pineapple, pickles, and red onions. I loaded up my san'ich and took a bite of my tempeh loaf.... The first bite fools you. At first, the tempeh is nicely formed and stays together. Immediately after the first bite, the soybeans shriek in pain and begin to run. Sort of. After the bond of the blackening (from the griddle) breaks, the patty begins to fall apart. Don't worry though, you've got 100% recycled toilet paper napkins to clean up with. The flavors are delicious. The food tastes like real food and you don't have to hear the screams of millions of chickens as you eat the sandwich. And seriously, its good. Not just, "it tastes good for what it is". The flavors are nice and there are contrasts with the crunchy onion and pickle, the tender tempeh loaf and the sweetness of the pineapple. For the record, I have not stated that it tastes like chicken. It tastes like flavored soybeans, made into a patty.
Most carnivores can go one meal without a piece of meat. The normal result, however, is that you miss out on a protein because said carnivore orders a salad. With Spiral Diner you can get a protein without eating a piece of meat. Despite my initial worry, I didn't walk out craving a bite of cow, or a goat leg. I was full and not remotely saddened that some poor lonely chicken breast was left along in the fridge.
As a restaurant, a vegan place is a great trip. Especially Spiral Diner. Its eclectic, funky, local, serves great food, and has friendly servers. As a lifestyle, vegan wont be how I describe myself ("How would I describe myself? Three words: hard working, alpha male, jack hammer. Merciless. Insatiable.") My vegan career (one meal) has been filled with deliciousness, however, after perusing my local grocery store, I decided its too expensive and time consuming. Plus I really like meat. No offense to tempeh, but there's a difference.
But that certainly doesn't mean this place should be skipped purely because a person deems him/herself a meat-eater. If you want good, affordable food, this place will fit the bill.
Prius drivers get one pesticide free, 100% ethanol, cageless, free labor, organic pair of birkenstocks. I drive a truck so they just stared at me with pity. Of course I was also wearing my full goat skin suit, alligator boots and a koala head hat. I also had a "W" sticker on my truck.
Just kidding. The people here are great, the food is delicious, though its lacking a "queso covered chicken fried bacon" quality, and the local nature makes this a must-eat place. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Check out their link to the left. Spiral Diner is located next to Lili's on Magnolia so if you need something meaty after eating here, head over and ask Lili to make you a gorgonzola burger - the gorgonzola was free range before being harvested.
P.S., if I offended you with my descriptions or terminology in the post, then I sincerely apologize...hippie.