Cheap Bastard's Vegetarian Guide to Being a Vegetarian Bastard In Dallas
It has come to my attention that some people choose to be vegetarians. I personally find most animals to be quite delicious. I like the porks. I very much like the beefs. I even like the fishes, which (as I would soon learn) are not, in fact, vegetables. Long story long, it's difficult for me to imagine choosing a foodlifeworld that does not include gristle.
In order to better understand these vegetarian human beings, I chose to take a walk in their meatless shoes and become vegetarian for one month.
There are many different levels of vegetarianism, ranging from "not actually vegetarian, just a high-maintenance meat eater hidden in hemp Jesus sandals who claims that fish and lard aren't meaty" to "I exclusively eat wheatgrass and sighs" vegan.
I was told by actual, real vegetarians that classic vegetarians are allowed dairy products and eggs, just no meat. (For the purposes of my experiment, I did my best to avoid animal rennet, but I was not on a strict no-animal-rennet vegetarian diet.) This is known as being ovo-lacto-vegetarian. "So, up to this point, I've been a carne-ovo-lacto vegetarian?" The vegetarians did not laugh. I learned very quickly that we do not make jokes about our vegetarianism.
In an effort to reduce my fear of going meatless, I found comfort focusing on foods that I love that also happen to be vegetarian. I fucking love mushrooms and arugula and peppers and squash and blue cheese. And there's enough olive oil and bread in the world to get me through 30 days. If I wanted to, I could eat Popsicles for every meal for a month. I could be the hero lady who invents frozen-treat vegetarianism. Beer isn't meat -- maybe I could go booze-o-pretzels-veg. Come to think of it, my alcoholic grandpa had to be vegetarian. He survived on a diet that consisted exclusively of fine French wine, vichyssoise and sugar cookies. Dude invented Beaujolaistarianism.
My mission: Find the best vegetarian food in Dallas. My requirements included a preference for restaurants that offer meat eaters nice dining options as well (so that if you're vegetarian and your friends want to go eat steak, you don't have to miss out just because of your dietary restrictions), and low-maintenance ordering (I don't want to have to order an entrée salad and ask for it "without chicken or bacon or ham," because I know what servers can and will do to people who are high-maintenance orderers. I used to be a waitress. Spitting? You should be so lucky.
I looked for restaurants that embrace vegetarianism in a meat-centric world. "We have a lot of side items you can choose from" wasn't going to cut it. I wanted entrees that were specifically conceived with vegetables in mind. The vegetables should be the focus, not an afterthought.
Behold: The Cheap Bastard's List of Restaurants that Serve the Kind of Foods Vegetarian People Like to Eat.