A waiter in a steakhouse once asked, “What made you decide to become a vegetarian?” OK. This was the wrong place to for a vegetarian to seek out dinner, but it was a birthday and the man of the day wanted steak, so we all went to a restaurant on the lake. While the instinctive “None of your business” response to the curious waiter did try to get loose, another, less reflexive idea bounced around, too: it doesn’t matter.

That’s right. It doesn’t matter why people eat what they do, as long as they are reasonably healthy and happy in their decisions. Whether a restaurant guest places religious value on all life, has seen the ugly undercarriage of the meat “industry,” or just prefers not to eat animals for health or personal reasons, a waiter doesn’t need to know why. He just needs to bring the order or explain that there are no vegetarian options.

Here in the Lone Star State, steakhouses, Mexican food restaurants, and even occasionally hair salons mount their kills on the wall for all to see. Yes, we live in a meat-eating, gun-loving stereotype of a state, but some of us prefer our food a little more colorful. Nobody’s saying to put down the steak knife, but if we are to join the carnivorous among us, we’d like to know our options going in. Does this restaurant cook the mashed potatoes in chicken broth? How about the rice? Do those refried beans contain lard or shortening? And that corn bread, did the cook use a little bacon grease to “flavor it up” this time? These cooking methods are such common practice in the region that asking about them might cause a waiter, manager, and finally cook (yes, all in the same visit) to look at you like you have three arms.

Don’t worry. If you wonder about these things, too, you haven’t sprouted an appendage and there’s nothing wrong with your lifestyle choices. If you eat meat, enjoy it. If, however, you prefer to adhere to a meat-free diet, we here at the VICC Project are dedicated to sharing information about meat-free options around the Dallas area. We’ll post restaurant reviews, shopping tips, and pretty much whatever you want to you know about being a vegetarian in Texas. We are not dietitians or any other form of experts. We’re just people who love food – to discuss, to smell, to wave around on our forks while we talk, and, most of all, to eat.

You’ll find no judgment here, so come on in and look around. If you have a favorite spot to share or you want us to check out a place so you don’t have to, drop us a line. We’ll do the research for you and lay out our results every Sunday.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for: Best Thai, Addison, Texas.