Archives for category: vegetarian friendly

It’s been an interesting year at VICC Project and we’re glad we got to share it with you. We’ve learned that some of our favorite restaurants are not vegetarian friendly, found some wonderful foods in unlikely places, and discovered that we are truly lucky to live in a time when dietary choices are possible to maintain.

Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned this year is to always ask questions. No matter how much you love a place, if you don’t know what’s in that beautiful sauce, it could be beef broth, sausage grease, or any number of “flavor” items. Of course we’ll still go to Siciliano’s, A Taste of Italy, but now that we know there is very little offered without some sort of meat broth, we can make educated decisions about what we order.

We also learned not to judge a restaurant by its exterior. Walking into an old gas station for Indian food was scary. We’ll own that fear. But we went in and were pleased with what we found at Rasoi, the Indian Kitchen. The atmosphere is peaceful and the food delightful. With only one woman working on our visit, and cigarettes behind the counter, we are still not totally convinced there isn’t gas in those pumps, but we definitely recommend trying this one out. Just ask for only vegetarian items and trust the server that everything she puts on your plate will be good and run with it. This is an experience to enjoy.

Speaking of books and covers, remember to stop for food trucks. We counted at least five at the Veggie Fair this year that offered completely vegan menus, so hurry on over and ask the staff what they’ve got in there. You just might be happily surprised.

As we’ve said before, be glad to have so many choices in your vegetarian, pescetarian, or whateveretarian lifestyle. Between pre-packaged microwave meals, fake meat roasts, and organic delivery businesses, we are able to eat whatever we want whenever we want it. While we do prefer the control of a home cooked vegetarian meal, Field Roast, Smart Dogs and Tofurkey have made it easy to grab a quick meal on the run while Amy’s Kitchen and a few others give us microwave meals ready in minutes. And while you are shopping for vegetarian instant meals, remember your local Indian grocer. Green spots mean vegetarian, so go green while you shop.

This has been a wonderful year for exploring our little corner of the world. We’re heading out west in a couple of days and hope to get some good recommendations for roadside food stops. We’re only taking vegetarians on this trip, so any suggestions between Dallas, TX, and Anaheim, CA along the southern route would be appreciated. Post comments here or e-mail us at and we’ll give your spots a try.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

One of the most vegetarian friendly food types we’ve encountered is Mediterranean. From tabouli to dolmas, you can fill up on a dozen or more dishes before you encounter a meaty option. This week we looked at Fadi’s and Dimassi’s, both of which we already knew we liked.

Fadi'sVeggieSamplerFadi’s Mediterranean Grill offers many dishes, but the vegetarian sampler has to be the best idea we’ve encountered outside of a buffet. With the option to go through and point to what you want, or just leave it up to the server to give you a little bit of everything that doesn’t contain meat. Since we always like to try new things, we went with the latter option. Of course, items mixed and we found rice buried underneath the center, but the flavors are so diverse that they go beautifully together. We particularly liked the fresh mint in the fattoush, as it seemed to almost cleanse our palates whenever we had some. The cauliflower also stood out and although we were trying to be courteous and share, we each kept taking bits of it until nothing but a hole remained where it used to sit on the plate. For something as simple as cauliflower and lemon juice, that stuff is incredible!

Fadi'sFalafelOn the recommendation of a very helpful man behind a counter, we also tried the falafel sandwich. More of a wrap, really, this is quite nice with pickles, tomatoes and dressing rolled in a thick pita bread, then toasted. The chickpea patties are packed into this sandwich with enough dressing on the side to ensure every bite can drip as much s you’d like.

Serving sizes are huge at Fadi’s, so you get plenty for the price, and the food is wonderful.

If you are in the mood for a buffet, try Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet on Campbell in Richardson. We went through half of the buffet without encountering one item with meat, and we filled our plates with only the smallest sampling from each vegetarian offering. While one of the rice dishes does contain meat, they do a great job of keeping the dishes separate and labeling everything. We liked the dolmas quite a bit and fell in love with the baba ghanouge’s smokey flavor. Whatever you like, this is a must try buffet for vegetarians.

Both Fadi’s and Dimassi’s are equally wonderful with fresh ingredients and delicious dishes. Spend an evening or even a lunch hour at either one for a healthful meal you’ll love.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

Welcome to December. For those of you involved in volunteer organizations, fraternities, sororities, or any number of other large groups, this means banquet season. Having attended two banquets in two days, we once again say the food is secondary to the company. But, being the fat kids we are at heart, we still love to try the food.

First we visited the Tower Club in Downtown Dallas’s Thanksgiving Tower. We found the staff amazing, the view remarkable, and the food pretty good, too. On the buffet table we encountered baked potato and asparagus soup, Cesar salad, roasted vegetables, chicken and beef. Of course, not knowing which of the dishes used what broth, we were glad to find a vegan option offered away from the buffet line.
Vegan plate from the Tower clubThis plate came with a potato and corn cake under crisp-tender asparagus and surrounded by roasted vegetables. Red peppers, green and yellow squash, and what appeared to be anise bulb were quite mild with a simple roast. The asparagus was lovely and perfectly cooked. While we were not disappointed, we weren’t jumping up and down over the flavor. Of course, this could be our hillbillyesque upbringing, but we focused more on the staff than the food. No matter what the wait and cater staff members are paid here, they deserve more for their amazing service. For the attendees who acted like the staff wasn’t there, they blended into the background. Yet when we made eye contact and thanked any staff member for a special plate, refill or whatever, we received a warm smile and friendly attitude. Of course the option to arrange special plates to a dinner based on dietary requirements was a wonderful addition to any large dinner, and the view from the 48th floor definitely created a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

The following night’s banquet was just as fun (because we are involved in wonderful organizations around here) and featured food options from the opposite end of the spectrum. This group brought large trays from Qdoba into their facilities and had volunteers serve attendees. Chicken or beef, again, but with the option of a rice and bean bowl with choice of toppings. We’ll forever more put rice on our nachos after having chips on our bowls, and we had a great time with amazing people.

Whatever style of banquet, dinner, awards ceremony or fellowship you attend this month, remember that there is always a way to stay full, but the food is not the focus; spend your energy appreciating your friends and peers while you all enjoy a night together.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

Sometimes we just crave Thai food, so this week we’ll cover Bambu in Richardson, TX. A small restaurant, holding maybe a dozen tables, this place has an incredible atmosphere and staff. The food is beautiful as well as tasty, making Bambu a must try for Thai.

With windows on two sides, the light becomes part of the experience during lunch. Subtle music and genuinely friendly staff would probably bring us back even if the food was only OK. But as it stands, those are nice additions to a wonderful meal.

Edamame from BambuEdamame (4) comes out piping hot, so be careful. Steam pours off the soybeans when the bowl comes off the top and that heat brings out the most of the flavor. We found ourselves actually enjoying this appetizer rather than just going through the motions while we talked.

Thai Fried Rice with Tofu from BambuThe vegetarian tried Thai Fried Rice (9), after being assured it contained no chicken broth, of course, and loved it. Large onion chunks in and around the mound of rice are just sweet and very crisp. A large tomato in the middle gave a fun texture combination with the egg while scallions added crispness and flavor throughout. Perhaps the nicest surprise was the contrast in flavor and texture when the fresh cilantro mixes with oils from rice. We’ll definitely get this again.

Cashew Chicken from BambuOn the carnivore’s side we had Cashew Chicken (9), which was just spicy enough to build up and get the nose running at a spice level of two. All white meat chicken with fresh, large-cut vegetables and a dark sauce came together for the perfect meaty dish.

On a previous visit, we watched a friend ask for Pad Kee Mao at “Thai Style” and tear up when he ate it. His face was red, nose running, and eyes streaming with tears, yet he wouldn’t stop eating; it was that good.

We like Bambu because has something delicious for everyone and the staff works as a team, which makes the experience a little more pleasant. The next time you are near Coit and Campbell in Richardson, stop in for a bite.

When we pulled up to Thai Tanee on Alpha Rd. in Dallas, we were a little unsure about going in. Situated between a laundromat on one end and a pool hall on the other, we weren’t sure what we were walking into; but when we found an elegant room and a friendly staff inside.

Fried Tofu from Thai TaneeFrom the many appetizers, we went with Fried Tofu (4.95). Fresh from the pan, this was hot, hot, hot with very crispy corners and a soft interior. With pretty much the same flavor all tofu has, the sauce made the dish delicious with its light sweetness and crushed peanuts.

Pra Ram (Peanut Sauce) from Thai TaneeThe Pra Ram (peanut sauce) with veggies (8.5) is a wonderful dinner. This came out like a curry, with plenty of sauce and vegetables beside a cone of rice. The sauce was thinner than other peanut sauces we have experienced, but it was so full of flavor we were surprised. A strong peanut smell filled the area surrounding our table as we tried the amazing dish. Sweet and nutty, this comes with plenty of peanuts crumbled over the top of mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, cabbage and baby corn. We can’t recommend this enough. If you can only come here once, we encourage you to try the Pra Ram.  

Pad See Ew from Thai TaneeWe always like Pad See Ew, so tried it here with tofu (8.5). The dish is sweet, but not so much so that it builds to a sickly sweetness before finishing. Always mild, this is one of our favorite versions. The tofu is firm and big noodles are well cooked. The sauce is darker than others we’ve tried, but also more delicious.

Pad Woon Sen from Thai TaneeThe Pad Woon Sen (8.5) is also quite nice. Crisp celery, carrots and onions with whole mushrooms accent wonderfully chewy glass noodles that perfectly cooked to a complimentary texture. We had this with tofu, which is pretty basic, but if you prefer meat, that is an option.

Pad Thai from Thai TaneeWe also enjoyed Pad Thai (8.5) with its spicy green onions and sweet sauce. This is extremely flavorful and the noodles are thick and well coated in sauce. The spice from a green onion spice took us off guard at first, but it worked with the sweet to create a wonderful dish.

We were only one of three tables on our first visit, and one of two on our second. This is most likely because of the variety of ordering options. Dine in, of course, carry out, and delivery are all available. And, you can even order online, so the lack of visible customers is not indicative of the restaurant’s quality. The atmosphere is nice, the staff friendly and the food ranges from great to amazing. Thai Tanee is an instant favorite we can’t wait to visit again.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

Nam Hua's Vegetarian Menu
We have loved this little place off Beltline and Jupiter for quite a while and tend to lean toward the vermicelli dishes, but decided to branch out this week. Given that Nam Hua has a vegetarian menu with 28 options, we have no excuse for taking this long to try new things. Well, other than the staff making some of the best vermicelli dishes around and we really do love them. Even the omnivore prefers the vermicelli here, it’s just that good. But, in the spirit of adventure, we’ll look at the Bành Canh Chay and Mì/Hủ Tiếu Xào Mếm Chay Thập Cẩm, both from the expansive vegetarian menu.

Nam Hua's Vegetarian number 17The number 17. Bành Canh Chay (6.95) came in a huge bowl with fresh sprouts, lime and parsley sprigs on the side. Chewy veggie shrimp and various other meat substitutes dominated the soup and each type had its own unique flavor, but the textures were pretty similar. The fun part of this dish, for the vegetarian anyway, came in combining fresh, crisp sprouts with big chewy noodles. The noodles are short enough to manage and thick as a garden snake, so pairing them with the sprouts created a wonderful contradiction in texture. The broth comes steaming, so we dropped in just a few sprouts at first so they wouldn’t cook soft while we ate, but we have seen diners dump the entire plate into their bowls before. There are enough to keep you busy however you enjoy them.

Nam Hua's Vegetarian number 20The omnivore tried the number 20. Mì/Hủ Tiếu Xào Mếm Chay Thập Cẩm (9.95) with egg noodles. This dish comes with the option of egg or rice noodles, so you can make it vegan if that is your preference. The noodles were perfectly cooked and covered with large vegetable chunks and sauce. Green and red peppers dominated the vegetable selection and the sauce was slightly salty, but good. Young, long-stemmed mushrooms were flavorful, maybe more so than the fake meat, which tasted closest to ham, but not really like any meat that would come from an animal. It was good, though. Celery, snow peas, cabbage, and leafy greens are all just kind of there, not making any impact on the dish. Crisp vegetables, chewy fungi and wonderful noodles make this a decent dish. Not the best Nam Hua has to offer, but still quite good.

Our favorites, of course, remain any of the vermicelli dishes. The number 7. Bún Thịt Nưóʼng Chả Giò Chay is always amazing and comes with a vegetarian version of the house fish sauce upon request. Cool fresh sprouts, mint, cucumbers and carrots join fried onions, tofu paste and egg rolls atop vermicelli noodles to create the most wonderful flavor and texture combinations a mouth could ever want.

Come for lunch or dinner and know you’ll have enough to keep you full. The service speed varies by day, but we are always greeted by friendly people upon arrival. We’ve brought friends in for a while now and have never had a complaint. Nam Hua definitely has our recommendation. Go in, try either of their menus, and share a meal with friends.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

New to Ethiopian food, we here at the VICC Project have been looking for places to try it around Dallas. We have been pleasantly surprised by several restaurants around the Dallas area, but by no means have tried them all.


(On Greenville at 635)

When we sat down we first noticed the decorations in the tables. Combs, jewelry and other items preserved with shellac in the table tops bring color and before even the menus arrive. The staff, or at least the one woman we encountered, is welcoming, friendly and willing to take the time to explain each dish to newcomers.

When we saw the menu, we commented that there is only one vegetarian dish under the veggie dishes heading, the rest of that section is dedicated to fish dishes. Of course, the vegetarian went with the Daily Assorted Ethiopian Veggie Combo (9.99), while the omnivore branched out for ZilZil Tibse.

Ibex Vegetarian CombinationThe vegetarian combo offers a variety of split lentils. The pink lentils look like they are cooked in a meaty sauce, but we were assured they are vegetarian. And they are amazing. The spice builds a little bit, but not so much we can’t take it.

This was our first experience with Injera, a fun sourdough bread with fermentation holes all over. Of course we love it. While it smells like wine, it tastes like a sourdough base with some type of wine or tartness to it. And we don’t just like it because, as the plate, utensil, and napkin of the meal, it lets us use our hands. This stuff actually tastes great by itself.

We also liked the cabbage and carrots. They are sweet, like a pickled dish, and look like they might contain mustard seed or powder, but have no heat. Along the same lines, the beets and onions are incredible.

There is definitely enough food here to share. Two of us got the same thing, so now we know to split it next time.

Because the injera crepe lines the plate, there’s more food here than ya’ think.

Ibex ZilZil TibseThe omnivore’s zilzil tibse were quite nice, too. Prime beef sauteed in seafood and Awaze sauce with onions and tomatoes to accent the beef are amazing. Again, the injera plate and a bit of salad add to the sizzling beef to make this a huge meal.

On the side came a sauce that the omnivore described as “horseradish wasabi death sauce of the flaming apocalypse.” It’s actually quite good, but the he has a tender pallet when it comes to horseradish, so keep heat thresholds in mind when ordering.


(In Garland at Buckingham and Jupiter)

A very small restaurant, we were pleased to see drawings on the walls and small areas set up for hookah and music. Definitely the least expensive of the places we visited, we were still able to fill our bellies and carry some home for later.

The veggie combination plate came with four items plus a salad in the middle, but this was still enough to fill up and have carry leftovers home. Again, the injera makes this a much more filling meal than your eyes will register, so be ready to indulge. The lentils are a little spicy here, and the injera is delicious.

Again, the omnivore went for zilzil tibse, and discovered that there is a difference in the dishes. Here, the jalapenos mixed with the beef were incredibly hot and delicious. He had advised the waitress, who we thought may have been the cook as well, that he liked spicy dishes and she obliged with a wonderful balance.

The sweet tea (which, let’s be honest, is not the first choice if you want an authentic experience) tasted like a lemony instant variety, but the food was amazing.

Queen of Sheba

(Off Beltline and Inwood in Addison)

We happened to walk in while a person we took to be the owner was outside on a call. She opened the door for us and welcomed us personally into the restaurant, which is by far the most upscale (fancy napkin folding and ambient lighting kind of upscale) of the places we visited. Queen of Sheba offers vegetarian a la carte items as well as a vegetarian combination plate on the Ethiopian menu. We also found an Italian menu on the back, making this the perfect place to bring those friends or family members who outright refuse to try anything new.

Queen of Sheba Vegetarian CombintaionAt about $15 a plate, Queen of Sheba offers the most food per plate of anyplace we tried. The vegetarian combination includes a variety of dishes from lentils to pickled cabbage, and every one of them is wonderful. The Gomen and Shiro are our favorites, but all of the items on the plate keep us coming back for more.

Yet again our omnivore went with Zilzil Tibse, so we may have to stage an intervention at some point, but he noticed that this version has a medium spice and comes with three vegetable items on the side.

As always, the injera filled us rather quickly, but there was not as much, nor was there an offer of more, even at an additional charge. There are forks on the table, though, so had we not been overstuffed by that point, we would have been fine.

Again, there is more than enough for three people on any one plate, but be prepared to ask for a to-go box before the waitress stacks your dishes. She asked if we were finished, we said yes, and she piled them up to be washed. And she’s a quick one, so ask fast.

We did not partake in the had washing ceremony, but it sounded like an interesting experience.

While all of these places are Ethiopian restaurants, each one brings a unique cooking style and piece of culture to the business. Our recommendations would honestly depend on what you want. If you are looking for great food on a budget, try Gojo. For what we thought was the most immersive experience, go to Ibex. And if you want that fine dining experience, Queen of Sheba is for you. We found wonderful food and friendly service at each restaurant and will return to each one in the future.

If you know of a great place we should try, please let us know. From what we have seen, we are huge fans of this type of food and would love to try more.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

If this week has taught us anything, it has taught us that Forrest Gump had it right when he said, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” We eat at recommended, trendy restaurants that are not as good as the hole in the wall, family run places we tend to frequent. Yet, while in Denton, a friend recommended Rasoi, the Indian Kitchen, for a quick dinner before a meeting, then drove to a gas station and got out of the car.

A gas station! Needless to say, skepticism ran high. We noticed the cars at the pump area were actually parked and not filling up their tanks, so that helped. As we walked in to what appeared to be a convenience store, we saw bags of dahl in various colors, a cigarette rack and a small buffet. A friendly woman came from the back and asked what we wanted. Nothing was labeled, so we asked for whatever was vegetarian. While the woman loaded our plates with rice and what seemed like everything from the buffet (which was not, in fact, serve yourself), we noticed a menu with specials of the day that included one main dish and rice for $4.99.

Vegetarian plate at Rosai, the Indian KitchenCheap food at any place can be scary. Cheap food out of what still registered as a gas station in our minds prompted a strong fear response, but we soldiered through. It was a good thing we did, too, because this place proved to be a great find! We are pretty sure there was a saag and potatoes dish, and maybe chana and some dahl on the plate, but honestly we didn’t ask and she didn’t tell. She plopped one scoop of everything vegetarian atop the rice, asked if we wanted salad, which she centered on top of the pile, and we went around the corner. The space where the merchandise shelves once stood now houses maybe a dozen tables. The reach-in coolers stay stocked with drinks, but there is also a soda fountain if that’s more your speed.

We sat down and dug in to find nothing was overly spicy, and everything tasted great. The potatoes seemed like new potatoes rather than the large Idaho variety and all of the vegetables stood out on their own merit. The “everything vegetarian” option was only about $7, so definitely not expensive and we left so stuffed we almost opted out of the meeting for which we were in Denton in the first place. And we couldn’t even finish! Two vegetarians could split this plate and have plenty of nutrition to keep them going from lunch to dinner.

From the time we pulled up to the time we drove away, we went from skeptical, to curious, to a little fearful, and finally landed on genuinely pleased. Overall, this place is a great find. Bollywood movies on a large screen television and comfy couches between the dining area and convenience store add to Rasoi’s atmosphere that you really just have to experience to understand.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

We’ve written a couple of times about restaurants and events around Oak Cliff, and we’re getting the impression this may be the go-to place for vegetarians around the Dallas area. This week, we followed a tip from our friends at Greenling (we don’t work for them, scout’s honor, we’re just in that honeymoon phase) and tried Bolsa on Davis Street. Another Oak Cliff restaurant, another beautiful meal. And, like some of our other favorites, Bolsa serves vegetarian fare and meat dishes with equal attention to detail, so put this on your list of mixed group destinations.

While we usually visit restaurants together, this week one of us went with a couple of friends who don’t usually contribute to the VICC Project, so when you read “we,” it means the VICC vegetarian and some omnivorous friends. (Really, it’s the same setup with different people, but we don’t want to mislead anyone.)

The recommendation that sent us out this time mentioned that Bolsa strives to use local ingredients whenever possible. Of course we love the concept, so we had to check it out. We walked in and immediately noticed a collection of bird houses above the bar. This is only one of uncountable personal touches that make this restaurant/wine bar stand out. The wait staff is friendly, one wall is made of garage doors (part of the building’s original purpose, according to the site) and something about the place just makes you relax when you walk in. We did walk past some sort of hide on the floor to get to our table, but that was the only thing to cause a question.

Bolsa Cucumber Avocado Sandwich and Baby Greens Salad with Cranberries and AlmondsWhen we asked the waiter for their best vegetarian dish, he recommended the cucumber and avocado sandwich (9) without so much as pausing to take a breath. If you can come up with something that fast, we’re sold. He thought about it, and said margherita pizza is also great, but since it was lunch time we all had sandwiches. Thin cucumbers must have been stacked an inch tall with avocado sliced equally thin between them and the baby lettuce on the sandwich. Tomatoes, pesto and locally baked focaccia bread made this an amazing meal. This place definitely takes flavor into account when creating vegetarian options, which are not limited to salads and sides. Mixed baby lettuce salads with cranberries and slivered almonds with an amazing vinaigrette dressing came standard with the sandwiches. Healthful and delicious, we can’t recommend this enough.

The reuben (9), which comes on a beautiful marbled rye, also received a good report. Not a crumb was left on the plate, if that is any indication, so bring your meat-eating friends.

Dude, Sweet ChocolateAfter lunch, we headed (a couple of blocks at most) to the Bishop Arts District for a summer stroll through the shops. While there, we visited Dude, Sweet Chocolate, an artisan chocolate shop specializing in dark chocolates. The owner created chocolates in the open view kitchen while we browsed the boxed selections. We tried some samples (the two of us who tried the blue cheese and sea salt in chocolate had mixed opinions, but we all loved the hazelnut spread) and had the opportunity to chat her up. Extremely informed about the politics of cacao farming around the world, she said she buys her ingredients based on their quality and flavor, but that often turns out to be fair trade and/or organic. She doesn’t buy things because of their certifications, even though the stuff she buys may have them. From talking to her, we got the impression that she’s more of a fair life supporter than someone who demands or chases a certificate. And she cares about the source of her ingredients. Certifying organic or fair trade is expensive, and putting that money back into the land and those who work it makes more sense than chasing documentation that may or may not mean you’re getting something better. It makes sense to us! Crack in a Box from Dude, Sweet ChocolateShe is intelligent and impressive, but when you’re talking chocolate, you should really let the chocolate do the talking; and it did. Beautiful dark chocolate, this stuff is amazing. We joke about different foods being addictive, but Dude, Sweet actually sells “Crack in a Box,” which is a bark-style dark chocolate with soy nuts, almonds, nibs and who knows what else inside. Yes, we’ll tell you now, this is the stuff of dreams.

With names like “Break Up Potion” and “One Night Stand” for chocolate sauces containing bourbon and tequila, respectively, you know you’re in for a treat at this little corner of heaven. Make a point to visit Dude, Sweet the next time you are in Oak Cliff. You won’t regret it.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

We’ve often talked about how great it would be to have a fridge full of food we could  just heat and eat without all the chemicals and preservatives involved in typical packaged meals. How much we would love to open the pantry and find measured ingredients already chopped and ready to assemble, if only we weren’t too cheap to hire personal chefs. Then we found Greenling.

With locations in Austin, San Antonio and now Dallas, Greenling delivers certified organic and locally grown groceries to your door. And the best part: you pick your level of involvement! If you want to plan your meals and order ingredients to prepare yourself, do it. If, like us, you dream of a time when someone will not only suggest what you should eat each day, but also wash, measure, chop and package everything you’ll need to make that dish, your dreams just came true.

We first heard about Greenling when a friend posted a 10% discount coupon on FaceBook. While we didn’t immediately use the coupon, we did research the service that we knew was too good to be true. Besides, even the Jimmy John’s a few miles away doesn’t deliver to this area, so what are the chances something this specialized will? Well, we were wrong. This is too good, but it’s also true. On top of that, the greater Dallas area’s delivery service even goes to the suburbs. Is this real life? Organic vegetables, delivered to your door, AND you can support local farmers? Yep. It’s real life, all right. We went with the Station 2 prepared diet plan and got our first box on Friday.

Screenshot of 100 degree tempurature on Friday, July 20 from dateandtime.comStill skeptical, we opened the bright green box thinking we’d find a wilted vegetable stew. Instead, we found a still-cold (after sitting on a porch for a couple of hours at least) box of bags, cans and crisp vegetables all bundled and marked with “Day 1” to “Day 5” depending on when we should use them based on the plan we ordered. (More versatility is available, too, we just didn’t want to think about anything in the first week.)

First impressions of this company are good. Our packing slip, taped to the outside of the box, had listed answers to ordering questions. One of those questions referred to pets, so we, being a bit silly (although honest) said we officially had cats, but listed some of the random other critters that wander around our place, including skunks and coyotes. The person packing our box actually too the time to be silly back and hand wrote a note. Kudos to any company who embraces fun and passes it along, even if they don’t see us in person.

Welcome packet with recipes, discounts and a stickerFrom the top, we found a welcome packet with an advertising bumper sticker, company brochure and refer a friend coupon. Our recipe kit for “5-Day Meal Kit 3” from the Engine 2 Diet listed what we would eat for each of the next five days, with ingredient lists and recipes that included “hands-on time estimates.” We removed the packing materials and a freezer pack that covered everything, keeping it cold.

Greenling box items, organized by day to useUnderneath, we saw potatoes in paper bags, pre-measured peppers, salsa, and other refrigerator items in their own plastic cups, and everything organized into bags to make unpacking as mindless as possible. Had we not been taking pictures of the entire process, we could have been finished unloading and had the box ready to return in less than five minutes. (It may have taken 15 with the discussion and random stops to snap a shot.) The bottom of the box is lined with shredded newspaper and more packing material.

We ordered enough to have one meal for two each day for five days. That’s 10 meals ready to assemble and eat. Our total came to 81.99, including a one-time container deposit of $10, putting our meals at just over $7 a pop. We did get a 10% discount on this order (Thanks!), but even at $8 a meal, that’s still what we normally pay when go to a restaurant. Only we know these ingredients are organic and often locally grown. Some of the farmers listed on Greenling’s site are in Rockwall. That’s only about 20 minutes by car from where we opened the box. You can’t get too much more local than that without growing the food yourself.

Yes, some assembly is required, so if you are allergic to your kitchen, this won’t be your best option. For us, though, knowing we can order a week’s worth of food and just put it together like a Lego set is perfect. We’ll let you know how the recipes turn out next time.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

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