Archives for category: Vegetarian

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.

Halloween is a funny holiday for vegetarians and vegans. Tons of processed candies contain animal products, so we get to decide whether to be the house with the “good” candy, or to stick to our principles when it comes to animal products. Since vegan treats are wandering more into the mainstream, you can have the best of both worlds this year. While vegan candy may take a little more ingredient searching to find in a standard supermarket, you don’t have to hand out honey-sweetened or gelatin-filled snacks when kids come to the door.

It seems there are a ton of lists for vegan approved items, so instead of putting together yet another one, we’ve gathered five of those we found interesting this year.

PetaKids has a list of mass produced vegan candies, many of which are available individually wrapped. We were happily surprised to find Fireballs about halfway down. After the snacks, this page defines some common ingredients. While we knew about gelatin, honey and rennet, we were a little surprised to see that stearic acid can come from just about anything with four legs and a stomach.

VegNews also put together a list of vegan-safe candy. We’re huge fans of Airheads, so again, happy to see a favorite on it.

Your Vegan Girlfriend compiled some wonderful vegan recipes in 2011 and we love good recipes. For anyone having or attending a costume party, it will be difficult to resist a plate of cookie eyeballs and witches fingers.

Pledge Vegan put out a wonderful selection of raw vegan treat ideas. If you don’t know your neighbors well enough to give their kids goodies from your kitchen, individual servings of apple sauce and individually wrapped dried fruit are pretty good ideas.

And no collection of vegan lists would be complete without a looking at Healthy Bitch Daily for a fun take on the treats. The Vegan Halloween Candy post includes a wonderful collection to hand out with a no-nonsense reminder that just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Whatever you do this Wednesday, enjoy your time with friends and family.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

It’s been a busy week around Dallas. The Texas State Fair is winding down, we lost Big Tex to a fire, and local vegetarians and vegans are ramping up for the Texas State Veggie Fair. Our plan was to hit the standard fair, then head to the veggie fair, but with Big Tex burning down, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the standard one.

We’ll miss Big Tex, and people who aren’t from here definitely don’t understand why. Honestly, it’s a 60-year-old giant Santa Claus skeleton turned cowboy, so why should we care? But we do. Those of us who grew up meeting at his giant boots every year, who were welcomed by his giant “Howdy, Folks,” and who had our first stolen kisses in his shadow, will miss him terribly. There is talk of rebuilding, but when you make it bigger or better, it reminds us all of what we’ve lost.

But the fair, it’s meant to roll with the times, and that’s what it’s doing. Good Karma Kitchen brought the vegan option to the masses this year. Vegans and vegetarians were able to skip the fried (insert random near-food here)s in favor of something a bit more healthful. Maybe this will be a trend and other vegan and vegetarian food vendors will start popping up next year. We’ll have to see.

The biggest excitement for us this week is definitely the veggie fair. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a great place to go and just be ourselves. A place where we can partake of the food without asking what’s in the fryer, and where nobody will look at us strange for skipping the barbecue. Since the veggie fair is Sunday (today), we’ll fill you in later with our impressions and takeaways.

For now, though, enjoy a beautiful recipe submitted to us by Melinda Stone of Denton. We’re calling it Portobello Bliss.

Portabello, pepper, onion and squash

One portobello mushroom top
One red pepper
One summer squash
Half an onion
Near east pine couscous
Handful of toasted pine nuts
Spoon full of minced garlic
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes

Slice veggies into thick chunks, spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bake in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Prepare couscous as box instructs. Top couscous with veggies and pine nuts and enjoy.

Portobello, peppers, onions, and veggies over couscous

Thanks Ms. Stone for the amazing recipe. Pine nuts and garlic are a pair made in Heaven by anybody’s standards. Great job.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.


The 2012 Texas State Veggie Fair was wonderful. We were definitely at home there with so many vegan and vegetarian options. Mercy for Animals handed out recipes (with industry pictures, of coures), the Vegan Black Metal Chef gave a cooking demo, and we finally caught up with Good Karma Kitchen.

The food smelled wonderful as we wandered through rows of vendor tents taking it all in. Food trucks lined a street near a stage where live bands played throughout the day, kids bounced in a bounce house, and a few brave souls took to a bungie swing. Overall, this was a modern lifestyle version of a small town or county fair from an idyllic time; quiet and calm, people talking to friends and strangers alike, kids dancing around, and nobody worrying about much of anything. If we could pick a favorite way to spend an afternoon, this would be it.

We’ve been trying to get to Good Karma Kitchen for months, but every time we are in Fort Worth, they are in Dallas, or the other way around. We finally crossed paths at the Veggie Fair and are glad we did. This food truck is completely vegan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bit of down home Texas cuisine. With Barbecue Tacos and Frito Pie on the menu, we knew we were in for a treat. After asking which was better, we went with the pie. A mountain of chips covered some of the thickest chili we’ve had in a while. Yes, it’s vegan, but the texture is beautiful. Chunks of fresh tomatoes and green peppers, black beans, and what we guessed was TVP or another veggie meat gave this a depth we didn’t expect to find on a truck. It may look like a little cup of chili, but that is one of the most filling meals we’ve had in a long time. If you ever see this bright yellow truck, no matter the time of day, it’s lunch time. Trust us.

Capital City Bakery offered a selection of vegan treats, so we naturally went there next. An oatmeal cream pie with vanilla cream (vegan, of course) frosting proved to be more than we could handle in one sitting. That sucker was HUGE! But it came wrapped, so we carried it around and nibbled throughout the day until it was gone. Pumpkin cupcakes were amazing as well. The ability to make things like this that taste so good, so much better than what we remember from our childhoods, is what brings people to realize that being vegan doesn’t mean have to resign yourself to accept that you will lack anything in your food life. Again, if you ever see this truck, make sure to stop and visit.

Inside the rec center, we attended a couple of cooking demos. A vegan bartender removed any and all animal products from some delicious beverages, some of which we didn’t even know weren’t vegan. She offered tips for some popular items. Jello shots, for instance, are obviously not vegan. But you if you use Agar Agar (available at any Asian market) instead, you are in business.

We were surprised to see that her entire audience left and the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s following came in. We figured there would be some crossover, but we may have been the only ones to see both demos. (We are the lucky ones.) He made Aloo Palak and Buffalo Seitan Bites in his demo with nothing precooked accept the boiled potatoes. The spices from the seitan filled the packed room, so definitely use the stove fan if you make this. Watching him make two vegan dishes from scratch in under an hour made us think we might actually have time to cook dinner, even on the busy days. Shocking videos aside, this guys is quite funny in person. Oh, and all the armor he wears in his videos is made of rubber, not leather.

If you get the chance to go to the veggie fair next year, do it. You don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to attend, so bring your friends. This is an eclectic group of people with one thing in common: we accept each other’s choices not to eat meat. Enjoy the adventure!

For about three years a little Indian restaurant has stayed tucked in a shopping center off Belt Line and Central Expressway in Richardson. But Udipi Cafe is not just another Indian buffet. Everything served at this restaurant is vegetarian. Not just vegetarian friendly, but 100% meat- and broth-free vegetarian food. How have we missed this for so long?

Whatever kept us away before, we’re definitely going back now. The wait staff is a mix of people from friendly and helpful to curmudgeonly yet somehow easy to like. The food, however, is absolutely wonderful. On our first visit, we were so overwhelmed by options that we had to ask for a recommendation. Yes, it was strange and wonderful to have an entire menu from which to choose; so strange that we couldn’t make a choice.

Udipi Cafe Soup AppetizerDuring dinner, an appetizer of soup came to the table. If this is a standard item, be aware that we dubbed it “Death Pepper and Cauliflower Soup.” We felt it in our tear ducts, yet we it was extremely flavorful and we kept putting our spoons back in the bowls. Definitely try it if you can take the heat.

Per our request, our waiter gave us a few options. He first recommended a dosa, which one of us ordered, then said the mutter panner or butter paneer masala would be good. We went for the second option and were delighted with the dish.

Udipi Cafe Huge Butter Masala DosaUdipi Cafe Butter Masala Dosa FillingWhen the food arrived we discovered that Udipi Cafe is very generous with portions. The Dosa was huge, possibly the biggest one we’ve had so far. The beautifully crispy crepe is monstrous, but the filling is centered over a plate so we were pleased to find that this is actually manageable. We still had enough to take home, though. The spicy yellow potato filling definitely builds the heat, but it takes a while. The sauces are not going to cool anything down, either. This is delicious, but bring tissues if you aren’t used to spicy foods.

Udipi Cafe Butter Paneer MasalaOnce we tasted the butter paneer masala we had to ask and discovered that the paneer is made in house. It is firm, yet doesn’t crumble, and has a nice flavor on its own. The sauce is not spicy at first, but give it a minute to build and you’ll fall in love as fast as we did. Creamy and tomato based, this had a slight anise seed flavor that made the thick sauce stand out.

Udipi Cafe Buffet PlateIf you are in the mood for a buffet, come in for lunch. At about the size of any other buffet, this one holds only vegetarian dishes, so you get twice the normal variety. Try all of your favorites, of course, but be aware that they will bring you a fresh, yet slightly smaller, dosa, so save some room.

The only negative we encountered was the dessert cart not holding gulab jamun. That’s not actually a negative so much as our being spoiled by most other buffets we encounter offering it. We were honestly too stuffed for much dessert, so it’s probably a good thing it wasn’t there.

Overall, we were delighted to find an Indian buffet where we didn’t have to deal with goat meat while reaching for the spinach and we were even more pleased when we discovered the food is delicious. We will definitely add Udipi Cafe to our must frequent list. Maybe we’ll see you there on our next visit.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

We found Engine 2 when shopping on Greenling and decided to try it. After a week of eating what the recipe kit told us to eat for dinner, and a few lunches, we have mixed feelings on the plant-based meal plan. We love vegetarian diets, of course, and most of the meals are pretty healthful with a wide enough range to keep it interesting, but we found ourselves adding salt or cheese when we reheated leftovers for lunch. Leftovers are one of the great things about going through Greenling (see last week’s post) for this meal plan because the meals will feed more than intended. Although we ordered five meals for two people, we got three to four servings out of each meal during the first week.

Day 1: Nachos

Engine 2 Nachos on three plates

Plenty of food for three people, this recipe is amazing. We made the mistake of setting our broiler to low when cooking the chips, so they were not as crispy as they could have been. Then the moisture from the beans and tomatoes made the chips a little soggy, but the nachos still tasted incredible. A beautiful salsa, fresh tomatoes and avocado are perfect with organic black beans. Anything that can survive our clumsy handling and still taste great has our vote.
*added bonus: Making tortilla chips (correctly) in the oven saves a little money over buying them packaged.

Day 2: Portobello Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes with Seasonal Vegetables

Engine 2 Marinate Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables

Incredible. This is by far the favorite meal of the week. We put the marinade into the mushroom container and shook it around and poured it all onto the baking sheet. Our lack of culinary training (and apparent common sense) led to some smokey mushrooms coming out of the oven. Note for next time, don’t pour marinade all over a baking sheet. It will burn before the mushrooms cook. But, even after trying to burn the mushrooms (and the veggies, for that matter) this was amazing. It presents well and the mushrooms are tender enough to cut with a fork. The rosemary and garlic in the potatoes bring a gourmet touch to comfort food. This dish reheats well, too!

Day 3: Cauliflower Soup

Engine 2 Cauliflower Soup

Soup is surprisingly easy to make when someone else does all the prep work. This one is good, but doesn’t stand out as a favorite from the plan. We added salt to one of the three reheats (yes three, this recipe makes a large pot of soup) and that helped. Large chunks of cauliflower and potatoes give this more of a stew feel, so we thought biscuits might be in order. While they are great for sopping up the liquid, plan to eat much less than you think you need because the soup is filling and the bread will swell.

Day 4: Pasta Primavera

Engine 2 Pasta Primavera

Whatever else happens, don’t use the entire crushed pepper packet. Yowza! That’s one hot dish. But, while it did burn, we couldn’t stop eating it. Fresh kale and peppers bring texture to a pre-made organic sauce and noodles. We melted cheese over the leftovers and that helped cool it down a bit, but if you have a pallet for spice, you’ll like this meal.

Day 5: Shepherd’s Pie

Engine 2 Shepherd's Pie

Rosemary potatoes (left over from the second day) and lentils drive this dish. Good on the first day, shepherd’s pie shines in leftovers. Maybe it’s the flavors mixing or just mashing everything under a plastic lid, but something happens overnight that makes this better on the second and third day. Like the others we had from week three, this recipe makes well more than the promised two servings.

We stumbled into Engine 2 by accident, but the convenience and nutritional quality of what we found make it worth continuing. Our sample is limited, and at some point, we’ll probably buy the book and see what this diet is all about. For now, the good meals are great and the worst meals are only as bad as “meh,” so we’ll add Engine 2 to our dinner rotation. We alter the recipes with salt, oil or cheese to fit our tastes, which is probably counterproductive to any weight loss goal, but we like the meals.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

With lines in the menu stating they will compromise their sauces to accommodate a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it’s no wonder Thai Soon displays “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” awards along the walls. While this restaurant does serve meat dishes, everything on the menu can be made vegetarian. Everything. This is perhaps the first place we’ve wandered into without knowing much about the menu ahead of time and experienced option overload. No limitations on what we can eat? Vegetarian soups? Really? We were just about to panic, then we remembered that most people have an entire menu from which to choose. How nice it is to feel “normal” for a change.

Thai Soon's Vegetarian Fried Rice with TofuA dedicated lunch menu keeps things rather simple with a list of specials for $6.95 or passion lunch specials for $7.95. All options come with soup or salad and a vegetarian egg roll. We tried the Vegetarian Fried Rice with tofu and Rad Na with tofu, both on the standard lunch menu. Crispy vegetables in the fried rice are fresh and flavorful. The rice is sticky enough to (mostly) stay on the fork and out of the lap on its way from this mountain of goodness to your mouth. When we ordered, our waitress asked if eggs were OK, so they can make this vegan, too, if that’s more to your liking.

Thai Soon's Rad Na with TofuWhile we liked the fried rice, we loved the Rad Na. We’re suckers for flat noodles around here, so that’s part of our preference, but this would have been good with any starch base. Loaded with crisp vegetables, tofu, and a brilliant sweet, dark sauce, this is a wonderful dish for lunch or dinner. And for such a generous portion, the lunch price is quite a deal. Definitely an instant favorite.

Thai Soon's Salad with Peanut SauceOn our lunch visits, we went with salads, which were simple and topped with a super thick and creamy peanut sauce that made them rather addictive.

Thai Soon's Royal Curry

From the dinner menu, we ejnoyed the Royal Curry (8.95), which is a spicy yellow curry. Perhaps because we asked for a vegetarian version, this was more of a green color. But the sweet coconut comes through well and the spice builds as you eat your way through the dish. Even when the heat caused a runny nose (come on, we can’t be the only wimps around), this was so good we couldn’t stop eating. Soft grilled tofu against fresh, firm mushrooms and a collection of white vegetables, carrots and red bell peppers comes together for a sweet and spicy delight.

Thai Soon's Vegetarian Egg RollsPossibly the nicest surprise, the Vegetarian Egg Rolls (4.95) are simple and good. Without too many competing flavors, these are perfectly crispy and well complimented by the sauce, atop which crushed peanuts and cucumber bits float. With crushed red pepper throughout, this is a flavorful, sweet and barely hot sauce we have since learned to crave.

After several visits, we understand why so many publications chose Thai Soon as their favorite vegetarian restaurant. We have added it to our must frequent list and hope anyone near the Richardson area has the chance to stop in and try it.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

Healthful vegetarian meals can do wonders for the body, but who says vegetarians all have time to shop, rinse, chop and cook every single day just because we cut that one little thing out of our diets? Sometimes, we like to pull the junk food out of the freezer just like anybody else. (There, the secret is out. We can all stop gasping and pretending this is a surprise.) But for years this was a difficult objective. Vegetable lasagna doesn’t always mean vegetarian, and reading every label in search of chicken stock or beef broth can get time consuming. There was always a small group of options at any major grocery store, maybe three to five products, plus veggie dogs, available to us, but that’s changing fast.

We’ve recently noticed the vegetarian sections in the freezer cases getting larger. The original few selections from Amy’s and a few more from MorningStar Farms or Boca are still around but lately we’ve noticed actual vegetarian (not so much vegan yet, sorry) options for pizza, burritos and a wider variety of meat substitutes.

Whole Foods Market's frozen meals displayEven the go-to veggie places are increasing their options. Whole Foods Market has a huge selection of Amy’s products (perhaps the whole line, with at least three cases of just that brand), Tofurkey pizzas and meals, Kashi, Starlite Cuisine – which was new to us – and the more widely accessible brands we keep stocked in our freezers. Add to that Veganaise, Tofutti and Wallaby brands and you might not need to go anyplace else. The frozen options are mostly of the three to five minute variety, so we’re well on our way to fitting in with the other people who don’t have time to cook.

Central Market Frozen Food DisplayCentral Market offers an equally strong variety of frozen meals, but, to be honest, we started going there for the bakery. Artisan breads made fresh daily, need we say more? We do? Really? OK. Fresh tortillas made in house! We asked, and these do not include lard, so there’s a double bonus. Yes, we’ve loved Central market for years, mostly for the bakery, but also for the variety of vegetarian and vegan options the stores offer.

While looking for fast meals, remember that Whole Foods and Central Market have both created their own store brands that offer some vegetarian options. Whole Foods markets their brand under 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic Everyday Value while Central Market’s brand uses the store name. Both stores also have great bulk and pre-made areas to grab anything from pickles and olives to pesto and couscous. These can get a little pricey, but the options are there if you’re in a hurry.

Natural Grocers frozen food displayIn our search for fast options, we ran across a Natural Grocers. Never having been into one, we were impressed with wide the vegetarian selection, which extended beyond the freezer case and into the frozen bins, but also with the prices. Some of the items we saw here were significantly less expensive than at similar places. Of course, dealing with specialty foods means paying more until our diets are mainstream, but this bill didn’t sting like so many others.

Sprouts Texas Grown produce signWe found another nice surprise at Sprouts Farmers Market. This store offers dry goods and bulk snacks, but it really does look more like a market than a store. The produce stacked up in bins and along walls was clean, colorful, and it smelled delicious. Coming across a huge section marked “Texas Grown” didn’t hurt our opinions, either. We like any chance we get to eat food grown on relatively nearby soil so the sign made us smile. Add to all of this a decent sound track and Sprouts absolutely goes onto our “must frequent” list.

Mock Abalone and Mock Chicken from an Asian marketA couple of options we never heard mentioned when asking people where to find good vegetarian pre-made food are the Asian and Indian markets around town. This hole in the suggestion list surprised us. Given the abundance of vegetarian options available at any of these stores we honestly thought those would be top of the list. Whether you are looking for mock meats or paneer, both of these tend to have huge selections at great prices. We often spend less going to both our local Indian and Asian markets in one day than we do in a quick trip to Whole Foods. Like so many other places, the vegetarian and meat versions are shelveGreen dot marking vegetarian option on Indian food packagingd side by side, but reading the labels will keep you on track. And here’s a helpful tip: foods imported from or intended for sale in India tend to have either red or green dots on their packages, indicating meat (red) or veg (green) ingredients. That’s a shopping speed increase off the bat.

Wherever you shop, if you’re in the market for quick microwave meals and prepared foods, the vegetarian options are growing. Yes, fresh is always better, and better for you, but that’s generally true about anything. And, like so many other people around here, sometimes we’re just too busy to dice and chop, bake and boil, stir and fry. But it’s great to know we have options and that they’re growing every day.

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

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

There’s a good chance that those of you who have spent any time in Dallas already know about Cosmic Café. It’s one of the staple places to which people bring their vegetarian friends when they don’t know what to feed them, but it became a staple for a reason.

Maybe the ambience sets the tone for an enjoyable time, maybe people just love the food, or it could be a little of both, but this vegetarian restaurant off Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs has earned its reputation as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Dallas. We might go so far as to list it among the best in North Texas, once we’ve tried all the rest of them.

Cosmic Cafe Metal CupsFor now, though, we’ll confirm this place is something special. Walking in to see Buddha on the wall, a cat by the fireplace, and many other bright points of focus is just the beginning. Water comes in metal cups – which really do make it taste better – and the open room full of tables creates a white noise of conversation. Taking a seat out on the porch may cut down on the surrounding chatter, but the front of the building faces Oak Lawn. Tarot cards on the table help distract from the noise of traffic in the city, though. Inside or out, this is an extremely comfortable place to break away from any stresses of daily life.

The menu invites diners to stay awhile, saying there is no hurry, while books and activities on the tables keep you from realizing how much time might have passed. And you can enjoy meditation or classes, too. But as a restaurant, we’ve got to talk about the grub, right?

Cosmic Café has amazing food. No matter whence the dishes originate, everything here has an Indian twist. The spinach enchiladas (9.90), for instance, contain curried creamed spinach instead of the standard steamed. And the red corn tortillas have a little something extra we couldn’t place, but they are bright and work with the slowly increasing spice level of the filling.

Cosmic Cafe Herban Renewal SandwichIf curry isn’t your thing, try the Herban Renewal (8.46). This sandwich of avocado, creamed cheese, fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms and cheese comes on thick nan is nothing close to spicy. The fresh vegetables and mellow cheeses greeted our taste buds with a hug, and we loved every bite.

Cosmic Cafe Portabella TranceFor a little more flavor pop without moving to a full dinner-sized meal, try the Portabella Trance. Portabella mushrooms, spinach and garlic-sautéed onions give this a more juicy and hearty feel. The hot mushrooms and onions are very juicy, so have plenty of napkins on hand.

Cosmic Cafe SamosaAnd who can resist a samosa, really? Potatoes, peas and mild spices deep fried in a perfectly crisp outer shell are just too good to miss. Two to an order, the samosas (4.95) could easily fill a person over lunch, so plan to share if you want to experience more.

Cosmic Cave Buddha's DelightOr, maybe Buddha’s Delight (9.27) is a better option. This signature dish is almost a sampler platter, offering a samosa, dahl, rice and curried vegetables. Our experience included sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach, but the vegetables change periodically. The dahl is thick on its own, but put it over the rice and you have a more textured feeling. Three of us loved this plate and we absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for variety.

One thing we’ve looked at several times, but have yet to try is “I Hate Eggplant,” which sounds divine with sautéed eggplant, peppers and onions. We’ll keep that on the list for our next visit.

If you need to get away from the office for lunch, de-stress while you wait out rush hour, or just feed a roaming vegetarian, Cosmic Café has you covered. From reading and classes to meditation and food, this is a great place to visit.

As spring turns to summer, we’ll be looking for more patio locations. If you have a favorite, or just one you want us to try, let us know. We’ll put it on the calendar.

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

Come back next week for another ride through cattle country.

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