Archives for posts with tag: locally owned

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.

The Corner Pocket Sandwich Shop has changed corners, owners, and decorative style through the decades it has been on downtown Garland’s square, but through all the changes, this locally owned restaurant remains a regular lunch spot for city workers, locals and visitors.

For full disclosure, we’ll tell you up front that two of us have been eating here (under several owners and menu changes) since childhood and one of our writers worked here in high school. Of course that puts the lens of nostalgia into our opinions, but it also sets a pretty high standard for the current staff meet. For instance, the pocket sandwiches have been pretty much the same combination for decades: meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and dressing in a pita. But how you put it together can make the difference between eating the sandwich with your hands and using a knife and fork. We know to cut pitas at the little hole in the seam (they all seem to have one) in order to keep the contents off the table, but that little tidbit got lost somewhere along the way. So, even though you order a pocket sandwich, grab extra napkins because more often than not your pita will develop a hole right at the bottom. Of course, if it really bothered us THAT much, we’d stop eating here. But we can’t. The food is good, eavesdropping on the locals as they holler their conversations across the room is entertaining, and the atmosphere is downright comfy. On top of that, there are several vegetarian options and nearly everything is somewhat customizable, so what more can we really demand here?

Corner Pocket Stuffed Avocado with Egg SaladThe menu has expanded quite a bit over the years. The original pocket sandwiches, baked potatoes, nachos and chili are still there, of course, but now you can get things like stuffed avocados, frozen custard and more. We recently tried the stuffed avocado with egg salad and were a little hesitant at first. On the plate is a whole avocado, split in half with each side containing about a scoop of egg-salad. Between these is a little lettuce, tomato and a hard boiled egg and everything on the plate is sprinkled with paprika. While it sounds like a dainty little bit of food, this is an extremely filling meal. The egg salad is amazing, actually, but pairing that creamy texture and mild flavor with something as mellow as an avocado was a new experience for us. You can ask for ham, chicken or tuna salads as well, but, as always, we went for the veggie-friendly option. The dish grew on us with each bite, and by the time we finished, we were full, happy, and convinced we’d get this again.

Other vegetarian options include the MAC (Mushroom, Avocado and Cheese), Veggie Deluxe, salad, nachos and a broccoli and cheese baked potato. The MAC contains the ingredients that make up its name: four cheeses (melted, but usually not at the center these days) with mashed avocado and sliced mushrooms. The standard fixins of lettuce, tomato and creamy italian dressing are fine, but we tend to omit the lettuce and add black olives. 

Similar to the MAC, the veggie melt sports all of the goodness without the avocado. Honestly, almost anything you get here is good. We have run into some stale chips in the nachos in the past, but on our most recent visit even those were extra crisp and tasty.

If you have room after your meal, head back up to the counter and get some frozen custard. No kidding, this is worth the trip downtown on its own. The flavors change, so check the sign and pick a favorite.

In a city of more than 200,000 people, it’s nice to see such small-town charm on the downtown square. Pictures of stars from Elvis to Marilyn Monroe, sports icons and garland’s history line the walls and hand written menu boards offer selections. You fill your own soda cups and pick up your order from a window halfway down a hall when you hear your number called. Patrons smile, wave and usually have something nice to say to each other.

Overall, this is a great place to visit, a major piece of Garland’s charm and history in its own right, and vegetarian friendly to boot. Of course we’ll be back, we’ve come here for more years than we admit to being alive, but we also recommend you give it a try. Corner Pocket Sandwich Shop is a one of a kind treat that everyone should have the chance to enjoy.

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