Archives for posts with tag: sweets

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.

When we think of Tyler, we tend to think of Roses, consider it the halfway point between Dallas and the Bossier boats, and maybe recall a small town charm, but we never really associated Tyler with vegetarian food or art. Not until recently, anyway.

A couple of us went out to support an artist we know at her first show in a coffee house. Of course we loved her work, even without all of our bias, but we were pleasantly surprised by the location. Caffé Tazza in Tyler, TX is a fun little place that offers a light atmosphere and fresh-made food. None of the pre-packaged cake slices and industrial wrapped sandwiches here. We found salad, paninis and pastries made in house from scratch. Even the scones and cinnamon rolls were fresh. So fresh, in fact, that the icing was still soft and gooey.

The best part of this freshly made goodness is the abundance of vegetarian options. Sure, the sweets are good, but every section of the menu offers some sort of veggie-friendly item. With artichoke, spinach and feta, the vegetarian quiche has more to offer than the standard Lorraine version. Vegetarian Breakfast Panini or a Vegetarian Panino at lunchtime, European salad (with optional meat addition, for those who need it), and a brunch bar on the weekends make this a great find. And everything we tried was good, to boot!

Caffe Tazza's tea serviceIn addition to the Thursday night art shows and great food, Caffé Tazza serves tea and coffee in hand painted Italian ceramics. If you love the dishes, check the walls. All of the pieces on the shelves are for sale, so talk to the staff about the ones you like. A two- or three-cup teapot with a teacup nearly equal in size gave a Wonderland feel to the visit. Add to all of this fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade and we may just have to declare a new favorite in town.

The next time you are out Tyler way, stop by Caffé Tazza and have a bite. And, if you are lucky enough to be there between 5 and 8 p.m. on a Thursday, take in some local art with a glass of wine.

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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