Vegetarian grazing just got a lot easier in Southlake, where three quick-casual places opened their first Tarrant County locations in quick succession in May and June.
Two are boldly putting bread out front — remember bread? Sorry to all the carbophobes, but this is good news for the rest of us.
▪ Dallas-based Bread Zeppelin, in the Southlake Corners storefront that once housed a Planet Burrito, is a build-your-own-salad place a la Snappy Salads and Salata, which both have locations nearby.
The difference here is bread. You can get your salad in a big plastic bowl (boring) or tucked inside a signature zeppelin: a hollowed-out length of baguette shaped like a zeppelin. (If you don’t get it, zeppelin puns are everywhere, as in the “Salads Elevated” signage with a silhouette of a flying blimp.)
It’s like a salad burrito. This gives you a crunchy bit of bread in every bite without the heaviness you’d get from eating a whole loaf. The extra bread, I was told, goes toward making croutons and bread pudding. You can also ask for pieces of the soft, crustless bread they’ve harvested to enjoy with one of the daily soups.
It’s a pretty good-quality baguette, baked by Empire in Dallas, and it’s definitely the way to go here. You can have one filled with your choice of dozens of salad ingredients, or pick something from the prepared menu and ask for tofu or avocado instead of meat, when necessary.
My favorite, and one that’s already vegetarian-friendly, is the Shanghai, with crispy Chinese noodles, tofu, shredded carrots, almonds, mandarin orange slices, currants, red leaf and spinach, and a carrot-ginger-lime dressing.
Three that looked mostly green (and maybe a little less substantial) are the Kale-ifornia, with kale, pecorino, roasted pumpkin seeds and currants, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice; a classic Caesar; and the Tejano Caesar, made with jalapeño, cotija cheese and tortilla chips. The Southwest, with avocado, black beans, corn and tomato, would work well without the chicken or steak.
If you want to create your own, I count 29 types of dressing, including all the classics and things like cranberry-poppyseed vinaigrette, creamy wasabi and lighter versions of Caesar, ranch and balsamic vinaigrette.
▪ A location of the Montana-based Great Harvest Bread Co. opened this month at Carroll Avenue and Texas 114, near the Southlake Chuy’s. It’s serving Avoca coffee from Fort Worth (a Great Harvest location is coming to Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue, next to Avoca, in the fall) and local craft beers along with house-made breads, including sourdough, cinnamon chip and honey whole wheat. Vegans should note that they tend to make liberal use of eggs and honey in the breads here.
There’s a good veggie sandwich made with three-seed hummus and the Dakota bread (honey whole wheat with pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds), but I was really knocked out by the menu of grain bowls. One has quinoa, toasted wheat, kale, greens, almonds, sunflower seeds, unspecified crumbled cheese and balsamic vinaigrette ($8). My choice, the roasted carrot-tahini grain bowl ($8), had the same two grains topped with chickpeas, roasted carrots, cucumbers, golden raisins, almonds, greens and an extra garlicky tahini yogurt dressing.
Great Harvest Bread Co., 1241 E. Texas 114, Suite 160, Southlake. ghsouthlake.com.
▪ Across Southlake Boulevard from Bread Zeppelin, a new order-at-the-counter spot called Chiloso Mexican Bistro is an outpost of a Rockwall favorite. It features Austin-style breakfast tacos (pick your fillings — many meatless choices) and breakfast classics like migas and egg-topped cheese enchiladas, as well as tacos, burritos and bowls at lunch and dinner, all available “veggie-style.”
But what makes Chiloso special is a few unusual entrees. Most are for carnivores only, but the grilled avocados ($9), a house specialty, can be ordered without chicken, and no one will miss it. They’re two seasoned Hass avocado halves grilled then topped with white cheese, cilantro and grilled veggies (if you ask for those), served on a pool of queso alongside vegetarian rice and beans.
Grilled avocado is one of the best things there is (see the aforementioned Snappy Salads’ bestselling bowl). This simple dish is so much better than the fried avocado down the street at that loud Austin-based chain with the long lines and the overstuffed tacos.
Have a suggestion, a veggie news tip or a question? Send it to Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @LonesomeVeg. For more Lonesome Vegetarian columns, visit dfw.com/vegetarian.