Where's the closest Indian restaurant? Back in the days the hubs was an aspiring professor and looking for a fulltime job, that was my litmus test for whether or not I could survive in any given town we considered. These days, in Fort Worth, I get my saag paneer fix at Bombay Grill. I'd been on a greens tear in my home kitchen leading up to our last visit, however, so I skipped the spinach in favor of Kofta Curry and Aloo Baigan with rice and garlic naan. Fragrant, spicy, quick and cheap.
Avoca Coffee takes its coffee very seriously, roasting it on-site, and taking the extra care to warm your mug before filling it and adorning the top of each cappuccino with a feathery flourish. And sometimes that's enough to make your day. (If not, there's also a pastry case stuffed with goodies from Artisan and Stir Crazy.)
Sure, we've been there for their ridiculously good fries, but dinner at Tillman's? I wasn't sure they had much in the vegetarian department. Luckily it only takes one really good dish: Sweet Corn Gnocchi. Prepared with zucchini, pepitas, and a spicy chile sauce, the tender corn gnocchi dish also has fresh corn kernels tossed into the mix. We split a wedge salad to start (hold the bacon), and I filched a couple truffle goat cheese tater tots from my partner's plate. We both appreciated that the requisite animal-heads-hanging-on-the-wall were a tongue in cheek faux version.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth's Cafe Modern stays open late enough for dinner only on Fridays, but it's well worth planning around for the elegant menu, space and service. The lineup changes frequently, but tends to have a meatless entree on offer as well as starters and salads that are safe. Last week it was Green Risotto, with lemon, spinach, peas and white asparagus, all prepared without the customary chicken stock and also gluten free upon request. And don't miss the chilled chocolate soufflé with salted coffee caramel sauce for dessert.
Will all vegetarians frequent a joint that has fried "pork" ears (can't we just say pig ears?) on the menu? Of course not. But for those of us who live in Cowtown, literally or figuratively, sometimes you overlook such transgressions so you can have the trio of fries (Parmesan, chili-dusted purple, and smoked-salt sweet potato) with sweet housemade ketchup and spicy pickled jalapeno mayo. With a house salad and a glass of Malbec, Tillman's Roadhouse made a great pit-stop before a movie date. There are no meatless entrees at the Fort Worth location, but the sides look promising as do the tableside s'mores, for which they've gotten plenty of attention.
Last week was a really long week. Really, really long. The good news is that there is lots to read in the September issue of 360 West debuting on Thursday. When all was proofed, it was time to head to Lili's, where live music, a glass of vinho verde, and an entire list of meatless entrees await. We split the tomato tart and the polenta with portobello, and hope to again soon.
One thing led to another. First there was the beer with lime, then the plate of giant onion rings. Next, a mixed green salad with spiced pecans and Texas goat cheese. And then (why not?), the apple crisp with cajeta. We'd meant to just have a drink on Reata's rooftop patio and then get dinner somewhere else, but the view and conversation were too good to interrupt.
Most dinner parties — what with the salad, bread, and sides — are safe enough. But I've been to enough "nibbles and drinks" events where every-single-thing is meaty that I've become somewhat jaded about my chances for nibbling on much of anything other than plain water crackers that a sympathetic waiter brings my way. And that is why, on my way to Beastro last night, I stopped off at Panera for a bowl of tomato bisque. I needn't have worried. The annual fundraiser for the Fort Worth Zoo was a fantastic party, with meatless tastes from the likes of Tokyo Cafe (corn on the cob with a fiery spiced sauce), risotto cakes with sauteed vegetables (I forget from where), Zoe's (orzo salad and hummus), and loads of desserts like baklava and chocolate-coconut ice cream from Chadra Mezza and tiny red velvet cupcakes from Red Jett Sweets. Probably there was much more, but I wasn't hungry enough to seek it out. The food trucks were well-represented, and so was Fort Worth's well-heeled younger crowd, which swelled in such numbers that we marveled at where they all came from (and who pays for their considerable upkeep). All in all, a fun night with the wild things. Party tip to steal: Large metal troughs full of ice and water bottles, a convenient reminder to all the drinkers to occasionally drink something good for them.