Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly + Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: Lunch in Texas
Where: Spiral Diner, Dallas and Fort Worth
When: February 27, 2008
Why: Why not?
The Scoop: You know what they say about vegans. We will travel to great lengths to get great grub. VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and I were in Austin for a publisher’s conference (where VN took home the top prize for “Best Magazine Design” … more on that in the March edition of the VegNewsletter), Fort Worth is a three-hour drive from Austin, so how could we not extend our trip an extra day to experience a meal at the world famous (and VegNews’ 2007 Restaurant of the Year) Spiral Diner? Lo and behold, the day before our scheduled meal, Spiral opened its much-anticipated second location in Dallas, so to Dallas we went. Housed in an old brick warehouse, the space is bright, airy, and abuzz with exuberant employees and overjoyed customers (overjoyed because they no longer have to make the 30-minute trek to Fort Worth for their Spiral fix). I settled into a luscious Parmigiana Wrap (marinated and grilled seitan covered in marinara sauce with black olives, pine nuts, pesto, and vegan mozzarella plus a side of house-made potato salad), while Joe enjoyed every bite of his Sweet Luv’us Hummus Wrap (layers of sweet potato and hummus, steamed veggies, avocado, and spicy walnuts plus tortilla chips). After chatting with the owner Sara about the challenges and rewards of running a vegan restaurant, we hopped into our rental and made the trek to Fort Worth. Located on a charming street in a historical neighborhood (which we later discover is the most progressive voting district in Texas), we entered the retro-style, ultra-hip abode of the original Spiral Diner. The menu is identical to the Dallas location and filled with appetizers, wraps, burgers, salads, hot plates, shakes, baked goods, and sundaes—it was the most extensive vegan menu I've ever seen. But it was dessert time, so Joe ordered a slice of freshly made blueberry pie with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream, and I went for a slice of chocolate mint cake and a chai latte with almond milk. The cake was incredible—chocolate cake smothered in a peppermint buttercreme frosting and covered with crumbled Oreo’s. So good. We finally met Spiral Diner founder Amy McNutt and had a great conversation with her husband James Johnston and Spiral Fort Worth’s new owner, Lindsay, before making our way to the airport. Fortunately for the VN staff, we returned with a box full of cookies, brownies, and peanut butter cups from the Spiral bakery.
We want to know: What is the furthest you’ve ever traveled to procure a vegan meal? Do tell all! Did your travels reward you with anything as gorgeous as this cake?!