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Un-Granola

Guide for sophisticated vegetarian dining

Category Archives: San Antonio, TX

Food is Bliss. So goes Chef Mark Bliss’ slogan for his restaurant, and it is right on the money. The food here really is Bliss, even for vegetarians and vegans. Which is nice, since for us Food is Often Sadly Predictable or even Hard To Find.

The restaurant, in the bungalow-filled King William neighborhood, incorporates an old gas station. The conversion is terrific, with an open, airy dining room and small patio.

Our waiter explained that Bliss always has one vegetarian and one vegan option. On this night, they were gnocchi (which she pushed, saying it was one of her favorite dishes) and a vegan platter. I ordered the platter, along with an endive salad. I always worry that upscale restaurants will stop offering non-pasta veggie options if people like me don’t order them.

And I’m glad I did:

A selection of vegan dishes, with protein and vegetables. My favorites were the fresh zipper peas, grilled lemon, and the artichoke. The sweet potato puree added a bit of starch. Everything was super-fresh and treated with a light hand, just enough to bring the flavors out.

There are a lot of veggies on that plate, right? So I didn’t bother resisting dessert:

The lemon tart was tart instead of sickeningly sweet, as it so often is. And the deconstructed pecan pie, with wafers instead of a crust, was insanely good.

Bliss is on the expensive side but is totally worth it. So grateful for a place with a great wine list, serious cooking — and vegetarian/vegan options every night.

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Vegeria is San Antonio’s only fully vegan restaurant. Are the city’s vegans rejoicing that they have a restaurant for their needs? Especially a spot with a pleasant deck?

And signage that would make a cool tattoo?

In addition to the deck, Vegeria has a simple but pleasant indoor dining room.

The menu has a Mexican influence, with dishes such as potato poblano lentil cakes and quinoa burritos. They have tamales and baked treats, which can be hard to find in vegan versions. And salads and sandwiches, including a BBQ one made with mushrooms.

I started with the vegetarian posole because the server said she loves it so much, she sometimes has it twice a day.

The garlic and chili broth with hominy was delicious.  I wish it were easier to find versions of posole made without chicken stock. (At least it’s rarely made with human flesh these days, in the style of the Aztecs.)

Next up, green chili lentil burger:

The side salad was fresh, but the lentil burger itself was very dry. It needed something (oil? mushrooms? tomato paste?) to keep it moist. The green chili sauce, while tasty, didn’t add enough moisture  to this dish.

Maybe I ordered the wrong thing. Maybe, when in San Antonio, one shouldn’t venture too far from the local specialties. If I find myself in Vegeria again, I’ll try the enchiladas. And a giant bowl of the posole, please.

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What people say they want and what they really want are often different things. My husband, for example, has learned that the friendly words “let’s split dessert” really mean “good luck getting a fork in, sucker” when coming from me.

The folks behind Green Vegetarian Cuisine seem to know that while people say they want healthful vegetarian food, what they really want is cheesy goodness.

Green’s menu tells you that the monk’s bowl (quinoa, beans, kale, chipotle mayo) has 20 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein. Surely, you think, some of that nutrition will leak into the buffalo fingers, made from breaded and fried tofu and located just a few inches away from the monk’s bowl on the same menu?

There are plenty of healthful options: raw wrap, macrobiotic bowl, quinoa burrito. And a lot of heavy options, including fries with chili cheese, fried wheat meat dishes, and mock BBQ. This is a great restaurant for vegetarians who miss Southern specialties. And for vegans, since Green will sub dairy cheese with Daiya. And for carnivores accompanying veggie friends – a lot of fake meat dishes here.

Green is San Antonio’s only vegetarian restaurant and has two locations. (San Antonio also has Vegeria, a vegan restaurant, which I’d like to try one day.)

The downtown outpost of Green is located in a great space, in what was once a bakery. The decor is funky in a good way, with photos of old movie theatres, a wall of pastel light fixtures, and cool signage.

Out of all those options, I ordered the green tomatillo enchilada plate, easy on the cheese.

I liked the squash/mushrooms filling the enchiladas, and the tomatillo sauce was tart and delicious. I wish they’d gone on a bit easier on the cheese, but everyone has a different definition of “light.”

The pinto beans were so smoky I would have worried they had bacon in them, but this is — yay — a vegetarian restaurant. Overall, it was a very satisfying plate of food, though way too much for me. Next time, I’ll skip the Spanish rice and get a kale salad instead.

Or maybe I’ll get the nutritionally virtuous macrobiotic bowl. You can get what you say you want, or what you really want, or some combination of the two, at this wonderful restaurant.

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