Food Fight

Published on: Fri, Jun 09, 2017

The quest for vegetarian and meat-loving edibles for every meal

Denton is a city full of diversity. From the different storefronts on the Square to the people that walk about every day, the uniqueness of everything and everybody makes Denton original.

One of Denton’s most tantalizing attractions is its food. From vegetarian burgers to bacon-centric breakfast options, variety is a staple of Denton cuisine. Whether you’re craving breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, local Denton restaurants offer both vegetarian and meaty options of some well-known favorites.

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

Vigas vs. Migas: A spanish-style start to the day

Migas is a traditional Tex-Mex dish in which corn tortillas are fried, with eggs and typically chorizo, in a skillet, then served with onions, peppers and beans.

We sampled this Texan breakfast staple from Mi Casita. Mi Casita’s migas is fresh and homemade. The Spanish and Portuguese-inspired dish has various different methods of being cooked and served, but the basis of the dish is spice and flavor.

Included in the dish are spiced meats (most popular are chorizo and pork sausage), caramelized onions, tortilla chips and eggs. The onions bring in a tasteful crunch alongside the tortilla chips, making the dish layered and textured. Rice, beans and tortillas are served on the side.

The vegetarian variety of migas is vigas. Tofu is a staple in many vegan and vegetarian dishes, but the vigas at Seven Mile Café would even make the most arduous carnivore wonder if there was real meat in the food.

Seven Mile’s vigas is made up of scrambled, seasoned tofu with tortilla strips, avocado, jalapeños, tomatoes, onions and soyrizo, an all-natural alternative to chorizo.

The vigas infuse interesting flavors together: the veggies add crunch and flavor while the tofu and soyrizo is a match made in vegetarian heaven, packing a great sweet and spicy flavor.

While the vigas is Seven Mile’s most popular vegan menu item, their selection doesn’t stop there. They also serve scrambles that can be ordered according to various dietary needs or restrictions, along with a spicy vegan sausage and tofu platter, a scrambled tofu platter served with hash browns, and a selection of pastries (which includes the option for a gluten free coffee cake).

Lunch: Did someone say pizza?

Crooked Crust vs. Pizza Snob: make your perfect pie

Looking for a quick lunch on the go? Denton’s various pizza places offer choices.

Whether between classes or on your lunch break, sometimes grabbing a cheap bite to eat is the best option – and Crooked Crust provides you with just that. 

Crooked Crust has its similarities to Pizza Snob, but in a less-structured way. While you get to pick and choose which toppings you want, the popular pizza place offers few vegetarian options.

The build-your-own-pizza setup of Pizza Snob starts off with the customer picking their dough, sauce and cheese first. In order to ensure the quality of each ingredient on the pizza, the restaurant only allows up to four toppings on a single pizza (which is where the “snob” comes in). While some may want more, the four topping limit, or even less, is more than enough. 

Although Pizza Snob does not have any option for cheese substitutes, they do offer gluten-free dough as well as a variety of fresh veggies and sauces. While some may eye the bacon bits or pepperonis, the red wine baby bella mushrooms, beer-glazed onions and oven-roasted bell peppers tasted fresh and delicious atop the California plum tomato sauce. Every pizza, which is baked within a large pizza oven, comes out perfectly crisp and warm. 

Dinner: End the day with a bang (or a burger)

B&B vs. Leila’s: new twists on an American staple

Everyone loves a good burger. Now thanks to various Denton haunts, even vegetarians can enjoy a take on this dish.

The Barley & Board Burger is everything you would think of in a traditional burger – a juicy double patty, American cheese, pickles, grilled onions and a signature sauce that will leave you wanting more. It’s juicy, hearty and an all-around great burger. 

“When we created it, our chef, Chad Kelly, put a lot of work into it and our kitchen has put a lot of love into it. It’s special,” Barley & Board manager Kelbie Day says. 

While the term “falafel burger” may sound confusing, it’s indicative of Shadan Price making herself at home. The owner of vegetarian food truck Leila’s made her way from Iran to Denton, bringing along with her a unique culture and new food options.

Falafel is a deep-fried or pan-fried patty made from ground up chickpeas or fava beans. The texture is a little mushy compared to hamburger, but packs an abundance of nutritional value. 

The falafel burger comes with herbs, cream cheese, feta sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes and Persian pickles, which together add another level of freshness and crunch onto the burger.

Dessert: a sweet treat for everyone

CJ’s Sweets and Ravelin Bakery face off with delicious results

It was July 2016, and Janet Orias was sitting at her office job shuffling papers and making phone calls. But at that moment, she knew that, instead of spending her life at that desk, her skills were better suited to another task: baking.

Now Janet spends day and night baking treats and snacks for Denton customers through CJ’s Sweets, her new culinary business. But one thing that sets this home baker apart from other bakers and chefs in the area is her ability to cater to vegetarian and vegan customers with her desserts.

Whether it’s a spongy vegan chocolate cupcake or flaky oatmeal raisin cookies, both made without dairy or eggs, Janet likes to make sure that everyone in Denton can enjoy a tasty dessert, even if it’s more challenging for her to make.

“I want my desserts to taste the absolute best, so knowing I can’t use butter or whole milk or eggs is hard because I have to make sure it tastes great some other way,” Janet says. “My husband likes to remind me that butter makes things taste better to me, but the vegan stuff tastes good to those who chose not to eat that way.”

Instead of having a storefront like other Denton bakeries, customers can contact Janet through the CJ’s Sweets Facebook page to place orders for any type of sweet treat. Janet delivers the treats free of charge anywhere in Denton.

When you step into Ravelin Bakery, it brings a sense of nostalgia. Whether you spent your weekends baking with your grandmother or would stare wide-eyed into the glass cases of your local bakery, Ravelin brings these same treats and delicacies from all over the world into one single place in Denton.

The bakery is owned and operated by Eric and Pamela Helland, who wanted to bring their European style breads, desserts and pastries to Texas.

“Our baker was trained under a French pastry chef,” employee Erin Roehrig says. “So we use real butter, real sugar, no preservatives, so everything is from scratch as it would be if you made it at home.”

And their wide selection of pies, cakes, muffins and more showcase the time and effort that goes into each dessert.

If you’re in the mood for something moist and fluffy, their chocolate cake, made from authentic cocoa, has a light, airy interior with a smooth, creamy chocolate frosting on top. While some cakes can usually be overpowering, the icing-to-cake ratio is perfect for the delectable treat.

Because everything is made in-house, Ravelin does not have very many gluten-free options because of cross-contamination of ingredients. But they do try to cater to as wide of an audience as they can.

“We have a chocolate pecan macaroon that’s flourless – we make meringue and a crème brulee that are [closer to] gluten-free options,” Erin says. “Most everything is vegetarian with the exception of the filled croissants. As far as vegan goes, most of our breads are vegan.”

Whether you’re in the mood for a single cookie or a homemade cake to yourself (no judgment here), Ravelin provides a sweet yet not overpowering selection for you.