Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegetarian dining in Dallas; two-wheeled confidence

I saw Over the Rhine last night at the Granada Theater. Well, sort of. It was a stripped down acoustic affair — just the husband and wife team of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist. No backing musicians, so it wasn't like the video above. You can learn more about the band right here (origin story for the band name, etc.). The concert was great, maybe a shade less than exceptional.

What continues to be super exceptional is the food at Sundown at the Granada. Half the menu is vegetarian or vegan (thank you, thank you, thank you, chef Patrick Stark). I always get the Stuffed Avocados with Endive (writeup at CentralTrack ... with recipe!!!) to start; the Southwestern variety is my fave of the three. I've also had:

The Hammered Goat Flatbread: Marvel at the toppings — Drunken Mushrooms, Zip Code honey, Big D Chevre and white truffle oil. My love for Olivella's in University Park recently soured (I've had my fill of lousy service and cramped quarters); this fantastic pizza fills that void quite nicely.

• Peaceful Indian Chole: Granted, I don't cook much Indian food; but I think the toasted almonds and dried fruit make for a great twist on a traditional chickpea curry. And I'm such a sucker for pappadam.

Macchu Piccu: Best for last! Quinoa is the greatest grain (suck it, rice), and this well-prepared bowl features black beans, a sweet potato puree, avocado sauce, agave and the clincher — peanuts. It's a flavor and texture party that you scoop with Sundown's pita strips. You will not regret ordering this. And, if you insist on having meat, you can add chicken, steak or shrimp to this dish, the chole and other vegan items on Sundown's menu. But why bother; these dishes are perfect as is!

So, if you're going to a show at the Granada, you really must eat at Sundown before ... not only because the food and service are exceptional, but also because the valet parking service (which I typically hate) is much better than hunting for a spot and hiking a quarter-mile to and from the venue.

Cycling update

As I approach the year mark since my last wreck, I'm still not 100 percent confident on two wheels. My slow progress is incredibly frustrating. A new bike, new approach (group rides) and time haven't helped as much as I would like. I've seriously considered hypnosis! At this point, I still can't negotiate corners and hills as fast or as confidently as I'd like (it blows my mind thinking how effortless riding Windhaven/Plano Parkway used to be for me).

Of course, since I started running, I haven't pedaled nearly as many miles as I used to. I am hopeful that it really is just a matter of time.

Greatest hits: I'm fortunate these are the worst things that have happened to me while cycling — sunglasses shoved into my eye when I ate concrete last year ... super hipper, circa 2007 (nerve regeneration took years; take notes, Peyton Manning) ... sliding on wet asphalt sucks (thank God I wore a jacket that day). 

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