By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Sandwiches and wraps are probably the heaviest entrees on Spiral's menu. The "Mitch" is a hearty club-style sandwich featuring layers of grilled tofu (taking on the identity of white-meat chicken in this one), lettuce, tomato, chipotle dressing and "bacun bits," crunchy chunks of smoky-tasting fake bacon. In the "McNut patty melt" is a crunchy, burger-like round made of nuts, carrots, sunflower seeds, brown rice and spices sizzling under soy "cheez." The "big taquito" is a two-fisted monster filled with egg-like scrambled tofu, soy sausage, onions, red bell peppers, grilled potatoes and avocado, served with salsa on the side.
With such light fare, the inclusion of lots of sides is a given. A bowl of steaming broccoli florets makes a virtuous starter dipped into the creamy agave-mustard. And if you've never had quinoa (keen-wa), Spiral's Mexican-inspired appetizer does wonders with the fluffy, nutty-flavored protein-rich seeds (from a relative of the chard family) in a bowl of dip full of the hot zing of cumin, garlic and dry salsa powder.
As longtime Spiral fans know (and McNutt says half of her customers are not vegetarians), the salads and hot plates are merely necessary preambles to the real reason to love this place: desserts. Without using any eggs, milk, butter or shortening in the recipes, the pastries, all made daily in the Spiral kitchen, somehow manage to have that rich, from-scratch, grandma's-oven flavor and texture. The secret, says McNutt, is adding extra baking powder and using soy milk and a soy-based margarine. They're totally vegan, sweetened not with white sugar but with organic evaporated cane juice.
1101 N. Beckley Ave.
Dallas, TX 75203
Region: Oak Cliff & South Dallas
1314 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
Region: Fort Worth
Most days the slices of fresh layer cake in the case on the bar have dwindled to a precious few after the lunch rush. The vanilla cake with strawberry icing is a pink dream with or without a scoop of "I-Scream." Spiral's carrot cake with white icing comes in two tall, dark, dense layers full of chopped carrots and walnuts, the sweetness tempered with the gentle burn of nutmeg and allspice. Brownies, cookies, a chocolate-peanut butter cup—all great. But the fight-for-it item is McNutt's special sweet potato pie. Each sticky-sweet slice is a brilliantly orchestrated blend of baked sweet potato, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, molasses, cinnamon, almond and vanilla. Every bite tastes like homemade sin, but McNutt's recipe claims fewer than 200 calories a pop (and zero cholesterol). Order an extra wedge to take home for later, where you can cheat and plop some real whipped cream on it, if you dare.
1101 N. Beckley Ave., 214-948-4747. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $