In celebration (or a painful reminder) of the fall semester starting this week at universities around the Dallas region, let's talk Meatless Monday in North Texas' own mini-Austin: Denton.
Home to what very well could be millions of bushy beards, Denton is one of my favorite places on the planet and also (opinion alert) one of the best places to go meatless and still have a tasty number of choices when dining out.
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In the next few days, there will be thousands of new students settling in at the University of North Texas and Texas Women's University who happen to be vegetarian and may be in need of a starting point. Best advice: start at Loco Cafe (603 N. Locust) and get the black bean chalupas. I love meat, and it's one of the only meatless things I consume regularly and voluntarily because of its simple good flavor.
These chalupas are a basic college town staple but possess that requisite Denton flair. Piled on a fresh, flat, tortilla round are black beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cotija cilantro dressing and a fried egg. Feel free to customize your eggs; I went poached, but that's just me. The black bean chalupas are a bit messy, a bit addictive and gone in less than 10 minutes. It's the best five and a half bucks you can spend before noon in a town where the line at Whataburger is at least 12 deep between 2 a.m. and noon. One might even venture to call these chalupas healthy, a rare characteristic on my list of favorites. Healthy and delicious. At the same time in space. In a little box. They should rename them Schrödinger's Chalupas.
I've mentioned Loco before, but only in passing and as part of a larger collection of Denton-related posts. The 16 people in line this morning would probably agree with me that Loco Cafe is worthy of a solo shout out on City of Ate.
Loco hasn't been around as long as other Little D institutions, but their revolving artisan-inspired menu, unbeatable crafty coffee and tea bar and staff of the-nicest-humans-ever are just a few of the reasons I have no problem waiting in line for 30 minutes or more just to place an order. And then wait. It is so worth it.