One of the most challenging ventures of Meatless Monday is not finding meatless dishes, but finding vegetarian renditions of your favorite items. This includes sandwiches, a staple so vital to the average human's lunch hour routine it seems almost sacrilege to alter it. But there are only so many piping hot pesto pizzas and curried tofu you can snarf down when it's so hot and humid outside it feels like you're walkin' around in someone's crotch. Sometimes, you just need a sando.
"But writer lady, peanut butter and jelly is meatless. So shut the hell up and eat that."
You are absolutely correct, clever reader. But PB & J is hardly the way to go on Meatless Monday. Mostly because I'm not in second grade and I didn't forget my lunch money today. So I took my hard-earned American dollars into one of my favorite sandwich destinations in the region: Weinberger's Deli. They put arugula on everything.
There are a few locations around DFW, I frequent the one in Denton (311 E. Hickory St. #110) because Westlake is too close to Southlake and the people there make me nervous. Grapevine would work, but apparently Highway 114 is being used for the next Michael Bay film and it's a complete disaster to even attempt. So Denton it is. Plus, I can walk there. Look at that, being environmentally responsible.
And walk I did, right to the back of the line. Be patient, beautiful sandwichery is a popular item in Lunch Hour, USA, and the line will be long. The staff have cool hair and are willing to guide you in your decision, for it is a lofty one. It is at this point I met Charlie Hunter, with cool hair, and learned he happens to be the only certified vegetarian in the place and the creator of most of the vegetarian options. Charlie made a recommendation, we shook on it, and he sent me down the line. I love this place.
Once up to bat, don't dare ask what the most popular sandwiches are or what they recommend. The giant sign above the counter lists the top 20 most popular with 130 more from which to choose waiting in the menus on the counter. If you take too long or start to cry, this is when I will tell you to stop being such a Weinberger's virgin and go to the back of the line.
Order, pay, wait, collect food from counter, eat. That's the sequence of events and the wait is very much well worth it. The star of today's meatless quest was the Vegetarian Dirty Dozen. So um, forget what I said about not wanting anything hot, because this is hot. And that's in reference to both temperature and Scoville units. However, I still maintain a hot sandwich is a more pleasant experience than a trough of hot food at noon in August. I digress.
The Dirty Dozen is a savory mountain of a meal that manages to uphold the heartiness and labor of love associated with hoisting a classic meated sandwich to your face. As the name suggests, about a dozen different things are happening between a bun. It's damn good and damn filling for something lacking the requisite fistful of hot, wet beef. Oh, and that's actually a thing you can order here. Turns out shouting "Gimme the hot, wet beef" in public will not get you arrested. But you have to be inside a Weinberger's Deli.
Thanks in part to Charlie, Weinberger's has flavor combinations down to a science and can cater to almost any palpate, sophisticated or not. With an expansive menu and upper-echelon deli inventory, I have yet to encounter a sandwich that doesn't make Subway taste like sewage. Weinberger's also has a selection of beef hot dogs, veal brats and Italian sausage creations that will make your cynical Grandpa Joe enjoy Texas a little more with every visit.
Weinberger's is one of the few places that truly does everything right and consistently demonstrates a genuine love for creativity; one need only close their eyes and point to experience it. Plus, they have honey Sriracha mustard. Suck on that, Subway.