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Denton's Mellow Mushroom: The Best Way To Gain Weight on Meatless Monday

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Going meatless to rid your colon of pounds of rotting red meat? Good choice. Going meatless is (apparently) an excellent way to keep your cholesterol in check and probably avoid the cancer. So good choice, citizen, way to take charge of your health. You also may want to avoid Denton's Mellow Mushroom (217 E. Hickory St.) for fear of intense, crippling addiction to their thick, buttery pizza crust and toxically tasty cocktails. Even sans meat, this place is dripping with delicious, guilt-laden calories.

Much to the delight of hungry Texans, the Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers chain has locations in Austin, Arlington and Fort Worth. Situated just east of the downtown square, the Denton location is hard to miss. Pops of colored neon bathe the walls inside, casting a lively glow onto the sidewalk outside. Promises of all things cheese and sauce and toppings seduce passersby, and it's all you can do to not just march right in and grab food from people's hands and run out the door. But I've heard jail is pretty expensive, so we asked for a table. My friend, the actual vegetarian, ordered a pear mojito and I, the faux vegetarian for the sake of journalism, couldn't stand that deep lavender drink staring at me from its sweaty glass for more than a few minutes. I sampled that shit. Initially, it wasn't the best decision given it was probably 80 degrees inside. In August. In Texas. But fast forward 15 minutes: "EH, WHO CARES HEY WHERE'S FOOD?"

Right on cue. The bruschetta came to the table with beautiful presentation, adorned with fresh tomatoes, feta and a sweet balsamic glaze. So far, a pretty impressive flavor profile and definitely in keeping with Denton's slow crawl toward becoming a (gasp!) dining mecca. And a welcome departure for a college town up to its ass in Sonic Drive-Ins.

Back to the pizza. With so many choices including the words "bacon," "steak" and "Italian sausage," this particular foray into meatlessness was a bit tough. Every table around us had a pie stacked with fistfuls of freshly prepared pig parts, and I was green with protein envy. But then, I saw it. The Kosmic Karma. The Kosmic Karma is just as special as the meated pies, as evidenced by the pizza bakers' special attention to detail. It's obvious there's no pizza-esteem issues here; every one is treated like the special little gem it truly is. The menu says, "red sauce base pizza with mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, feta, Roma tomatoes and a pesto swirl." My face says, "Om nom nom nom nom nom om nom." Somewhere between those two sentences, there's a congruency that should interpret this as a very, very good way to spend Meatless Monday and a few decent bucks. The Kosmic Karma is just as special as the meated pies, as evidenced by the pizza bakers' special attention to detail. It's obvious there's no pizza-esteem issues here, every single one is treated like the special little snowflake it truly is. And that, dear Aters, is definitely what Denton is all about.

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