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Embracing Tofu on Meatless Monday

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It's a Denton déjà vu this week for Meatless Monday. Except not at the same restaurant. Or the same dish. Or the same side of town. So really it's just Meatless Monday in America. I rummaged through what I could remember of my college days at UNT and fondly recalled an impressive offering of vegetarian fare at Mr. Chopsticks (1633 Scripture St.) so off I went with visions of soy beans dancing in my head. With the occasional beef cameo.

Slightly before lunchtime, Mr. Chopsticks is usually abuzz with the early crowd of ladies lunching; the calm ambiance eventually interrupted by swarms of sweaty Peterbilt employees and hungry undergrads. No worries though, several dining rooms and the open, elevated patio are more than enough to keep the peace among the throngs of lunchtime fans, and I'm happy to report nothing has changed at the Denton institution; the servers are still funky and impossibly nice and the food is still damn good.

Chopsticks works like the majority of all other restaurants in the genre: Pick your protein, pick your preparation, choose from white, brown, or fried rice and then sit back and revel in a meal done right. In addition to the usual orange, lemon, sesame and General Tso varieties, Chopsticks also offers flavors like masaman curry, pad jalapeño and basil. Ever the curry fan, I went with some masaman tofu and crossed my fingers hoping Chopsticks still had a knack for making tofu delicious. And oh do they.

The masaman curry is served in a deep bowl full of potatoes, tofu and onions tossed and still swimming in a classic curry sauce with hints of coconut and Indian spice. The tofu had a perfectly crisp skin and was soft and tofu-y on the inside. I admittedly would have been just as, if not more, happy with freshly-seared chunks of chicken or shrimp, but the tofu was actually a welcome respite from post-lunch brick belly, especially in the middle of a June day in Texas. In fact, this adventure in quivery cubes of processed bean curd might have initiated a Meatless Thursday Night or even Meatless Trip To Central Market.

Unlike my previous (failed) attempt at a full 24-hour Meatless Monday, this week's endeavor was much more successful. Perhaps subsequent attempts will travel south of Little D but more important, take my carnivorous spirit down a peg or two. Perhaps.

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