Meatless Monday at the Arts District Food Trucks: It Helps If You Like Mushrooms

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With food truck mania showing no signs of letting up, I figured I'd hit up the Arts District at lunchtime and see if there were any viable options for veggie-friendly eating.

A rotating group of trucks cluster on Flora Street between Leonard and Crockett (right across from the Meyerson) every weekday afternoon, to provide lunchtime sustenance to nearby office workers. The parking situation can be a bit challenging if you're coming by car rather than on foot, but I eventually figured out I could park underground in the Hall Arts Center garage at Ross and Crockett (it was two bucks for the 20 minutes or so I was there).

I scoped out the truck's menus du jour and realized that, for the most part, a food truck pilgrimage would be considerably easier if I was looking for meaty treats. Obviously a truck called The Butcher's Son isn't going to offer up any vegetarian delights, and pulled pork, bacon and beef are definitely not in short supply at any of the trucks.

Most of them do have at least one vegetarian item, though; Jack's Chowhound has a portabella burger, Easy Slider's got a cute little Baby Bella slider with pesto, mozz and appropriately-sized cherry tomatoes, and Nammi's banh mi offerings include a tofu option.

I settled on the Green House truck, and after chatting with a friendly guy manning the truck I ordered a portabella sandwich (see a recurring theme here?). The Green House menu tends toward the healthy side, with salads, rice bowls and a couple soup options each day, one of which is always vegan. That day it was tomato and red pepper, and the chef offered me a small taste -- the natural sweetness of the vegetables came through loud and clear, without being diluted by the addition of any dairy products.

My sandwich came out piping hot in a recycled, compostable to-go box and I tore into it on one of the nearby picnic tables. As soon as I opened the lid my nose was invaded by the fragrant walnut-basil pesto. The ciabatta roll was nicely crisped around the edges, and offered a welcome contrast to the thoroughly cooked but not mushy vegetables inside. The meaty portabellas were joined by grilled zucchini, yellow squash, and red and green bell peppers. This sandwich definitely didn't suffer from the same bland fate as some other veggie sandwiches I've had, and juices ran down my forearm as I devoured every flavor-packed bite.

Overall, I wish there were a wider array of veggie options available from the food trucks that regularly cruise the Dallas streets, but I understand that mushrooms' meaty qualities make them a go-to option. If Rock and Roll Tacos had avocado tacos, I'd be all over that, and if Cajun Tailgators ever decides to make a veggie jambalaya I'll chase them down for that, too. There is a gluten-free vegetarian truck called Good Karma Kitchen stationed at the Fort Worth Food Park that I hope to try out eventually, when I'm feeling ambitious enough to drive half an hour for my lunch. For now, don't hate if you see me scarfing down a chicken and waffle cone or pulled pork grilled cheese.

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