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The Impossible Whopper has landed at Burger King.
The Impossible Whopper has landed at Burger King.
Philip Kingston

Dallas Vegans Can See Light at the End of the Fast-Food Tunnel

No matter how refined your palate, sometimes the body craves convenience above all else.

You think about a kitchen full of fresh produce and scratch ingredients with a sense of dread rather than culinary anticipation.

Work ran late, you skipped lunch and hunger is overriding good sense. So you find yourself in the drive-thru line of a fast-food joint gleefully securing a paper bag filled with greasy goodies.

Such simple pleasures haven't existed for vegans of North Texas, at least until recently. If you're wondering why the expanded menu at Taco Bell and the introduction of the Impossible Burger at Burger King caused your vegan friends to vibrate with excitement, look no further than the wasteland of choices that existed prior.

This area isn't exactly experiencing a fast-food renaissance, but hope springs eternal from the stomachs of lazy vegans.

Sacrifice is a maligned phrase in the vegan community but a popular line in the comments of our stories covering Dallas' vibrant vegan restaurant scene: "Oh, I could never give up meat," or "Why would you keep yourself from eating cheese? Cheese is delicious!"

But for years there was no better way to describe my leaving behind of college favorites like chili-cheese tots from Sonic or the dirt-cheap carbs that comprise the McDonald's value menu.

With tenacity and a little foreknowledge, I could weasel a technically vegan meal from places such as Taco Bell. Or perhaps resign myself to yet another sofritas bowl from the Chipotle five minutes from my apartment.

If local vegans don't already know about the North Texas Vegans Facebook group, you're missing out on one of the most diligently updated and comprehensive resources of information out there. Their annotated map has helped me discover more than a few suburban gems hidden away among the steakhouses and country style kitchens.

But there's a big difference between waiting 30 minutes for takeout and dropping pocket change for something hot, quick and indulgent between hamburger buns.

Other parts of the country have been living a vegan fast-food fantasy.

California-based Del Taco offers affordable and delicious tacos stuffed with Beyond Meat, but you'll have to drive into Oklahoma to find the closest location. Carl's Jr. started throwing Beyond Meat patties on the griddle around the same time franchises across Dallas shuttered en masse. Articles in business websites and food sections heralding the Golden Era for alternative patties list names unheard of within our state lines.

So while I respect Phil "Hot Dish" Kingston's disappointed appraisal of the Impossible Whopper, I must point out the privileged position from which he casts judgment.

That charred little morsel, packed as it is with salt and pathetic veggies, is a promise not unlike the biblical, post-flood rainbow. It tells me things are getting better for the lazy vegan and the late vegan alike who wish every day for a transparent brown bag laden with food to give any nutritionist night sweats.

Being vegan allowed me to better understand what I was putting in my body as fuel. I'm cooking more frequently than at any point in my life, and I try my best to make ethical and ecologically responsible purchases.

But I am also human, morally brittle and prone to sin. It feels good to be able to step down off my high horse and once again eat a fast-food burger. 

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