Veggie Guy: Monica's Aca Y Alla

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The City of Ate's, um, kind and generous editor...yeah...once asked me what I thought this city needed in terms of vegan food. My answer: "I wish the Mexican restaurants would catch on."

Because it's true--Mexican restaurants are slim pickings for vegans in Dallas due to the fact that most of them incorporate lard and animal-based broths in their dishes.

Sadly, many claim their chicken broth-based rice and beans are "vegetarian" because, you know--chickens aren't animals, right? (Ay ay ay!). Some will even try to convince you that their chicken broth is made from artificial chickens. Um--do I look that gullible? OK, you can buy vegetarian white meat.

But the worst offenders are those that flat-out lie about ingredients, and it isn't until a year or so later that you get the disturbing news from a friend who now works at the joint.

That's why veg-heads have been flocking to Monica Aca y Alla for years. Vegetarian items are clearly marked on the menu and the dishes can easily be made vegan. The vegetarian menu at Monica's includes the Cha-Cha Burrito, a large flour tortilla stuffed with guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, and cheese. Enchiladas Miranda are corn tortillas filled with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and topped with a tomatillo sauce. The Angel Enchiladas are stuffed with red potatoes and lathered in a spicy chipotle cream sauce. All enteés are served with fat-free vegetarian black beans, vegetable stock rice, and can all be veganized by omitting dairy.

Vegans can also enjoy complimentary chips and salsa, several vegan-friendly beers, and house guacamole, simply made with fresh avocados, lime juice, cilantro, and garnished with pico de gallo.

So how can we trust the dishes here are really vegetarian? Well--because Monica told me so...and she's the kinda lady that tells it like it is. Plus, fter speaking with Monica this past weekend, I learned she's well-versed in the veggie lifestyle.

Monica Greene currently runs an organic vegetarian bistro in Aspen with chef Johnny Lalamillo. She is in talks about opening a similar type venture called Raíz on Lower Greenville in 2010. According to Monica, Raíz will feature an organic, sustainable rooftop garden, an organic, sustainable veggie-centric menu and will be run by her daughter, Erica Greene, partner/manager of Monica Aca Y Alla.

Pretty exciting stuff!

Until then, we still have Monica's signature dig in Deep Ellum to chow down on some great vegan Mexican food.

Monica's Aca y Alla
2914 Main St.

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