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Veggie Guy: The Pearl Cup

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There's no denying that Dallas can be sorta cliquish. If you're wearing the right shoes (or Tweeting from the hottest gadget), you might break into a particular crowd. Sure, the bar scene can be different. Hand someone a stiff drink, and you could find your BFF for the night. But if you're a regular guy walking into a coffee shop, be prepared to sip alone.

When Rita Davis and Carlene Saelg moved to Dallas in 2007, they found it difficult to adapt to our city's special brand of welcoming snobbery. They wanted to create a spot with the same sense of community they felt in their hometown of Austin. Well, the girls have certainly achieved that in founding their coffee shop, The Pearl Cup, on Henderson Avenue.

The place is sharp--simple and streamlined in design, yet with subtly accented walls and plenty of tables to make the space inviting. A single couch sits at the end of the coffee shop near a community book-exchange rack. So Austin, right? Well--except for that guy wearing khakis and a polo and sporting the oh-so-Uptown Livestrong wristband.

Along with bringing that kinda-Austin vibe to Dallas, Rita and Carlene are brewing a mean double espresso, and the word "vegan" isn't Greek to them.

The menu includes your run-of-the-mill coffee drinks, plus a few nice additions like Mexican Hot Chocolate, Fresh Fruit Smoothies, and a 4-cup French Press. Soy milk substitutions can be made for cappuccinos, lattes, and such for an additional 50 cents. Vegans can even enjoy a snack to go along with their choice beverage. The Pearl Cup's rustic Italian bread is vegan and makes a great peanut butter sandwich. House-made hummus is light and lemony with just a touch of cumin to add a little warmth, and pita cuts are served alongside for easy dipping. Want lighter fare? Try a fresh fruit cup. Made to order. It's not like that stale crap you find in the cold case at Starbucks. Only fresh, seasonal fruits make it out of this kitchen, at least so far.

And how 'bout a vegan cinnamon roll? That's right--The Pearl Cup serves up the same vegan baked goods that are flying off the shelves at Crooked Tree and The Green Spot from Tough Cookie Bakery.

So it's worth it to check out the place. And on your way out, pick up some vegan doggie biscuits from the sample basket for your four-legged friend.

The Pearl Cup
1900 Henderson Ave.

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