Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Bliss"ful Dining

Last week, my husband was scheduled for a business trip in Dallas. He's had a lot of these types of trips this year (Arizona, California, Texas, North Carolina, etc.). We've had enough of his absence! He decided it would be great for us to go with him this time. He flew out one-way on Monday (so he could ride home with us at the end of the week), then Tuesday night, after the kids were finished with homeschool co-op, we made the 6 hour drive. He had meetings scheduled every day until suppertime (when he'd join us). But we found plenty to do while he was busy. Like eating.

The first restaurant we hit up was Bliss, raw cafe & elixir bar in the University Park area. I was really looking forward to this one. Ryan and I had eaten at the other location (which is no longer open) last year for our anniversary.

slices of zucchini and tomato layered with basil pistachio pesto, sun dried tomato sauce, and pignoli ricotta cheeze

This was my 11 year old's choice. He laughed with glee when his plate was set before him. We liked the little green "flag" sticking out of the "cheese" on top. He's so funny and predictable; he always eats meals like this in layers. First, he ate the tomato with ricotta, then he ate the zucchini strips with sauce, then the mushrooms, etc. The salad appeared to be just a plain, ordinary salad, but it was delicious. I loved whatever dressing was on it. (Something creamy plus maybe some agave?)

Greek Wrap
tahini hummus, guacamole, olives, carrots, chipotle hot drops, and capers

This is what my daughter ordered. Everything was just so good. It makes me want to eat raw and only raw every day. I mentally stored away plenty of ideas from the menu to eat at home.

Chocolate Bliss
raw cacao superfood power blend, agave nectar, mixed tocotrienols, coconut, and cacao butter

The kids gasped with happiness when they saw these drinks arrive. They were soooo chocolate-y. I thought it tasted like straight chocolate syrup. My 6 year old said, "Oh, it's so chocolate-y, I can't take it!" But then he kept drinking it, of course. You can get shots of the different elixirs, which I would do, rather than try to drink a whole glass.

My 6 year old opted out of ordering anything else. He does eat plenty of raw food, but there was no food combination on the menu that sounded appealing to him. (He doesn't like avocado, tomatoes, or zucchini, which really puts a halt to things at a raw place.) He would have been more excited if I'd just picked up an apple, some baby carrots, and a bag of nuts from the grocery store. He ate a meal replacement bar I had in my purse.

Coconut Kale Enchiladas
marinated kale with nacho cheeze, pico de gallo, tomatoes, black sesame seeds, and a "dash of cumin"

My meal. I could definitely eat this one every single day. I'm going to order some coconut wraps ASAP (or maaaybe try to make them). I have wanted to for awhile. This entree was on the small side, but I ended up eating half of my son's salad and half of one of my daughter's lettuce wraps, which made it perfect.

Strawberry Cheezecake
with chocolate sauce

We took our dessert to go. It was well received. It was partially frozen (less so by the time we got to our hotel). I don't know if it's supposed to be frozen, or if it was just brought out from the freezer. I like my desserts cold, but I would have liked this more if it didn't taste like icecream. But I think that's what my kids did like about it.

(The bill for the food above was...$78. My eyes popped out a little when I saw it...but it is what it is.)

A couple of days later, I called in an order for pick-up. My plan was to get something like nut butter sandwiches for the kids from an organic deli two doors down when I picked up my food. But by the time we got there, they were closed. Fortunately, there was also a Jamba Juice in the same shopping center, so they made do with smoothies and Clif bars plus more snacks back at the hotel.

My to-go meal:
Amigo Wrap
chili spice beans, taco pate, guacamole, red onion rings, tomatoes, pico de gallo, lettuce, and cashew sour creme, served on a lettuce wrap

The sauces on the side were tasty but spicy, and I couldn't handle much more spiciness after my gazpacho (below). The wrap - there were actually two of them with one order - was delicious and inspiring to me to eat more taco lettuce wraps (with cashew creme and nacho cheeze) at home. I've also never made raw taco filling at home, which I need to do.

Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho

Because I am a creature of habit when ordering at restaurants, I made myself pick one thing off the menu that I normally would not order. Uh, big mistake. There is not generally anything (vegan) that I can't eat, solely based on taste. I mean, I'm pretty (very) picky about ingredients, but as far as taste being the only factor, I wouldn't let something go to waste.

However, I couldn't get even half of this down. I was pouting as I forced down as many bites as I could. The pineapple cucumber combination was fine, but it's also blended with cilantro, olive oil, green onion, and cracked pepper. I didn't like the overall taste, and it was sooo spicy. Despite my determination to eat my $9 soup in spite of...I had to throw it out.


  1. who would have guessed there's a place that amazing in dallas? if i ever end up there, i'll check it out.

    must be hard with a picky kid at a place like that. too bad the restaurant couldn't whip up something he could enjoy.

    i hate when there's something that i really can't handle like that soup. usually my husband will eat it though. i hate wasting food too. especially expensive raw food.

  2. Yeah, Dallas definitely has vegan options.

    It was definitely not his kind of place. And compared to typical kids, he's not even really that picky. (Although he is the only picky one of the 5 of us.) I should have asked them to make him something special, but he was just adamant that he didn't want anything. And I hated to pay so much money if it was just going to be hummus on lettuce or whatever.

    I asked my husband if he wanted some, but he declined after seeing my reaction.

  3. I am going to make it a point to go there the next time I'm in Dallas. Glad you guys were able to join him this time.

  4. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of coconut wraps until now. They look delish, though!

  5. Heather, me, too. And hope you get to try it.

    Stacy, I've never had them before (that I can remember). But I'd seen them on a couple of blogs. Since I eat a lot of burritoes and wraps, I think they would be a good alternative.

  6. Ah, this explains the raw comment on my blog! Now I get it. I've also been reading up on raw for some time now, but my family seems a bit resistant. I think I'm going to have to experiment anyways. We have a couple of raw restaurants in town, but I can't find anybody who'd like to go with me, so I haven't had a chance to enjoy wonderful meals such as the ones you did. Hmm. I wouldn't worry about your six year old - I'm just impressed (as usual) that your kids eat as many veggies as they do and in such variety. By the way, what does Ryan do that takes him all over the country?

  7. It's awesome that your kids get so excited over vegetables!!! Most vegan kids I know are like that. Too bad so many parents can't get their kids to eat veggies....they should take a lesson from vegan parents.

  8. This sounds like a fun trip! I'm glad you worked out a way to tag along.

    I think I would have had to close my eyes before even getting the first bite of that gazpacho down... maybe your husband could claim the $9 as a business expense?

  9. Thanks for the link back to the last post that included a photo of THE MITCH. I always laugh about that and picture you saying the Mitch because you listed that on my list blog as something you'd want to have if you were stranded on a deserted island. I don't know why I think that's so funny- sounds so butchy, I guess.

  10. I think it's so great that your kids like foods like that. Most kids would be like "NO WAY"! :o) All the food looks delish, but sounds a little pricey. I'd love to go there at least once though. If I'm ever in Dalls, Bliss will be one place that I check out for sure!

    Oh...the chocolate bliss sounds like heaven! :o)

  11. I have eaten almost every dish in this post! Except that soup, which maybe now I'll stay away from. I'm glad you made it to the new Bliss; the location's much prettier than the old one, don't you think?

    I'll have a recipe in my cookbook for raw taco roll-ups with an awesome walnut-sunflower seed-pistachio nutmeat filling...just sayin'... ;)

  12. Gorgeous photos. Especially the Strawberry Cheesecake. I'm thinking $78 sounds more than reasonable for all of that.

  13. wonderfully presented....lovely n tempting cliks again..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  14. Such beautiful food, and in Dallas! I've heard Dallas is gaining as a vegan hotspot, but seeing your photos, I'm closer to believing it. :)

  15. Mama, maybe you should take a good book and enjoy a quiet meal at a raw restaurant sometime by yourself! Ryan is a engineer manager of sorts. He has a job like Chandler Bing, in which I can't even really explain it myself. And unfortunately, he doesn't really enjoy the travel aspect of it.

    Bianca, I know, and I'm the "bad mom" who "deprives" her children of things.

    Jessica, yeah right. My husband is so by the books, he would never claim something as a business expense if it wasn't 100% his and absolutely necessary for business. What a nerd, just kidding.

    Cary, just you wait!!! More on THE MITCH is coming soon!!!

    Michelle, it wouldn't be so gasp-inducing if you were eating there with one or two people. It's just when you have my gang that bills/receipts raise such eyebrows.

    AmberShea, I like that the new location is air-conditioned! Just ANOTHER reason to buy your cookbook!!! Yay!

    SV, we are used to high restaurant bills with 5 people. I don't know why I wasn't expecting it with just the kids and me. They didn't really have appetizers or kids' meals, maybe that's why. Well, since you are more cultured in eating out than I am, I consider your opinion expert!

    Jay, thank you.

    Andrea, in the middle of the Lone Star State; who knew?

  16. Everything here is...amazing. I would love to try one of those chocolate drinks. Oh, and one of everything else too. :)

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