Kristy Alpert’s latest report on where you can find great food for under eight dollars:
Raised by suburban pseudo-hippie parents outside of Dallas, my interest in locally-sourced and naturally-grown food was further cultivated while living in Portland, Ore., for a year, where even the fast-food was au-naturel. Now that I’m back in Dallas, I’ve spent the past few months scouting out restaurants to get organic, or at-least natural, dishes; which is why I was stoked to find Green Spot Market & Fuels around the corner from where I live. I was even happier when I saw the prices for their lunches! (And no, I was not coerced to try this place by Tim Rogers, although you can hear what he thinks about this place here, here, here and here.)
Here is my take.
The Green Spot is a peculiarly charming little gas station. That’s right. Charming. Gas station. Along with their biodiesel-blended gas, they also boast a healthy convenience store with organic foods and fresh produce, an organic frozen yogurt and toppings bar, and an all-natural café (where our story takes place).
I was greeted with a smile by the friendly counter staff as soon as I walked in, then I slowly made my way to the back where the café was located, getting distracted the whole way there by rows and rows of organic goodies and local wines. The café is small, with only a handful of tables and chairs to choose from, but since most people get their orders to-go there wasn’t a problem grabbing a seat. Everything in the Green Spot Café is all natural, with grass-fed meats and cage-free eggs from humanely-treated animals without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones, nitrites or nitrates. They also never use ingredients that contain preservatives or hydrogenated oils.
The beauty of the Green Spot Café? You’re not paying for the hype of natural food; you actually pay for the food. Everything on the menu was dirt cheap … especially for what you get! Being restricted to $8 for lunch isn’t always the easiest way to get a great meal, but that’s definitely not a problem at Green Spot since just about every item is well under eight bucks. $8 will get you a 1/3 lb. grass-fed hamburger with cheese on a challah, gluten-free or whole wheat bun with a basket of sweet potato fries. $7 will get you a seared Mahi-Mahi taco with red pepper sauce and an orange-ancho chili braised pork shoulder taco with chipotle cream sauce.
So what did $8 get me? Well, being away from the south for so long, I’ve longed for Mexican food, so I rolled with their special for the day, the taco salad ($3.50) and natural soda from the soda fountain ($1.29). My lunch mate ordered a smoked chicken taco ($3.50) and a veggie taco ($3.50) with a little extra avocado for her sweet baby girl (free!).
Although not “Texas-sized,” the taco salad was super fresh and well-portioned, with seasoned, grass-fed ground beef, spicy black beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, creamy guacamole, sour cream and cheese piled inside a handmade, whole wheat taco shell bowl. The salad was great, and the whole wheat bowl was so good I had to save it for my last few bites (I’m one of those people). However, I hate to admit it, but this was another instance where my friend ordered better than I did. Her smoked chicken taco with spring chicken, spinach, queso blanco and loads of guacamole would have been enough to keep us both coming back, but the veggie taco took it over the top. She generously gave me the first bite, and then ceased her offers to share. It came with marinated and grilled squash, zucchini and carrots, and was topped with brown rice, black beans, mashed sweet potatoes and crumbled goat cheese. So good. Oh, so good.
Overall: This place is my little taste of Portland right in my backyard. I get why Tim Rogers is obsessed with the place. It’s got everything; it’s quick, convenient, eco-friendly, healthy and the food is pretty great. Not only that, but $8 takes you pretty far here. I’ll definitely be back to try some of their breakfast tacos in the very near future with some Direct Trade and Rain Forest Alliance coffee.
702 N Buckner Blvd., Dallas, TX 75218-2709
Well Dishers? Where should I go next for my $8 lunch?
[Ed note: waiting for photo id]