Options in #Dallas at ALA Midwinter 2012 #alamw12

[This post originally appeared at The Beekeeping Librarian blog]

I am getting psyched about the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Dallas, Texas next week, and good food is on the agenda. I have kept an eye out for recommendations on twitter and library blogs, and of course the ALA conference site. Also, I have sought out Dallas local reviews and travel sites. In short, I have a librarian’s way of researching just about everything.

I saw a number of great reviews that are all over the map (literally). But Dallas is huge and I will not have a car. Public transportation is an option, but the restaurant would have to look unmissable for it to be a good option. Also, I am a vegetarian. Being from Montana, I hardly expect a full vegetarian menu, but good veggie options are necessary since I have a lot of choices–why not go somewhere I can eat something interesting?

Below is my short list. My criteria: walkable (I’m willing to walk about a mile from my hotel or the convention center) or an easy public transportation hop from there; vegetarian options; not insanely fancy since I don’t plan on dressing up; not insanely expensive since I am on per diem–which I will not doubt go over–but I would like to give myself a fighting chance to stay within its bounds.

These look the most promising:

  • Monica’s aca y alla at 2914 Main St. (between N. Malcom X and Walton) – mainly Mexican, but a lot of variety–including vegetarian variety–and the prices are good. Food looks great on Foodspotting. Live music on the weekends. MENU HERE
  • Dream Cafe Uptown at 2800 Routh St. (between Howell and La Clede) – lots of good breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner options. Of their dishes they say, “We call it Global because it runs the gamut of tastes, styles and cultures.” Again, looks great on Foodspotting. Probably my first choice for breakfast if I can get up early enough and still make it to my sessions – MENUS HERE
  • Spiral Diner at 1101 N. Beckley Avenue (between Elderodo & Madison) – fully vegan, recommended by HappyCow. No menu online but it gets good reviews.
  • Il Cane Rosso at at 2612 Commerce St. (between Good Latimer and Henry) – I have to admit that the pig on their menu and the s’mores calzone weird me out, but people apparently love this place for pizza. MENU HERE
  • Dallas Farmers Market at 1010 S. Pearl Expressway (between Taylor and St. Louis) is walkable from the ALA-chosen hotels, and open daily from 8am-6pm. Vendors offer produce and many other eating opportunities. One of the vendors is called “Just Pies” — how can I ignore that?

Late Dinner or Evening Hangout Options (not all walkable):

  • The Quarter Bar at 3301 McKinney Ave. (between Hall & Lemmon) Associated with the award-winning Bread Winners Cafe, The Quarter Bar describes itself as “a cozy local hangout with a wonderful French Quarter ambiance” and I like the sound of that.
  • Anvil Pub at 2638 Elm St. (Between N. Crowdus & N. Good Latimer Expressway) is host to the Saturday night ALA Librarian Tweet-Up and it is a great pick–this review from Urban Spoon was very encouraging: “as a beer-drinking vegetarian food seeker, you will not be restricted to order mozzarella cheese sticks and French Fries.”
  • The Common Table (see below)

Possibly worth a longer trip:

  • The Common Table at 2917 Fairmount St. (between Wolf & Howell–HA!) – the menu looks good, and the beer options look great. Recommended beer for each menu item, and it is technically a bar, too, so you could skip the food. This is one of ALA’s meetup locations on Saturday and Sunday. MENU HERE
  • Cosmic Cafe at 2912 Oak Lawn Ave. (between Gillespie & Dickason) – voted the best vegetarian restaurant in Dallas 9 years running–eastern feel. MENU HERE
  • BEE: Best Enchiladas Ever at 202 West Davis (between Elsbeth & N. Zang) got the Urban Spoon award for best vegan-friendly spot in Dallas. And prices are pretty darn LOW. If they really do have the best enchiladas at prices this cheap, who am I to argue? MENU HERE

I would LOVE to hear if anyone thinks I’ve missed some unmissable restaurant that meets the criteria I laid out, above. I did not seek out many bakeries, for example, but that is something I would love to know about. Also, what will you be attending at ALA Midwinter? What authors are you anxious to see???

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