As Daniel and I drove to Plano chatting and not naming our unborn child, we wondered aloud about the wisdom of bringing our daughter with us during her naptime. Gigi was at her bazillionth high-school reunion, so we were sans-babysitter. Anyone who has tried to sit down in a restaurant with a cranky, over-tired child knows what a miserable experience that can be. But, like many things in life, this turned out to be one of those times when not getting what I want was actually better than getting it. But I’ll get to that later.
Small Changes = Big Impact
When we first arrived in Plano we couldn’t find The Grazing Cow. Restaurants come and go like a pop song in DFW, but until now it had never occurred to me to check and make sure one was still open before we drove across several zip codes to check it out. We were really hungry, and Daniel was eyeing a McDonald’s as he called the number I’d written down. Phew! They were just down the street. Dodged that bullet.
Amy, the owner, greeted us with a smile as soon as we walked in. The room was fairly empty so she took a few minutes to explain her approach to the menu, which includes several healthy upgrades from the traditional burger-joint menu:
- Grass-fed beef from Burgundy Pastures
- Coconut oil to cook everything except the fries (coconut oil’s smoke point is too low)
- Real butter
- All-natural buns made by La Spiga Bakery in Addison
When I asked about their condiments Amy told me:
Mustard and ketchup are Heinz, which have high fructose syrup unfortunately. The cost at the moment is too high to switch. When we created the menu we wanted people to get a burger, fries and a drink for under $10, which we have. Our goal eventually is to be completely all natural and organic. We thought the most important element was our buns and meat patties that are all natural.
We are trying to win the war in bringing people healthy good food to the masses but have to fight each battle one at a time. I believe our buying power will improve which will lower our costs and allow us to provide these changes in the future. We are always looking for ways to improve our food and we continually search for local vendors that can supply . . . The more successful we are the better food we can provide for the community.
It’s hard to explain the feeling I get when I hear people talk like this. It’s like a crush without the romantic element.
I went with the “Pow! Burger” — a 2/3 lb grass-fed behemoth of a sandwich topped with their secret recipe horseradish cream on top. The sauce alone was worth the drive. I couldn’t sweet talk Amy into giving away her proprietary secret but you can bet I’m going to try a few copycat versions at home.
Daniel chose the “Bloated Burger” — which is basically the same thing I got with cheese on top. This thing was so huge even he couldn’t finish it, but he sure tried!
Katie helped us out by eating some of our hamburger meat along with fries and some avocado from home.
Here’s our little taste tester giving the handmade sauces her seal of approval.
Fifteen minutes after we sat down this two month-old restaurant was completely packed. Not just with people toting baby slings and reusable water bottles, but with average people from nearby neighborhoods. By prioritizing her ingredient upgrades for maximum flavor and nutritional punch, Amy’s mission to change the food landscape in her area is already making headway.
As I mentioned earlier, not getting what you want can be a good thing once in awhile. Not for character development reasons (sheesh), but because you get something better! While we were at the Grazing Cow I noticed a mom trying to keep her toddler in her lap while eating. No high chairs were available so I took Katie’s over and voila! I met Crystalyn, a creative-type mom who’s Etsy shop was featured on their homepage just this week. Her felt acorns are also being used in an upcoming Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot. How cool is that?
She’s also a photographer that wants to get into birth photography for Dallas residents. If Katie had not been with us I never would have walked over to that table and instantly connected with such a cool mom.
Live Green Expo
To top off this perfect day, Amy mentioned that the Live Green Expo was going on across the street and my HERO Joel Salatin was speaking. He’s the farmer on Food, Inc. if you’ve seen it. I love Amy for this!! We headed right over and had a ton of fun.