Recently, as a part of the enormous around the world trip of enormity, I found myself in Texas, looking for a meal.
Actually, to be fair, I wasn’t looking for a meal, I was looking for a wallet, and Mr had taken me on a little detour from our destination (Odessa) to a company he loves called SpecOps in Monahans, Texas.
SpecOps make wallets, belts, buckles, bags and other stuff. Their stuff is made in the USA and is leather-free. Vegan by accident is vegan enough for me.
They only had the wallet I wanted in a fetching camouflage, so I opted out, but we did get talking to the people there about football, and if there were any Friday night football games on in the vicinity. One thing lead to another, and we were invited out to dinner at a local restaurant.
As any vegan knows, being invited to dinner is a delicate affair. You want to accept hospitality, but you know that inevitably at some point you ill have to either refuse or make things difficult, especially if you are going to a restaurant in Texas.
We said we’d love to go, but that it could be tricky because we don’t eat meat/eggs/dairy, but our hosts assured us it would be fine. So off we went, not sure what we would find.
Turns out the place is part owned by the people at SpecOps. The restaurant had been operating in town for decades, but the owner was ill, and his daughter, who had been managing the restaurant, was spending more time taking care of him, so it had recently closed.
After is closed, a group of people got together and formed a committee to start it back up, concerned for the family and for the community. They put in the money and work needed to re-open it, and the place was open again, and full of customers. In fact, when we got there at 5.30pm it was already filling up – our host said that people come early, because they want to get in and its always busy.
The place, called Fermin’s, has an extensive menu of Mexican and Tex-mex food including burritos, enchiladas, tacos, nachos, chips, beans, rice etc. The beans and rice are made without meat, animal fat or animal stock, the chips and dips are made on premises, and staff were happy to mix and match for us, so there were a lot of vegan options to choose from. The staff were also very helpful in checking out our concerns with the kitchen, and making suggestions. Not a turned up nose, sideways glance or grumble about picky eaters in sight. Melbourne eateries could learn a thing or two about how to treat people from these guys.
In the end we got chips with salsa and guacamole, a bean burrito, a rice burrito, fries and about 6 liters of iced tea (glasses are just bigger in America).
The food was really good, and quite cheap (although we got it for free, thanks to some very friendly texans – Thanks guys!). The burritos were smaller than they are in Oz, but most people were ordering burritos plus other food, and they were certainly priced to let you do that – we didn’t only because we weren’t that hungry, it being 5.30. We were also given some extra chips to take on the road, which were really good with salsa and hommus the next day. The fries were fantastic, and I really liked the flavour of the rice.
If I ever get there again, I will also try the sweet tortilla dessert (of course I’ve forgotten what it is called!), which they said could be made with sugar instead of honey for us vegan folk.
I didn’t get any photos, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but if you ever get yourself to west Texas, its worth the detour to Monahans to get some tasty, healthy, vegan food in a friendly, community-driven atmosphere.
Fermin’s is located at 400 N Main Road, Monhanans, Texas. Check them out on facebook, too!
Thanks to Bryan, and everyone else at Fermin’s and SpecOps, we wish you the best.