Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Denver Trip Part 2: In Which I Write About Where We Ate

So we ate at a couple places in Colorado that I really want to talk about. Now, I don't want to make it seem like we, as vegans, never have options when it comes to food. I can find a place to eat no matter where I am. We don't need vegan or vegetarian restaurants in order to eat out. Even in Grafton, North Dakota I can walk into a Subway and get a filling veggie sub. Easy peasy.

In any town with a grocery store I can buy food to make a meal out of. It's not hard to be vegan. Read that again: It's - not - hard - to - be - vegan. Sure, it takes a little bit of planning and knowledge, but every healthy diet does.

But fortunately for vegans there are places, certain places around the world where vegans feel welcomed with open arms. Sometimes it's just a restaurant that's an oasis in an otherwise dry, dry desert. And sometimes it's a smorgasbord of vegan goodness that is almost too much to bear (like San Francisco, Portland or Amsterdam).

I'd say Colorado is a mix between the former and the latter. Boulder is, as the Coloradans call it, hippy central. So there's bound to be blatantly vegan options there. My sister-in-law had a couple restaurants in mind for us. One was a sit-down restruaunt where she said she ate the best tofu of her life and the other was a ... wait for it ... it's coming ... it's going to blow your effing mind ... a VEGAN FAST FOOD RESTAURANT.

Yes, you read those all-caps, bold, italicized, underlined words correctly. A vegan fast food restaurant. I know! I know!

V.G. Burgers has a standard fast food menu, except the food tastes great, is actually good for you and is 100% vegan. I had the Chili Chreese Dog. It was tasty. It wasn't pound-the-table-and-make-moaning-noises good, but it's fast food, it's not supposed to change your life.

Mrs. Piggy (maybe I shouldn't refer to my wife as Mrs. Piggy?) had the Sunflower Burger. I had a taste. It was awesome. I almost pounded the table. Anna had a bowl of Mac and Chreese and some of my Chili Chreese Dog. I think she liked it.

They're talking about franchising the place, so if anyone out there has a ton of capital they want to throw my way, I'd love to spend it on opening up a VG in Minnesota. Mark my words, if I ever win the lottery, I'm opening one of these restaurants.

That night we went out to eat in Denver at Watercourse Foods, this really great vegetarian restaurant. Seriously, click on that link and check out their menu. Holy crap this place is amazing. We got breakfast take-out from there the last time we were in Denver and also the sister-in-law brings deserts from their bakery when she comes to MN to visit (I know, isn't that nice? We really appreciate it ... hint hint).

But nothing beats sitting down and having a meal in the restaurant. The service is wonderful and the food is super fresh. It was so good, we ate there two nights in a row.

Their seitan spicy buffalo wings are to die for. I will never eat there and not order them as an appetizer. They're the kind of spicy that makes your nose burn when you smell it, but somehow doesn't make your mouth burn ... much.

Also, I had the best onion rings of my life. You'd think that if you've tasted one onion ring then you've tasted them all, but you'd be wrong. These looked like normal onion rings, but the onion itself was grilled or sautéed or whatever they did to absolute perfection. And the breading was delicate, yet held together. I can't believe I'm reviewing onion rings, but they were that good. You know how when you eat onion rings, a lot of time the onion will come out of the breading and then you're left with a hollow ring of fried stuff on your plate and the whole onion in your mouth? Yeah, those onion rings you're eating are crap. There was no chance of that happening to the onion rings at Watercourse. Yum.

Of course, the main courses were great too. I had a Tempeh Burger the first night, which I must say is probably the best veggie burger I've ever had. Oh, and the Quinoa Salad on the side made me rethink quinoa. Seriously, I just cooked quinoa last week for the first time in a looooong time because of Watercourse's Quinoa Salad. Thank you Watercourse.

(Side note, I discovered last week that I can cook quinoa in my rice cooker. This makes me very, very happy.)

The second night we ate there I got the blackened tofu. It was pretty good tofu, the presentation was pleasing, but the coconut cream sauce definitely gave the dish that extra bump toward greatness that it needed. Damn. I'm getting hungry just typing about it.

Unfortunately no photos of the food. When I'm eating out I like to relax, savor and enjoy. Once I take my camera out it adds an element of work to the meal. So ... you'll just have close your eyes and visualize the melt-in-your-mouth onion rings.

This was fun. Maybe I'll review local restaurants in the future.

10 comments:

half pint pixie said...

ooohhhh... I'm rendered speechless and drooling by the mention of a vegan fast food restaurant...

Al said...

I know! It's so cool.

Jessica said...

You forgot to specify that Watercourse has a completely Vegan Bakery! And.. you're welcome...

Al said...

Yes, yes, the bakery is vegan. Which is odd and cool, seeing as how they otherwise have eggs on the menu.

creaturetalk said...

You didn't like quinoa before?? I love that stuff. I have some good recipes if you want some. Quinoa is my favorite food discovery I think.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Mmmm, watercourse. Very good food. Looks like yall had a fun trip to colorado. Did you visit Fort Collins? Man I miss that place...

Al said...

We did visit Ft. Collins, but not for any substantial amount of time. And yeah, I love it there. It's one of the few places that I've visited and thought to myself, "I could live here."

Sonny Amou said...

Is it wrong to lust after a chili cheese burger at 8 in the morning? I hope not.

Had no idea that a vegetarian ff place was possible in this country. Thanks for the eye-opening post...

Emma's K9 Kitchen said...

Did you have any of the hemp soft serve at VG's? It's definitely pound the table good!

Al said...

I didn't, but I will the next time! If there is a next time.