Whether I’m traveling abroad or in the United States, I’m always on the lookout for great vegetarian food. I’m not talking sides of vegetables, but a decent and delicious non-meat based meal. Check out some of my veggie finds during my search for vegetarian dining in Denver on my recent trip. On a side note, unfortunately one of my friends slipped and fell whilst we were out sampling the lovely food Denver has to offer. On the plus side, these Denver Trial Lawyers were able to help her get the compensation she was entitled to. So all’s well that ends well.
Native Foods Cafe: After bad weather forced us to spend a few extra days in Los Angeles in February, I accidentally discovered Native Foods Cafe, America’s premier fast-casual vegan restaurant. There’s something for everyone in this restaurant and the food is really good! Of course, I was thrilled to find that Denver had a Native Foods Cafe and for dinner on my first night in town, I had to have Native Foods.
When you enter, you’ll see the register area and lots of comfortable seating. Order your food at the register, take a number, and find a seat. Someone will bring your food out to your table when it’s ready.
We started with the chicken wings, crispy with buffalo sauce, and they were spicy! Can you believe I’ve never had a real chicken wing? I decided that they’re really not my thing so Mr. TSG enjoyed them. I moved onto my Mexican Cobb Salad (BBQ Native Chicken with tofu bacon, roasted corn, black beans, jicama, salsa fresca, romaine, avocado, toasted pepitas and creamy jalapeño-cilantro dressing) and practically licked the plate clean. Not often I can get so much yummy protein on one plate! Mr. TSG decided to go with the Reuben (thinly sliced deli-style seitan on toasted rye with sauerkraut, horseradish cashew cheese and 1,000 island dressing) with a side of sweet potato fries.
Overall, the food was delicious and best of all — satisfying. Native Foods Cafe I have only one question for you? When are you coming to Boston?
Native Foods Cafe
14650 West Colfax Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80401
Pinche Tacos: First of all — is it Pinche Tacos, Pinche Taqueria, or Tacos Tequila Whiskey? Whatever you call it, it’s good! You’ll have to read about the controversy about their name to understand, but regardless of their name, you’ll want to visit for their food and drinks.
When we arrived on Saturday late morning, they had their brunch menu available. Check out their special drinks, especially the $5 Bloody Mary’s and Bloody Maria’s and of course, their signature margarita, which isn’t too sweet.
We started with a few drinks and the Queso Fundido al Tequila (melted monterey jack cheese, tomato, onion, tequila) served with fresh made tortilla chips while we waited on our tacos. I ordered the Queso a la Plancha taco (griddled cotija cheese, avocado, roasted tomatillo salsa, lime) and Vegan 1944 taco (sauteed spinach, roasted chile poblano, corn, salsa abuela, avocado, pico de gallo), and a Queso Relleno taco (griddled jack cheese, roasted poblano, mushrooms, avocado, pico de gallo, sunny-side-up egg) for Mr. TSG. I am just crazy about tomatillo salsa lately and the Queso a la Plancha taco was smothered in it and was oh so good!
The food is fresh and delicious and the service is fast, which makes for a great combination when you’re tired and hungry. I definitely would go back and eat here again — no questions asked.
Tacos Tequila Whiskey City Park (Pinche Taqueria)
1514 York Street
Denver, CO 80206
Buchi Café Cubano: While I did try to go coffee-free for several months, after my trip to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, I’ve been back on the caffeine wagon for some time. So when I heard that the best café con leche outside of Cuba was in Denver, I practically ran to Buchi Café Cubano to get a cup.
This small cafe in the Sunnyside neighborhood is definitely unassuming from the outside, but I didn’t let that distract me from my mission. You can either go inside and grab a seat or sit outside in the front patio area. While we waited for our coffee, we watched someone set off fireworks behind the store across the street. Coffee and a show! This isn’t Starbucks so have patience. We only saw one person working and he was not only waiting on tables, but making coffee as well. Their menu includes sandwiches, breakfast and lunch, as well as other beverages, but I was all about the Café con Leche.
While I could have chosen a small café con leche, I opted instead for a large (really large and total perfection) café con leche, which made my eyes roll into the back of my head as I felt the caffeine slowly slide through my veins. It’s funny how the taste of something can take you back and this coffee brought me back to my childhood and my grandmother making coffee over her stove with her colador and bright colored can of Cafe Bustelo.
The coffee at Buchi Café Cubano is traditional Cuban coffee, pre-sweetened with organic raw sugar so order it as is and don’t try to ask for a decaf or skinny anything. Amped up on all the caffeine and sugar, nothing was going to hold me back from seizing the day. I definitely recommend making a pit stop at Buchi Café Cubano and believe me, you’ll thank me later.
Buchi Café Cubano
2651 W 38th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Voodoo Doughnut: Seriously? Are you going to tell me you’ve never heard of Voodoo Doughnut? That can’t be true! If you’ve watched the Food Network or Travel Channel, you’ve probably heard of Voodoo Doughnut and
We parked about a block away from Voodoo Doughnut and ended up having to wait in line outside.
Once inside there was yet another line! Aaargh! But we knew that had to mean that the doughnuts (donuts?) were that good.
I did some research before we arrived and knew I had to get the Old Dirty Bastard (raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreos, and peanut butter) as well as the Voodoo Doll Doughnut (raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting an pretzel stake). Did you know that Voodoo Doughnut has vegan doughnuts, too?
I’m not traditionally a doughnut eater and while these are sweet, light, and delicious, my advice is to treat this as a once in a while kind of treat. Because once in a while is good, but daily is well… deadly.
1520 East Colfax
Denver, CO 80218
Chili Verde: While I had high hopes for this place whose slogan is “where tradition and flavor unite,” I was so disappointed. While their drinks were excellent, like the coconut margarita, the food was borderline “meh.”
Part of the issue was that they only had a few appetizers for non-meat eaters (guacamole and tamal casero), and the rest was exclusively fish and meat based meals. Some of the tables were given tortilla chips and others, like ours, nothing.
I asked our server if they had vegetarian options and she said that they could make the Crepas Poblanas vegetarian as well as the Relleno de Mariscos by making it with cheese. Mr. TSG had the Crepas Poblanas and enjoyed it, but admitted it didn’t seem anything like Mexican food. My cheese relleno (poblano stuffed only with cheese) was bland and boring and served with a sauce that looked like a melted ice cream cone. The side of rice served with both entrees was overcooked and served in chipped dishes.
I am lucky that I’ve been able to travel around the world and try food from different places including Mexican food in Mexico and Tex-Mex in the United States. Unfortunately, the food from Chili Verde was “no Mex” as it didn’t look like or taste anything remotely similar to Mexican food. It was definitely overpriced, overcooked, and lacked anything that tasted like good food. Service was slow despite only a few tables in the restaurant and the kitchen must pre-make the food (i.e., the rice) and let it sit all day and microwave before serving. I would skip this restaurant unless you wanted to go out with someone who didn’t like Mexican food because you could eat here and never know it was actually a Mexican restaurant.
2311 Federal Blvd.
Denver, CO 80211
I’m so glad I had the chance to check out a few places that were either exclusively for vegetarians and vegans or at least had some non-carnivore options. Do you have a favorite vegan or vegetarian restaurant in Denver that I should’ve visited?