WIAW 15: Vegan In Colorado

Hello friends! Well, I’m safely back in Maryland after a wonderful week in Colorado. I can’t say that I’m thrilled to be back home, but I sure did miss these two.

I’ll be writing about different aspects of my awesome trip over the next week or so, but today it’s all about the food.

I’m coming down to the home stretch for the vegan experiment – I can’t believe it’s been 5 1/2 weeks already! Eating a vegan diet at home is super easy, because I can be in complete control of what I cook. I knew that eating vegan might be a bit of a challenge when traveling. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard- just took a bit of planning and a little bit of Internet research.

Breakfasts were super easy. I ended up getting oatmeal from Whole Foods almost every morning! There’s basically a Whole Foods in every 2 square mile radius in Colorado, so i went to a few different stores during the week, depending on where I was hiking that morning. The oatmeal bar is $2.99 and has tons of delicious toppings and mix-ins. My bowl usually contained steel-cut oats, banana, blueberries, cinnamon, nuts and maple syrup. The bottom right image is actually quinoa and teff!

Yum!

Whole Foods was also a pretty easy choice for lunch a few days- I would make a gigantic salad and top it with various plant-based proteins.

I know that some of you are probably rolling your eyes at how much I went to Whole Foods, but honestly, I could get lunch at the hot foods/salad bar every day and not get tired of it. Plus, we don’t have them near me- I have to drive 45 minutes to get to the closest one!

On Friday, Corrie made a delicious lunch for Heidi, Kelly P. and me after we went hiking that morning. We had sweet potato and black bean chili (topped with avocado, peppers, cilantro, lime and tortilla chips). YUM.

And of course, the cookie queen had to do her thing…

These vegan chocolate chip cookies were great!

I had lunch at Native Foods Cafe in Boulder on Sunday, thanks to a recommendation from Kelly G.! I met up with Greg and some of his friends there after they went mountain biking, and Tiffany came too! I wish I had known about this place before- I would have gone there on Thursday when I hiked at Chautauqua! It was so hard to choose something from the menu. Every single item was vegan and sounded incredible.  I ended up getting a raw chopped salad with grilled tempeh.

Greg got my second choice, which was a big bowl of kale, quinoa, kidney beans, fried “chicken” skewers and cornbread.

I met up with Katie for lunch on Monday at Watercourse , which is all vegetarian with many vegan choices.

I didn’t take any photos of it, but I ordered a taco salad with tempeh “chorizo” and it was delicious!

Dinners were also easy, thanks to the many restaurants in the Denver/Boulder areas that offer vegan options. I met Kelly G. on Thursday night at Udi’s Cafe in Arvada and had a delicious falafel sandwich. We also shared an order of roasted Brussels sprouts, which were delicious! No photos were taken, but I can assume you that everything was great.

On Friday, I met Lena, Diana and Tiffany for pizza at Mellow Mushroom in Denver. (Heather made fun of me for going to a chain restaurant, but there aren’t any in Maryland and I had never been to one before! And until she said that, I didn’t even know it was a chain.) :)

They offer Daiya cheese, so it was easy to veganize my pizza.

And we also had some beer flights… As Greg says “thank god beer is vegan!”

The tastiest dinner of the whole trip was on Saturday night. Heather was kind enough to invite Greg and I over to her house for a wine & liquor paired dinner. Laura was also visiting, and even created one of the courses!

Heather, Kirk and Laura created an amazing meal. There was even a special menu for us to take home!

The courses, in order…

Every single bite was insanely delicious. I think the tourtire was my favorite, but that’s a tough call… They certainly spoiled us with this fancy meal. :)

On Sunday, we decided to stick around Boulder for dinner, since we had visited Oskar Blues tasting room after lunch.

Vegan beer!

I looked up a few options on Yelp and Leaf sounded like it would fit the bill.

We ordered some raw butternut squash “ravioli” to start.

And to my surprise, Greg actually agreed to order two different entrees to split! (he is NOT a food sharer.) We got the Applewood Smoked Tofu (I am definitely going to try to re-create this!)

And the Jamaican Jerk Tempeh.

This was good, but way too spicy. I like heat, but this was so overly spiced that it completely overpowered my taste buds. I think I had my glass refilled with water at least 10 times.

We split a peanut butter chocolate tart (with a peanut cookie crust,) for dessert. Mmmmmm….

One of my other favorite dinners was with Greg and my friends Brock and Melissa at Vine Street Pub on Monday night. I had been to the sister restaurant (Mountain Sun) in Boulder during Blend and loved it, and the menu at Vine St. is exactly the same. I got the tempeh rueben, which I had been eyeing last time we were at Mounatin Sun. Again, no photos, but super delicious! Great beer, too…

Random thought: I think this is the first vacation at I’ve ever been on where I didn’t eat ice cream or frozen yogurt once. I’m sure there are some dairy-free options around, but I didn’t really care enough to look.

I do still have some hemp and coconut milk ice cream in my freezer…

Have a great Wednesday!

Do you have any dietary restrictions? Is it difficult to find things to eat when you travel?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I WISH I had a Whole Food by me!! I mean, I would spend all of my tuition money, but those salads and oatmeal bowls look amazing! I’m pretty much addicted to oats, but I would love to try quinoa in place of them sometime. Good call on the jerk tempeh too. I can be picky about tofu, but I ADORE tempeh in pretty much any form :)

  2. Delicious food! When I travel I eat at WFM as often as possible.
    Welcome back home – I’m sure the pups were happy to see you.

  3. For a long time I was a pescatarian, and due to a food allergy I no longer consume dairy products, but I am not vegan. However, I love to make vegan meals whenever possible! I actually find that it’s sometimes EASIER to eat vegan when traveling because I live in the midwest where vegan options have only in recent years become more mainstream!

    Also, just a note: many beers are *not* considered vegan due to “isinglass”…you can check a pretty extensive list of beers here to see if they’re vegan or not! http://www.barnivore.com/beer

  4. It’s a shame we couldn’t meet up! But thank you for introducing me to a plethora of CO bloggers in this blog post :) Glad you had a great time, Lauren!

  5. Proud of you for kicking ass at this challenge! Also, I love Kevita. The lemon ginger is one of my favorite drinks.

  6. All this food looks amazing!! I’m drooling all over myself now. lol. I have a ton of food allergies, but I found Colorado so easy to find places to eat! I have to avoid all kinds of veggies that I’m allergic to, gluten, soy, and dairy. I’m so fun to eat with its not funny…. ;)

  7. Traveling with food restrictions is HARD! I travel a lot for work (mostly overseas) and follow a strict gluten and lactose free diet (not by choice for either), so I usually have a great stash of bars. That said, it’s not so easy here in Northern Virginia either! I had to laugh, I love Kevita (the coconut is amazing!) and was so happy to find it here on the east coast after first tasting it in CA! Have really enjoyed your blog!

  8. Awwa… thanks for letting me do my thing. That’s cool that Mellow Mushroom does it vegan – chains aren’t all bad!! :) I’m just a picky eater so it can be hard while traveling if I don’t want to just eat junk!

  9. YUM!!! I am sooooooooo surprised mellow mushroom does vegan pizza w/Daiya. Very cool! And that menu (and food) that Heather created, just wow!!!

  10. holy yum!
    I want that mushroom tortellini soup and raw beet and squash ravoli. The pie looks too good to pass up.
    And speaking of non-dairy ice cream. I’ve been insane with it lately. I absolutely love Luna And Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice cream! I can’t not have the mocha maca crunch or ginger caramel cookie in my freezer. And I like the tempt hemp ice cream in vanilla. Although I want to try choc biscotti. What brands are you enjoying??

    • I’ve heard wonderful things about Luna & Larry’s. I really like the So Delicious and Nada Moo brands for coconut milk ice cream, and Tempt Hemp Ice Cream. But, the best ever is Rice Dream brand Carrot Cake flavor. Hoooooooly Crap.

  11. Wow, what great food you ate on vacation. It almost makes Thanksgiving seem like small potatoes. Delicious stuff.

  12. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    We’re running a race near Boulder next weekend, so I think I’m going to have to try Leaf It looks amazing!

  13. Grrr… I just wrote a crazy long comment and then it wouldn’t let me post it! I will try to remember what I said…

    Yes! The Tempeh Reuben was SO delicious, especially after hiking AND boot camp AND yoga that day. I recreated it in salad form with Vegan 1,000 Island when I got home. I need to make that again, actually. :)

    I love Colorado because there ARE so many vegan options on menus, rather than just one token ‘alterna-meal’ which I find a lot on the East Coast. Hence, I, too, could eat at Whole Foods every day, for every meal. I LOVE it…especially how they tell you exactly what is in everything…I’m weird about that…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] and we both managed to keep a vegan diet the whole time. [...]

  2. [...] I didn’t take a single breakfast photo all week, but you can use your imagination or refer to this. On that same day, after my hike with Paige, I had one place on my mind for lunch: Native Foods [...]

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