Vegetarian options available in restaurants, a look into alternative choices

March 07, 2017

Mara Green

mgreen7@uccs.edu

     I recently made the conversion to a “no-foodwith-a face-diet,” but I didn’t realize the struggle to find decently priced places with vegetarian options.

     Many of my vegan and vegetarian friends at UCCS cook from home, buy precooked foods or come to terms with malnutrition.

     To find a better solution, I ventured out to find some nutritious alternatives. After some hunting, I came across three affordable restaurants with tasty vegetarian alternatives on their menus.

Heart of Jerusalem Cafe

Location: 4587 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.

3/5 stars

     I previously tried the Middle Easter Sage tea at Heart of Jerusalem’s Manitou Springs location. But my commute down Austin Bluffs alerted me to their second location, located near Skate City.

     At the Austin Bluffs restaurant, I picked up a togo order of the falafel plate ($7.99), the falafel sandwich ($6.99) and their sage tea ($2.59).

     The sage tea and food was presented in plastic foam to-go plates and cups, which I didn’t find to be a very ecofriendly option. The falafel plate was served with heart-shaped falafel (it was the week of Valentine’s Day), hummus and salad. The falafel was tasty, but for those who dislike cumin in Mediterranean dishes, this did not have an overbearing taste.

     The deep-fried falafel sandwich had chickpeas, parsley, garlic, cilantro and pickled turnips. The seasoning was more overbearing in the sandwich than the plate, and the sandwich was strangely sour.

     These are only two of the vegetarian options that I tried, but the cafe has more options available.

Greek Gyros

Location: 3430 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.

5/5 stars

     Also located on Austin Bluffs, this restaurant has become a personal favorite of mine. I previously tried their gyros sandwiches, but decided to try their veggie sandwich ($5.29) and falafel platter ($8.35).

     The location is clean and well-organized, although hard to find if you aren’t looking.

     The service at Greek Gyros was laid back, and the food is prepared fresh behind the counter. Their sandwiches and fries are served in paper, while the platter is served on plastic foam. This is, again, something to keep in mind if you’re environmentally conscious.

     The veggie sandwich was served in pita bread with mild hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, Tzatziki sauce and feta cheese. Initially, I was biased toward my family’s Tzaziki sauce, but was pleasantly surprised by the sour tang of their recipe.

     The falafel platter was the same arrangement as the sandwich, but each item was individually set out. Three falafel balls were included and served evenly seasoned, crunchy and delicious.

     Other options are available for vegetarians.

Larkburger

Location: 1904 Southgate Road

5/5 stars

      In each review, I made sure to point out the location, service and utensils provided with to-go orders. But in comparison to Larkburger, each of the above locations couldn’t compete.

     I’ve stopped by the downtown Denver location before, but I decided to visit the Colorado Springs location on Southgate Road and Nevada Avenue.

     Larkburger’s to-go orders are served in compostable bags with utensils made of potatoes and cups from corn. Their location was structurally modern with recycled cypress wood lining the walls.

     While this is the pricier of the reviews, the food was still impressive.

     Their burgers can be wrapped in lettuce or made with a gluten-free bun. I had heard of portobello mushroom burgers, but was not impressed by what I had eaten before. Some were bland, and others tasted like dirt.

     On a whim, I ordered two Portabella Burgers ($4.29 each) with two orders of Truffle and Parmesan Fries ($2.95 each).

     The Portabella Burger was a portobello mushroom cap with hints of garlic and a sweet aftertaste. The onions served on the burger were grilled with sherry vinegar and were simultaneously sweet and tangy.

     The burger can be ordered with a choice of Swiss, cheddar, American or pepper jack cheese and bacon. I avoided the bacon, of course.

     The Truffle and Parmesan fries were unavoidable, and I found myself finishing them off before I had driven home. The parmesan complimented the different flavor of the truffle oil they were fried in.

     The Portabella Burger is the only vegetarian option available for burgers at the moment, but the restaurant also provides a variety of salads.

     The possibilities with vegetarian foods are endless; it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and being willing to bite into new opportunities.

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