Today’s feature is one that I was almost hesitant to include because of how easily an eating disorder can latch hold of it. I thought and thought, but at the end of the day life is all about balance. My hope is that when you read this you will remember that yes, it’s okay to nourish your body with wholesome, nutritious goodness, but that does not mean those are the only foods your palette should experience throughout life. When there’s a party, when you’re out to eat with friends, when you’re craving a late-night burger or pizza, or when you just feel like baking cookies and dipping them in a cold glass of milk- EAT THE FOOD. All that being said, today we will cover some of the healthier spots in town and how they rank. “Farm-to-table,” “plant-based,” “vegan-friendly” you name it, we’re trying it.
I will always venture into a quality eatery because typically yes, the food is adventurous and tasty, but more importantly, they’re honoring our environment and the footprint they’re leaving on the planet. I am a huge animal lover and I absolutely adore nature. I wish more people would make conscious choices with their paychecks so that we could safeguard the Earth and setup future generations for success. Just because food is farm-to-table does not mean it has to be low calorie, low fat, or low carb. I eat this food (and encourage you to do the same) because it was made by people who cook with love and typically want to make an impact on our world through their work, not because it is going to aid in weight-loss or because eating this type of cuisine keeps up with a certain image. Some of our favorites are newer spots and one of them has been around for a few years, but they’re all delicious and have our stamp of approval for entrepreneurs that are trying to lead by example.
Favorite Newer Spot:
Vital Root – $-$$ – 3915 Tennyson Street – Denver
Dishes of choice: Korean Stir-fry & Indian Kitchari
What a fun spot. From the setup to the decor, this place was very well thought out. If you’re headed there for dinner prepare to be met with a line upon opening the door, for the style of this place is order at the counter, grab a number, and have a seat. The first time we went here I was so enamored by the menu that I mistakenly held up the line when I couldn’t decide what to get. I decided on their Korean stir-fry, their version of the traditional Korean dish, japchae. Japchae is typically made with glass noodles of some sort- noodles made of potato or some form of starch. Vital Root chose to utilize sweet potato noodles for their variation- YUM. The noodles are mixed with a variety of veggies, some cooked in and some served raw on top for a delicious crunch (the radishes on top are a beaut). The sauce is a mixture of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), cashews, ginger, and lots of other goodness. The dish is good…and it’s good for you–win, win. Our other new favorite, The Indian Kitchari, is a flavor packed mix of lentils and rice with lots of veggies= super tasty. Definitely a twist on Indian (do not expect it to taste like the wonders we described in Denver Dining Guide Part Two), but nevertheless honest to goodness food. If you’re looking for something more protein packed, this is definitely a great plant-based option.
Great for a Dine-In Eclectic Ambience:
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox – $$ – 1215 20th Street – Denver
Dish of choice: Beet & Superseed Veggie Burger
Edible Beats is really killin’ it- they’re the restaurant group behind both Vital Root and Ophelia’s (and Linger, Root Down, and El Five- all options that could be put in this post). So, first thing’s first- their menu changes with the season, always a great sign (they’re honoring what’s available instead of shipping in produce from miles away= less carbon emissions), but also means it’s hard for us to pick favorites because they may not be there when you go try it out. BUMMER. However, their veggie burger is one of the items that sticks around and it’s definitely a memorable one! Never have I seen such a hearty looking veggie patty. Homemade and filled with a lot of nutrient-packed ingredients, this burger will light up your taste buds and leave you vegan nay-sayers feeling full as ever (one of the biggest hesitations I hear from people about going plant-based is that they won’t be full from their meals because there’s ‘no protein’). The toppings and the bun do a great job of bringing it all together- definitely a thumbs up. Their plantains are a great addition to the meal, as is their vegan coconut mousse-like-dessert if they have it while you’re there. Man was that creamy creme brule like sweetness truly delicious. Unfortunately it appears to be part of the changing aspect of their menu, but perhaps you’ll get lucky! This is an awesome place with even more awesome vibes- very unique atmosphere if you’re looking for a place to share with visitors. They have a large variety of options for meat lovers as well and generally speaking offer a menu for everyone in your group to find something to eat. Oh, and we hear the brunch is top notch.
Favorite Cafe/Smaller Spot:
Beet Box – $ – 1030 E 22nd Ave – Denver
Dishes of choice: Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts & all of their delicious pastries/cakes
Because where else can you find a spot that is so allergen-friendly!? It’s no easy feat to find or make both gluten-free and vegan donuts, so bravo to Beet Box! & they’re killing it too. For all you celiac folks or just gluten-intolerant folks that are also choosing to live a plant-based diet, this is your haven! Their cakes are also pretty to look at- huge perk. The cafe and bakery also sells a variety of delicious sounding sandwiches including, Chickpea of the Sea (their spin on a tuna sandwich with a mediterranean flare) and the ABC, made with roasted almonds, mustard-cured beets and cashew cream cheese- mouth watering. Check this spot out for lunch, you won’t regret it. Donuts are a girl’s best friend. #sweets
For all my readers that have frolicked to the blog to gain more insight into their eating disorder or disordered eating I want to once again reiterate that life is about balance. I encourage you all to dive into these places, but only if you’re in the right headspace to do it without it becoming ED’s latest addiction.