“How can you survive?” “So, what do you eat then?” and my favorite “If you love animals so much then why do you eat all their food?” As a vegetarian, I hear these things a lot. People are either utterly confused as to how it is possible to eat anything that doesn’t contain meat or they are concerned that I will not be able to order anything at a restaurant if we choose to go out. Rest assured everyone, I have yet to faint from not eating meat and no animals have starved because I made a meatless meal. I do have to admit that being a college student makes for some meager meals, but that’s something collegiate carnivores and vegetarians share.
Of all the cities to be a vegetarian, Boulder is certainly the place to be worry-free from starvation and malnutrition. There is an abundance of restaurants that offer full vegetarian menus and meat-free options, and even a number that allows you to dine freely as a vegan or gluten-free patron. Leaf is Boulder’s only full vegetarian dining establishment, and what a delicious place. There is nothing wrong with it except the fact that vegetarians now have an entire menu of options to choose from. Oh the decisions to be made! Comparable to Leaf, Bombay Bistro has a separate vegetarian menu in addition to one for their meat eating customers. Zoe Ma Ma also has an incredible cold noodle bowl that is not only a treat for the taste buds, but is a deal for the wallet at only $4.95.
If vegetarian options are not the only thing you are looking for in a menu, Sherpa’s Adventures on Walnut Street understands. They give you the option to add tofu, vegetables, or meats to almost any of their dishes. BJ’s might be more known for their hamburgers and meaty items, but have you noticed their baked potato section? It’s a haven for vegetarians! As is their soup and salad menu, which offers bread bowls to be savored and ripped apart as you dip pieces into your steaming soup. The Mediterranean would not be the same without their lamb kabobs, but they also have quality pizzas and paella that lack meat, but never flavor.
Being gluten-free is also a tricky diet to abide by when it comes to dining out, but at places like Boulder Organic Pizza, Aji, Shine and Boulder Café, you don’t have to ask any questions beyond, “Can I see your gluten-free menu?” Here’s the list of all the restaurants in downtown with gluten-free options.
Sigh…it is nice to know that I will never have to worry about ordering four side dishes just to feel like I ate a complete meal. With so many options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-freers , and those who wish they were brave enough to give up meat, Downtown Boulder is the place to eat. So, if you are dabbling with the idea of becoming a vegetarian or are skeptical as to how anyone could eat a satisfying meal without meat, then I challenge you try a meatless entrée from any of these restaurants and report back with your level of satisfaction.
Eat on Boulder!