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Showing posts with label Denver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denver. Show all posts

Monday, June 23, 2014

Restaurant review - Pho Fusion in NW Denver

I have never written a negative restaurant review. I began writing restaurant reviews about two years or so ago when I decided that I wanted to brag about the places we love where we live and the places we discovered while traveling. Last year I decided to expand and started going to restaurants that I perceived as vegan-friendly and reviewing them.

Just in case this is your first time reading my blog here is important information on my review process: I have to have dined at the restaurant at least three times (I haven't always stuck to this, especially when traveling, but I do believe it's important to not review a restaurant based on one visit) and my review is based on incredible vegan food and amazing service.

Pho Fusion is an Asian restaurant on the way home from my work. I have dropped in a few times over the years. I have never been impressed with the food but dropped by once again recently out of pure convenience. I was in charge of dinner and had no clue, so just dropped in.

I have learned that Pho Fusion is Vietnamese cuisine. I learned this because once again when asking for vegan options I ended up speaking with someone who should not be in customer service, or who should have an owner-approved, kind message that lets folks know that they do not wish to have vegan customers.

I get it. I don't expect that every restaurant wants our business.

I was told that Asian cuisine was not vegan friendly in general after making the statement that I wished their menu was more vegan friendly. After my reply, the gentleman clarified that perhaps it was just Vietnamese cuisine that was not vegan friendly.

I should add that this guy was done with me the second I said that I did not want to order the two choices he gave me: hot and sour soup and fried rice (done vegan for me). I wanted dinner!

After acknowledging that the tofu they serve is vegan, and conferring with someone in the kitchen, he told me I could order the pad Thai with tofu. Done. I paid, tipped him (crazy, but I live up to the gay stereotype of being good tippers and I know I need to work on that) and waited for my to go order.

You can see where this is going. Well maybe not. I got my order, left, arrived home, told Mike how infuriated I was with this gentleman at Pho Fusion, and then we ate.

The vegan version of their pad Thai was delicious. We both enjoyed it. As I finished mine I realized there was a piece of chicken it, and as much as I dislike that I know mistakes happen in busy kitchens.

The bottom line for me is that kindness rules. If you cannot be kind to a customer then reconsider your employment in a job that puts you in front of people all of the time. And from a restaurant owner/manager perspective, if you don't want to offer vegan cuisine that's fine. Just say so. Let folks know that.

I would recommend to the folks at Pho Fusion that they incorporate a couple of vegan dishes, entrees, to their menu. They obviously have people in the kitchen who rock at making delicious vegan food.

I'm sure at this point of the post you are ready for the review. Here it is.

I won't go back to Pho Fusion. If I ever hear that they have embraced the idea of serving vegan food with a hassle then I might try it again. The deal for me is that there are so many restaurants that gladly and enthusiastically serve delicious vegan food that with better planning on my part there is simply no need to go to Pho Fusion again.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The young and homeless


As you may know, my day job is as a fundraiser for an organization that serves young people experiencing homelessness in the Denver area. No matter where you live, there is a homeless population.

As a vegan, I have compassion for all living beings and my biggest passion is to make the world a better place for all living beings. This includes humans.

On a daily basis I get to see up close and personal the brutality of homelessness. The brutal reality of a life that does not include a lot of hope for hundreds of young people who call the streets of Denver home every day. Nationally the number is 1.7 million.

In my life I see a lot of privilege. I can spend $6.00 on vegan breakfast sandwiches without even thinking about it. A daily stop for coffee on my way to work. The newest vegan junk food.

And I always remember those who have nothing.

Homelessness is an epidemic. One that doesn't seem even close to coming to an end. In regards to young people being homeless, I just see the problem getting bigger and bigger.

Sexual abuse, physical abuse, young people coming out as LGBTQ, drug and alcohol abuse on the part of the parent or guardian, trauma in a hundred different forms, mental illness in the home, and of course plain poverty. All of these are reasons why young people become homeless.

Where am I going with this? Why does this matter to The Gay Vegans?

I want to end all suffering. I know when people, especially those who read this blog, get information they knew nothing about, they take action.

Nationally, of the 1.7 million homeless youth right now, 40% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

40%.

As I do when I see animal cruelty, many times I see the brutal reality of youth homelessness and wonder what the heck is wrong with our world.

Most of us live in privilege. Let's not forget those who don't.

Thank you very much for reading!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Restaurant review - WaterCourse Foods


For those of you new to my restaurant reviews, my reviews are based on delicious vegan food and on great service. Both are equally important to me.

Two weeks ago WaterCourse Foods announced that they had become an all-vegan restaurant. After 16 years of being a vegetarian restaurant, they introduced this idea to their staff on a Monday morning and introduced an incredible, new menu to the public shortly afterwards.

Prior to that Monday, I can count on one hand the amount of times I had been to WaterCourse in the past six years. Since that Monday, I have been four times. I have been twice with Mike and twice on my own. Between the two dinners and the two lunches, I have tried many of the new items. All of this is to say that my review is based on good, solid research.

Note: Before I stopped frequenting WaterCourse, I was quite the regular and WaterCourse was a huge part of my life. They even catered our wedding in 2005. 

Also for new readers, I do not review a restaurant until I have dined there at least three times. This makes sure I can make a fair review.

I love WaterCourse milk shakes. Love them. Great flavors, and now you can order one with just the glass filled (with no extra) which makes me feel better. Definitely try a milkshake.

Mike and I both LOVE the new cauliflower wings. They are delicious, flavorful, and not as filling as seitan wings.

New items include the jack fruit tacos. I highly recommend these. More flavor and great taste. The new deviled eggs are delicious as well. They are purple, which seems to be a turn off for some people but if you can get past that you'll be pleasantly surprised with the flavor.
Breakfast is served all day. I have loved the Amsterdam Hash since it was first on a menu and I still do. Now it comes in its own cast iron pan!

There are many new dinner entrees, including chicken and waffles! The Monti pasta is still on the menu and I had that last night. Loved it.
 I don't drink but noticed they have a good selection of beer and wine as well as pitchers of Sangria and Mimosas.

They all have fresh juices available.

I have many times not returned to a restaurant because of poor service. There came a point in my life when I was done with having to apologize to a server for getting in their way by showing up for a meal. Service is crucial.

All four times I was at WaterCourse in the past two weeks the service was incredible. Friendly, quick, attentive and the server even recommended favorite items. Several folks have told me recently that they stopped going to WaterCourse because of the poor service. To all of them I say it's OK to go back. If you get treated anywhere close to how I have been treated, you will be delighted. Of the four servers I have had, all rocked it. If I were to pick one that you could ask for, I'd go with Nathan.

Finally, I noticed that their price points had lowered. I think everything is priced fairly and I think WaterCourse is pretty affordable.

I so enjoy WaterCourse Foods now that I added them to my list of favorite places to eat in Denver on our blog.

Check them out. Even if you had sworn them off, check them out. You won't regret it, I promise.

For hours, go to their website at watercoursefoods.com

Thank you for reading! 


Sunday, May 4, 2014

One small action today

That's all it takes, just one small action.

When all of us who care about animals and care about making the world a better place take one small action, the world changes.

The world becomes a little more compassionate.

Or a little safer for animals.

A little less cruel.

A little more hopeful.

Just one small action.

If you're not vegan or veg, try not eating meat today.

If you're veg but not vegan, try being vegan today.

If you have a few more minutes to be online after reading this post, go to an group you support that has action alerts and do one of them.

If you have a dog in your family, take them on a walk.

A new veg restaurant in town, go support them.

Send a donation to your favorite non-profit.

Bring a vegan dessert to your dinner gathering tonight.

You get the idea.

We can all make the world a better place for all living beings. It begins with one small action.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Note to business owners who want vegan business

Mike and I are vegan.

We share our house with four dogs and two chinchillas. As expensive it is that they can seem at times, I'm sure it's nothing compared to having human children.

We don't have a lot of extra money as I work in the non-profit world and Mike teaches in our local public school system. Don't get me wrong, we live very well. We both feel like we live a charmed life.

So when we shop, we like to spend money with nice people. When we dine out, we want amazingly delicious food and incredibly hospitable service.

This can be challenging with some folks. Recently we have had poor experiences when trying to support vegan businesses and businesses that are trying to get vegans to spend their money with them.

Some experiences were around things like this:

Do you really think that you have to act like you are cooler than us? I get it, you are cooler than us. So relax.

If you have promoted a product as vegan, it should be vegan. Don't get pissy with us when it's not. It's not our fault. Vegan means no animal product. None. And no insect product. Zero. If your product contains just a little animal product it's still not vegan.

I'm vegan. I'm against cruelty to animals. I'm shopping with you. I don't want your opinion as why it's OK to use animals for this purpose or another. I definitely don't need you to tell me that they don't really hurt the animals in whatever process you are talking about.

If you own or run a restaurant and want vegans to dine with you, then create delicious vegan food. Make your vegan dishes so incredibly creative and tasty that your restaurant will be the talk of the town. A simple salad or pasta dish just doesn't do it.

If you are vegan and have created the most amazing vegan product, food item or business, we are super excited for you. We will probably end up loving your product or business just as much as you do. So please treat us kindly. Arrogance and ego don't really work for us. Kudos on the wonderful creation. We'll support it. Just remember that we're customers and will be part of your success.

We LOVE vegan businesses. We love them even better when the folks we engage with speak with us rather than at us and if they treat us as if our business and support might matter to them. A vegan business that we love and one that ROCKS at this is Vegan Cuts. I met the owners (I think they were the owners!) at a bloggers conference. They we so incredibly nice to me, just one of hundreds swinging by their booth. They made it so I wanted to do business with them. And we sure have! Their initial way of treating me created a long term customer and a huge fan.

This all boils down to the big rule for us: treat others as you wish to be treated. It's pretty simple. And easy. Personally I believe that it's so much easier to be kind to someone than unkind, especially to a customer!

If you are in business I assume you want to do well. Please keep some of this in mind. The way you treat people really makes a difference. I don't mean to come off negative with this post, I truly want businesses to take note and think about some of these issues. It's not just Mike and I who have experienced this, but much of what I am writing about are issues that many of our friends and blog readers have experienced.

We look forward to buying your product, dining at your restaurant and enjoying your newest vegan creation!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A (crazy busy) vegan life

I find myself describing my life as "charmed" when chatting with people.

Indeed it is.

As one who spends his work day raising money to support homeless young people, I am very well aware that I have so much in my life.

A loving spouse who I am in love with.

A wonderful roof over my head that I get to share with my husband, four dogs and two chinchillas.

I have a job I love.

I have an incredibly amazing group of friends who are always there with love and support.

I have the opportunity to eat very well.

I could keep going.

With this blog I have the opportunity to share things that are important to me, like veganism, animal rights issues, equality and about how we all have more in common than not.

And I lead a life that is just a regular life.

I got up close and personal with this thought this week when life just seemed so crazy. Work was crazy busy. As I realized this I also remembered that it wasn't just this week, but the last couple of weeks. Sixty hour work weeks as I prepared for our largest fundraising event of the year. One night I didn't gt any sleep and got back to the office the next morning pretty exhausted.

Add in home life, blogging, and everything else that we do as part of life and I was completely wiped.

I'm sure you can relate.

So this weekend I am completely chilling out. I have time planned with my little brother (from Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and that is about it. Maybe some gym time. Maybe some writing time. A book sounds good? And I think Mike and I are due for a date night.

These are the things that relax me, that make me feel like I am alive.

Life can get crazy. Sometimes I have to stop, take a breathe, and just smile. Or take a nap.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Do not be afraid - of the kitchen!


"Veganomicon" is a great cookbook to help you get comfortable in the kitchen.
If where if you live is anything like the Denver metro area, restaurants are serving more and more delicious vegan items. Mike and I love going out, and as I have written in several posts, we have our favorites for sure. (Note to reader: you can check out our favorite local places to eat by clicking the tab from the main page.)

Although vegan food options are becoming even more amazing in restaurants, I still believe that the best vegan food can come right from the kitchen.

Your kitchen.

I know, I'm sure some of you are like I used to be and are probably rolling your eyes. Many years ago the normal dinner at my place was a couple of Amy's burritos and tater tots. When a met Mike, that type f meal became known as a Dan meal.

Once in a while we decide on a Dan meal for dinner. Life is busy. We both give it our all at our jobs so when we come home a Dans' meal is an easy choice. But for me, things have certainly changed in the kitchen.

I am no longer afraid.

You don't have to be either.

Here's an example. Back in January of last year during the time I was laid off, I decided to use that time and make delicious dinners for Mike. One day I found this amazing recipe for African Peanut Stew. It looked complicated, but I wanted to give it a go. So I jumped in. I went to the market and got the ingredients, came home and read the recipe a couple of times, and then started to create. With my favorite Latino music playing and the dogs eagerly waiting in the kitchen, I rocked it.

Of course the test is if other people like it, and Mike loved it. Such an amazing dish.

There are so many vegan cookbooks out there that I have to believe there is one just for you. Check them out. And some of the links on our main page will lead you to some great recipes. Also, many cookbooks have introductions before the recipes to let you know what you will need to have great experiences with their recipes.

You don't have to be afraid of the kitchen anymore! You can create delicious vegan meals right in your own kitchen!

So grab a vegan cookbook, throw an apron on, and rock it! Oh, and then tell me what you made!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Humane slaughter?

NOTE: If you do not want to think about animals being killed for food you might not want to read this post.

Recently I saw a photo of an experiment that was testing how long a gas would take to kill chickens. I wont show the photo but I'm sure you can find it on Google.

It seems outrage against animal cruelty in the food industry has sparked interest in those who profit off of killing animals to see if they can do this without looking bad to consumers.

So have an animal. Let's say a pig. Typical, factory farm pig killing is not pretty. It's not something the pig wants to go through. I'm sure the pig would much rather go take a nap in some straw or go splash around in mud. Nonetheless here she is being hung up and slaughtered.

All so someone can have their bacon.

Again, if you want to see this process you can find it on Google.

I do not believe in humane slaughter. The bottom line for me is that if the animal had the opportunity to walk or run away from being killed, they would.

I became vegan because I wanted to do as little harm to all living beings as possible while going through this thing called life. I do not want to be the cause for the death or suffering of another being. I realized that I did not have to participate in the slaughter.

I see marketing words like "humane slaughter" and "humanely raised" all of the time these days. To me that's all they, marketing terms. There is no legal definition for what that means and in the end your humanely raised pig is going to be terrified as she is trucked off to be killed.

There are so many people who love animals but still eat them. They either don't want to think about what happens to them to get to their plate or they have simply decided that their taste buds are worth it. Or, they just don't know another way and really don't know how to begin a life that truly includes loving animals.

Just because we have always done something doesn't mean we have to continue to do it.

There are resources galore to help people who have decided they want to stop participating in the slaughter. The world is changing and vegetarianism is alive and well. And when I write the word vegetarianism I mean no meat and no meat by-product. There are communities all over the world that are there to support you!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What is "vegan friendly"?



I hear the term "vegan friendly" in regards to a restaurant often and am always curious about it. Some times I think it means that there are several vegan items to choose from. Other times I think that the restaurant is not vegan or veg yet has vegan options, or that the folks who run the restaurant are friendly to vegans.

For me personally, vegan friendly means that the owner/manager and staff are welcoming to vegans and make vegans feel like they are home.

It means that a server knows what vegan means and what on their menu is vegan.

It means that the server smiles when we say we are vegan, rather than frown.

It means that the server doesn't say "we don't really have anything that is vegan".

The food doesn't have to to be the best vegan food we have ever eaten. They have to have tried of course, but for me it is more in the attitude and hospitality of those running the restaurant that matters, because if they rock in those areas that means that good vegan food will happen even if they are not there yet.

An example is this new Pho restaurant in Lakewood. Yes, Lakewood! Mike and I are so excited. The vegan options just keep coming in our own city!

We decided last minute to check this place out while we were out running errands. Being new, we hadn't heard of this place nor did we know if they would have vegan options.

I will definitely be doing a restaurant review on this place later, but what I want to say now is about how well we were treated. The server knew what vegan meant and understood everything from fish oil to broth. When the Pho came out I took a photo of it (being a good blogger!). The owner saw this and asked if I would post it on Facebook and I thought to myself "buddy, you have no idea" as I told him I was a blogger, that I was vegan, and that I was so excited. His face literally lit up! He told us about everything on the menu that was vegan, and was super excited that we were there.

He made us feel right at home.

That, my friends, is vegan friendly.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Forgiveness

I have been thinking of this as a topic for a post for a while now.

In my personal life I have had to ask for forgiveness many times.

I have also had to forgive.

In a world that sometimes feels completely filled with hatred and unkindness, with violence, judgement and just plain meanness, being able to forgive or ask for forgiveness can be huge.

I often write about one of my main purposes with this blog: to make this world a better, safer pace for all living beings. That is more difficult to do if I am filled with negativity towards someone, or is I have treated someone in a manner that was unkind in any way.

In a past blog post, one about being kind, I wrote "We do not need to meet hate with hate or unkindness with unkindness." I truly believe this. Just because someone is unkind to me doesn't mean I need to be unkind to them.

Easy? Not really.

Worth it? Totally.

Several years ago I planned a veg fest here in Denver called the Denver Veg Fest. My first event of this type and I had a blast. The great thing was to see a diverse crowd of people, a couple of thousand plus, all there to learn a little about veganism and animal rights (and to try some great vegan food!). Successful in many ways, mainly in that I felt we had created something that was a loud voice for the animals.

In the end, it also became an amazing fundraiser, with me being able to donate thousands of dollars to local and national animal groups.

When I decided to not plan another veg fest, I began to hear that some people were saying, behind my back, that I had "stolen" money from the fest. The fest was my deal, and there were a handful of folks who helped with it who also had a say in the money we raised and where it should be donated.  The people saying negative things about me personally had nothing to do with the all of the hard work it took to put on the fest. I was completely caught off guard by this. The whole idea of what was being said was incredibly hurtful to me. Words definitely hurt.

It took me awhile, but I had to forgive. It was not going to do me or the voiceless I try to be a voice for every day any good if I allowed myself to hold onto anything negative about these folks. All I could do is simply put out there what I did and why, which I did, and then let it go.

And of course there have been many times when I have had to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I try my best to make those times as few as possible.

With so much suffering in the world, with so much hatred, there is just no reason to use our energy in holding onto grudges or being mean to others.

Forgive. Let go. Move on. Build a bridge and get over it.

Then get busy. The animals need you. The poor need you. The activists in prison need. The voiceless need you.

Thanks for reading!



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wishing you an amazing New Year


What a year!

I'm sitting here at home thinking about how amazing this year has been for us, for equality, and for veganism.

Some of my personal highlights were vacationing at the beach in Encinitas with my beloved and joining a bunch of vegan bloggers at Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Oregon.

Encinitas is a little slice of heaven just north of San Diego. We rented a little studio on the beach and spent most of our time right there on the beach. Perfect. Add in wonderful friends, delish vegan food and a side trip to Los Angeles and it made for the perfect summer vacation.

At Vida Vegan Con I had the honor of meeting so many people who are changing the world. I left the conference feeling inspired and hopeful for a future that includes more people being a voice for the voiceless and amazing vegan food choices along the way.

Marriage equality spread throughout this wonderful country of ours.

Bigotry persisted.

Ag-gag bills, ones in which it would make it illegal to do undercover animal cruelty investigations, didn't make it to law.

Vegan cuisine became more and more talked about. In Denver, we even got our first vegan market, Nooch, as well as our first vegan restaurant, Native Foods.

This blog, The Gay Vegans, hosted our first non-profit fundraiser and we raised just over 3,600 pounds of dog and cat food for Animal Haus, a local non-profit that gives the food to people who are hurting financially and need a little help in supporting their companion animals. What a wonderful time that was, and it became so successful with the participation of so many of you!

I could go on, and I might in another post, but I don't like my posts to get too long.

Mike and I wish you the most amazing 2014, a year filled with love, joy, activism, compassion and passion. Let's all work together to be a voice for the voiceless and to make this world a better, safer place for all living beings!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Restaurant review - The Ethiopian Restaurant

Mike and I had a dinner date last night. Friday night is usually our weekly dinner at Tarasco's, but last night we decided to go to The Ethiopian Restaurant. We have always loved this place but since it is on the east side and we live on the west side, it's not always convenient, especially if you are already hungry when you decide to go.

We both were reminded that a meal at The Ethiopian Restaurant is one of the best vegan meals in town.

We always get number III, the vegan combination platter. And I mean platter. Packed with lentils, greens, potatoes and cabbage. The flavors are crazy, and oh so satisfying. Every platter is served with Injera, a flat bread that just ads to the overall meal. You scoop up food using the Injera to eat all of the deliciousness.



Owned by a sweet Ethiopian couple, we have always loved coming here and always loved the meal. It does take time, as everything is made to order. Totally worth it, just don't arrive so hungry that you're grumpy.

They recently have re-done the floors and have gorgeous wood floors. The space is one simple room, with twelve tables or so and Ethiopian art on the walls.

Beer and wine served.

Bring cash, as they do not take credit cards.

The vegan combination platter we get is $12.95 per person.

Check it out!

The Ethiopian Restaurant
2816 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO  80206
303.322.5939

Hours are daily 11am - 11pm. They have been known to change so keep that in mind!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our dog and cat food drive


We are almost finished with our first week of our two week dog and cat food drive in support of Animal Haus, a Denver charity that gives away food to folks who are having financial difficulties so that they have a better chance of keeping their companion animal.

I have been blown away by y'alls response! I am super grateful to all of you who have dropped of food at one of our location or who have made a donation to Animal Haus on their website.

You can still support us as we move into week two.

If you live in Denver, you can drop off dog and cat food at:

Urban Peak, 730 21st Street, Denver Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm.

Planet Pet, 4338 Tennyson Street, Denver Monday - Friday from 10am - 7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 4pm.

You can purchase vegan dog and cat food at Nooch Vegan Market, 3360 Larimer Street, any day from 11am - 6pm.

Our Facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/534208730001834/

You can make an online donation here: http://animalhaus.org/

Remember, any amount of a donation will make a difference in an animals life!

Thank you! Please help us to continue to rock it for those experiencing tougher times and for the companion animals they adore.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our first ever dog and cat food drive!

 
I am ecstatic to let you all know that The Gay Vegans are having our first ever dog and cat food drive! After a  lot of consideration around who we would support with a blog-wide effort and how, we have decided to collect dog and cat food as well as cash for Animal Haus, a local Denver non-profit that gives away dog and cat food to those who would otherwise not be able to fee their companion animals.

The great thing about this effort is that you do not need to live in Denver to support us. We will have collection spots for you and your friends to drop off the food, and those who want to support us who do not live n the Denver area can simply go to this website animalhaus.org and make a donation. A little goes a long way.

I know that through the support of our blog readers and supporters that we can make a HUGE difference for those struggling with finances to care for their companions. Imagine what a difference a donation of food makes to a guardian who is experiencing really tough financial times, and in some cases might even be considering bringing their beloved into a shelter!

WE can make the difference.

Please spread the word. I will post all of the current details here. This will be a two-week effort. We can change the lives of families who truly want to keep and care for their companions, they are just having really difficult times.

The Gay Vegans dog and cat food drive
November 16 - 30, 2013

Donations can be dropped off at Urban Peak Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm.

Donations of vegan dog and cat food can be purchased at Nooch Vegan Market at 34th and Larimer and placed in the Animal Haus bin.

In the west metro area? You can drop off at our home in northeast Lakewood. Just email for directions.

More information to come and hopefully more drop off locations. If you know of a Denver area pet food store that would let us hang out one day and ask customers to donate food, please let me know.

Thank you all so much. Stay tuned for updates!

Dan
vegandude@msn.com

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Another Meatless Monday post

Recently I read about another restaurant in Denver that has started offering something special for Meatless Monday. I loved reading about it, a three course meal offered at Ace. Ace is not a vegan or veg restaurant, but they do have one of the areas top vegan chefs, Jesse Moore. I'm just excited that the whole Meatless Monday idea is going strong.

I think Meatless Monday is an amazing way to build relationships and to spread the value of offering vegan dishes. I dream of a day when our city of Lakewood embraces the idea and restaurants throughout the city offer vegan and vegetarian specials every Monday. It would be a win for everyone as Monday is typically not a busy night at restaurants and people interested in healthier food choices would have plenty of places to choose from.

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant and asking them to do something for Meatless Monday. You and your friends would promote it and before you know it Monday night could become one of their busier nights.

There are other ways to support Meatless Monday and to engage people into thinking about not consuming meat for a day: 

Bring a breakfast treat into the office.

Invite a group of co-workers out to lunch or plan a vegan potluck for lunch.

Plan a group dinner in your home. We've heard from our blog readers around the world who have hosted Meatless Monday dinners, one even having 25 friends over!

Create a community Meetup for the first Monday of every month. Choose a different restaurant each month and create an online community of people who are interested in joining you. You might be surprised to see a gathering go from five people the first time to 15 a couple of months later.

Meatless Mondays are awesome opportunities to not only show off how delicious and healthy vegan food can be but also a great way to be a voice for the animals.

Thanks for reading and please keep your Meatless Monday stories coming!

Friday, September 27, 2013

VeganMofo Day 27: Vegan oasis at Fluid


This is Day 27 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is an introduction to Fluid Coffee Bar in Denver. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

When I started working at Urban Peak my first question was where to find a good cup of coffee. Fluid was the immediate response. I will be forever grateful to whoever told me that. Fluid has become the place I most frequent and I love them!

Located at Pennsylvania and 19th in Denver, Fluid is just east of downtown. The coffee is delicious, and after a couple of trips for more, I realized that they also carry Beet Box vegan pastries. This was before Beet Box opened a store front so this was huge. It is still pretty good as Fluid is closer for me than the Beet Box store front (which I also frequent!).

Great coffee and Beet Box pastries. The good news is that it doesn't end there.

Sweet Action ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. Yes! These are new at Fluid and I am so excited. Great afternoon snack.

Hungry for lunch or just something more substantial! Done!  They carry delish tofu scramble burritos as well as hummus wraps. They're heat up the burrito for you and offer it with salsa. Mmmmm.

Mango smoothie? No problem!

As any place I review, customer service and friendliness of staff are equal to vegan food offerings. Fluid rocks with friendliness. The owner Jeff and his wonderful staff are always super friendly and helpful. I honestly look forward to going in there not just for delish food options but to see these very kind people.

Also, they have meeting space. I've used it and it's perfect for a meeting for up to 30 or so.

Fluid Coffee Bar is truly vegan oasis! Check them out!

501 East 19th Avenue, Denver, 80203
720.519.4681

Thanks for reading!
vegandude@msn.com

Saturday, September 21, 2013

VeganMofo Day 21: Vegan Denver


This is Day 21 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is all about Vegan Denver. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

Mike and I live in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver just west and south of downtown Denver. We live in the northeast part of Lakewood, about 15 minutes due west of downtown Denver.

We like our readers to know that we live in Lakewood because we think it's a pretty awesome place to live. But since Denver is more recognized and has more of our favorite places to eat, I'm calling this post Vegan Denver.

If you're a regular visitor to The Gay Vegans you most likely know of some of these places. This is a list of our favorite places to eat, grab a snack or shop. We highly recommend all of them and so far have gotten great feedback from readers who have gone to these places. This list is also a tab on our main page under "Favorite places to eat in Denver".

Linger

Linger is by far our favorite place to eat. Linger is not exclusively vegan but has some of the best vegan food around. They serve tapa style, with dishes from around the world. Mike likes their bar selection. Their vegan dessert is out of this world. The service is beyond incredible and friendly. Reservations are highly recommended.

http://lingerdenver.com/


Tarascos

The best vegan Mexican food in the state! Tarascos already had a full page of veg options and we simply asked if they could do vegan. Amazing. Since everything is done to order practically the entire veg menu can be done vegan. My favorite are the enchiladas espinicas (spinach) but everyhting I have had is delish. Try the grilled cactus if you never have. And be sure to order a jugo natural, a fresh juice!

No web site.

470 South Federal Blvd. in Denver
303.922.2387
Hours (as of this writing) are everyday from 10am - 10pm

Root Down

Owned and created by the same team that is at Linger, we like to go to Root Down for more special occasions (Linger is more like our hang out). The food is delish. Great service. Definitely go all out, including dessert and drinks. Reservations are highly recommended.

http://www.rootdowndenver.com/

Hops & Pie

Vegan pizza! This is our favorite in Denver at the moment. In the Highlands neighborhood so not far for us. The pizza is delish and they offer Daiya and well as vegan meats and tofu. They also have an incredibly flavorful vegan mac n cheese. YES! For you beer lovers, they have something for everyone.

3920 Tennyson St  Denver, CO 80212

303.477.7000

Beet Box

All-vegan cafe in Denver, just east of downtown. New, and we have already been there many times. Great place for a treat, or if you want to turn your office mates onto vegan delicacies you can bring a variety of what they offer into the office!

1030 E. 22nd Avenue in Denver
303.861.0017

http://www.beetboxdenver.com/

Nooch Market

We can't talk about food in the Denver area without mentioning our new vegan oasis, Nooch Market. Not a restaurant but for sure a place to stock up on vegan goodies. We totally adore the owners and see great things for them and our community. 

http://noochveganmarket.tumblr.com/

Pho Duy

Delsih vegan pho, just down the street from Tarascos. Yes, we have tested it and asked all of the questions. It's #21 on the menu (double check). Small, medium and large and for me the medium has been more than enough.

No website.

945 South Federal Blvd, Denver
303.937.1609

Sweet Action Ice Cream

One of our favorite places and one of our favorite couples! They always have two vegan flavors of ice cream plus at least two vegan sorbets. Check out the freezer for vegan ice cream sandwiches.

http://sweetactionicecream.com/



Vegan Van

We have had a bunch of meals prepared by Amie in her Vegan Van. We adore Amy, and are thrilled that the Denver area has a Vegan Van. From stew to vegan chicken and waffles, Amie does not disappoint. Check out her website to see where she will be next!

http://veganvan.com/

Enjoy Vegan Denver and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

VeganMofo Day 18: Larkburger restaurant review


This is Day 18 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is a restaurant review. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

I need to start off by letting you know that Larkburger is only in Colorado. They have twelve locations, all in the Denver area except for ones in Colorado Springs, Edwards, Boulder and Fort Collins.

We came upon Larkburger by accident a few weeks ago when we down south on a shopping adventure. Hungry, we found a strip mall in Littleton and were headed for Noodles. I thought I would walk in and check out Larkburger.

So glad I did.

The Amy Burger is a portobello mushroom burger that has been marinated and some spices tossed on. Now when I became vegan every restaurant's vegetarian choice was a portobello mushroom burger so I became sick of them pretty quickly.

The Larkburger burger blew my mind. So delicious. Add some truffle fries (without parmesan cheese) and/or edamame and you are set. The Amy Burger is vegan if you get it without the house sauce.

I have eaten there twice now and each time the burger was perfect and delicious. The staff is incredibly friendly (based on eating at two different locations) and they totally get what vegan is without any snarkiness.

If you have never been, check it out. I can't wait to go back to the downtown Denver location again, which is only a few blocks from my office. 

For more information or for locations, check out their website: larkburger.com

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

VeganMofo Day 17 is a product review: Newtons Fruit Thins


This is Day 17 of Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts, and this post is a product review. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

It happened by mistake. We were shopping at our local Safeway grocery store and came upon these cookies. The blueberry flavor attracted me so I looked at the ingredients and they were completely vegan!

I love having cookies as a snack during the day, right when I come home from work and later at night when watching a movie.

I realize that being vegan isn't enough for those really watching their calories and health and will post the nutrition facts at the end of this post.

If you're not a blueberry fan, they also have cherry vanilla, cranberry citrus oat, lemon crisp and chocolate raspberry. We have only tried the blueberry and cherry, which are both vegan. I haven't tried the other flavors so please check the ingredients if you decide to try them.

These fruit thins are delicious! It's difficult to eat just one. I wanted to write this post about them because if you're like me you might just pass them by thinking they wouldn't be vegan. The blueberry ones even have flax seeds in them!

If you like a little fruity and sweet snack, try Newtons Fruit Thins.

Thanks for reading!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 31 g
Serving per container about 10

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 140
  • Calories from Fat 50
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat 5g 8%
  • Saturated Fat 1g 5%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 90mg 4%
  • Potassium 60mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 22g 7%
  • Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
  • Sugars 7g  
  • Protein 2g  
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Calcium 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Iron 6% 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

VeganMofo Day 15: I love Mexican food!


 My love for Mexican food is today's subject for my post for Vegan Mofo, a month of vegan food blog posts. Since I am not a food blogger, most of my posts for Vegan Mofo will not be recipes, rather experiences I have with vegan food and sharing people, places and things that have brought me and continue to bring me amazing vegan food.

If you are a regular reader of The Gay Vegans blog, then you already know that I love Mexican food and that my favorite place for amazing vegan Mexican food in Denver is Tarascos.

Mmmmm. I am salivating just thinking about it. When I first became vegan there were very few Mexican restaurants that made any of their re-fried beans without lard. It's a lot easier these days. My experience is also that if a place has lard in their re-fried beans, they might offer whole beans as an option.

The wonderful thing about living in Denver, and probably many other places, is that as vegans we really don't have to settle for just a plain bean or bean and rice burrito. Thank goodness.

My favorite meal at Tarascos is the enchiladas espinacas, spinach enchiladas. So delicious. Add in fresh-made guacamole and an agua fresca made with fresh fruits (and maybe fresh veggies) and you are good to go.

Sopa Tarasca is also one of my favorites, just a simple bean soup with flavors that will drive your taste buds crazy!

It's easy to not remember that Mexico is as diverse as the US, probably more so. This means the food options just go on and on. What I have listed are just some of my favorites, dishes I eat all of the time. I would love to hear about your favorite vegan Mexican dishes!

Thanks for reading!