brave vegans in the wild west - part 1

alright, folks, this one's gonna be a doozy. this is the re-cap - in food! - of the trip that lauren and i recently took to visit our dad. he lives in colorado, on the western slope in a town called montrose. we didn't spend much time in montrose this trip, though, cuz our whole reason for going was to take a road trip to moab, utah to traipse through the trippy landscapes of arches national park and the canyonlands. we did lots of hiking, quite a lot, in fact, for these city gals.
we started each morning with oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, and...

wait. i'm getting way ahead of myself. where we really need to start, is in the denver airport.

we flew out of philadelphia at 9:30 on a monday morning. we woke up too late to pack snacks, so before boarding we bought a gross green salad and half a dry bagel to share for breakfast. the philadelphia airport, or at least the terminal we were flying out of, is not kind to the vegans. i vaguely remember an au bon pain somewhere in the airport, with its promise of hummus and bagels, but it was too far away from us to visit. suffice to say, by the time we landed in denver for our layover, we were hunggggry. the denver airport is way smaller than philadelphia's, so we spent some time perusing our options. yes, you heard correctly: we had options! glorious options!! hummus platter at the greek cafe? vegetarian burrito at the tex-mex joint? big old salad at the fake bistro? what we decided on was none of these.

we spotted a bright little place in the corner, mysteriously called "itza wrap, itza bowl." their menu was simple but enticing, a selection of rice and noodle bowls and salad-y wraps. there were actually lots of vegan and vegetarian things to choose from. we shared the thai peanut noodle bowl with tofu, and the colorado sunshine wrap, which had some avocado and sprouts on it. both were surprisingly great:

nothing spectacular was going on, but it was fresh and good. that's far more than i usually ask from airport food.

i just googled itza wrap, itza bowl, and i think it only exists in the denver airport! weird. also, i just glanced at the yelp reviews of this place, which were mostly super negative. don't listen to the haters.

once we landed in grand junction, a town about an hour away from our dad's, he took us out for a beer at the rockslide brewery in the cute little downtown. the rockslide had nary a vegan option (except for good old french fries, of course) but our palates did lay elsewhere, and we ordered only a pre-dinner beer...or 6. i (lauren), after much deliberating, ordered the amber ale, while emma opted for the sampler, 6 little gibraltar glasses of their finest brews. it was a really nice tasting session and cute, to boot.

after our drinks, we headed over to a tiny, cozy japanese restaurant. ever the lovers of japanese food, we delightfully (and dutifully) ordered veggie tempura to start. emily had veggie sushi and i had a tofu stir fry with peanut sauce and we all 3 split a side of edamame. it doesn't get more japanese restaurant than this, and it doesn't matter. i revel in repetition.

for the next three days we stayed in a quaint condo in moab, utah, complete with a kitchen! partnered with the city market down the street, we had ourselves breakfast, lunch and dinner, homemade style. this translated to: oatmeal, fruit/yogurt/nut mix, and/or smoothies for breakfasts (don't forget the coffee!); hummus and sprout sammiches for lunch (plus some larabars and fig newman's, and lest we not forget the GORP!, on the trail) and burritos or pasta and veggies sauce for dinner. believe it or not the teensy town of moab even had a thai joint, which we promptly headed to for dinner on our last night. much like the japanese restaurant, you can't really go wrong at a thai place with steamed dumplings, vegetable curry or tofu with a spicy sauce.

on our last day in moab, we stopped at the hippie-tastic love muffin cafe.

everyone loves to hate on a hippie, but they do some decent, relaxed veg-friendly food at the love muffin, and i'll take that any day, as long as no one's playing with devil sticks out front (come on, surely you remember devil sticks?). vegan mocha chocolate chip muffin and a cup of coffee will do you no harm. and a curry tofu sandwich on homemade ciabatta with a dash of hot sauce is sure to wake you up!

after a few head-reeling days in moab, we headed back to montrose, co and that, friends, is where we'll leave you tonight.

check back soon for part 2 (and maybe 3!!?) of our adventure.

em + lauren

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