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Un-Granola

Guide for sophisticated vegetarian dining

Tag Archives: miso

If you’re vegetarian, you’ve probably, at least once in your life, been taken to a place (say a steakhouse in the Midwest) where you don’t want/can’t eat/won’t eat a thing on the menu. Where even the salads have bacon in them.

When I’m picking a place to eat, it’s tempting to aim for revenge. But I take the high road and try to pick places that will make everyone happy.

Riffs is about perfect for a mixed group, which in our case included a vegetarian, a pescatarian, and a determined carnivore.

Describing itself as a “foodbar,” Riffs is run by the chef of Q’s, a fine dining restaurant in the Hotel Boulderado. Riffs is more casual and affordable than Q’s, but there’s a definite focus on quality ingredients and interesting flavors.

In addition to vegetarian salads and pastas, the small plates section of the menu on the night I visited had three veg protein options: bread with white bean puree, green pea hummus, and miso glazed tofu.

I started with the green pea hummus:It came with a jalapeno sofrito, or oil-based sauce. The hummus itself was chunky, more suitable for peas, than chickpea hummus, and the sofrito had a bit of heat.

Since I didn’t want a plate of pasta, I ordered the miso glazed tofu in ginger carrot broth as my entree:

The pickled beech mushrooms and seaweed salad added sourness and astringency – you need big flavors like that when you’re serving tofu, which is so bland on its own. The tofu had been seared and had a nice crust on it.

I also had a side of lemony, garlicky greens.

Even the carnivore at the table agreed that the greens were delicious.

If you want a large plate with vegetarian protein, Leaf or The Kitchen in Boulder might be better bets. But, for small plates with veggies and plenty of veg protein, Riffs is great.

(Also, they card everyone. So you can feel good about that moisturizer you remembered to use a week ago.)

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Watercourse has something for everyone: cheesy nachos for vegetarians who want something indulgent, salads and smoothies for  those detoxing, and a hearty pasta dish for those who wandered in, not knowing or caring that this is a vegetarian restaurant.

All this choice makes Watercourse a great place to take a big group.  Everyone from your vegan sister and your gluten-sensitive cousin to your meat-and-potatoes friend will find something to eat. (Though the meat of course will be made with seitan or tofu. Shhhh…)

The vibe here is hipster casual, with cheerful and opinionated service.

I was in desperate need of vegetables on my visit, so I started with a carrot, kale, apple, beet, celery, and fennel smoothie:

It was fresh and delicious. Fortified with all those vegetables, I split an order of samosas with my friend:

They looked more like empanadas than samosas, but the vegetable filling was very good. I wish they’d serve the chimichurri sauce on the side to keep the samosas from getting soggy. But overall, this was a fun start to the meal.

Next up for me, the macro plate:

This involved quinoa in miso sauce on one side, adzuki beans on the other, with pretty bok choy dividing the two. The beans were a tad bland, but I really liked the quinoa and the picked vegetable garnish. Loved the infusion of protein.

My friend had the Thai peanut stir fry:

The sauce had a pleasant savory/sweet flavor, and the noodles were firm, but the tofu (which my friend ordered blackened, at the recommendation of our server), overwhelmed the dish. This would be a more balanced dish without grilled tofu.

There’s just so much to try at Watercourse. And even your pickiest friend will find something to like here.

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