Showing posts with label Restaurants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Restaurants. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Gay Vegans Restaurant review: Modern Love in Omaha

By Dan Hanley

I was able to stop in Omaha on my way back from Michigan and boy am I glad I did. The newest (I think) vegan restaurant in the U.S., Modern Love, opened on August 5th right in the middle of beef country. And I got to go!

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a well-known name in the vegan and foodie communities. She created Post Punk Kitchen and is the author of several incredible vegan cookbooks, including one of my all-time favorites, "Vegan Brunch". She is the chef/owner of Modern Love, and knowing how many incredible meals Mike has made from her cookbooks, I just had to dine there while in Omaha. To be honest, it's the only reason I decided to make Omaha a stopping point on my way home.

Modern Love is located just a few minutes drive west of downtown Omaha. I had an airbnb in the north part of downtown and it took me ten minutes driving. As I parked I practically exploded with excitement. I am not a food blogger or recipe creator or anything like that, but I sure do love amazing vegan food. And I just knew that my world was about to be rocked.

Modern Love is cute. And clean. And packed. It seats about 30 - 40 and has an open kitchen. The hostess was kind and seated me immediately. A friendly face upon arrival is always nice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Gay Vegans Restaurant Review: El Camino

By Dan Hanley

The official name of this restaurant is El Camino Community Tavern, a little long to include for a blog post title.

Mike and I were looking for lunch one day and did a search for places around our house. Most of them we had heard of or tried, nothing really exciting. Then we saw El Camino and noticed that they had tempeh tacos! Definitely had to try them!

Lunch was great, but rushed as we had to be somewhere, so we went back for dinner a week later. This gave us a chance to take our time, ask questions, try different items and just enjoy the experience.

And it is indeed an enjoyable experience! Staff is very friendly. We ate once at the bar and once in the seating area and both times had very friendly servers who knew what vegan is and who went through the menu letting us know which menu items could be vegan.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Gay Vegans: Restaurant review - Pho Fusion in NW Denver

By Dan Hanley

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Gay Vegans: Restaurant review - Gracias Madre

By Dan Hanley

Los Angeles is one of our go-to places for vegan cuisine. Since we go to San Diego often, we have gotten used to going to Los Angeles before or after a trip to San Diego. This summer is no different. The difference this trip has been being able to check out new places, new to us at least.

Meet Gracias Madre. "Our menu is vegan and 100% organic. Our mission is to celebrate and serve the presence of the mother which resides above us, within our hearts, within the earth, and in all those who nurture us. We serve cuisine inspired by the kitchens of Mexico sourced from locally organic ingredients. Welcome to a seat at love's table."

This is how you are greeted at Gracias Madre. Well actually, you are first welcomed by a smiling host and when you are seated you get a menu with the warm welcome quoted above.

Soon our server arrived and offered us drinks. Mike loves the smokey margarita. I tried one of the fresh pressed juices and also the horchata. Both were delicious. If you like beer, wine and/or tequila you have plenty of options.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Gay Vegans: What is "vegan friendly"?

By Dan Hanley

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.

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Gay Vegans Restaurant Review: The Ethiopian Restaurant

By Dan Hanley

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

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

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Gay Vegans: Restaurant review - JIll's at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa

By Dan Hanley

Ever since enjoying my entire time at Jill's I have been so excited to share my experience there with you.

Please note that I dined at Jill's for their Friday vegan lunch buffet. I have not dined there for other meals or on other days, so I'm not sure what the vegan options are outside of the Friday lunch buffet. Having met the general manager and the executive chef I can only imagine that they would make sure you were well fed!

Walking into Jill's on a Friday for lunch is like being catapulted to a vegan paradise. Every food item I saw within the multiple buffet areas was vegan. Everything looked so delicious. I honestly couldn't believe it as I looked at the scrumptious desserts all lined up in a gorgeous display.

I started with the salads. Apparently items are different every Friday so please keep that in mind. The kale salad was delish, and I love kale. If you don't love kale like I do there were half a dozen other options for salad. There were also two soups, including the butternut squash soup which I devoured. It was more like dessert for me, incredible flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Although there was pizza on the buffet and stuffed shells, I decided to go for the "make your own pasta dish" bar. When the chef told me that Alfredo sauce was one of my options for the pasta, I knew I had made the right decision. Over a dozen choices of veggies for the pasta, you fill your bowl and then hand it to the chef. He then adds pasta (my choices were penne and linguine) and the sauce (aside from Alfredo there was also marinara) and into the skillet all of that goes. A minute later I was handed a steaming dish of vegan deliciousness.

And dessert! This photo says it all. Three different dessert choices. I tried two of them and was ecstatic. I also ordered a cup of coffee which passed my coffee snob test.

The service was perfect. Friendly, hospitable, helpful, kind.

My reviews are always 50/50 based on delish vegan food and friendly service. Jill's rocks it. I highly recommend you check this out if you are in Colorado. And when visiting Denver, Jill's is only 45 minutes away in Boulder.

I'd also like you to know that there was wait when I left. Although disappointing for some, I love when there is a wait at a non-vegan restaurant knowing that it is for vegan food. This being said, you might want to call ahead and make a reservation if you cannot arrive right at 11:30am.

Jill's is an amazing treat. Go! I'll see you there!

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Restaurant Review: Bocadillo: A Welcome Eatery in NW Denver

By Londell Jackson 
My husband and I have lived in the Sunnyside neighborhood since 2007. While only a mere six years, we have witnessed the surrounding areas change quite a bit, much of which has been south of W. 38th Ave, in the Highland and Lower Highland neighborhoods. That being said, we are quite happy to see the additions which have crept into Sunnyside, and today, I'd like to share with you our experiences at one of the newer, or reborn, eateries: Bocadillo. Living just a stone's throw away from this place, John and I decided to walk over to Bocadillo for dinner. We missed trying this place out when it was a sandwich shop (or something like that) and now that it's reopened, we were set on giving it a try.

For drinks, John ordered the Bing Bong Berry and I had the Agua de Sunnyside. His was berry fruity and "smooth." Mine was quite yummy, sort of like a mango screwdriver. No, I didn't do my due diligence to photo or write down the liquors, but you can see for yourself when you go.

The chef pleasured us with an amuse bouche which consisted of a bundle of goat cheese wrapped in a thinly sliced zucchini which sat in a schmear of tomato ragout (I think that's what the sauce was). Yes, very simple, but quite tasty. "YUMMMM!" was the consensus and now the bar had been set.
Our appetizers arrived and were presented on a lovely wood block plate: the Seafood Croquetas with Saffron aioli. If you don't know what a croqueta is (like myself), these little puppies were like fried spring rolls filled with rice, shrimp, clam, and chorizo (yes, I know we live in a landlocked state; I like to live dangerously). You dip them in a tasty aioli. They were pretty good. The flavor was delicate and you could taste each ingredient. But I really mostly enjoyed the aioli, mmmmm.

After we polished those off, the chef treated us to another appetizer: the Lamb Rissoles. Oh my goodness, were these things tasty! Seasoned ground lamb wrapped in a crispy puff pastry? Oh, yeah. Take that little nugget and dip it into the yogurt mint dip and ... boom goes the dynamite! Suffice it to say, they didn't last too long at the table.

By this time we were gettin' kinda full, but pressed on as our entrees arrived to the table. John ordered the House-made Espaguetis and I had the Salmon and Paella. The Espaguetis was a spaghetti with a red cream sauce. John really, really enjoyed it. It was filled with light, homemade spaghetti and beets. Yea, I know, but these were good beets!

The Salmon and Paella had its pluses and minuses. After getting past the presentation, I was surprised by the taste combinations of salmon, rice, and hollandaise sauce. Now, I have to be critical of a few things about this dish: 1) the presentation, well, look at it; 2) the rice was a bit mushy, and given the flakiness of the fish I would have loved a more firm rice which would have added a textural element; and 3) the presentation.

By this time, we were bursting at the seams, but the server forced our hand (smiley face) and we opted to have some banana ice cream. I am not sure if they make their own, but it was really good, just like eating a frozen banana.

This was a pretty good dining experience, and we'd love to thank the chef for his hospitality and skill; John and I will be back. Our server was friendly and welcoming, as well as knowledgeable about the restaurant and the menu., which, by the way changes weekly, if not daily. If you don't want to dine-in, you can order take out (we witnessed two of such happen), but it's not a bad place to sit and stay awhile. They have a happy hour from 4-6pm and have a pretty nice beer list. Eating like we did, it was a bit pricey, but I suspect you could totally get your grub on with just the tapas and some beer.

So, since you didn't ask me, I say you give Bocadillo a try. Should you see me there, say "hi" and I'll buy you a beer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Gay Vegans: Restaurant Review - Appaloosa Grill

By Dan Hanley

Many years ago I worked in downtown Denver. I remember finding this place that had a hummus plate and also a black bean burger, so every once in a while I would swing by there. Nothing spectacular, but decent, vegan food.

This past February I started a new job and am once again in downtown Appaloosa Grill and I said sure.

Times have changed.

The first thing I noticed is that they have steamed kale on the menu as a side dish! Hello! They also offer steamed broccoli! That's just the start!

I digress! Kale always does that to me.

I have been to Appaloosa Grill about five times in the last two months, all at lunch. I have always been greeted by a friendly hostess. Love that. As a reminder, my reviews are based on incredible vegan food and incredible service.

I have fallen in love with the Tofu Philly. If you are vegan, order it without the cheese. A couple of times the Philly has come out with cheese even though I ordered it without, but such is life. I have ordered the Philly four times, with a side of kale, and been utterly delighted each time. The other options include the black bean burger, which one of my lunch companions tried and devoured, as well as tofu being substituted for any meat in the lunch dishes.

There are a lot of options. And even though there are dozens of options for a vegan lunch in downtown Denver, this would be on the top of my list.

On the service side, it's lunch, so I am a little more forgiving when the server is not the friendliest or most attentive, as has been the case. I get that lunch crowds are in and out, so get them fed and get them fed fast. One of the things I love seeing at Appaloosa is the manager walking around and checking in with guests. That's always a good sign. I also hope that friendliness and being more welcome become more ingrained in their servers.

Definitely check out Appaloosa Grill. It is a bar/restaurant so you can go for lunch, for happy our, or for dinner. They also have live music many nights.
Denver. A donor I work with invited me to lunch and suggested

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Gay Vegans Restaurant Review: Hops and Pie

By Dan Hanley

Mike and I were at a fundraiser a couple of weeks ago and sat with a sweet couple who were also vegan. Our conversation turned to food (imagine that) and they started telling us about a relatively new place in town called Hops and Pie. Being that it is on the west side of town (where we live) we were excited about their excitement.

Friday night and there was a 20 minute wait. They texted us when our table was ready. The wait gave us time to walk around the Tennyson shops. The woman and server who greeted us both when we first arrived and when we returned for our table were amazingly kind and friendly, and if you have read past revues you know how important that is to us.

Beer and pizza. They have a lot of beer. I'm not a drinker and Mike doesn't drink beer, but it seemed like everyone else in the place (which was packed) was enjoying one of the beer offerings.

Our new friends had told us about the pizza. Before we could get to that we saw the vegan mac n cheese appetizer. Seriously. How could we pass that up. We didn't pass it up and as soon as it came out we devoured it. Tasty, with many flavors, including miso. It was a great way to start our experience at Hops and Pie.

There are a lot of pizza options. I meant to order a hand-tossed, wheat crust pizza but with my excitement with all of the other toppings I forgot. The toppings we ordered were smoked tofu, Sicilian seitan, mushroom, onions, whole garlic cloves with Daiya cheese.

Our pizza was delicious. We will play around with toppings next time and order the hand-tossed dough (per our new friends recommendation). It was such a great experience to enjoy great vegan pizza in a busy, bar-like atmosphere. And close to home for us.

The service side was great too. Tayler was attentive, always kept our water glasses full, was kind and checked in enough to make sure all was well.

We will definitely be back! If you like the kind of atmosphere I described, I highly recommend Hops and Pie. They are located at 3920 Tennyson Street in the Highlands part of NW Denver. For you beer lovers, Wednesday night is $2 craft can night from 5pm - close.

Thank you for reading and if you go to Hops and Pie please let us know what you think!

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Gay Vegans: Yak and Yeti Restaurant Review

By Dan Hanley

Fresh from Vida Vegan Con and so many lessons learned for blogging, I decided to take some of what I learned and write a restaurant review.

A couple of hours after returning from Portland Mike and I headed to Yak and Yeti for a bite to eat. We have been going to their Arvada location on Ralston Road for several years. Our love for the began when they created a separate vegan menu and has just grown. A couple of years ago it felt like there were new owners (not sure if that is the case) and service got pretty bad. Now, everything is back to wonderful service and amazing Nepalese and Indian cuisine.

For those of you unfamiliar with Arvada, Yak and Yeti is about a mile west of Wadsworth at Ralston, and Ralston is about a mile north of the I-70 at Wadsworth exit.

First things first. Order the mango shake. The server will give you a puzzled look but don't back down. No, you don't want the mango lassi. That has dairy. You want the mango shake, something they have prepared for me many times, made with soy milk. Trust me, it's delicious.

Depending on how hungry we are, we may or may not order the Veggie Pakora. it's perfect. We order it without onions as in the past we have gotten orders that were more than half onions. This hasn't happened recently but just in case we still order it without onions.

Mike's favorite is the Chana Saag. He loves it, and it's one of the reasons he loves going to Yak and Yeti. It's rare when one can find vegan Chana Saag and it is done superbly.

Sometimes I share with Mike and sometimes I get my own. Last night I got the Bhindi Masala and LOVED it. The okra was perfect and I ordered it medium so I could get just a little kick from the heat.

The vegan options are plentiful. There is no longer a separate vegan menu, and the vegan choices follow the vegetarian choices towards the back of the menu. If you want vegan bread, they have Roti and we enjoy that as well.

Service is great at Yak and Yeti. Always a welcoming greeting. Always filled water glasses. Everyone is very friendly and the staff knows all about vegan food. Typically a manager swings by just to make sure all is perfect with your meal.

Finally, I have to let you know that they also brew their own beers and on any given day they offer five or six of them to accompany your meal. As I don't drink, I don't have a recommendation. I will say that I see many beers being served with dinner so that has to mean something.

For those of you new to our reviews (we've also reviewed on Yelp), we typically will visit a restaurant at least three times before we consider a review and the review is equally based on food and service. Gone are the days of us accepting poor service in any way. I am pretty much done with a server acting as if I am in their way by coming to the restaurant to eat.

I haven't decided on a restaurant rating system yet, so I will just say that we definitely recommend Yak and Yeti. Check them out and let us know what you think!

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Gay Vegans: Building bridges and more vegan options!

By Dan Hanley

You might have read my blog post about Tarascos, a Mexican restaurant in southwest Denver that Mike and I absolutely love. We ate there yesterday for lunch and after speaking with the owner for a few minutes I got the idea for this blog post.

One of the missions of The Gay Vegans blog is to build bridges, and to support others in building bridges. The relationship we have with the folks at Tarascos is a great example of what anyone can do in their own community to build a bridge, make the community more friendly for vegan cuisine, and in the end be a voice for the voiceless.

When we first ate at Tarascos the owner had already created a vegetarian menu. When we spoke with him about veganism his immediate reaction was that he could easily prepare amazing vegan food because every item was made to order, even their soup (which by the way, their sopa tarasca is a must try!).

Indeed it was easy. Most items on the full page of vegetarian options could be easily made vegan, just leave off the sour cream and cheese. We spoke with him about talking to his staff regarding the difference between vegetarian and vegan. We have had only the best Mexican food since!

In my years as a vegan I have met some restaurant owners who want nothing to do with vegan food. They are in the minority. The vast majority want to fill their restaurant and adding a few vegan items to the menu is easy. No matter their cuisine. The main thing is to approach owners with love and kindness, not judgement, especially if it is already a restaurant that you enjoy eating at.

Mike and I have had great success with this. And in the culinary world where we live it is easy to see that veganism is being embraced all over the place. Our favorite restaurants (listed on our blog) are all restaurants that serve meat, yet that have amazing vegan food.

Building bridges is really what this blog is all about. What better bridges to build than those that increase awareness around vegan food and bring delish vegan food to your local restaurant?!?!

If you need ideas for non-veg restaurants that serve amazing vegan food, just check out our list on the blog. These folks definitely know what they are doing. And we thank them every time we are at their establishment!

Buen provecho and thanks for reading!

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Gay Vegans: Tarascos

By Dan Hanley


Two friends of mine were meeting me for lunch and I asked them to pick a place. They know I am vegan and told me to meet them at Tarascos.

I love Mexican food. I also have realized that it is tough to find delicious Mexican food that is vegan. Not any more!

First, Tarascos is not a veg or vegan restaurant, they serve meat. If that is the only kind of restaurant you go to this is not for you. For anyone else, read on!

The owner greeted us and told me about the vegetarian menu, the jugos naturales, and that because everything is made to order making the veg items vegan is simple. AND, the vegetarian menu is bordered by names of famous vegetarians. How cool.

I started with Nopales Asados (grilled cactus!) with a hot salsa that I wanted more and more of. The to Sopa Tarasca which is a traditional Michoacan bean soup. If you'd like it vegan simply ask for it without sour cream and cheese (crema y queso). It is delish. I honestly cannot remember all of the health benefits around this soup even though Noe told me, and I have to say that while eating it I felt healthier!

A spinach salad topped with grated apple was next. It was also delish but I wanted to keep going into the entrees. I totally was not disappointed and indeed mildly surprised as Noe, the owner, dropped off plates of vegan enchiladas topped off with different salsas. he explained to me that the one plate with three different salsas was based on nutrition and each salsa covered different nutrients! Seriously!

The Enchiladas Plazeras and the Enchiladas Espinacas were delish, and easily made vegan.

Have you ever had jalapeno peppers stuffed with peanut butter? I hadn't. Loved them! A little spice with a little sweetness.

Do you love mole? No worries as they have a couple of vegan versions including a yellow mole.

Dessert? Yes! The only vegan option is a sweet tamale, which I had with Cafe Olla, a sweetened coffee. Oh my!

If you have read my prior restaurant reviews you know that the two things most important to me in regards to my review are amazing vegan food and friendly service. Both times I have been to Tarascos the service has been wonderful. I was lucky to catch the owner my first time, and each time I very much enjoyed the friendliness of all of the employees.

I love to eat. I love Mexican food. If you are ready to try amazing Mexican food, I highly recommend lunch or dinner at Tarascos!

Tarascos is located at 470 South Federal Boulevard, just a couple block south of Alameda on the east side of the street. They are open every day of the week.

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Free food at BD's Mongolian Grill

Print and bring in this coupon for a free appetizer at BD's Mongolian Grill in LoDo through March 28. - via Future Gringo

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things to do in Denver when you're gay: Denver Restaurant Week

Denver Restaurant Week 2010 will be held for two weeks, from February 20 – March 5.

Denver Restaurant Week is a two-week celebration of the culinary scene in Denver. Participating restaurants will offer a multi-course dinner for the fixed price of $52.80 for two, or $26.40 for one (not including tax or gratuity).

The gay-owned and operated Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge will be taking part in the event, as will be perennial gay fave Racine's, and you can see a complete list of participating restaurants at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ocean Restaurant - a night to benefit The Center

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13th, 5pm - 10pm
WHERE: Ocean Restaurant, 201 Columbine St. in Cherry Creek North

"OCEAN gives life to its inspiration by uniting the freshest seafood with provocative flavors and preparations, while further enchanting the guest experience through the delight of interactive-style dining. Enjoy your voyage." For menus check out a group of friends and dine out for The Center! 20% of all food proceeds that night will be donated directly back to The Center. For reservations, call 303-377-5350.