Road tripper needs Veg grub suggestions in CO, WY, UT, and ID
Taking a road trip this Dec from New Orleans to Portland. After getting out of Texas, we'll be travelling on the I-25 up thru CO, then up to I-80 thru WY, then I-84 all the way to Portland and are wondering about any veg-tastic places along the ride.
I know this spans all the mountain states, but any help along the way would be great. I believe we're probably going to be staying the night in Colo Springs/Denver roundabout area, then stopping off in Cheyenne for some grub(?), then staying the night around Ogden/SLC, UT, then Boise, ID enroute to Portland. Any good joints in these areas (or anywhere in between?)
Thank you for any help!
We used to do the NOLA to Denver trip often enough to comment.
First: you need more waffle room in your scheduling as snow can close the Plains interstates and shut down the trans mountain interstates often. The show fences south of Cheyenne are two stories high for a reason.
You can find veggie options at whole foods like stores in Denver and I'd suggest you stock up there with 'picnic' fare even though it's too cold to picnic.
A longer drive, but possibly less likely to be wiped out by winter storms would be to go west through El Paso and take the southern route then go up the Great Valley of California. It would also be a lot easier to find veggie alternatives in the areas that are more Tex-Az-Mex food oriented.
I know.. this worries me as we've never made a trip of this magnitude before. My original route was thru Albuquerque, then thru Flagstaff, AZ and up UT to meet I84 in ID, but over and over again on various forums on various websites, I was deterred from this route, and was assured that staying on the interstates (I-25 to 80 to 84) will be safest, as there are excellent DOT teams who clean up major weather catastrophes on the interstates within hours. I know there will be snow in NM and AZ, with the elevation pretty steep as well (and as I'm told, not great interstates for snow clearance in case of storms). However, once we get all the way to Amarillo, I will be looking ahead to see any forboding weather systems in either direction, so we can make the safest decision. Thanks, shallots!
There are plenty of veg-tastic places in Boulder, but that's a little bit (30 minutes or so) out of the way. In Denver, Watercourse Foods http://www.watercoursefoods.com/ is an all-veg place, but there are plenty of delicious places that have vegetarian options.
As for the rest of your journey, shallots is probably right, stock up at Whole Foods.
if you're going through denver, watercourse is pretty awesome for veggie food. i love the portabello mushroom done with polenta crust and chipotle mayo. the thai peanut stir fry is also yummy (although not very authentically thai tasting). their portions are also nice and generous so you'll have leftovers if you're not starving. if you get in to town late or want a veggie oriented bar, there's city o city. they are kind of hit or miss, but they usually do good pizzas and the seitan buffalo wings are tasty. they have a good beer selection, although it tends to be overpriced because of all the hipsters in there. the staff is also unpredictable--some are shirt off their backs nice, others are ridiculously surly and unhelpful. watercourse and city o city are both very casual, but if you were looking for something a little nicer, you might try root down. they aren't totally veggie, but emphasize it a lot. i'm not sure if they'll still be doing this by the time you do your trip, but this summer they started doing prix fixe vegan raw foods dinners on thursdays. $35/person for multiple courses, really interesting food. and i know they do a $52.80 special every sunday, not sure how veggie friendly it is though. while i do love root down's food, i find their kitschy decor and crowdedness pretty annoying, but most people like it. shazz is another option for more upscale veggie friendly dining. i have to say of all the ubiquitous beet salads around town, theirs is one of the best. there's also a new sandwich place, organixx, near my work that everyone has been raving about. haven't been there myself but have only heard good things.
Okay, I'm a Boise veg - so I'll try to help...you'll be fine, but you won't be in heaven :)
Shangri-la tea house is a great all-veg spot with a nice vibe. I have enjoyed all the menu items, but they are sometimes underseasoned.
For sandwiches and salads, Bardenay has a good portobello burger and good salads.
Cafe de Paris serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great quiche, soups, salads, the veg sandwich is just okay, they always have a rotating veg dish for dinner that always pleases. http://lecafedeparis.com/
Willow Creek Grill also has a good portobello burger. Right on the other side is Raw, a sushi restaurant. It's definitely not the place for a purist sushi snob, but their fusion rolls make for some tasty and interesting vegetarian rolls
If you want Mexican, Cafe Ole is my rec (pretty good, but not great) - I usually stick with veggie fajitas.
For Asian fusion, Mai Thai has many veg options.
If you have more specific questions, I'd love to help
Have a good trip
Willow Creek Restaurant
75 Prospector Rd, Aspen, CO 81611
155 E Riverside Dr, Eagle, ID 83616
210 N Milwaukee St, Boise, ID 83704
As someone who lived in WY just a few months ago, if you want to travel through WY in Dec
1. have winter survival kit in car. This means water, candles, blankets, clothes, food, tow rope, de-icer fluid rated -25, kitty litter or sand, and snow shovel. NOT A JOKE. Wyoming has huge distances between towns and if a storm hits you will have to be able to survive in car until someone comes and gets you.
2. Plan extra travel days in case storm is coming and you should just stay in town until storm passes.
3. Ideally never let gas tank get 1/2 empty in WY. Gas is in towns that are few and far between. When I lived there out nearest town over 1000 people was 70 miles away and that was on interstate 90.
The weather can change so fast. I don't mean to scare but just be prepared.
Now about food. The others were right bring a good size cooler and pack food you bought in Fort Collins, there is a nice Whole Foods there and lots of other options. Wyoming is a chain restaurant waste land and a meat and potatoes place. Let's just say the whole time we lived there, I didn't know anyone who was a vegetarian.
If you want to stop in Cheyenne, I suggest the Little America. Nothing decent that isn't fried or starchy for a veg to eat but nice place to stop.
There is lots of good food options outside WY so just plan accordingly.
Our friends used to joke that whenever we decided to leave town and go down to CO for a weekend it would almost guarantee a snow storm.
In Salt Lake City:
Vertical Diner is all vegan and right off I-80. Sage's Cafe is owned by the same chef and is closer to downtown. Vertical is more "diner food" and Sage's is more uppity organic. I love both, especially Vertical for breakfast. Try the blueberry pancakes! Pago is fairly new, and it's a great choice for dinner.
473 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
2280 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
878 S 900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
I live in Laramie, WY & we're right along I-80. I do agree that you need a survival kit and pack a cooler if you're traveling in the winter time. On a good day, we're a little over an hour from Ft. Collins, 40 minutes from Cheyenne, and about and hour & a half from Rawlins. It gets pretty windy around Arlington, between Laramie & Rawlins. The "Summit" between Laramie & Cheyenne along I-80 can be pretty daunting in severe weather. It's the highest point on I-80 & can be pretty slick. We do have good maintainence on our roads though, the snowplows do a great job.
Now onto food. There is a veg restaurant in Laramie called Sweet Melissa's Cafe. It's on 1st street downtown. I haven't eaten there, but it's been open for a long time and I know quite a few meat lovers who love the place.
We also have Anongs Thai just down the street which has veg entrees. Jeffrey's Bistro is on the corner of 2nd & Ivinson. They have really great veg options & I believe everything is organic. They have amazing baked goods. There is a local co-op that sells to the public, like a mini whole foods.
123 E Ivinson Ave, Laramie, WY 82070
I won't try to deter you but you might want to consider another time of the year for a drive of this magnitude. We drive from CO to PDX in late August all the time and it can be scary on I-80 in the winds with no snow. The roads have weather closure signs and flashers and blockades for a reason, just an FYI.
I recommend an ice chest and good, well-frozen ice packs, the big plastic kind, not the soft apply-to-a-bruise kind. I think you'll run out of veg options in Wyoming after you pass Cheyenne and Utah is tough if you drive through on a Sunday as most places are closed, especially in the smaller towns. But, Utah is a short part of the trip so you can always hold out for Idaho. There were great postings of Idaho so I won't repeat.
We usually stop and eat and wind up eating bean burritos from taco bell while passing through Wyoming. This was the first year we ice-chested it and it was the best! We brought along our camp stove (if you are hoteling it, just look for places with kitchenettes or at least microwaves) and camped in Idaho at Lake Walcott. We made our one pot dish before leaving home, cooked it to hot on our tiny camp stove and snuggled in. For early morning, we ate some of the muffins we made before leaving home. It saved on our budget and saved us from eating bean and cheese burritos!
Remember that even though Portland and much of western Oregon has lots in the way of veg options, eastern Oregon is not the same. You can always get a veggie sandwich from Subway but, wow, this is another place that an ice chest makes a big, satisfying difference. Almost forgot, be sure to find a hotel with a real freezer so you can re-freeze your ice packs and just re-fill the chest with groceries to your liking.
I hope that helped without making me sound like a defeatist!
Fort Collins has Tasty Harmony and the Rainbow Restaurant- I'd recommend Tasty Harmony though, they're creative and tasty as well as being pretty reasonable! Most of the menu is even Vegan!