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Road tripper needs Veg grub suggestions in CO, WY, UT, and ID

Hello all!

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!

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  1. 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.

    3 Replies
    1. re: shallots

      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!

      1. re: cwedgie

        I-80 through WY is one of the most terrifying roads in bad weather. Windblown snow can create whiteout conditions regardless of when the last storm was. Pay close attention to wind speed when you're looking at the weather for this section.

        1. re: LurkerDan

          Trust me, Dan.. as a completely inexperienced driver in snowy conditions, I will NOT be driving I-80 if there's a storm. No no no. We'll be adding more days to the trip to ensure extra time in case of storms.

    2. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LurkerDan

        Yeah, good idea.. We'll end up saving tons by stocking an ice chest or somethin. Duly noted. Thank you peeps!

      2. 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.

        http://watercoursefoods.com/
        http://www.cityocitydenver.com/
        http://www.rootdowndenver.com/
        http://www.shazzdenver.com/index.php
        http://organixxrestaurant.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: ephemeral8

          wow we're definitely checking out Watercourse, and hopefully a few of the others. Thanks! This is a big help!

        2. 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.
          http://www.shangri-la-tea.com/
          For sandwiches and salads, Bardenay has a good portobello burger and good salads.
          http://www.bardenay.com/
          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
          http://willowcreekgrill.com/
          If you want Mexican, Cafe Ole is my rec (pretty good, but not great) - I usually stick with veggie fajitas.
          http://cafeole.com/
          For Asian fusion, Mai Thai has many veg options.
          http://www.maithaigroup.com/
          If you have more specific questions, I'd love to help
          Have a good trip

          -----
          Willow Creek Restaurant
          75 Prospector Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

          Bardenay
          155 E Riverside Dr, Eagle, ID 83616

          Cafe Ole
          210 N Milwaukee St, Boise, ID 83704

          1. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: septocaine_queen

              well, thanks for that optimistic outlook of the possibility of encountering bad weather! We will definitely be planning accordingly.