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I don’t have to tell our vegan and vegetarian readers that Americans love meat. In a close race to see who could clog more arteries, Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Pennsylvania lost out to Mallie’s Sports Grill in Michigan, which makes a killer – in every sense of the word – 185-pound burger.
But don’t despair. I like to think that we Arizonans eat a little healthier than our pals in the heartland. Even with the abundance of burgers, chicken and seafood on the menus, there are still plenty of vegetarian options at American restaurants Downtown. Here’s a taste:
District American Kitchen and Wine Bar –The menu at this sleek eatery in the Downtown Sheraton emphasizes locally grown produce. For lunch, the Small Plates section includes a creamy Baked Tomato Soup with Fontina cheese, a simple but satisfying Arugula Salad made with heirloom tomatoes, and a wonderful Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with garden vegetables and jalapeno cream. The Smoked Tofu Casserole, cooked with local veggies and quinoa pasta shells, is the one option that should work for both vegetarians and vegans.
Networks – This might be one of the happiest finds of all for vegetarians. All nine of Network’s grilled burgers can be made with a veggie patty. In an odd what’s-wrong-with-this-picture-moment, two of the burger styles do come with bacon, so be sure to either avoid them or ask your server to leave the bacon off.
Sam’s Café –I’m crazy about the Spinach & Portabella Mushroom Quesadilla, served with a tomatillo-avocado salsa and spicy Margarita Slaw. Both vegans and vegetarians can order the Grilled Vegetable Pasta, tossed with spinach, black beans and a garlic soy sauce.
Tom’s Restaurant and Tavern – Tom’s is a true-blue, all-American diner, but the menu is so big, vegetarians will find some attractive, homey options. That includes the Very Veggie Melt on grilled rye, the Radiatore Pasta with seasonal veggies, the Stuffed Baked Potato and the Fresh Fruit Platter.
Breadfruit – You’re probably wondering why I’ve included this Jamaican eatery in a list of American restaurants. Here was my thinking: America was once a part of Britain and so was Jamaica. Not buying that? OK, you got me. I just think Breadfruit is a small treasure, with options for both vegans and vegetarians, like the Plantain Avocado Spring Rolls and the House Tropical Salad, a light, luscious blend of fresh vegetables and pineapple in a homemade ginger poppy seed vinaigrette. For your entrée, sample the yummy Coconut Curried Tofu, served with an ample helping of rice, peas, coconut steamed veggies and plantains. As a bonus, you can listen to Bob Marley while you dine.
Head back to the Downtown Blog for Part I and Part II of this series on vegetarian dining.