In Santa Fe, it’s much easier (and far more culturally accepted) to be vegan, but it’s still a bit of an adventure.
I doubt I have to explain this, but just in case, here’s the deal: no animal products (cheese, meat, butter, eggs, etc.). Some people go so far as to eschew leather boots and the like, but I’m not that much of a purist.
This month, I committed to three weeks of eating vegan—which, when I don’t make time to prep, can sometimes leave me feeling starving, exhausted and cranky. That is, until I unearthed Santa Fe’s secrets to vegan-friendly hog heaven.
Breakfast: Even when I’m not on an austerity program, I love the huge, tofu-rich (yet still under $4) vegan breakfast burritos at La Montañita Co-op (913 W Alameda St., 984-2853). Body of Santa Fe (333 W Cordova Road, 986-0362) makes great smoothies and baked goods, and 317 Aztec (317 Aztec St., 820-0150) oozes the veg-head vibe, with reggae music, colorful Indian-inspired décor and tons of vegan and GF menu options. On a recent morning, I sprang for “The Bomb”—a smoothie aptly named for its explosion of über-healthy ingredients: hemp, cacao, maca (an aphrodisiac!), mangoes, bananas, blueberries and green superfoods. The 16-ounce portion ($8.95) was plenty; it’s almost thick enough to require a fork.
Dinner: Many of the Asian restaurants in town offer vegan options, even if they’re not explicitly identified on the menu—especially Mu Du Noodles (1494 Cerrillos Road, 983-1411). For a more varied selection, don’t miss Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (1512 Pacheco St., Bldg. B, 795-7383), which labels its menu items as vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free and, within reason, will alter dishes to make them vegan-friendly. Order the shaved salad (cabbage, pumpkin, radish and apples; $9.50) without the Gruyère, and you’ll feel cleansed and sated.
Dessert: Both Body and 317 Aztec offer decadent vegan chocolate truffles; the Co-op sells a fudgy vegan brownie; and the treats at Revolution—vegan (and gluten-free) macaroons, chocolate-chip cookies, fruit bars and more—are surprisingly delicious. But best of all are the vegan, GF cupcakes at Momo & Co. (229 Johnson St., Ste. A, 983-8000), where the icing is a dead ringer for real buttercream.