Tap & Burger: Top Rated Burgers & Veggie Friendly Favorites

Tap & Burger Belleview Station is not your typical sports and burger bar; turns out they are a foodie focused restaurant with a menu full of fresh plant-based dishes, local grass-fed beef and tasty sides and fries. This DTC location is their third, with the first being Highland Tap & Burger in LoHi that opened in 2010 and one in Sloan’s Lake. All the Tap & Burger locations focus on local ingredients, make everything in house, and boast a large variety of local brews on tap.

Tap Burger

Tap Burger

Beyond their great menu, which we will review for you next, they take the time to help the Colorado community. Their efforts include working with nonprofits (four at the moment), educating high school students on sustainable farming, and doing what they can to save the most energy and waste within their restaurants.

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The menu here has a whole section of “Plant Based” offerings that include salads, a red curry quinoa bowl, and the ImpossibleTM brand, which is a plant-based meat substitute that (as the name implies) tastes too good to be true. They serve both ImpossibleTMTacos and Burgers which were deemed fantastic by both the vegetarians and meat eaters in the room. A handful of restaurants carry the ImpossibleTM burger, but their tacos allow for a delightful combination of seasoned “meat” with guacamole and pico verde that worked wonderfully. We’d love to see these tacos at the next taco festival this summer!

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Also noteworthy are the starters such as the crispy chicken empanadas, smoked Tap wings, Asian Lettuce Wraps and grilled artichoke. And last but not least, the burgers we tried were juicy, flavorful and customizable. They feature four creations on their menu but also give diners the option to fully customize and substitute beef for veggie, lamb, turkey or the ImpossibleTM

One of their four features is the Tap Burger which was rated “Top 15 Burger” by Zagat and features root beer pulled pork, onion rings, American cheese, and aged white cheddar. The pulled pork was succulent and complemented the burger and fried onion really well, with an overall sweet BBQ flavor. Another favorite was the Shroom Luva’s, rated “Top 10 Burger in Denver” by Zagat,  with just the right amount of with sautéed mushrooms and mushroom aioli, along with a nice Swiss cheese (perfect for those who really l like mushrooms).

Words by Tiffany Candelaria Photos by Samantha Bliss
http://tapandburgerbelleview.com

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The Perfect Place for Vegetarians and Carnivores to Dine Together


Cordon Bleu Sandwich

Cordon Bleu Sandwich

The Pig & The Sprout restaurant in Denver’s Union Station neighborhood embodies the dual nature of its name - featuring hearty, meat-based items and lighter, veggie and based items. The physical layout of the menu is split down the middle with meat-based, heavier ingredient dishes listed under “The Pig” side and vegetarian, even some vegan, dishes listed under “The Sprout” side. This place is perfect for those couples who each have entirely different eating habits or large groups! The same goes for the cocktails; you’ll find bold, whiskey, bourbon and beer based drinks and then light, clear spirits with fresh citrus or herbal ingredients on the other side. We can’t recall any restaurant we’ve been to with such a contrasted, and clearly divided menu as this… and we think it’s wonderful.

When Andy Ganick opened his long dreamed of The Pig & The Sprout last summer, he called it his "dream restaurant that would satisfy all." Ganick is on site most nights, but is also the owner of Stapleton’s popular Berkshire Restaurant that’s been serving “Swine, Wine and a Good Time” since 2007.

Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant Bruschetta

We had a good time and a great feast at The Pig & The Sprout last week and want to share our thoughts with you. We started with the Eggplant Bruschetta ($8) that was a very tasty "Sprout" starter consisting of fried eggplant, Boursin (soft, herbed) cheese, smoked tomato jam, and arugula which we really enjoyed. For our “Sprout” entree we ordered the Gnocchi, ($18) which was a wonderful vegetarian dish, but don't order it because you think it'll be lighter than something on the "Pig" side of the menu. In addition to the potato pillows (aka gnocchi), there were golden raisins, sunflower seeds, candied walnuts, butternut squash, Boursin cheese and arugula, all drizzled with browned butter sauce. This dish was decadent, filling and full of flavors.

Next, the Cordon Bleu ($14) sandwich was spectacular and is one of their most popular entree items, we get why. Every component from the toasted and mayo/fondue-slathered bun to the fantastic fried chicken made this sandwich a hit. The fried chicken is actually breaded with garbanzo beans, which gave it a more savory, nutty taste opposed to just fried crunchiness, and also makes it gluten free! In fact, you can make the whole sandwich gluten free with their special buns if you prefer.  

The Brussels Sprouts & Hogger

The Brussels Sprouts & Hogger

The final dish was over the top and was a popular item we just had to try for ourselves (and to tell you about!) It was a towering assortment of pulled pork, bacon, a kurobuta pork patty from Berkshire Farms and topped with apple slaw, pig chips, and mayo. It is aptly named The Hogger ($17) and is served with fries, but we got their Brussels Sprouts ($8) instead because we were told how great they were. We were very pleased with that suggestion and got a heaping dish full of the glazed, Parmesan dusted sprouts. These however are not on the "Sprout" side of the menu because they are cooked and served with bacon. We could barely have more than a bite of this final dish after everything that came before, but I can tell you the leftovers were just as great the next day.

We only ordered one cocktail and choose the Wild Boar, consisting of El Dorado 12 yr. rum, honey, black walnut bitters and served with a spear of Luxardo cherry and prosciutto. It was like a sweet Manhattan and tasted more like bourbon than typical rum, apparently 12 years of aging will do that. Some of the other cool cocktails are their four different Mules, a Chocolate Mint Porter, and an Apple Pie Martini and Mimosa. During Happy Hour (3-6pm & 11pm-2am), ALL drinks are 25% off!

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The space lends itself to a variety of personalities as well; climbing vines by the bar, antique books, garage door walls that open up to two outdoor patios, and sleek couches for lounging and community tables for making new friends. We thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant because it provides thoughtful, creative seasonal fare for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and carnivors alike. Even the large drink menu nods to their split personality with clever, one of a kind cocktails paired to both palates.          https://www.pigandsprout.com

Words by Tiffany Candelaria        Photos by Samantha Bliss

The Raw Deal at Vital Root

Vegetarians aren’t messing around these days. Owner of Edible Beats, Justin Cucci, opened up vegetarian restaurant Vital Root on Tennyson Street a year and a half ago and it has been a hit ever since.  Whether you’re on the run or able to stay awhile, there’s an open seat inside or on their two patios and heaping flavors waiting for you in this fast-casual dining concept.

Using only the freshest organic ingredients in each dish, you are sure to leave feeling revitalized and satisfied, and ninety-nine percent of the menu can be prepared vegan and/or gluten free upon request. Not a vegan or gluten intolerant? Try ‘em out anyway - your body will thank you later.

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Vital Root also places a huge focus on sustainability from the front of the house to the back. Supporting over 55 growers, farmers and food artisans, 50% of the ingredients are sourced within Colorado. Edible Beats’ homegrown produce comprises 40% of the produce used in all dishes across the six restaurants. It also supports local wind and solar projects through national clean energy provider, Arcadia Power, to help reduce America’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

We were cordially invited to their monthly Raw Pop Up Dinner held on the first Monday of every month. Why raw vegan cuisine? Vital Root’s chef says, “Raw food has not been heated over 118 degrees, leaving all natural enzyme and nutrient activity of the ingredients completely in-tact and maximizing bio-availability. The raw diet encourages harmony with nature, a nonviolent lifestyle, boundless energy, a healthy relationship to food-as-fuel, and is a remarkable way to experience the beautiful ingredients.”

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Upon being greeted at the door, the hostess kindly led us to our seats where we anxiously awaited diving into the raw experience.

The first course presented before our eyes and our salivating palates was the Giardiniera, served on a spoon and ready to be devoured. Simple yet refreshing, the dish was comprised of eggplant relish, basil tomato and daikon thread. It set the tone for the rest of the meal and left our taste buds wanting more…which is exactly what we got.

The second course came in an array of multi-color roots. It was almost too pretty to eat, but that didn’t stop us. Served in a beautiful radicchio leaf, the Radicchio Beet Hummus executed on presentation and texture by utilizing the ingredient in two ways. We were given a variety of organic vegetables including carrots, bell peppers and cucumbers to enjoy with the hummus. To add a hint of sweetness to the dish, dates were also included.

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The third course was the one I was most intrigued by, and that was the Squash Lasagna. I asked myself, “How are they going to serve warm cooked lasagna that resembled lasagna without the power of a hot oven?” Let’s just say, I was absolutely blown away. First off, the presentation was beautiful. Secondly, cutting into it felt just like eating momma’s homemade lasagna. It was dense yet light, and didn’t come with the typical sluggish aftermath, even after eating the entire plate. What made this dish even more unique was the vegan spin on the cheese. From ‘rawmesan’ and macadamia ‘ricotta’ to walnut pesto and a winter salad—it had me more than convinced.

And for the final course: the Blood Orange Granita, a Sicily-inspired shaved ice bursting with flavor. The dessert melted in my mouth like cotton candy, and refreshed my palate at the same time with the addition of the fresh basil.

If you’re sitting there living vicariously through my words, stop. You can reserve your spot for the next raw dinner through the Vital Roots website. What makes this experience even more thrilling is that the menu is a total surprise! You won’t know what’s coming to your table until it’s presented before you. Get your palate ready and imagination going for the eccentric yet inviting meal at next month’s raw dinner.

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If raw food isn’t your cup of tea, no worries. Vital Root offers a wide array of options and is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10am-9pm and Friday-Sunday from 9am-9pm. Additionally, Happy Hour is Tuesday-Sunday from 3pm-6pm with specials including $1 off beer, $5 wine and cocktails, $2 Banh MI or Avocado Tacos, and $3 Korean BBQ Veggie Wings.

Don’t wait any longer—see what these vegetarians are raving about! http://www.vitalrootdenver.com/

Written and Photographed by Samantha Bliss-Red Follows Her Bliss Photography