I finally made it downtown to Watercourse Foods. Another co-worker and I discovered we were both vegan and made plans to meet for a late lunch at the restaurant. I was excited to go for two reasons: I like getting to know new people so was interested in learning more about my new friend and I had no idea what it would be like to peruse a fully vegan menu.
Watercourse Foods is NOT easy to get to, in my opinion. The restaurant is located on 17th Ave in the North Capital Hill area of Denver. I don’t like driving too far and, since I had no idea what the parking situation would be like, I decided to take the train. After 40 minutes, I disembarked at 16th and California, shuttled to the Civic Center, and hiked six or so blocks to the restaurant. By the time I arrived, I was desperate for water and food.
My friend suggested eating outside and, as it was a gorgeous day and I could hide my paleness under an awning, I agreed. A friendly waiter showed us to the table, blessed water in hand, and then gave me my first all-vegan menu.
What to do? Where to start? All of my pre-vegan favorites were on the menu: Fish and Chips (made with tofu), Macaroni and Cheese…I felt odd to not be attempting to string a meal together from the side dish menu. I dithered between choices but finally settled on the Carbonara. My friend chose the Fish and Chips and we got to know each other while waiting for our food. We’ve both been vegan about the same amount of time but she was a vegetarian for years before that: we both chuckled over the difficulty in giving up cheese. It was nice to talk comfortably with another vegan and my new friend gave me an entire list of places that offered vegan menus. I’ll have to take myself out and try them all.
I’d read some mixed reviews about Watercourse Foods but I didn’t find the wait for our food to be too long. My new friend had never tried the Carbonara and I’d never been to the restaurant so, when our food arrived, we each shared samples of our food and dug in.
I have no complaints about the food either. My Carbonara contained colorful green peas, juicy tomatoes, and was wonderfully flavorful: vegan sausage and a rich savory sauce coated penne pasta and the crumbling of crispy vegan bacon over the top added a nice texture contrast. It was filling as well: my hike to the restaurant had left me starving and I was only able to eat half. My sample of the Fish and Chips was surprising. I would never have breaded and fried a tofu cutlet on my own but the texture was so pleasant I’m definitely going to try it. The sauce served with the ‘fish’ was odd: it had more of a tang than I expected but it wasn’t unpleasant. The sauce was thin and light with a strong dill taste: a nice complement to the fried ‘fish’. I bet I can get my non-vegan Mom to try it.
I was very pleased with the food, service, and restaurant itself. Five Stars all the way around. If I do have any negative comment to make, it’s price. My family has a joke that one should always beware when prices aren’t noted on the menu. I found that to be true. My Carbonara set me back $14.00. The Kombucha I ordered cost $4.50 and my friend and I split a $5.75 cookie. (Splurge on the cookie. The one we shared tasted like a soft-baked Samoa and, since it was made with sweet potato, wasn’t really a bad choice for dessert.) I live on a pretty strict budget and the cost of my meal made me choke. If the location wasn’t prohibitive, the cost definitely would be. It’s a place kept for special occasions or, split a meal with a friend. The portions are large enough two could eat and save a bit: then the cookie won’t be such a splurge!
I plan on visiting Watercourse Foods again. Maybe I can talk my family into trying an all-vegan restaurant. I’ll have to both save and rest up from this visit but I think that Orange Teriyaki Bowl is calling my name…