Santana's Vegan Grill's Beyond Burger patty is spot on textutally.
As an admitted pork-aholic, I'm not at a point in my live where I can commit to the entire World Meat Free Week
(June 11 through 17) just yet. But I can definitely set my carnivorous cravings aside for a day or two.
We've heard plenty about the scary side of large scale livestock operations
, and what we could be doing instead
, but that's not always enough to sway eaters set in their dietary ways. Flavor may be the best bet in persuading palates to a more (or solely) plant-based diet, and these local spots are proving that point.
Ola Juice Bar
Left to right: Ola's Green Jolt wheatgrass shot, Mango Goji Fire, and the best-selling Thai Avocado Medjool.
In previous write-ups for this now 5-year-old nutrition-centric spot, we talked up Ola Juice Bar
’s bright juices, breakfasts and build-your-own bowls. For this August 2017 review, we focused our attention on smoothies. And 'tis the season once again.
We often wonder why folks go out and pay for something easily made at home. Answer: Spots like Ola offer inspiration, blending fun combos with ingredients rare in non-health-nuts’ kitchens.
Santana’s Vegan Grill
Our first thought after visiting Santana's Vegan Grill
(pictured above) in February: This place might just create more conscious eaters in the Springs, offering a plant-based fast food burger that does a hell of a job replacing the real thing. That’s mostly thanks to a Beyond Burger
patty — tagline: “looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger ... without so many of the health, environmental, and animal welfare downsides of traditional animal-based meat.”
It’s pea protein that “bleeds beet blood,” with 20 grams of protein per serving. Texturally, it’s spot-on.
Call if “faux-lafel” or just call it a delicious meal.
When our food editor went out for this January 2018 review, he never pictured Eighth Street as vegan row, but with Moxie
joining the Burrowing Owl
, plant-based eaters (and omnivores) now have both a neighborhood-bar and quasi-fine dining/bistro option within a mile.
Moxie, occupying the former Estela’s Mexican spot, comes courtesy Nissa and Mike Buth, Ola Juice Bar’s owners. The couple’s done what they can under low ceilings to sharpen the space, a mix of white-washed brick with spare accent walls and warm, dim lighting built around a central open bar. More importantly, they’ve hired experienced hands, from Principal’s Office/Rabbit Hole alum Katie Toth, bar manager, to former Blue Star sous chef Ruthie Poole, chef.
In the end, you won’t think you were deprived or forced to abstain from anything. You’ll still be relishing in full flavors that land plenty gourmet. Perhaps the best compliment to pay good vegan fare is to say it never showed its cards; the vegan-ness is an afterthought.
The Burrowing Owl
Order a Relentless Balter if you're up for a challenge.
We stopped by The Burrowing Owl
for cocktail in April 2018. While Indy
critic Griffin Swartzell is a fan of challenging drinks, the Relentless Balter bowled him over with brutal tartness and underlying bitterness courtesy of balsamic syrup, made all the more powerful by lime and Cimarron tequila. Give the ice ball in this drink a nice, long time to melt before sipping.