Vegan Vacation: Boulder, CO

You know how boring it is being subjected to watching peoples’ vacation photos? Agony, right? Well, I promise not to bore you with mine–there’s food involved! I think it’s also good to see that even when traveling, it’s not hard to eat out and vacation as a vegan. Many restaurants and hotels are catching on and being more vegetarian/vegan friendly. I’m just glad we did enough hiking to work off all the delicious food!

We spent 3 nights, four days in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a small community made up of restored, turn-of-the-century cottages, a historic dining hall and even an auditorium where many big names come to play. Right out your front door are the Flatirons and some absolutely outstanding hiking.

Our cute little one-bedroom cottage:

Our first night, we didn’t get in until 7pm, so we dined in the fabulous screened-in front porch with some vegan favorites and wine:Savory Tofu Spread, Wayfare Foods We Can’t Call it Cheese, (check out my review of WCCIC spreads), Gardein “Chicken” Tenders with vegan ranch, and some vegetable spring rolls.

Day Two:
We decided to hike the 1.8 miles to Pearl Street where you will find the most wonderful breakfast place on the planet (13th and Canyon). The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. (Good thing, it’s downhill, bad thing, it’s uphill on the way back)! But it’s a beautiful trek through tree-lined streets of Craftsman bungalows. Anyway. . . over 40 artisans created the Persian design motifs throughout the restaurant–it’s quite stunning.

So obviously, they have fantastic food and will substitute any egg dish with tofu–so I opted for the Greek Tofu scramble with olives, spinach and tomatoes along with their yummy fried potatoes and biscuit. It was to die for. Perfect combo of protein and carbs for that uphill 2 mile hike back up to Chauatauqua.

2 minutes later. . .breakfast carnage:

Needless to say, it was delicious! I highly recommend the teahouse for the food, the beauty of the place, the wonderful teas, and the great service. We’ve been there several times and it’s a must whenever we visit Boulder.

So after our trek back, we took advantage of the great access to hiking and picked one of the many trails surrounding the Flatirons. It was hot, but once we got inside the tree coverage, it was peaceful and quite gorgeous. You could see for miles:

And check out the Ode to Cairns: I’ve never seen anything like this in my life! All it would take is one ornery kid to come through here. . .

This was all before 12:30!! So we were ready for a little rest and relaxation. Chautauqua has quiet hours from 1-3 daily, and since we’re not loud folks, we can appreciate that. The place is surrounded by beautiful park areas, so we picked one just down the street from the cottage:

Which was also right by the cute Community Cottage that actually was reserved, so we couldn’t go in–but how gorgeous is this place?!

Wine and Gin:

After about 3 hours of lounging, drinking wine, playing cards, and snacking, we were hungry for some real dinner. As if the hike down the road and  hiking in the mountains wasn’t enough, we decided to walk back down towards Pearl street (this time a little less than 2 miles away at 13th and Pennsylvania) to The Sink, one of our favorite restaurants for dinner.

It’s a few buildings down from the Fox Theatre where we’ll see my favorite musician, Pete Yorn when he comes for a visit.

Anyway, The Sink is a local favorite with their low, grafittied ceilings and cartooned walls.

They feature quite a few vegetarian entrees and I got the Bowtie Pasta with Roasted Veggies and Pesto. It was awesome!

We calculated we walked/hiked about 10 miles this day–made it easier to pig out when we did eat!

Day Three:
After a breakfast of potato cakes and English muffins at the cottage, we were fueled for a trip back down to Pearl Street, but this time there was a farmers’ market to explore (right in front of the teahouse). It was HUGE, offering everything from veggies, fruit, herbs…you name it. It was fun to walk around and enjoy the smells and sunshine.

We spent the day on Pearl Street, the downtown part of Boulder with several blocks of shops, restaurants, and street performers. It is the perfect place to also people watch.

The shops are unique and there is something for everyone. One of our favorites is a kite shop, Into the Wind:

All that shopping made us very hungry vegans, so after perusing the many posted menus outside eateries, we stopped at Centro, a very popular Latin-themed restaurant with a nice patio.

For an appetizer, we went with their salsa sampler and got a couple of drinks (white wine sangria and the Husband got a grapefruit margarita).

There weren’t many vegetarian options, but this one caught my attention: Wild Mushrooms with Swiss Chard and Jicama. Can you believe, they even had Daiya cheese for this? It was delicious!

We walked off lunch a bit more by cruising through some more shops, but after some much-needed cloud cover, we hiked back to the cottage. We brought out the cards and wine again and enjoyed the front porch, as well as the serene quietness.

So here’s a first for us. . .we bought boxed wine! I know, I know, but before you roll your eyes, I have to say, it was pretty darn good! (As the Husband says, I have Jedi drinking skills, so I would know). Not only do you get 4 bottles of wine for the price of about 2, it is a lot more environmentally friendly since it eliminates the need for glass bottles, and they use recycled cardboard. Not only that, it doesn’t require the extra cost of shipping materials since there’s no worry about breaking bottles. We liked Black Box Malbec:

For dinner, we went with taco salads made with Boca Meatless Crumbles. So easy and light–perfect for a quick summer meal. Also, leftovers make great nachos–add some vegan shredded cheese, Tofutti sour cream and salsa and you’re done! (It was the Husband’s 10pm snack).

After dinner, we were crazy enough to go hiking. . .again. This time, it was about 7:30pm, so it was pleasant weather and the trails were pretty empty of people.

These steps took you from the cottages to the trails—2 minutes!

Day Four:
Yes, it’s almost over.

We got up, had a little breakfast at the cottage, packed up, stopped at Starbucks and headed out. We stopped in Estes Park where we tied the knot several years ago and visited the inn where it all started—the Baldpate Inn.

It’s this rustic 80+ year old inn that features a key room–thousands and thousands of keys from all over the world. They are in the process of cataloging all the keys–a monumental task that I hope they’re paying these people a ton of money to do!

They serve soup, salad and desserts and is only open May through October. I went with a salad and muffin–unfortunately, the soups either had meat or milk.

So that concludes the Vegan Vacation in Boulder–it was so much fun and I hate to be back to reality, but that’s the way it goes. It was great while it lasted. (Thanks for making it this far with me)!

Have any of you ever been to Boulder? Lucky enough to live there? What are some of  your favorite Boulder haunts?


  1. Monet says

    I loved seeing these photographs…and the Dushanbe teahouse is one of my favorite places in Colorado. I adore their pancakes!

  2. Suzanne J says

    I’m a vegan about to go to Boulder for the first time this afternoon (I’m vacationing in Denver). Your post was wonderful!

    • epicureanvegan says

      Thanks! I hope you have a fantastic time! I love Boulder and it looks like it’s going to be a gorgeous day! Another restaurant to try (if it’s not too late) is Scotch Corner Pub–they have a vegan stew that I’ve heard is deelish!

  3. circesardonica says

    Some other great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Boulder:
    –Leaf restaurant (100% vegetarian)
    –Black Pepper Pho
    –Tandoori Grill
    There are also a number of Nepalese restaurants with a large variety of veg food–Sherpas is the most popular. And not vegetarian, but awesome margaritas (including infused tequilas) at Tahona.

    • epicureanvegan says

      Yes, Leaf is great–love it. I haven’t tried the others. I tend to steer clear of Nepalese and Indian restaurants because even though they’re vegetarian, they tend to use ghee in everything. Thanks for the margarita suggestion! :)

  4. Laurie says

    Awesome blog. Thanks. Julia’s Kitchen in Boulder is a must-do. 100% vegan menu and delicious – they soak their beans and sprouts and seem to steer clear of soy!

  5. Pam @ Whatevs... says

    This is great, thanks! I live in Boulder and I am avoiding eggs, dairy, and gluten while breastfeeding my allergic baby, and I googled Vegan Brunch Boulder and found this! I agree, Leaf is awesome, but I hadn’t thought of trying Dushanbe for brunch. Centro is also a favorite, although I haven’t been there for brunch since adopting my restrictive new diet… It’s hard to get around the fact that most brunch options revolve around eggs!

    • Epicurean Vegan says

      I’m glad I could be of help! I know there are some other veg-friendly places, but i just haven’t had a chance to hit them all up yet. I’d love to get over there and check out Native Food Cafe.

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