Friday, August 17, 2007

Veggin' Out in Boone

When a friend and I made a day trip to Boone recently, of course dining out was on the agenda. We had three possibilities in mind.

First on the list was Angelica's, a vegetarian institution in Boone. We've been there before, and enjoy its good food and definite "hippy" vibe.

Another was The Coyote Kitchen, which isn’t purely vegetarian but has a lot of vegetarian choices.

The third, for supper since it opens at 4 p.m., was the Moon Shine Cafe. The Moon Shine caught my eye because in researching Boone restaurants, I came across an article that said it had been started by the same person who formerly owned Angelica's and The Coyote Kitchen. Again, it's not a vegetarian restaurant, but the menu shows many intriguing options for vegetarians.

We ended up at The Coyote Kitchen, and enjoyed it very much. It's a small restaurant, with eye-catching art on the walls, and a colorful mural in the back. Our main dishes were delicious. Tempeh tacos were very well-seasoned; and the Moab boat, a dish of sweet potatoes, butterbeans, grilled tofu, plantains and corn, baked with cheese on top, was a harmonious combination. The cranberry chipotle and mango habanero salsas we tried were tasty, but sweet and fruity, with only a little heat. The menu also says that any dish can be made vegetarian by substituting tofu, at no extra charge.

The one misstep at the restaurant was the "guacamole." This puzzling drab-green paste only faintly resembled the rich, creamy, avocado-based dish I expected. Upon inquiry, our waiter explained that it was "garden guacamole," made from … peas. The peas are more local, good avocados are hard to get in Boone, it doesn't contain the sour cream that most places put in to stretch their guacamole, and besides, most people like it anyway, were the defenses for this. Fair enough, but it would be better to explain all this to diners before they order the stuff.

That aside, I would heartily recommend Coyote Kitchen to vegetarians in the Boone area. I would also recommend a stop by the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. This little gem is an oasis of beauty and serenity. We hope to be back in the area soon to see what is blooming there, and to visit the other restaurants on our list. Readers, are there any other restaurants in the area that we should try?

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