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Go With the Flow

Even the macro plate ($5.75), Landes's nod to the vegan crowd, was something special, thanks to the teriyaki-soaked tofu and the seaweed and steamed greens atop the brown rice. "I love good cheese, so sometimes it's hard for me to make dishes without it," says Landes. "I guess I'll never be able to be vegan. But we knew we needed to have at least one of those." Watercourse's egg dishes can also be done with tofu or egg substitute, and anything can be made cheese-free. But without the gorgonzola, the spinach salad ($5.75) just wouldn't be the same. In addition to the pungent cheese, the fresh, fresh spinach was studded with honey-roasted walnuts and sliced green apples, then doused with a well-balanced raspberry vinaigrette.

So far, so good. Still, my favorite dish at Watercourse turned out to be the tempeh burger ($5.95). Most vegetarian restaurants make a mess of their veggie burgers--either they start with lentils and turn them into a dry paste, or they use a wheat-based product and fail to pump it up with wet stuff. But Watercourse relies on tempeh, the hundreds-of-years-old fermented, cultured soybean product that has an inherent nuttiness and sweetness, which the kitchen improved upon by adding caramelized onions and a subtle barbecue sauce. This wasn't just a burger substitute--it was a great burger in its own right. And it didn't leave me with that too-full feeling that often comes from consuming a meat patty.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm ready to kiss off meat entirely. But at Watercourse, I'm willing to go with the flow.

Watercourse Foods, 206 East Thirteenth Avenue, 832-7313. Hours: 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

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