Old Blinking Light takes plant-based eaters south of the border

Eating Mexican food as a vegetarian isn't easy, and as a vegan? You might as well forget it unless you're at a plant-based restaurant. Or at Old Blinking Light Kitchen & Cocktails in Highlands Ranch.

The restaurant is not far from the Highlands Ranch branch of the Tattered Cover, and this past Saturday, the patio was almost completely full, with several tables inside occupied, too. The customers were mostly families, with a gathering of men at the bar and a table or two of women inside, sipping drinks and gossiping.

The King Ranch Casserole is one option for vegetarians, made with corn tortillas, green chile, cotija cheese, creme fraiche, white cheddar, guacamole, pico de gallo and cilantro rice. As you can see, the casserole comes swimming in a sea of green chile; it's a filling (and delicious) meat-free meal.

Vegans aren't left out in the cold, either. Although you have to modify the menu, the servers (and kitchen staff) are more than happy to accommodate alternative needs. These rolled vegetable enchiladas feature marinated vegetables rolled in corn tortillas and topped with lettuce, pico de gallo and a generous helping of green chile. Normally the dish includes creme fraiche and cheese, too, but we didn't miss it; the marinated vegetables and green chile gave it plenty of flavor.

You can also get meat at Old Blinking Light, including buffalo; for details, visit www.taosrestaurantgroup.com/old_blinking_light/_about.html.

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