Forget the days you were once forced to chose between a stack of pancakes or eggs and toast while you begrudgingly watched your friends devour plates of Benedicts, burritos and the like. Having experienced a decade of unmemorable, thrown-together meals at restaurants, it comes as an excitement just shy of jubilation to see menus adorned with vegetarian meals that people actually want to eat. More and more, restaurants are getting the memo that, although they might have killer pork green chile or a kick-ass charcuterie plate, not everyone can eat it. And the more dietary styles that restaurants can appeal to, the more business they'll attract. And there's no exception when it comes to Denver's favorite meal of the week — brunch. One Broadway veteran, the Hornet, is leading by example by pleasing both vegetarians and meat eaters.
Stop by at any time of the day and you’ll find plentiful options for every kind of eater out there. Vegetarian? No problem. Omnivore? They've got your back. Gluten-free? Easy. What seemed like a luxury only a few years ago is becoming more commonplace thanks to places like the Hornet, where all of your dining companions will likely find something to suit their needs and preferences. We applaud the Hornet's efforts at bringing people together for no reason other than eating and day-drinking — two of my favorite pastimes. If you’re trying to be healthy, get the Greek God of Parfait (with yogurt, granola, fruit and hazelnuts). If you want a little something south-of-the-border, get the pupusas rancheras served vegetarian. This generous helping of heaven consists of fried corn cakes filled with beans and melted cheese, topped with eggs your way, and then topped with more cheese. I've mentioned before that the combo of eggs, carbs and cheese is my reason for getting out of bed most days and this week is no exception. Something about the arrangement just hits the spot, and then some — a post-brunch food comas is a real possibility.
The corn cakes really make this meal. For those who aren’t well versed in Central American cuisine, pupusas are similar to extra-thick corn tortillas stuffed with various combinations of beans, cheese and meat (if you so choose) or veggies and griddled to a tender yet crispy finish. How can pupusas get any better? When in doubt, add eggs and more cheese. It is brunch, after all. Served with a side of beans, lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole to compliment the Spanish flavors, a good helping of Cholula hot sauce is just the right thing to give it extra kick.
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What the Hornet has done here is made a meal that’s delicious, and then made it accessible to far more diners than just the pro-pork crowd. It’s great to have an establishment filled with friendly, easy going staff and good food, but it’s also a huge plus when there are options for the foodies out there with different diet preferences or needs. One last tip: If you’re dining with a few others, don’t overlook the blueberry pop tart. It’s the perfect starter for the table, giving everyone a few bites, and it pairs great with a pot of French press coffee. Brunch on, vegetarians.