Tarasco's New Latin Cuisine is hot for veggies, too

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It's not that easy to find vegetarian-friendly (let alone vegan-friendly) Mexican food; between lard in the refried beans and chicken stock in the rice or green chile, there's no telling what animal products might be lurking in the foods you order. That's why we just love places like Tarasco's New Latin Cuisine, which has an entire page devoted to vegetarian options, many of them vegan-friendly, too. It's nice to be spoiled with so many choices when you're used to being limited to one or two dishes...and the food is so inexpensive, you can order three or four items for what you might pay for one elsewhere.

See also: - Jack-n-Grill's green isn't vegetarian, but other dishes will grow on you - El Senor Sol mixes up Mexican meals for vegetarians and vegans - Old Blinking Light takes plant-based eaters south of the border

Tarasco's is in a strip mall on Federal Boulevard -- extra points for authenticity -- and the small space is always packed during peak mealtimes. On the walls are strips of wood with thought-provoking philosophical questions and statements in Spanish, and if you're lucky enough to score one of the ten or so tables in the venue, you might be able to see one of the televisions -- which will probably be playing a soccer game or telenovela.

But the atmosphere is secondary to the food. And you'll have your work cut out for you deciding what you want on the pull-out vegetarian menu (which is ringed with the names of famous vegetarians). Breakfast items include huevos rancheros; there are also appetizers, salads and full entrees, like the flautas papas plate (pictured above), which consists of four corn tortillas filled with potato, then rolled, fried and served with fresh cheese, sour cream, red and green salsas and rice and beans. (This can be ordered vegan, if you prefer.) It's a lot to eat, but once you start, you'll have trouble stopping -- because it's just that good.

Tarasco's also offers grilled cactus, which can be ordered as an appetizer (pictured above) or as part of a plate. This is about as close to a steak as a plant-based eater can get without resorting to processed soy. It arrives perfectly grilled and still warm on a slab of wood; the portion is large, so if you have entrees still on the way, plan to take some home. If you're looking for something lighter, the sopa tarasca -- described on the menu as a traditional bean soup from Michoacan -- is vegan (without the cheese and cream on top, of course) and totally amazing. Fresh slices of corn tortilla are bathed in a savory broth that's so delectable you might be tempted to drink from the bowl.

Tarasco's is open daily for lunch and dinner, and the eatery offers plenty of options for carnivores, too, plus a juice bar and many more veggie dishes we didn't try during our visit; call 303-922-2387.

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