The Sprout House serves veggie-friendly mobile food

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With all the food trucks and carts revving up, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to cater exclusively to mobile vegetarians and vegans. That someone was Trevor Smith, who now parks the Sprout House downtown at the corner of 17th Avenue and Lincoln from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and also select nights outside the Larimer Lounge.

As at most street food outlets, the Sprout House menu isn't exactly extensive, and some of the items are bound to sell out if you stop by at 1 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. The black-bean-and-crema burrito ($4), with black beans, zucchini, onions and chipotle crema, was sold out (damn!) when I stopped by for a late lunch; the most appealing available options were the quesadilla ($5) and Uncle Joan's Salad ($5).

A concoction of cheddar cheese, pinto beans, bell peppers, onion and green chili folded into a white flour tortilla (why no whole wheat, organic torts?), the quesadilla was a surprise -- and a bit disappointing. The cheese hadn't melted entirely in the center -- probably a result of being cooked on a street corner instead of on a proper grill -- and the spices tasted more Asian or Indian than Southwestern, with a curry rather than chile heat. Uncle Joan's Salad was a much better bet. With black-eyed peas, green onion, chard, fennel, parsley, lemon-garlic dressing and (optional) cheddar cheese mixed together, this combo was closer to a bean salad than a garden salad. The lemon-garlic dressing came right on the dish and had been perfectly poured, neither drowning the ingredients nor leaving them woefully dry. The black-eyed peas were perfectly cooked, still firm and squeaky on the teeth; the dill gave the salad its crisp freshness.

Other menu options include a pita Caesar sandwich and hummus and pita bread; Smith also hawks all-natural Hansen's soda and bottled water from the cart. A side or two -- some baked chips, maybe? And how about those organic torts? -- would be welcome additions, but overall, the Sprout Cart is doing good things for downtown lunchtime diners ... and their waistlines.

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