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Veggie Girl: Sputnik

Sputnik is one of the hippest hipster spots in town, and while you might think of it as a late-night hang-out, good for grabbing a cold PBR while playing trivia or bingo, Sputnik also happens to serve some of the best sweet potato fries in Denver. The few other menu items I've sampled have also been good and vegetarian-friendly, so when I heard about Sputnik's $5 lunch special, I knew I had to try it.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, five bucks will get you half a sandwich and your choice of a side: those fries, hearts of palm salad, jicama salad, mac and cheese, or chips.

While the egg sandwich -- two scrambled eggs with cilantro, onions, asiago and muenster on a torta roll -- sounded great, I had to take my friend's advice and go with the Vietnamese. The generous half-sandwich came on a soft, warm baguette, spread with mayonnaise and topped with fresh cucumbers, jalapenos, carrots, cilantro, scallions and a few slices of wonderfully flavorful "tofu." -- although that isn't really the right word for the meaty-tasting non-meat product that topped the sandwich. We asked about it, and found out that the kitchen actually uses "Vegetarian Ham (Chicken flavored)." Funny that a meat substitute with such an identity crisis would take the place of pork on this particular sandwich, but it was definitely delicious, and unlike anything else I've found in Denver.

The sides were all tempting, but I stuck with my favorite sweet potato fries. Once again, they were crispy, salty and perfectly suited for the sweet habanero jam that I chose from an assortment of dipping options.

Sputnik offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes at both lunch and dinner. During brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, you can also get a huge hangover scramble filled with eggs, potatoes, vegetarian green chile and soy chorizo that will help you get over any over-indulgences from night before. The bottomless, five-dollar mimosa on side doesn't hurt, either.

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