Spring Cafe owner Sabrina Rudin opts for veggies during her perfect Aspen day.
Whenever I chat with customers at Spring Cafe (119 Spring St., springcafeaspen.com), the question I get asked the most is: “Why did you open a restaurant?” That’s followed by: “Why did you open a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado?”
Simple answer: I spent so much time here, I needed a place to eat. (I live in New York primarily, but spend large parts of the year in Aspen.)
I grew up visiting these mountains, and I’ve long been enchanted by their powdery slopes and wildflower-dotted hiking trails. When I started Spring Cafe six years ago, there were very few plant-based options in town; the green juice definitely did not flow like wine! Luckily for me, and all Aspenites, this town has come a long way in terms of its forward-thinking food scene. Here are a few of my favorite nourishing and delicious offerings:
My day usually starts with our Green Light juice and a Beet Mine, made up of beets, watermelon and lime. Beets are rich in nitrates and help oxygenate the blood, making it perfect for a preski or post-hike snack. The watermelon is hydrating, and the lime gives an extra boost of vitamin C.
If I’m not having one of our juices, I’m sipping a charcoal lemonade from Jus (501 E. Hyman Ave., jusaspen.com). Activated charcoal is nature’s Pepto-Bismol, and it does wonders to combat those pesky “altitoots” that can get the best of any healthy gut.
For lunch, I love our ground cauliflower “meat” quesadilla and our Cobb salad, which features our coconut “bacon.” With both, we’ve tried to highlight plant-based alternatives to traditional meaty tastes and textures.
For dinner, we usually cook at home, but if we don’t, we head to Ajax Tavern (685 E. Durant Ave., thelittlenell.com) for its gluten-free carrot gnocchi and vegan cauliflower gratin, which my kids devour. Mom tip: Walk over with the kids at 5:30pm, and snag a table outside so they can run around between bites while you enjoy views of the mountain and a delicious meal powered by plants.