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Vegan Options at DIA

Vegan Options at DIA

Sorry I disappeared again! I took a very last-minute trip to FL to see my father before he has surgery. I have recipes from last week to post (as soon as I have time to go through the photos) and I also have some yummy vegan finds in Daytona Beach to share, believe it or not! But first I want to share my vegan finds at Denver International Airport (DIA).

Whenever I’m flying into a new airport I always google “(airport name) vegan options”, and I love love love when a blogger has already shared their tips, so I figured I’d do that with my home airport.

 

Itza Wrap! Itza Bowl!

First up is Itza Wrap! Itza Bowl! located on Concourse B. Apparently it’s been there for years, but I’ve never noticed it. The other odd thing about it is that the only existing location seems to be at DIA. And they don’t have a website or menu online (I linked to their Yelp! reviews above)

It’s tucked way back in a corner where you come up from the train, so you have to actually look for it. I suppose that’s why I’ve never seen it, but once I did, the word “Tofu” immediately caught my eye!

Vegan Options at DIA

I didn’t eat here, but I talked to the people working behind the counter and I was told the vegan options are:

  • White rice, brown rice or udon noodles
  • Thai, teriyake or sweet and sour style
  • Tofu or veggies
  • Wrap or bowl

Not bad for airport food, right? And convenient enough to take on the plane with you if you’re in a hurry. And for those of you traveling through DIA who aren’t familiar with it, even if you’re flying through concourses A or C, the train between only takes a couple of minutes, so don’t be scared to explore!

 

Einstein Bros Bagels

Note: Einstein Bros used to use L-Cysteine in their bagels, an enzyme made from duck feathers. However, as of 2012 they have switched over to a synthetic form of L-Cysteine which does NOT use duck feathers! However there’s still some debate/confusion as to whether their bagels are vegan, so eat with caution!

Next up is my favorite DIA snack (and what I grabbed before hopping my flight to Orlando last Thursday)- the Veg Out. Depending on the bagel you choose, it’s automatically vegan (most of their bagels are vegan as well, other than those with cheese. Here’s their nutritional info.) It’s schmeared with hummus then piled with tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce and red onion. When I’m flying, I usually ask for it sans onion, just so I don’t kill the poor guy sitting next to me ;) They’ll usually offer other options, such as tomato sauce, but I always skip that- especially if I’ll be eating it on the plane. It’s located in Concourse C, but again… it’s a quick train ride from any other concourse.

I wish I had a picture to share, but I didn’t end up eating it until 2 or 3 hours later- I was too busy flirting with a gate agent for a free upgrade. Which worked, BTW! He said I was pretty :)  Happy Valentines Day to me, right?

 

Caribou Coffee

I haven’t stopped at Caribou Coffee in a while, but the last time I did they had some pre-packaged vegan and gluten-free snack bars called Earnest Eats. They actually had the word “vegan” printed on them! These coffee shops are all over DIA, upstairs from security in the main terminal as well as concourses A, B and C.

 

Taco Bell Express

We all know the vegan options at “the bell”, right? (and if thinking about them just made you hungry, go check out my veganized crispy potato soft tacos!)

So those are my vegan finds at DIA. Anyone who’s found other vegan grub at DIA, please chime in below and share. And please send positive thoughts to my pops!

Want more Denver-area restaurant reviews? Check out my Mile High Vegan Eats page!

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{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Cadry February 18, 2013, 9:44 am

    I used to fly through the Denver Airport regularly, and Itza Wrap, Itza Bowl was one of my regular options. For airport food, it wasn’t bad! Plus, they have beer, if you feel like grabbing a drink as well. I’d also sometimes hit Que Bueno, which is pretty close to Itza Wrap, Itza Bowl. It’s in the same concourse and area, just up the escalator. It’s sort of like Baja Fresh, and they have the same kind of options like bean burritos, guacamole, etc. http://flydenver.com/fooddetails?URI=tcm:8-627 There’s a portobello mushroom sandwich at the Colorado Sports Bar, which I got as a vegetarian once. (I’m not sure if the bun is vegan, and I think it usually comes with cheese on top.) It looks like there’s also a veggie burger option in the airport, but I’ve never had it: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/articles/2011/12/27/best_us_airports_to_find_healthy_eats/ As far as vegan friendly airports go, Denver is one of my favorites.

    I’m sending lots of good vibes to your dad! And congrats on the upgrade!

    • Barb February 20, 2013, 6:55 am

      Ooh, thanks for the additions! And thank you very much for the good vibes :)

  • Stacy February 18, 2013, 9:56 am

    Thanks so much for the tips! This is my “home” airport, and I never know what to eat when I am there.

  • Annie February 18, 2013, 12:41 pm

    DIA is one of those airports that is pretty nice in which to hang out – especially knowing there are vegan eats to be had! Didn’t know that Einstein Bagels had vegan options (love bagels!). Thanks, Barb!

  • Faith February 19, 2013, 7:55 pm

    Don’t be too sure about the Einstein Bros bagels being vegan. The last time I checked with their corporate, none of their bagels are vegan. They use some enzyme or other made from duck feathers. That’s been a couple of years, so things might have changed, but I’d just caution you to double-check.

    • Barb February 20, 2013, 6:57 am

      Interesting… I’ll have to do some digging into that. I’ve never even HEARD of companies using enzymes from duck feathers! :(

      • Barb February 20, 2013, 8:55 am

        Good news- they now use synthetic L-Cysteine! No more duck feathers!

        • Faith February 20, 2013, 7:39 pm

          Awesome on the lack of duck feathers!!

        • Cadry February 20, 2013, 8:10 pm

          We don’t have Einstein Bagels in my neck of the woods, but I did visit one of their locations when I was traveling Orlando. I asked about the ingredients when I went there, of course, and they told me that outside of the obvious (i.e. bagels with honey or cheese), that they were vegan. But then after I read Faith’s comment, I was curious about if the staff in Orlando was right. I went to their website, and under the FAQ about vegan and vegetarian items, they say that they don’t have any vegan products. I wondered if perhaps they just meant that they don’t have any vegan sandwiches or salads as they are listed on the menu but could be made vegan with substitutions. So I sent them an email, and they said that they don’t have any vegan items. However, they didn’t specify which ingredients make them not vegan. :( Anyway, I thought you’d be interested!

          Here’s their email response:

          Thank you for taking the time to contact Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.

          At this present time we do not offer any vegan products, Although we are always working hard to find ways to improve and expand our offerings and we appreciate your interest in our product!

          Thanks again and we look forward to serving you again in the future.

          Sincerely,

          La-Shawn Lattery

          Guest Services
          Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc.

          • Barb February 21, 2013, 8:27 am

            I also contacted them, and the response I got is below. Basically their L Cysteine is no longer sourced from duck feathers, and looking at the ingredients I can’t come up with anything else that could possibly be non-vegan!?!?

            Thank you for taking the time to inquire about our products. I am now pleased to say that we have finalized a transition over to a synthetic form of L Cysteine in our bagel recipes. At this time all bagels we produce for Einstein Bros. and Noah’s are made with a synthetic form of L Cysteine that does not contain duck feathers, however, the Kettleman-style boiled bagels in our Portland locations continue to use a form of L Cysteine derived from duck feathers as we are using the original Kettleman’s recipe and have not altered the formulation.

            Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.

            Thank you once again for your business and we look forward to serving you in the future.

            Sincerely,

            La-Shawn Lattery

            Guest Services
            Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc.

            • Cadry February 21, 2013, 8:37 am

              That’s so weird! And the email even came from the same guy! Like you, I can’t imagine what else wouldn’t be vegan. His answer to me felt basically cut and pasted, like corporate wording. Maybe it’s something about shared equipment and because they don’t want the liability? I sent them another message asking which specific ingredients aren’t vegan. I’ll let you know when I hear back!

            • Cadry February 21, 2013, 5:31 pm

              Hey, I heard from our friend La-Shawn again. It sounds like with the exception of four bagels that definitely have animal products in them, they’re only not calling their bagels vegan because of possible cross contamination, which isn’t the sort of thing I worry about. I’m satisfied that the bagels we got were animal product-free. Here’s what La-Shawn said in the latest email to me:

              Thank you for your interest in our products. The criteria for Vegan are defined as:
              - Containing no animal ingredients or animal by-products
              - Using no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process
              - Not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor

              According to the criteria mentioned above, these four bagels cannot be considered vegan at this time:
              - 100% Whole Wheat with Honey – contains honey and that disqualifies that item from being considered vegan (animal by-product)
              - Pumpernickel – contains soy lecithin which may be derived from an animal source
              - Chocolate Chip – contains milk
              - Asiago – contains milk

              We are pleased to say that we have finalized a transition over to a synthetic form of L Cysteine in our bagel recipes. At this time all bagels we produce for Einstein Bros. and Noah’s are made with a synthetic form of L Cysteine that does not contain ingredients derived from animals. However, please note that will not make any claims that any that our items are guaranteed to be vegan at this time as we do carry animal products in our stores and the possibility for cross-contamination does exist.

              I hope this information has been helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

              La-Shawn Lattery

              Guest Services
              Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc.

            • Barb February 23, 2013, 2:29 pm

              I agree- I think they’re worried about cross-contamination and don’t want to claim actual “vegan” and risk being sued or something. There’s no cholesterol, so no dairy or eggs- and now we know there’s no duck feathers so I feel pretty comfortable eating Einsteins bagels (other than the ones he specifically mentioned). Also? Pretty funny that they apparently only have one employee answering emails :)

  • Somer February 20, 2013, 12:16 am

    Ha! I didn’t know there was vegan options at any of those places! The more you know! :) !!!

  • Sophie33 February 20, 2013, 4:36 am

    Thanks for the useful vegan dining options!

  • Epicurean Vegan February 22, 2013, 10:12 am

    Finally! Some options at DIA! We’ll be flying out of there in a few months, so I’m definitely going to look for Itza (my tofu radar should help me) :-) Thanks!

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