Article Written by Mary Vezina
If you are anything like me, you may have put on a few pounds during this global pandemic. I am passionate about dining out, but I decided it was time to focus on some healthy (well, mostly healthy) eating. I visited some of my favorite Lexington restaurants in search of some plant-based meals and I was surprised by all the great options.
Blue Sushi Sake Grill, located in The Summit at Fritz Farm, is one of my favorite spots for fresh sushi. I love the interior of the restaurant with its trendy and modern atmosphere, and the large outdoor patio provides a great place to dine while staying socially distant. As I looked through their menu, I was very impressed by the large selection of vegan and vegetarian options. I decided on the lunch special, which for me meant two sushi rolls and a side salad for $15 – a great deal! The first roll I ordered was the avocado roll, a vegan option that was simple and light. I opted to get white rice rather than the brown that they typically serve with this. I also got the veggie roll – another vegan option that came with vegan cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and red pepper. I loved this roll; the cream cheese and red pepper were a perfect combination.
Carson’s Food & Drink, located in downtown Lexington on Main Street, is one of my favorite spots for a night out with the girls or a date night. The brick walls and exposed ceilings provide a fun atmosphere that is both lively and cozy.
Carson’s has a separate section on their menu dedicated to vegan and gluten-free options – one that caught my eye was the chickpea curry. However, I opted for the baked goat cheese with garlic bread as my starter and the smoked gouda macaroni & cheese for my entree – both vegetarian options (remember, I said “mostly healthy”!). This mac & cheese was to die for! I am drooling thinking about it again. The mac & cheese is paired with shaved parmesan, scallions and truffle oil.
Alfalfa’s, which is also located in downtown Lexington on East Main Street, is another great option if you are interested in vegan or vegetarian food. This casual, art-filled restaurant has been around for a while but was recently taken over by new owners who are committed to making Alfalfa’s a place that embraces diversity and is an active part of the city of Lexington.
I was impressed by each restaurant's selection for customers who want vegan, gluten-free or vegetarian choices, however, I was particularly impressed by Alfalfa’s menu – there is an option for every need under each section on the menu! I quickly decided on the Alfalfa avocado grill with their potatoes and a side salad - and it didn’t disappoint!
This meal was the perfect comfort food – I wanted to curl up on my couch and watch a movie as I ate it. The Alfalfa avocado grill was a traditional grilled cheese on white bread with hummus, avocado and tomato – these additions to the typical grilled cheese were the perfect touch and complemented each other so well. After all, who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese?! This one might just be my new favorite.
The Local Taco, located near the University of Kentucky on South Limestone is a favorite for students and Lexington locals in search of Tex-Mex in a casual setting. The weather was beautiful the day I visited so the garage doors were fully opened exposing the patio which overlooks South Limestone and the University of Kentucky campus.
Photo courtesy of LocalTacoLex.com
While eating there, I ordered two of the vegetarian tacos paired with their seasonal Cuban corn (a personal favorite of mine) and freshly made guacamole. The tacos are made with marinated Portobello mushrooms, sage goat cheese, zucchini slaw, tomatoes and crispy onions. The whole meal was mouthwatering – the sage goat cheese and onions made it for me and I would definitely order this again. And if you haven’t tried the Cuban corn, it’s a must!
Lexington has so much to offer - from the rolling hills, horse farms, and bourbon trails - but the dining scene is something to brag on as well. When I started this journey, I thought it would be a struggle to find vegan and vegetarian options I would enjoy while dining out, but what I discovered was a lot of great food from all my favorite places!