In a generation of veganism, vegetarianism, dairy-free and gluten-free everything, food can start to get a little strange. From the classic veggie burger patty and nut “cheeses,” to products like “Tofurky” (tofu-turkey), and marinated carrot hot dogs, it is hard to identify just what exactly we’re putting into our bodies. We know it’s “healthy,” but is it accessible and re-creatable at home? Little do many realize, however, that vegetables can be art in their normal and natural forms.
Moxie, a new vegan restaurant, demonstrates how flavorful and diverse vegetables can really be. “We just wanted to showcase the food itself: show people that vegetables and plant-based items can have a ton of flavor and be really good,” said Nissa Buth, owner of Moxie. “So we’re not trying to replace meat dishes with plant-based dishes, but just really showcase what it can do on its own.”
The menu has a variety of eating options, from fresh soups and salads, to entrees such as sweet potato tacos, sage gnocchi, and cauliflower mushroom polenta. Their quinoa bowl was served with grilled pineapple, marinated brussels sprouts, sour cherries, sliced almonds, pickled onions, carrots, and a ginger soy dressing. This entrée has a large portion size, leaving you feeling energized and incredibly satisfied.
The appetizers are possibly the most unique and artistic of all the food on the menu, with items such as cabbage dumplings, tempura brussels sprouts, socca made with garbanzo beans, and cauliflower au gratin. The appetizers themselves are served in large quantities that several customers could happily share, or that an individual could even order as their entree. The food all tastes healthy and fresh, and you know exactly what you’re ingesting.
The main chef, who has worked at several successful establishments in Colorado Springs, created each recipe on the menu. All meals could be taken home and easily mimicked. This highlights another significant component to the dining experience at Moxie; not only are you enjoying nutritious vegan dishes, but the simplicity of many recipes allows customers to take this healthy approach into their everyday lives.
Moxie inspires artful eating. “We really wanted to do just a little bit more,” said Buth, as she spoke about Moxie’s development in comparison to Ola Juice Bar, her other restaurant location. Moxie takes the notion of healthy eating past juices and salads, to hot dishes, rich desserts, and unique cocktails. “I got the chai apple cider, and it was amazing!” said junior Marissa Oves. “This place tricks you into being vegan. I went with two omnivores, and they loved it.”
With an unusual but beautiful view of the southern mountains, a large, tall bar occupying the center, and old red brick pillars and walls, Moxie is unique in its aesthetic and location, as well as its mission. “It’s really just the word, ‘Moxie,’ which is [about] the real drive, and gumption about life … just kind of a sass about life,” said Buth. “I think a lot of day-to-day people don’t get to know a lot of people in the service industry and don’t realize that it’s a viable way to live. A lot of people are here because they want to be here and not because they’re just trying to make ends meet. A lot of people love what they do, and they love serving people, and being around people, and being around food.”
Not only does Moxie bring the beauty and taste in vegetables to life, but it also has the most friendly, familiar, and welcoming staff, who have their own personal relationships and preferences about each dish on the menu. “We believe this is food that everybody will like,” Buth said.