Durango may have quite a few places to get snacks, but few of them cater primarily to people with restricted diets. At Mountain Munchies, however, vegans and those who are gluten- or dairy-free can find food to fit their lifestyles.
The eatery held its grand opening on Sept. 16 at 3701 Main Ave.
We dropped by during its soft opening phase right before that date and walked off with a handful of treats.
The business describes itself as “the home of ‘THE’ Falafel Waffle,” so we got one of those. The item is exactly what it sounds like — a falafel pressed into the shape of a little waffle, with the square-shaped surface impressions and all that. It is then topped by local greens and microgreens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and either a vegan chive tahini or a green chile tzatziki (that isn’t dairy-free). It otherwise hits all three of those aforementioned diet restrictions (it occurs to us that if it’s vegan, it’s dairy-free by definition) and you can add roasted gold beets or sweet peppers to it for $1.
If you like falafel and, well ... vegetables, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it. We got it with the green chile tzatziki and liked both the waffle itself and that the veggies tasted fresh in the way where you know they were grown somewhere nearby. It’s relatively small and not super filling — we’d never order it as a replacement for a meal — but it’d be great if you’re looking for something tasty to hold you over at say, 3 p.m.
We also ordered a pint of artisan vegan green chile ice cream. It was displayed prominently on the pre-opening menu and we had to try it. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we absolutely love green chiles, and you can give them to us in pretty much any form. This includes vegan ice cream, it turns out. The ice cream had the consistency of a sorbet, but was, in fact, creamy. If we had to guess, the “cream” of it all comes from some form of plant-based milk. The flavor was not unlike a green chile dip if you replaced the sour cream part with non-dairy milk. And froze it. It was all we could do not to eat the entire pint in one sitting.
We’re a bit worried, though. As we write this, we’re looking at Mountain Munchies’ official menu and ... the green chile ice cream isn’t on it. There’s artisan vegan ice cream (which is also gluten-free for what it’s worth), and it comes in 14 flavors — including wild blueberry & lavender, salted caramel, Palisade peaches & cream, apple cinnamon, and matcha, which all sound great — but our favorite capsicum cultivar ain’t one of them. Maybe it will come back later on.
Editor’s note: Renee Proto, owner of the eatery, contacted us after publication to let us know that by popular demand, the green chile ice cream is coming back.
Last but not least, we grabbed some piña colada-flavored shaved ice. It tasted exactly as you’d expect. While we were eating it, though, we noticed that the menu notes that the shaved ice is also vegan and gluten-free. Since then, we’ve been doing our best to avoid thinking of the kind of shaved ice that would contain animal products. (Wait ... does the blood of a tiger actually taste like strawberry, coconut, and watermelon?)
Now that MM is officially open, we’ll be headed back to try its hummuses and “paleo skittles” (dehydrated strawberry, raspberry, carrot, blueberry, lemon, and pear, apparently). We’ll also be keeping an eye out for that delicious green chile ice cream.