Darbster Bistro is a vegetarian bistro where the owners, Ellen and Alan, are dedicated to serving delicious, organic, and natural foods. The restaurant is named after the owners' rescued poodle, Darby. There are two locations, both of which are in Florida - One in West Palm Beach and the other in Boca Raton.
We chose to dine at this restaurant for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that everything on the menu is completely vegan!
The other big reason we chose Darbster Bistro is that all of the profits from Darbster food are donated to the Darbster Foundation. This foundation, also started by Ellen and Alan, funds spay and neuter programs and assists with educational programs and other animal issues. (According to their website, in 2014 Darbster provided funds for 1,135 spay/neuter surgeries.)
The restaurant even offers a special on Sundays between 5pm and 7pm: 20 percent off the price of your entree if you bring your four-legged friend to dine on the patio with you.
How could you not want to go to a place that loves animals this much? As soon as we learned these facts, we knew our trip to Florida wouldn't be complete without a meal at Darbster.
We decided to call a few minutes ahead and order our food for pick-up so we could have a little picnic. I was worried that the overall dining experience would suffer if we did this, but I was so wrong! We experienced fantastic service, even over the phone. We were a little bumbly since we were unfamiliar with the menu, but the person who answered the phone was kind and helpful. When we ordered something that was no longer available, they suggested something else. When we dropped the call due to poor reception, we called back and they picked right up where we left off. Their patience was surprisingly abundant, and that is not something you come across very often.
It was then that we knew we were going to like the place. It was obvious that the people working there were happy and genuinely interested in making our experience an enjoyable one. I am a huge stickler for customer service, and the folks at Darbster did not disappoint.
I was impressed. Then, we got the food! Oh man, the food!
I waited in the car with Suzie, while Josh ran inside to grab the food. He came back out and described how cute the place was. I was a little sad to miss out on the delightful waterfront patio, but I figured that if the food was good, we'd visit again in the future.
The plan was to hold off on eating until we got to a nice little spot for a picnic. First though, I wanted to take a peek at the food! It smelled so yummy and tempting, I couldn't help but look. Once we opened up the boxes and spied the delicious food within, we couldn't wait another minute. We ended up eating right there in the car, parked outside of the restaurant.
Josh had chosen the Brunch Burrito. This massive burrito was stuffed with tempeh taco meat, tofu eggs, Daiya vegan cheese, peppers, onion, guacamole, vegan sour cream, chipotle béarnaise, and pico de gallo. It was served with a side of extra crispy, super delicious home-fried potatoes and a small cup of fresh fruit.
I know that some people say that size doesn't matter, but when it comes to burritos, we say "The bigger the better"! Darbster Bistro knows what's up. Josh and I were both astounded by the size of this burrito. It was like holding a newborn child, all wrapped up in a tortilla blanket. (Weird visual. Sorry not sorry.)
It was apparent that the ingredients in this burrito were fresh. The pico de gallo was juicy and the guacamole was smooth and creamy. The chipotle flavor was slightly spicy but not too overpowering. Overall, I'd say it was a delicious work of art. When all was said and done, we were left full and satisfied, but not sick, as one might expect after eating a burrito of this size. I think that says a lot about the quality of the ingredients. I just wish I'd had the foresight to snap a quick photo of this delicious artwork before we devoured it. (And yes, I said we. You didn't think I'd make Josh eat this massive thing all on his own, did you? I'm all about that teamwork!)
For my meal, I chose the Black & Bleu Burger (pictured above): A blackened lentil and brown rice burger topped with tempeh bacon, caramelized onions, fresh lettuce, Vegenaise vegan mayo, balsamic ketchup, and tofu bleu cheeze. All of this was piled artfully in the middle of a soft and chewy challah bun. I also had a side of fruit, and sweet potato fries with smoked paprika aioli. They were fabulous, but I swear, this burger nearly brought tears to my eyes. If I wasn't already convinced that being a vegan is downright fantastic, this is the burger that would have changed my mind. The mix of textures and flavors was mouthwatering and everything fit together perfectly. It was huge, fresh, flavorful, and completely delectable.
With a mouthful of juicy goodness, and balsamic ketchup dripping down my chin, I looked over at Josh and just shook my head up and down. Yup. Yes. Mhmm. This place has won me over. I can't wait to go back to Florida again, just so I can eat more fabulous, vegan food at Darbster Bistro.
Verdict: Darbster Bistro, West Palm Beach for the win!
If you ever find yourself in the West Palm Beach area, do yourself a favor and check out Darbster Bistro.
We even enjoyed our experience so much that we decided to check out the second location on our way home.
Continue along with our journey and read Spontaneity Part Four here.