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Bountiful food options await vegetarians

Corn flakes, Cocoa Krispies, granola with raisins, Apple Jacks, Raisin Bran, Golden Grahams, Lucky Charms ... no, I am not simply repeating the cereal choices down the aisle at Harris Teeter. I'm speaking about cereal - the vegetarian's salvation at U.Va. While no vegetarian (vegan or not) can ever go wrong with a bowl of Special K and milk (whether it be soy or skim), vegetarians cannot live on cereal alone. Trust me.

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    Liquid: (104 14th Street) Every vegetarian's dream come true, Liquid offers a variety of sandwiches, smoothies and the Corner's only salad bar. Sandwiches, made fresh with only organic ingredients, range in price from $3.75-$4.50 and are well worth it. I would highly recommend the Italian herb tofu and the roasted red pepper hummus. Smoothies are delicious and refreshing, made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Nutritional supplements can also be added upon request.

    Café Europa: (1331 West Main Street) This Mediterranean sandwich shop offers a change from the traditional vegetarian hero - cheese, lettuce and tomato. Many of Café Europa's sandwiches are vegetarian (such as the Roma - artichoke hearts, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar on a baguette) and include a side of the Café's distinctive potato salad. But if you're looking for something other than a sandwich, you may wish to try some pasta salads or a variety of soup. Daily specials are also great. The vegetarian lasagna, made with eggplant and an assortment of veggies, is the best in Charlottesville and comes with bread and a side salad. Like Liquid, Café Europa's reasonable prices made it an affordable and satisfying meal.

    Sylvia's: (310 Main Street) Sometimes you just may be in the mood for pizza. If you want something better than a $4.99 Gumby's with ranch sauce and a side of Pokey stix - which you must try as a U.Va. student at some point during your career - Sylvia's definitely offers better quality pizza and gourmet slices, unparalleled on the Corner. The roasted veggie and artichoke pesto are not to be missed. While the slices will generally cost about $2.75-$3.25 each, you will not be disappointed. When I arrived in Charlottesville, I was convinced it would be impossible to find anything comparable to real New York Pizza. Now I stand corrected.

    littlejohn's New York Delicatessen: (1427 West Main Street) littlejohn's, an institution on the Corner, and the only place open 24 hours, finds most of its U.Va. clientele between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m. Although littlejohn's may not be the most vegetarian-friendly in terms of their sandwich menu, I can always order a mushroom melt, three cheese, or pizza sub, while my friends are purchasing the "Italian Stallion" or some meaty combo I can never remember. There are also a variety of salads as well. If none of the above appeals to you, however, there is always the littlejohn's muffin. For $1.26, you can purchase a muffin nearly the size of your head. I highly recommend either the cherry walnut or french apple (the two with icing-pink and white, respectively).

    Arch's: (104 14th Street) If you like ice cream or frozen yogurt, Arch's is THE place to go. And I tell you now, do not enter Arch's as I did for the first time and order a plain vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. That is a foolproof way of showing you are a first year. Ask if the brownies are gooey (I know it sounds strange) and if he (the person behind the counter usually is a he) says yes, say, "Extra brownies, please" and I promise that you are in for a treat. Anything with gooey brownies will satisfy a sweet tooth. Or if you are skeptical about brownies on frozen yogurt, try an Archer, one of the infamous blends of toppings ranging from York peppermint patties to cookie dough to Reese's. Arch's is an experience no one should miss. If you are too lazy to walk there ... lo and behold, they deliver! And if you are unsure of what to order, call the flavor hotline, which is updated daily to find out what delectable flavors Arch's is offering yogurt lovers.

    Martha's Café: (11 Elliewood Ave) Whether you are seated on the outdoor patio or inside the renovated house, Martha's presents vegetarians with a more formal dining atmosphere than other restaurants. Mini-pizzas, entrees (including an amazing vegetarian burrito) and creative pastas (I highly recommend the vegetable stir-fry with thai dressing) make Martha's menu extraordinary for those who can do without meat. Side salads that accompany most entrees are a plus, but the choice of unique dressings, such as curry mango and peanut, make these salads more interesting and a less drab than the usual.

    Two Moons Kitchen: (109 14th Street NW) Do you love Mexican food, but can't deal with Taco Bell? Well, even if you can, you cannot miss Two Moons's diverse menu of burritos, tacos and enchiladas. The beauty of Two Moons is you are able to build your own meal, choosing what you like and leaving out the rest. Famous for its homemade salsas, Two Moons satisfies any palate, whether or not you can handle ultra-spicy foods. Although you can simply order a burrito, you also can opt for a dinner, which includes roasted potatoes and a jimica slaw, which is a blend of carrots, cabbage and spices. The Three Sisters is a must try with summer squash salsa (the mildest of options), made with fresh, organic vegetables. And if you have room for dessert, the cheesecake brownie is undoubtedly the best option - fudgy and rich, it's everything a brownie should be. (I'm big on brownies.) Nevertheless, Two Moons is a staple for vegetarians who enjoy Mexican fare.

    College Inn: (1511 University Ave) You'll inevitably see its delivery cars throughout Charlottesville providing University Students with a variety of favorites ranging from traditional burgers (which I know won't appeal to the vegetarians out there) to pastas, pizzas and parmigiana heros (the eggplant is good if you're in the mood). Right in the middle of the Corner, College Inn is also a place where students can sit and enjoy a meal well until the wee hours (they are open until 2 a.m.). All choices are reasonably priced (for example, spaghetti and tomato sauce costs about $6) and the menu is rather extensive, so if you're in the mood for Italian or just a grilled cheese, you'll be able to find what you crave.

    And this is only the beginning. There are many more restaurants on the Corner that feature vegetarian selections. It's just a matter of seeking them out. But at least you know you don't have to trek too far to escape the monotony of cereal.


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