Dusty Hernandez, owner of Santana's Vegan Grill, 5046 Academy Blvd., is putting Beyond Burger on the veggie map as Colorado Springs' first vegan drive-through eatery.

For the uninitiated, Beyond Burger is a plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger. Each patty packs 20 grams of plant-based protein and has no GMOs, soy or gluten. Hernandez gives the patty a sear on a hot grill for flavor-enhancing goodness. Fresh lettuce, tasty tomato and a delicious bun seal the deal.

The prices are right, too. The deluxe burger ($5.79) is a no-frills single-patty deal. A deluxe cheeseburger ($6.39) is a juicy patty topped with vegan cheese. And the deluxe bacon cheeseburger ($7.49), you guessed it, gets a couple of slices of crispy fried vegan bacon. No surprises, the burgers sell out early. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Details: 271-9113, santanasvegangrill.com.

Speed trap

If you haven't found Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap, Bob Derian's nod to his Boston homeland and his mobile food business, we're here to help.

Trust us, it's worth clawing your way to his steaming kitchen for a lobster roll bursting with sweet crustacean meat. Derian parks his temple of lobster at Red Leg Brewing, 4630 Forge Road, 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. Visit facebook.com/thelobstahtrap to find out other locations to enjoy Derian's seafood treats.

Italian eateries celebrations

A couple of favorite noodle houses have reasons to brag:

- Gina and Les Costley, second generation owners of Luigi's Homemade Italian Food, 947 S. Tejon St., is offering a $19.58 (plus tax and tip) 60th Anniversary dinner for two from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through April. Two pasta entrées (spaghetti, fettuccine or rigatoni) come with choice of sauce, two house salads or minestrone, Italian bread and two fountain sodas or tea. Details: 632-7339, luigiscoloradosprings.com.

- Kym and Armando Palomba, owners of Fratelli Ristorante Italiano, 124 N. Nevada Ave., are celebrating 20 years in business and have been honored as one of the top 10 restaurants in Colorado Springs for quality, ambiance and service by Open Table Diner's Choice Award. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Details: 575-9571, fratelliristorante.com.

Back to reality

Carlos and Marcia Echeandia, who own Carlos' Bistro, 1025 S. 21st St., are home from vacation, and the bistro is open for business.

"I'm eager for customers to try our new item, Japanese Wagyu beef tenderloin," he said. "It's a beautiful cut that will be 8 ounces for $150."

Hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Half-price bottles of wine on Wednesdays. Details: 471-2905, carlosbistrocos.com.

Spring showers

Spring is in the air, and several culinary events are starting to bloom. Here's a look at some events where you can indulge and help culinary arts.

- Pikes Peak Chapter - Colorado Restaurant Association, presents the Food, Wine and Beer Expo at The Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., at noon April 15. Cost is $45 to sample food from more than 70 local restaurants, breweries and distilleries. A Chefs Competition and Craft Cocktail Competition take place during the feeding fest. Visit tinyurl.com/yd94q6hc.

- The Fran Folsom Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund Dinner is at St. Paul Parish Center, 9 El Pomar Road, at 6 p.m. April 14. The dinner funds scholarships to cover the final year's tuition for culinary arts students at Pikes Peak Community College. The dinner is designed, executed and presented by the PPCC culinary students and instructors. Tickets start at $150. Visit ppcc.edu/l/fran-folsom-dinner.

- The Culinary Passport Dinner, by the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, is at Julie Penrose Hall in the St. Paul Parish Center, 9 El Pomar Road, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 28. For $50, taste culinary traditions from 11 countries. The proceeds support the chapter's endowment, as well as the faith-based food charity High Plains Helping Hands. Visit pikespeakchefs.com.

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Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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