Vegan Bake Sale for Austin Pet’s Alive this Sunday at Wheatsville South

It’s time again for this year’s Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale and out Austin contribution gets bigger and better every year!

me & Kristen at the Counter Culture sale last year

If you like you can still sign up to bake here  http://tinyurl.com/2014AustinWWVBS

But if you want to help the leaders of Austin’s no-kill movement and thousands of pets find forever homes the best way is to let everyone know about the sale this weekend! Share our Facebook event! Harass your friends! Dedicate songs to us on the radio! Whatever it takes!

We will be at Wheatsville South this Sunday April 27 from 11:30am – 3:00pm

There will be gluten-free, soy free and savory items at the sale. And maybe even some dog treats.

The most exciting part is that we will also have treats from Sugar Mama’s, Happy Vegan Bakery, Red Rabbit Bakery, Mr. NaturalPatticake CupcakeryUnity Vegan Kitchen, and of course Capital City Bakery.

Help us make this sale this best yet!

Snapshots from Texas VegFest 2014

I got to attend another marvelous Texas Vegfest and I tried to take some pictures, I was so distracted by all the food and people it was hard to stay focused!

The line for BBQ revolution was so long I would have needed a wider lens to capture it. Or at least, you know, stood farther away.

I really wanted to try Red Rabbit’Yellowbird Sauce Donuts, but alas they were sold out before I got there. Red Rabbit is only for people that get their act together early and that means I never get to have it.

Follow Your Heart was sampling grilled cheese with their pesto mayo, and man oh man, I’m glad I waited for a batch to come up because it was one of my favorite things I tried. 

I was excited to see Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant there, and so was Dan, he couldn’t resist their combo plate.

Counter Culture had a bunch of salads for sale, and they looked super fresh and tasty. 

I learned that Vegan Toonah is going to be available nationwide soon, in a little can just like fishy tuna. I tried it and thought it was very interesting. It didn’t really remind me of tuna but it wasn’t bad, just like seitan in a can.

I thought Tecolote Farm deserved the cutest booth award. I love their owl! I should have bought a shirt. I did get a Herbivore shirt that I love.

I waited in line FOREVER for Capital City’s Ham & Cheese Kolaches and then they sold out when I  was just about to the front. It was torture. I love those kolaches so much. 

I was stoked to try Hearty Vegan‘s fajitas and tuna salad. Dang, it was the best vegan tuna salad I’ve ever had! I loved it. The fajitas were good too! They were so popular that it looks like Hearty Vegan might start selling meal kits.

I was excited to see all my friends in booths, like the VRA gang!

I think I should have a booth next year called “Kiss the Puppy” and for a donation to charity you can kiss a puppy. I wonder if they would let me since it’s no dogs allowed. That’s even more reason there needs to be puppy love, though. Mostly during veg fest I missed our foster puppy.

I waited in another long line for Good Karma Kitchen, they are a food truck from Dallas and I loved their tacos last year so I knew it would be worth it. At the last minute I decided to get a deconstructed tamale with black-eyed pea relish and bloody mary salsa instead. It’s really a great idea for a home-cooked meal, maybe I’ll make my own version since god knows, I’m not going to Dallas.

I saw Teese selling vegan nachos and had to wonder why this isn’t a thing everywhere. Especially at the movie theater.

After that I saw the Happy Vegan Baker and I wanted to try her mac & cheese which everyone raves about and then decided to try the lentil shepherd’s pie too.

I loved the mac & cheese but that was when I definitely hit the upper limit of my stomach’s capacity, no Sweet Ritual for me! There were a million other food vendors, activist groups, charities, and businesses that I’m not even mentioning. If you haven’t been, you should definitive make it out next year. The music was really good too! Texas VegFest is just incredible, hats off to the organizers for pulling together another amazing fest. 

It’s Texas Vegfest Weekend

TxVegFestAustin- This is the weekend to go to Fiesta Gardens for Texas Vegfest and try all the best of what the vegan world has to offer. There are going to be people speaking about health, activism, professional fighting, and cooking plant based food including allergen free & even an instructor from the professional culinary arts program at The Natural Epicurean Academy.

There will be food vendors from all the different facets of the Austin vegan scene including, Indian, Ethiopian, Barbecue, Japanese, Tacos, Doughnuts, and cupcakes. Pretty much everything you could ever want to eat.

They will also have craft beer, live music, kids activities, and all sort of other stuff to do and see. And by the way, it’s free! (although there is a suggested donation.) Plus since it’s right on town lake you can ride your bike or even kayak there. And you can win stuff! And buy cool shit! And then eat more.

If you can’t wait, Friday night there is going to be a huge Austin Vegan Drinks pre-party at the Buzzmill complete with Vegan Nom Tacos, a hooping contest, ice cream, and vegan croissants!

So get your act together, find your best straw hat, and get ready to get ready to make this the best fest ever. If you want to read about last year’s event here’s my wrap up.

Making the world more awesome through tortoise cozies & bake sales.

At our SXSW conversation a few weeks ago one thing we talked about a lot was that, for us, the best way to stay vegan & help animals is by doing things that make you happy. Protests and political actions are so important but it’s really easy to get burned out and they just aren’t for everybody. For me, I found that I like writing about awesome vegan food, rescuing dogs, and having bake sales.

But there is a million other things you can do if you can just think of them. I saw this story this morning on The Mary Sue and I had to share. A woman named Katie Bradley got involved with tortoise rescue and rehabilitation and then realized she had the talent to crochet tortoise cozies and sell them on the Etsy to raise funds for International Reptile Rescue. So inspiring and so fun. I love it.

Also, we need more bakers for the Austin World Wide Vegan Bake Sale coming up April 27, if you haven’t signed up yet, get to it!

Vegan Hand Pulled Noodles at Xian Sushi & Noodle

Recently it was cold and raining and the only thing in the world that I could imagine eating was a steaming hot bowl of noodle soup. I’d seen a delicious looking noodle bowl on Busy Veggie Mama so we headed off into the labyrinth of big box stores that is the Muller Redevelopment in search of the strip mall we were looking for that houses the newest vegan friendly hand pulled noodle restaurant. Actually, as far as I know it’s the only vegan one in town but hopefully someone can correct me. I spoke with the managers and they told me that the white noodles are vegan most of the time but the green ones are always vegan. They also said they’d be adding more to the menu as time goes on. The interior of the restaurant is kind of tiny, very bright and clean without a lot of adornment. You can see the chefs pulling the noodles and there were tons of front-of-the-house staff making sure everyone was happy.

We started with the edamame dumpling which were actually my favorite part. They were chock-full of edamame and the dumplings had a very nice smooth texture.

For the soups the only veggie choice has a seaweed broth that is rounded out with tofu, asparagus, bell peppers, bamboo, and spinach. You also choose whichever noodle type that you fancy and they will make them fresh, there were the standard vermicelli. fettuccine, spaghetti,  parpadelle, thick spagetti, and triangles. Of course when I saw the latter, I had to get triangle and my friends all laughed at me since I was disappointed when my noodles were not, in fact, little triangles. Laura said “what you think there is a guy back there with scissors cutting out every tiny triangle?” Yes. I did.

Speaking of scissors, the menu says that you can request scissors to cut the noodles if you like. They also recommend eating your whole bowl in less than 5 minutes for optimum texture. My whole table took this as a challenge but none of us were able to make it because these are gigantic bowls. We all found the soup a little bland. Like, so bland that it would be the perfect thing to eat after a bout with the stomach flu, but when we added soy sauce and asked for their homemade chile sauce it was much better. I think it can be tough for people that rely on meat to develop good flavor in all veg soups so hopefully the broth will improve over time because the noodles were delicious. And I love noodles. I even love the word: noodle. It’s good stuff.

Korean Komfort – a Traditional Korean Trailer comes to West Campus

I became obsessed with Korean food during my last trip to Portland where I had one of the most amazing meal ever that included having three waiters making table side bibimbap, which I remember like a fever dream at this point. An amazing fever dream.

I had never had delicious traditional Korean vegan food in Austin (although I love those fusion tacos at Chi’lantro) so when I saw that a new trailer, Korean Komfort, was opening up that magical night at Departure came flooding back. I chatted with one of the owners Min Choe and he assured me that both the bibimbap & the fried rice are vegan without the egg so I headed to the Rancho Rio Eatery trailer park on 25th & Rio Grande as fast as soon as I could.

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We came right at noon and I believe, for a while anyway, they will be open noon-9 during the week and then later on the weekends. Although there were a lot of students about on such a sunny day the trailer park had a range of folks. Spring time in Austin is just the best. I liked that their food was wrapped up in perfect containers to take back to the office for the other 300 days of the year when it’s blazing hot or threatening ice storms.

The Korean fried rice was really tasty and had a good-sized portion for lunch. But, if I was going by myself I would  stick with the bibimbap which hit those salty sweet notes of Korean really well. I loved it.

All the ingredients seemed really fresh but were also prepared nicely & well seasoned. The fried tofu was crispy and everything went together really well with spicy side of sauce. I learned that Min’s wife grew up and Korea and is the mastermind behind most of the dishes, preparing kimchi every day and making sure that all the dishes come out the way they are supposed to. I think it’s a great addition to the trailer food scene and I’m happy it’s close enough to downtown. Check it out if you love Korean food!

The Dojo – Vegan friendly Japanese bar food in North Austin

I’ve been hearing about The Dojo, a new Japanese Bar & Izakaya (small plates) in North Austin for a couple of months now,  when Sue at Counter Culture told me it was one of her favorite spots I knew I had to go stat.  I was excited to finally try it last week. For some reason I was expecting it to be on the fancier side like Uchi & Uchiko, where I usually go for sushi, and was surprised to find it stuck between a Chilies and a Trudy’s in a strip mall on Burnet & 183 with a bar in the middle and plastic menus. They did a really nice job with the location, though, making it very welcoming with lots of wood beams and different spots for seating.

I was excited that they had separate vegan menus (and gluten free) and of course, an elaborate drink menu with sake cocktails and lists of beer, wine and cocktails.

I think I got the Rising Sun which had Orange Sake, Orange Schnapps, Grand Marnier, Agave, Fresh Orange and Strawberries and reminded my of orange strawberry shakeup from the state fair. It was very sweet and frothy.

The first menu item we tried were the Brussels with truffle butter (vegan style) and they were delicious although they were also swimming in oil and we couldn’t even eat them all the way to the bottom. I love that Brussels Sprouts have become so popular in the last couple years.

It would have been smarter for us at this point to order something off the cold menu like the Tofu Caprese (Tofu, Tomato, Avocado Moussee, Shiso, Balsamic Pearl) or the Avocado and Crispy Tofu Salad but instead we went with more fried food. We tried the special with fried fennel.

and the Homemade Veggie Gyoza 

and Fuyu Maki Sushi which had winter squash tempura, cilantro, onion, carrot, and spicy miso.

I think the sushi roll was my favorite part, I really like the spicy miso sauce. We also got the Okonomiyaki Style Fried Potato which seemed more like Japanese waffle fries than Okonomiyaki to me. The fries were perfectly done and super crunchy.

Judging from the #atxvegan tag on instagram this seems like the most popular dish there and the most fun. It wasn’t for me because I think there must have been mustard in the sauce which I do not eat. We also tried the ramen and the udon noodles but I was so full at this point I stopped taking pictures! I know that Molly loves the ramen but I decided I must not be a ramen fan because I haven’t been too impressed by any that I’ve had in town yet. I’ll have to try some next time I go to the west coast. Or the recipe in Vegan Eats World.

Finally we got the dessert which, I didn’t photograph because it was melty when it came out, but it was WITHOUT A DOUBT my favorite part. “The Dojo Parfait” had ice cream, strawberries, mochi tempura, red beans, and pocky. I loved the pockets of fried mochi mixed with the coconut ice cream. It was like the fried ice cream I used to have at Mexican places in my hometown when I was a kid.

I think the Dojo will be a great addition to the neighborhood. How nice for vegans to finally have a bar that has tons of options for every kind of eater (there were some macro and lots of GF options in addition to all the fried stuff I had) which are all under-served in that area of town. I think they have been having a lot of settling in issues because the menu has gone through quite a few changes since they opened. Hopefully, they will tighten things up and continue to have a lot of success with the vegan community!