Category Archives: austin

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.

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!

The 2014 Vegan SXSW Guide is up

I’ve completely updated the vegan guide for where to eat at SXSW 2014

First time at SXSW? Check out Mad Betty’s post How to Get Through SXSW

Interested in trailers in South Austin? The South Austin Foodie has a brand new guide

Vegetarian? Check out Aneelee who has picks for downtown, south, and the eastside.

Vida Vegan meet-up at the Liberty tonight (2/6) & a review of the newest Eastside King

Eastside King trailer behind the Liberty on the Eastside

I’ve long been a fan of the Eastside King, I mean anyone who has brussels sprouts in a Vietnamese stir-fry and beet fries is going to rank pretty high on my list. It’s been fun to watch the expansion as new trailers and a couple brick and mortars opened up around town as the word spread and Paul Qui became super famous. I love that a place that’s so trendy and popular has awesome vegan dishes because the number one reason people give up on veganism is that it’s inconvenient when eating out. So thank you Eastside King! Tonight the crew from Vida Vegan are going to have a meet-up at the original Liberty Location from 5-7. And if you aren’t feeling that trailer, there are tons of others nearby like Via 313.

I got to check out the new South Lamar Eastside King location a couple weeks ago and I was pretty stoked that they had the same offerings from the liberty location that I already love.

They also added tacos to the menu at the new location! I guess they had to since it’s smack dab in South Austin. The Mochi taco is “mochi in a steamed moo shu wrap topped with bico, , yuzu kosho salsa, avocado, basil, cilantro, mint and it’s delicious.

I was worried when I bit into it that they forgot and added cheese but we decided it was the mochi. I was with my friend and most amazing cookbook author Isa and I kicked her (not at all discreetly) when Paul Qui walked by so they could say hi. I’m the worst! It was fun though. The new location also has a giant Tanuki.

I was very happy with the experience overall (except parking can kind of be a bitch we parked at Chipotle which is probably a bad idea) they were super friendly about the vegan thing and everything was delicious.

So hopefully I’ll see some of y’all tonight! I wonder if we will get another snowday tomorrow!

CLOSED Austin Java Tarrytown Redux + a GIVEAWAY!!!

UPDATE 2-10-2014 Austin Java Tarrytown suddenly shut it’s doors forever over the weekend. The word is that the veg options are going to move to the Barton Springs locations.

Almost exactly a year ago a new all vegetarian Austin Java opened up in Tarrytown. We went and, like the other Austin Javas I’ve been to, the food was pretty disappointing. There was a lot of confusion about what was vegan and what wasn’t and it seemed like no one really had any idea about how to make delicious vegan food. Folks from the neighborhood were really disappointed and the reviews were kind of depressing since everyone was blaming the bad food on the fact that it was vegetarian. I still held out hope that things would change and sure enough a new manager was brought in, Maddy, who seems to be doing everything right. First she consulted with local vegans, the ladies behind our local tempeh company the Hearty Vegans, to help her out. And help they did! The menu is definitely pared down and, if I’ve learned anything from watching Kitchen Nightmares, it’s that that is a good thing! There is a lot more focus on making things in house from whole foods rather than store bought substitutions. A group of us were invited to try out the new menu on the house and if they can recreate our meal for their paying customers I think that it is going to be very successful with both vegans and omnivores. In fact, Maddy said since developing the menu she learned to love vegan food so much that she’s now eating that way most of the time!

We started with some agave & lime marinated cucumber tapas that were topped with avocado and pico de gallo. This is something I would never normally order but I really enjoyed it. The marinade took the edge of the cucumber and I could see this being a great app in the summer when it’s 5,000 degrees. I enjoyed them with a glass of delicious chardonnay, I never would have thought of Austin Java as a place for wine and I’m glad I tried it since they often have happy hour specials.

Next we were brought a couple of samples of pasta. The pasta primevera is something that I get from time to time at the Austin Java on 12th because it’s one of the few vegan meals they have and I am always super disappointed with the mushy noodles, oily overcooked vegetables, and bitter taste. The pomodoro at the Tarrytown location was totally the opposite of that. I think the other locations would be blown away by the difference that an al dente noodle, a well cooked vegetables, and a light sauce makes. Also viva la vegan parmesan a fresh basil.

We also tried the jalapeno mac & cheese which has avocado and pureed peanuts as it’s base. I loved this dish, in fact, I’ve been trying to make my own version of avocado mac over the years and it never worked out nearly this well. Not everyone at the table was sold on the peanut butter but I didn’t really notice it, I thought it was delicious and creamy and I’d order it the next time I go back for lunch. I loved the basil and the corn. I’ll be curious to see what other people think.

Next we were brought some sandwiches. The curried tempeh wrap was my favorite. It was kind of sweet with pecans and maybe even dried fruit but on a thick salty pita. I thought it worked really well, and again, I hope this sandwich comes to 12th street because I could easily eat it a few times a week.

We also sampled the southwest veggie burgers that are made in house and also gluten free. We tried them on a GF bun that’s made locally by  Misty Morning Bakery which I think is popular with the GF-vegan community. The burger stayed true to it’s veggie roots and wasn’t trying to be a meat replacement so I think it will be popular with the non-vegans too.

I think next came the black bean chili which was very similar to a chili I used to sell on the lot a million years ago. It was a little sweet and had pops of corn. I really liked it, a nice wholesome dish. They should enter the Lonestar Veggie Chili Cook-off next year.

Next came the tempeh “street taco”. Since we were just getting samples ours were on fried tortillas and I should have asked if that’s how they will always be. I liked it, it reminded me of homemade nachos. The tempeh ground beef was delicious and I think we all really enjoyed the filling. In fact, I do believe it was Nanette’s favorite dish.

Finally we were brought pancakes and I didn’t even take a picture since I was so full at this point that I could barely manage and also you all probably know what a pancake looks like. These were damn near perfect. The batter was agave and banana sweetened and topped with a cinnamon butter and maple syrup. We all loved them. Molly said they were the best in town and I already want to get them again.

She sent us home with cupcakes and cookies and, honestly, we thought the chocolate chip cookie was one of the best in town. I’d put it right up there with Celeste’s Best & The Big John from Whole Foods.

I’m so happy with the new menu and so glad that Maddy reached out the Hearty Vegan and that they were so helpful. It’s nice to have well prepared tempeh on a menu because tempeh is really unique and delicious and you can’t get it many places in town. They even have a tempeh scramble that you can sub in the migas. Nearly everything on the menu can be veganized and there were a lot of GF options. They haven’t printed out new versions of the menu yet so be sure to ask for vegan things when you go (like the pancake). And of course, let them know what you think. I think really one of the best things for veganism is to have great vegan food all over the place and I’m happy to add Austin Java Tarrytown to the list and I hope it all goes really well for them.

This contest has closed, due to unforeseen circumstances Austin Java won’t be able to honor the winner for a while.

TO WIN A FREE MEAL

Generously, they have offered a free meal to two lucky readers! If you would like to win please comment below. Let me know what you are most excited about trying on the new menu. Make sure you comment with an email that you check so I can notify you if you are the winner.

GIVEAWAY- Try Mr. Natural’s new Brunch menu for free!

Mr. Natural contacted me the other day to help get the word out about their new menu items. I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Natural and I love Mexican Breakfast so I was happy to help, especially when they said they would throw in two free brunches for y’all! The menu for this Sunday at the Caesar Chavez location is all vegan and it looks super friendly for gluten free folks as well. I already love their tofu migas but they will also have tofu scramble, rice with their fantastic refried beans, a variety of salads and, oh yeah, vegan fried chicken and waffles!

photo by Mr. Natural

fried chicken and waffles photo by Mr. Natural

They’ll also have a tamale casserole, toasted cauliflower curried quinoa with tofu , tofu and veggie quiche, spinach and daiya cheese filled puffs, and traditional biscuits and gravy!

photo by Mr. Natural

biscuits and gravy photo by Mr. Natural

You can finish it off with desserts like gluten free cheesecake bites,
marble chocolate bread, kombucha mimosas or even a vegan bloody mary.

photo by Mr. Natural

bloody mary photo by Mr. Natural

They have also added a lot of American style food to the regular menu like cheeseburgers, deluxe hot dogs, and chili cheese fries.

chili cheese fries

chili cheese fries photo by Mr. Natural

Since it is a vegetarian place make sure that you specify vegan when ordering off the regular menu and they will take care of you. Since this weekend is their first vegan brunch buffet they’d also love your feedback, if you feel weird about it, you can let me know on this post what you liked and I’ll get back with them.

TO WIN A FREE BRUNCH just comment below, you can tell me what your favorite thing is to eat for brunch, or what you are most excited about at Mr. Natural. Make sure you leave your name and a real email in the form so I can let you know if you won!

The giveaway is now closed (Congrats Lorena & Cady!) but stay tuned, there will be another one soon!