Category Archives: austin

“Taco ‘Bout It” goes all vegan & creates the first vegan trailer park in the world!

UPDATE 8-26-2014 – Due to unforseen circumstances the Northloop trailer park is no more. Taco ’bout It had to shut down, Red Rabbit moved inside Monkeywrench books, and Unity & BBQ Revolution are still looking for new spots. Trailer parks really have a way of breaking your heart :(

Vegan Trailers BBQ Revolution, Unity Vegan Kitchen, and Red Rabbit Bakery opened one by one at the Northloop House and Yard. The taco trailer “Taco ‘Bout It“, also at the park on North Loop, offered one simple vegan friendly taco right when they opened. But, as vegan trailers opened around them, they started adding more exciting vegan tacos to the menu and they watched their vegan sales outpace their meaty counterparts. The owners realized it would be more profitable to go 100% vegan and thus the first all vegan trailer park in the world was created.

This might be my favorite story ever.

I want to send it to every taco joint in town.

If you make us tacos WE WILL COME! Check out Taco ‘Bout It’s menu:

The first vegan trailer park in the world, right here in Austin Texas!
There is BBQ Revolution where Blake Newman is smoking tasty vegan proteins and serving up traditional sides like mac & cheese and potato salad.

They’ve even been running a deal with the Americana Tattoo parlor next door (it uses all vegan ink BTW) that if you get a BBQ Revolution tattoo in a visible place from Dean Mitchell you get a free meal once a week for life!

Next door is the best doughnuts in town from our favorite anarchist collective Red Rabbit Bakery. They have their standard vegan doughnuts most days like Mexican Chocolate and Maple Glazed with Walnuts but then they also have specialty doughnuts like the Austin Cream Pie (Vanilla glaze with chocolate pudding filling) and rotating specials made with seasonal ingredients like Hill Country Peaches. 

Next door to them is our beloved Unity Vegan Kitchen run by one of my favorite vegan chefs in town, Leslie Nelms. This woman can cook! She first came on the atxvegan scene at VegFest 2013 when everyone was completely blown away by her cashew lasagna. Since then her trailer has gone on to great success, pleasing pretty much everyone with a menu that has everything from muffalata sandwiches to healthy spring rolls packed with vegetables and garlicky quinoa. Last week she was even running a Chickn’ and Waffles special. This Saturday they are celebrating their one year birthday!

It’s great to watch the community around the Northloop House and Yard develop. They regularly throw Vegan Riots with live music and all sorts of vendors and sometimes even a pig or two will stop by like they did at the 4th of July party! You know it’s a vegan party when a pig shows up.

The big events also bring in tons of other favorite organizations. At the last event, Action For Animals, Bistro Vonish, Vegan Drinks, Sweet Ritual Ice Cream, and Skull & Cakebones were all selling their wares and promoting the cause.

Rabbit Food Grocery had a popup shop selling us everything from the new Earth Balance mac & cheese and Bee Free Honey to vitamins

Maximum Salad made an awesome video where you can see the whole thing. (We are clearly all way excited about the pigs)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jIMP_NkHVc

This Friday BBQ Revolution is even running a fundraiser for the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary which was robbed so please go check it out if you can!

New vegan menu options at the Alamo Village!

The other day I was considering moving to a different part of the country. Obviously, there are so many horrible parts to moving. Like, I can’t imagine leaving my friends and family here, or selling my house. I started thinking about what I would miss the most about Austin itself like the shiny happy people and the anything goes anywhere dress code. But there are three things I just can’t even imagine how I would even live without. Tacos, Barton Springs, and the Alamo Drafthouse.

My partner and I are big movie/TV nerds since childhood and since our first days back at the original Alamo on 4th and Colorado the Alamo movie theater has been our favorite place. For Christmas we get Alamo giftcards and that’s where we go for birthdays and when we have friends in from out of town. I’ve gone from my first Mister Sinus theater experience of the Lost Boys, to wandering around the park between the four video screens for each of the four tracks of the Flaming Lips Zaireeka, to drinking Romulan Ale at the Star Trek premiere, every SXSW, Karaoke at the Highball, and seeing Leprechaun with Doug Benson every St. Patricks’s Day. I even got to see my friend chase James Franco down the alley behind the Alamo Ritz yelling “Mr. Franco”. It’s always just been a place that seemed meant for me.

Except for one gigantic problem.

While everyone around me is chowing down on movie themed specials and five dollar milkshakes I’m stuck with either the hummus plate, the veggie burger, the cheese-less pizza, the salad without half the stuff, or the plain popcorn. AKA the most boring vegan food in the world. Over the years they have added better vegan items like the Kick-Ass Tofu sandwich and the spaghetti squash pomodoro and then taken them away. The things is, when I go to the movie theater to laugh and drink beer I usually don’t want a meal. I want bar food. Snacks that go with beer. Things that are tasty and deep fried. Or if I’m having coffee and have already eaten I want something sweet. I look at their ice cream list every time, longingly, hoping that something has changed but alas, these snacks never come. Since the day I got twitter I feel like I’ve been harassing the Alamo to come up with something better for us. Once I even came up with a veganized menu that would be at my dream Alamo. It’s an obsession that I had pretty much given up on.

And then, last week, out of the aether I got the message I’ve been waiting for. “We heard you” and want “to extend an invitation to our first ever vegetarian and vegan food tasting and new menu reveal.”

It turns out that one of the kitchen workers at the Village is vegan and rode in the MS150 with Alamo owner Tim League. After a long and difficult training ride their team was scarfing up pizza and he couldn’t participate so Tim decided then and there to come up with some menu items! Finally! The best part, as a vegan blogger, is knowing there is a vegan at the kitchen and I can be certain that the bread and the tortillas are vegan without harassing the staff. And they have a little v for vegan on the menu. I couldn’t be happier. Well…unless they had deep fried olives and Sweet Ritual parfaits.

When I got to the Alamo Village last night there were already a million people there waiting to taste the food. That’s a good sign! We grabbed the four different items and found a seat. 

I think I started with the “Cherry Tomato & Avocado Bruscetta” served with basil, lemon vinaigrette, crostini, and a balsamic reduction.

I loved this dish, it’s like what I eat all summer when tomatoes are in season. The creamy avocado was a big yes for me. When they serve it at the theater you will get a big bowl of the topping and then slices of crostini. I love this idea and I am glad they are executing it so well.

I couldn’t believe the main dish was tacos, or in other words: my favorite food.

Even though they were called “Spiced Tofu Tacos” I was surprised by how spicy they were, definitely the spiciest tofu in town. The spice was balanced a bit with the avocado and I loved that the extra crunch was with fried tortilla strips instead of something like lettuce (I hate shredded lettuce) but I felt like these could have used another vegetable like baked squash or potatoes. They were a little understuffed but when you order them you get three. I wish there was a corn tortilla option because their flour one was just so-so. I really liked them regardless and I’m so happy to have a taco for when I’m there at breakfast!!!

Next I tried the Samosas that were served with a peach and mint chutney. Now, I’ve never met a samosa I didn’t like and this one was no exception.

They were pretty good sized and chock-full of filling. The crust was both soft and crunchy, just how it should be. I really liked the chutney too although I usually prefer some sort of tamarind sauce. You get three of these in an order and they are seven bucks so I can see myself getting these quite a bit and I’m sure they will go over especially well with the omni crowd.

Finally, I begrudgengly tried the Oatmeal Cherry Cookie, it didn’t look or sound like something I would like but hot damn, that was a great cookie! It was warm and soft with perfect texture and flavor. It might have been our favorite! That or the Bruschetta. The only thing about the cookies that they could improve is adding some ice cream.

And Jesus Christ get some nooch for the popcorn so I don’t have to sneak my own in. Where are we, North Dakota?

The new menu is available at the Alamo Village only right now, I beseech you to head over there and support it so that it spreads to the other locations. I think now I’ll finally be able to see Chef since I’ll have something to snack on during an entire movie about food.

PS. I’ve never beseeched anyone before and it was really fun. I’m going to start saying it all the time.

 

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!