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Vegan or Not Vegan? Lazy Smurf investigates Whole Foods and Ramen Tatsu-ya

Lately there has been a lot of chatter about the Whole Foods on 6th and Lamar as they have been going through renovations and lots of changes. Grain/Beans/Greens has been replaced by a much easier to understand “Eat Well” stand. The taco stand has been moved to where GBG used to be and you now have to go through a very complicated ordering process involving touch screens. Coffee has moved to where the juice stand used to be and the drip coffee is right in front of it. There is no longer coconut creamer on the drip bar but you can ask for it at the coffee bar. The baked goods case that’s usually filled with vegan doughnuts, big john cookies, and bagels has moved over by the drip bar too.  An expanded juice bar is in the old taco spot. For some reason, they also chose to put a restaurant in the middle of all of this. I’m not sure why they restructured this whole area. Maybe people were moving too fast and efficiently? It used to take me 10 minutes to pop in for coffee and tacos and now it can turn into a half hour affair. It’s hard to say if these changes will all stick around but damn if Whole Foods doesn’t seem busier than ever.

As readers may recall a while back I was stunned upon finding out that their potatoes for breakfast tacos weren’t necessarily vegan. It turned out to be a shared deep fryer situation which vegans can go either way on (I personally don’t care I just didn’t want my potatoes cooked in bacon grease which is what I was led to believe from a conversation with an employee). I know for some vegans shared fryers are pretty gross and then others don’t consume oil at all and for you all I have exciting news thanks to a tip from Mark. Now, when you order the potatoes, you can order them without being cooked in oil at all as part of their “Health Starts Here” campaign. The other good news, for those that, despite everything, still go to Whole Foods for tacos, is that you can now get the breakfast taco menu all day.

Another question everyone seems to have is about the doughnuts. In the past all doughnuts were labeled vegan. But, during the renovations, the doughnuts seemed to change and now are not always labeled vegan.

I spoke with a couple of people at Whole Foods who seemed certain that all the doughnuts are still, in fact, vegan and that it’s a problem with the labeling. Right in front of the bakery case there is a little book that contains all ingredients in all of the food and no dairy products are listed in any doughnut, but then not every doughnut is listed.

Of course, if you want to be ABSOLUTELY sure just go to Wheatsville where you can always find Red Rabbit Doughnuts which are better anyway and 100% vegan.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on all of my favorite soups in Austin and was dismayed by a comment from Kim that said

“I hate to do this to you, but Ramen Tatsu-Ya is only VEGAN if you order it WITHOUT the tofu and the brussels sprouts. I found out that they cook the tofu in the same stove that they cook the meat and the brussels sprouts are cooked with animal grease or something. It’s totally fucked up. I only found out, because one of the cashiers told me! This was after eating it like 3 times and she was the only person who mentioned that it’s only vegan without those two items.”

I was super annoyed with this information because Ramen Tatsu-ya had specifically promoted their special as vegan and I contacted them on twitter. The reply a few days later was a little unclear, but it did seem that, they themselves, do not believe their special ramen is vegan.

So it looks like Ramen Tatsu-ya can at least still be a lunchtime destination and there are a number of other places doing vegan Ramen. Additionally, Counter Culture has pho on special all this week which I guarantee is vegan.

I also guarantee everything from this lady at the new Capital City Bakery storefront is vegan. 

And now Cap City is also carrying Ham & Cheese and Sausage Kolaches on special which are so good I couldn’t even take a pic before I wolfed them down.

So now I’m adding investigative blogging to my Linked In skills.

Top 10 Austin Vegan Eats for 2013

Every New Year it is kind of fun for me to reassess my top ten favorites for vegan dishes in Austin. The list is usually split between my obsessions and my favorite places to take people to show them what Austin vegan food is all about.

My plan was to try a few more spots over the holiday break but laziness & cedar fever got in the way so The Dojo and a few others will have to wait for next year, hopefully they will just get better and better! I did make it to the new Eastside King on the South Side and I’m happy to report that I loved it as much as the original. The mochi tacos are delicious but the Brussels and Beet fries are still the best part. I spent a whole month eating tacos during the Taco Cleanse so tacos kind of dominate this list. I thought about even making a ten best tacos list but then I remembered I already made a taco guide. I’m stoked that this year I finally get to add barbecue to the list! After years of shameful waiting the entire Austin vegetarian community was SO HAPPY that BBQ revolution opened up with their delicious tempeh, soy curl, and seitan barbecue, I have a feeling they are just going to keep getting better. Vegan Beignets at Barton Creole, Croissants at Thrice, and Cinnamon Rolls from Capital City, Sugar Circus, and Happy Vegan baker were all super popular this year. It was the best year we’ve had for vegan sweets. It was tough to choose from so many great places but after much consideration, here is what I’ve got.

1) The Vegan Nom barbecued brisket tacos with jalapeño mac and cheese

The Vegan Nom really stepped up their game this year adding the del ray to the menu, a second trailer on East Riverside and claiming the top spot on my list with their amazing/phenomenal/ZOMG barbecued brisket tacos with jalapeño mac and cheese. Right now this taco is only an occasional special and it sells out within an hour of opening, but seriously, this is probably the only dish in Austin where I had one…. and then bought three more to take home. This taco is probably my favorite thing I ate this year. It’s kind of crazy since it’s made from two things that should not be so freaking great vegan (smoked brisket and jalapeno mac & cheese) but it somehow manages to transcend their animal based counterparts.

2) Via 313 Pizza

It’s hard to call this pizza number two on my list because it’s probably been my biggest craving all year. I grew up eating a lot of Chicago-style pizza – I absolutely loved the kind of pizza you just couldn’t get in my hometown- and it was always my first stop in the city. Then I moved away from the midwest and pizza kind of lost all of it’s luster for me. The rest of the country kind of does takes on New York-style which will always be variations on Pizza Hut to me. Once I went vegan, the jig was up completely. I’m not a big fan of the two major vegan commercial cheeses. So, when I first started hearing a lot about Via 313 I wasn’t very excited, I did like that they used Follow Your Heart cheese, but it didn’t seem worth passing up Arlo’s for anytime I was in that area. Then finally I tried it. I think my pizza was, like 14 dollars, and TINY. I was mad.

And then I took one bite and knew I’d be back the next day. Detroit-style isn’t exactly like the pizza I grew up with but it’s got a big fucking delicious crust and sweet non paste-y tomato sauce *on the top* as it should be. It’s a freaking revelation. Everyone I’ve taken there, from the midwest, from my mom to my best friend, has loved it.

3) Sweet Ritual Chaco Taco.

Our wonderful little vegan ice cream shop has also upped their game this year because, in addition to their soft serve, they now make ever changing magical hard pack flavors like Thin Mint (with real girl scout cookies!) and Sweet Potato with candied pecans and even COFFEE WITH RED RABBIT DOUGHNUTS CHUNKS and oh yeah, they even make their own Magic Shell. This year they also started selling pints at the Flag Store and the Oak Hill Juiceland. During the month of the taco cleanse, though, they started whipping up Chocolate Tacos and I was totally obsessed. The flavors of ice cream would change up but there would always be a delicious chocolate toppings and sometimes toasted coconut on their amazing waffle cones. They were kind of like a drumstick but, GOD, so much better.

4) Bouldin Creek Tofu Scramble.

I’ve realized that when vegans visit Austin the second time Bouldin Creek is usually their first stop, and with good reason. Bouldin is one of the few places I can think of in town that has had consistently delicious food for a thousand years. Everyone loves Bouldin and the key to it all, I think, is their tofu scramble. Whether you get it in a breakfast taco, amidst the gloriously decadent Rennedict, or in the Garden Scramble it always hits that perfect spot. Plus they open super early, stay open late, have a lovely patio, a warm inside and a friendly atmosphere. I’m so glad they survived their move across the street and I am hoping the manager Leslie bring her same magic to Flipnotics, which she also recently was put in charge of.

5) Puffy Tacos at El Chile y Cantina.

A taco doesn’t have to have any special “vegan” ingredients to make me happy. I am just fine with refried beans, potatoes, nopales, avocado, rice, or whole beans most of the time. For me, the best tacos are all about the quality of the tortilla and the toppings and that is why I love the puffy tacos at El Chile. First, their fried tortillas have the perfect consistency, they are never a bit greasy or mushy. Then they also seem to actually care about the vegetables they are putting on the tacos which is surprisingly rare! You would think restaurants wouldn’t serve overcooked roots and oily greens but alas, they are nearly always an afterthought. At El Chile the veggies are cooked correctly and then PILED on with tons of guacamole, fresh lettuce, and creamy beans. They also make a damn good margarita.

6) The Muffalata Sandwich at Unity Vegan Kitchen.

One of my favorite new trailers to open this last year has been the amazing Unity Vegan Kitchen. I first got to discovered it at the amazing 2013 Texas Veg Fest where everyone was raving about the cashew cheese lasagna. I am in love with the Muffalata sandwich, and not just because olives are my most favorite food forever and ever. I love this sandwich because it is perfectly executed on delicious homemade bread and thinly sliced marinated tofu. This is a woman who isn’t afraid of using a little oil and salt in her food either, which can be tough to find at all vegan places. They are going to be moving to North Loop House and Yard at 701 E 53rd St by BBQ Revolution and Red Rabbit on Jan 22.

7) Wasota Vegan Platter.

This is another perennial favorite of mine, that I’ve gone on and on about at length. Everything on the platter defines deliciousness and goes together so well that I can never stop eating it even after I’ve had my fill. That amazing flavorful rice, the perfectly fried plantains, the creamy spinach, the salty akara dumplings, the luscious beans, it’s just too good to even deal with sometimes, like last meal on earth good. This year the trailer moved to a lot on South Lamar across the street from Mr. Natural.

8) Cherrywood Coffeehouse Breakfast Tacos

One of my out-of-town friends had heard me talk about breakfast tacos A LOT. Actually, along with Star Trek and my dogs, tacos are topic I can go on about indefinitely. She’s heard me go on and on about breakfast tacos but didn’t have one until this year. I had a hard time trying to decide where to take her, I think we’d just come off the taco cleanse so my head and belly were full of ideas about the perfect taco. Eventually I decided it had to be the always consistent Cherrywood because their tacos are what a vegan breakfast taco should be (IMO), they have endless options like the standard veggie chorizo, guacamole, and refried beans but they also have deep fried tofu and shoestring potatoes (aka french fries). Breakfast isn’t breakfast without potatoes and veganism would be NOTHING without the french fry so they are, kind of, the perfect thing to have on a vegan breakfast taco. My friend took one bite and said “I get it now” and ordered more to smuggle to California.

9) Pie from Capital City Bakery

It’s tough to pick a favorite at Cap City, the brownies are so rich and delicious and probably weigh a half pound. The cupcakes are light and beautiful. The cookies are perfect, especially when filled with ice cream. But, I think the pies are my favorite part. We got to try a sampler of all the thanksgiving pies this year, from Pecan to Sweet Potato and each one was amazing. The tomato pie during pizza day (pictured above) was incredible. I am just so excited that the brick and mortar finally opened up so we can have perfect pies from Kristen @inmypies whenever we want. We really are living in a Golden Age.

10) Green Curry at Sway

I was so impressed with the Green Curry the first time I tried it at Sway on South First street that I tried to grow those little eggplants over the summer. I ended up with two which wasn’t really even a big enough yield for one curry. Luckily, you can always get them in the Green Curry at Sway along with a really tangy Pad Thai and a tapioca pudding with avocado sorbet and you pretty much have a perfect meal. One of my friends said he didn’t even really like Green Curry but that this one was a game changer. I think it’s all about the veggies. And the coconut cream on top. It’s super spicy though so be warned if you don’t like the heat.

Favorite Local Product: Kosmic Kombucha

I tend to go through periods where I suddenly drink Kombucha all the time and my favorite is Austin’s own Kosmic Kombucha. Over the last year I have tried just about every flavor going through weeks where I would only drink “Clockwork Orange” (Organic Kombucha, Orange Juice, Vanilla Rice Milk, & Vanilla) or the “Mint Julep” (Organic Kombucha, Organic White Grape Juice, fresh squeezed Orange and Lemon Juices, Fresh Mint). I think the “Pear of the Dog” (Organic Kombucha, Prickly Pear, Lime, Orange, Olive Juice, Sea Salt, & Agave) might be the most interesting Kombucha I’ve ever had. I love them all.

Most Missed- I thought about this category so many times over 2013. When I went to La Condesa on my birthday and found out they no longer offered the amazing vegan board I might have shed a tear. Oh, and when they told me it was because they were so busy now that they won a James Beard award it made me hate the culinary world as a whole.  And then when my favorite trailer park with Cap City, Conscious Cravings, and Moses Falafel closed down I thought that I might have to give away the category to the Longhorn Trailerpark. But then, in the waning days of 2013, one of the worst closings ever hit the vegan community like a knife to the gut; Cheer Up Charlies the vegan friendly, queer friendly, center for happy people had to close down (new development of course) and rumor’s started that our beloved Arlo’s would not re-open. I’m still hoping that these rumors aren’t true, this is a trailer that had over an hour wait at Texas Vegfest will somehow persevere, but it really doesn’t look good. They haven’t responded to any requests for info and aren’t saying anything on social media but have told others they aren’t interested in running a trailer anymore. I don’t know how we will go on without the wonderfulness that is the Bac’n Cheezeburger aka the best vegan burger I ever had. I wish I could at least have one more to say good-bye.

Please feel free to leave any favorites in the comments or make your own top ten, we all have such different ideas of what is the best! Any time I see people recommending places that aren’t my favorites I’m utterly shocked but, really it just gives us all more to love. The Vegans Rock Austin Poll has barely anything in common with mine. Red Hot Vegan did a bunch of favorites during veganmofo too and I think we have one dish in common. If you are interested in what’s in and what’s out for me here is my 2012, 2011, and 2010 lists, most of the places I mentioned before but didn’t list this time have either closed down or are still a favorite though. Hopefully 2014 will be the best yet.

 

 

 

Dealing with the cold – an Austin soup round-up & Vegan Christmas!

Is it just me or is this the coldest winter we have ever had? The beagles and I are suffering through it with lots of blankets, heating pads, tv, warm sweaters, and hot soup. I can’t even blog because it’s so cold in my office. I picked the wrong year to not go on a tropical vacation. I wish I could hibernate.

I have been seeing lots of soup specials around town. Counter Culture and Unity Vegan Kitchen seem to be doing weekly or daily specials so you can go in and get soup and a sandwich. Of course Casa de Luz always has daily soup specials too. The Juicebox in South Austin always has vegan soup too, I love their green goddess and if you get a green smoothie to go with it you can will St. Patrick’s Day to get here already.

The Steeping Room is another good spot to go to in the winter so you can also have hot tea. They make a lot of their delicious soups from a coconut base. And you can get an adorable tea sandwich to go with it.

I love the Tom Kha at Little Thai food, which I’ve gone on about before, I’ve been trying to make my own Tom Kha at home but it’s not quite as good. Another soup I’ve been enjoying, way down south, is the Al Tofu Noodle soup from Tuk Tuk. Hao Hao has a hot & sour soup that’s similar but I don’t think it’s as good. If you live in the area both places deliver so that’s pretty huge. I also finally found a pho that I really like (it’s definitely not the one from whole foods) at PhoNatic they  have a far south location and a far north location so for once central people are out of luck.

Then there are all the ramen spots, Daruma downtown, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Michi Ramen, and the Dojo all up north, I do believe Tatsu-ya still only does vegan ramen on Sundays still but the rest have it every day.

Mr. Natural has a really good tortilla soup that you can order off their menu, you could even add Daiya cheese if that’s how you roll. Down the street from there Wasota has Egusi Soup with Fu Fu and you can even call ahead and have it ready when you come by. That’s really all I can think of, I’m sure their are tons of other Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian soups out there, if you come across a special one please let us know in the comments.

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In other news their are lots of parties on the horizon. BBQ Revolution and Red Rabbit Doughnuts are going to have a customer appreciation party this Friday the 13th at 7. Sweet Ritual is celebrating their 2nd birthday this Sunday the 15th with $1.50 cones all day! They also have a bunch of fun holiday themed ice creams you can take home. They are available all over town nowCounter Culture will also be throwing a holiday party with a white elephant gift exchange and cheese specials Tuesday Dec 17th. Just like at Thanksgiving, they will be doing holiday meals to go for Christmas in case you are going to a non-vegan event.  Vegans Rock Austin is going to have a holiday potluck on 12/22. Capital City Bakery is moving into their building and they have a bunch of holiday specials and you can order pies, cookie dough, and other treats for Christmas.

Austin Bakes for Austin this Saturday November 30th


Our bake sales for Natural Disaster relief started with Austin Bakes for Japan where we couldn’t believe it when we raised $11,540. Next, after the wildfires in Bastrop we got together and raised $12,500. Then after the plant explosion in West Texas, and incredibly, we raised $18,251.92. The team behind the bake sales is really amazing at organizing and having simultaneous events all over town and having sponsors do donation matching and really just having an entire community come out to support humanitarian aid. It’s really sad that this time it’s for people in our own backyard who have been devastated by the October floods. I know I’ll never forget that picture of the horses being led through the water or the raging waters at Barton Springs. Overnight I got 12 inches in my backyard and all of the creeks around me were sweeping over the roads. Over four hundred of my neighbors lost their houses completely. 

Is it weird that now whenever there is a disaster I start planning on what I can bake? Maybe it is, but I hope that you think this way too because we need lots of vegan bakers to participate. Actually, we always need vegans, sugar free people, gluten free, and nut free people to bring in their best treats because it is terrible turning people away. Think of the children! Plus, the next time someone tells you it’s wrong that you only care about animals you can say, “actually I recently donated to this huge effort for humanitarian aid right here in town”. The team always picks excellent charities and all the money for our Austin sale will go to Austin Disaster Relief Network a super local organization.  This time I’ll be heading up the table at Sugar Circus with my bake sale buddy Nelly but there will be locations all over town where you can drop off baked goods or buy and donate.

If you’d like to lend a hand, please sign up here!

 

We would also love your help spreading the word, here are some ways to help from the Austin Bakes site 

Visit our fundraising page on FirstGiving to make a donation to Austin Disaster Relief Network.

If you are thinking about what to bake check out some of my other posts here and here remember to list your ingredients and wrap things up. Here are some more tips on the Austin Bakes site.  People love savory things! For the worldwide vegan bakesale I made these pretzel dogs and they were the first thing to sell out. And remember to come out and support the sale & tell all your friends and co-workers.

Thanksgiving for the Turkeys

For years I have had my office rally around the cause of adopting turkeys and the adoption certificates are now hanging up all over the place. It leads to a lot of interesting discussion. Most of the time people crack a joke about how the turkeys deserve to be eaten or something but, as time has gone on, I’ve learned to always say “well these turkeys were abused” and it changes the conversation. When people first hear about food animals being saved they picture a healthy robust animal on it’s way to get processed for the super market getting stolen off the assembly line by some rouge vegans who want to rob people of their holiday bird.

I think this is the story folks really want to believe. They choose the Utopian farmer story so they don’t have to think about factory farms and monstrous slaughterhouses. When you tell them the reality of these turkey’s lives, well people don’t joke about it again after that. Maybe these turkeys were abused or fell off the truck. Maybe it was too sick to be taken into the slaughterhouse so it was abandoned in a dumpster outside to die slowly. I usually mention how all turkeys are confined to tiny spaces and their beaks are cut off.  It really makes people think and sometimes they throw in a couple dollars to our adopt a turkey fund or at least they think it’s a pretty great thing to do. It can be tough to have these conversations though. It took me a long time to be able to realize that arguing the “meat is murder” point will never get you anywhere but nobody wants to see animals tortured and abused. It’s a much easier starting point.

I do love telling people, after that, about how Farm Sanctuary has a Thanksgiving party *for* the turkeys. Once people feel bad for a turkey’s tough life they love hearing about little kids feeding turkeys sweet potatoes and apples to celebrate the holiday. It’s a great program.

I encourage you to adopt a turkey too, and to tell all of your friends about it. It’s a great way to honor the holiday in my experience. If you live in Austin Capital City bakery is going to be having our own little party for the turkeys. Kristen is cooking up tons of stuff, both sweet and savory and she is going to be sampling all of her Thanksgiving pies. 10% of all sales are going to Farm Sanctuary and if you pledge TODAY to sponsor a turkey you will get a totally free 4″ turkey cake. You have to order today though at orders@capitalcitybakery.com or 512.666.7437.

You also have to get your orders in today for Thanksgiving pies from Capital City Bakery and also Thanksgiving Dinners from Happy Vegan Bakery or Counter Culture. Check out the Thanksgiving roundup for more info.

You say you want a revolution, a BBQ Revolution

It’s kind of been an embarrassment that we don’t have vegan barbecue in Austin. I think it’s the most common question I get asked and I’ve got nothing to recommend. There were a couple places using barbecue sauce but as we Texans know, it’s not about the sauce so much as the smoking. If there is one thing the newest vegan trailer, BBQ Revolution, is all about it’s smoking! They even put together a giant smoker to make up there savory vegan goodness on site. I’ve been watching the whole project unfold on instagram and dying to try it and last night I finally got to brave the traffic and the cold to order my first plate of authentic Texas vegan barbecue.

Oh, and did I mention this new barbecue trailer is next door to the Rabbit Food Bakery trailer, aka everyone’e favorite anarchist doughnut making collective? It almost makes me want to sell our house in south Austin and move back to our little apartment on North Loop….almost.

BBQ revolution has just a couple of options right now, as they have just barely opened, but they do plan on expanding the menu and have specials like fried green tomatoes . I tried both the soy curls and the wheat roast which were both smothered in the Texas-style barbecue sauce. They will also soon be offering local Hearty Vegan Tempeh which I’m excited to try. I don’t have a lot of other vegan barbecue to compare this too but I can tell you that it’s legit.  It was intensely smokey so I really enjoyed mixing it with the more neutral sides. I tried the macaroni & cheese which was old school nooch-based but super creamy and the potato salad which reminded me of my grandma’s; mellow and delicious. They also serve it as a traditional sandwich with white bread, pickles, and onions.

If you want to try it, and you should, tonight is the night because they are throwing a huge grand opening party. They are going to have fire dancer’s and music, beer, Red Rabbit is going to stay open late and sell doughnuts, Rabbit Food is going to have a pop-up shop with all of their awesome products, and they are even selling local soap. It should be a total throwdown. It is going to be cash only and they are going to have a limited menu “$9 plates $5 sandwiches 3 protein choices and 3 sides to choose from with a plate. Sandwiches come with potato salad, coleslaw and of course pickles and onions!” The weather should be a lot nicer than it has been and hey, if they run out of food, note that the Vegan Nom is closed for the weekend but Sweet Ritual is a few blocks away and I heard they have an amazing sweet potato ice cream.

Make your VRA Best of Austin Poll Nominations today!

VRA Best of

I love the Best of Austin Poll even though it makes me so mad when places I love get the shaft! Why doesn’t everyone have the exact same opinions as me? Supposedly it’s because we are all different, but I don’t buy it. I had trouble nominating a best taco, it’s like choosing between my children, if I had children! Best ice cream, on the other hand, was pretty dang easy ’cause even though their are quite a few vegan ice creams in town only one will stick it in a homemade chocolate covered waffle cone. If you need help remembering places my city guide is super helpful and also the reason you should VOTE FOR ME for best blogger! And remember, these are just the nominations so we will whittle them down for the final vote so think broadly!

Lonestar Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off Sign-up Happening Now!

I love Chili, Texas style, Yankee style, Verde, Tons of Beans, No Beans, Tempeh, Barley, whatever it is as long as it’s vegan (and not burned) I’ll probably like it. That’s why the Lonestar Vegetarian Chili cook-off is always one of the best events of the year. Last year I got to judge and my friend Cassandra with the Red Hot Vegans took the trophy for best traditional and then members of the Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance got the best all around! It was pretty rad to see other bloggers win, I promise I didn’t cheat! Another year Molly of the Lonestar Plate won and her amazing recipe (which is pictured above in frito pie form)  is in our Sunny Days in Texas Zine and she has it rounded up with some other great chili recipes online.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to win the cash prizes the time to sign up is now! Even though people come in from all over the state to play AND it’s the longest running vegetarian chili cook-off in the world Austin almost always wins and it sure would be sad if we lost to someone from Round Rock or Dallas so get your teams together and sign up. The event is going to be tons of fun, with all sorts of live music and different vendors.

Austin Vegan Taco Guide

During month of the taco cleanse I got to add quite a few tacos to my list so I thought it was time for a guide. I’m sure there are many, many more so please let me know about any important tacos in Austin I’m missing, some are intentional and some are not! Most of the places could fit in multiple categories but I stuck them where I think their tacos shine the most.

Breakfast Tacos


Bouldin Creek- This amazing vegetarian coffee shop in South Austin has a very unique tofu scramble that they use in their tacos. They also have homemade chorizo and a handful of other toppings. I like the tofu ren with tofu scramble sautéed with jalapenos, garlic and onion. They also have dayia cheese, and taco specials at night. They are open from 7am until midnight and the breakfast menu is available all day.

Mr. Natural- Delicious homemade corn tortillas, tofu, homemade chorizo, vegan cheese, beans, potatoes, and avocado all available. The only thing is to remember to say no lettuce, tomato, or sprouts because, in my opinion, those items should never be on a breakfast taco. If you are dining in I love making tacos out of the vegan migas. And the Mexican Pancake which isn’t a pancake or a taco but is delicious.

The Vegan Nom- More breakfast taco options than anywhere else at this all vegan taco stand (about to open a second location). Make whatever combo your heart desires or go for the set options like tempeh bacon and tofu scramble. I love their dinner tacos too like the del ray and if they are running the brisket special get there early because that deliciousness is going to sell out.

Whole Foods Lamar- I had a TOTAL panic a few weeks ago that the potatoes weren’t vegan but it is just a shared fryer scenario so Whole Foods is off my shit list. I love their spelt margaritas tortillas, the refried beans, and the vegan chorizo. Their pico is always perfect but they have a range of salsas. The also have kale, tofu scramble, a vegetable medley, black beans, daiya cheese and lots of other toppings. The word is that only Lamar has good tacos and the line is always long so beware.

Veracruz All Natural- Amazing homemade tortillas, fabulous salsa with chunks of avocado along with hot sauces all make Veracruz a fantastic choice. I get potato and bean. They are also known for their interesting smoothies and have tacos all day.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse- My favorite Austin style breakfast tacos. It’s the only place I know where a vegan can get chunks of deep fried tofu, shoestring potatoes, and guacamole with an almond milk latte and call it breakfast, delicious fantastic breakfast. They have tacos all day too.

Maria’s TacoXpress – I love this place for hippie church on Sunday. They have refried beans and potatoes that are vegan and if you add all the salsas, cilantro, guacamole, and onions it will be pretty awesome.

Wheatsville Co-op- organic white flour, wheat flour, or corn. Ingredient choices are: potatoes, vegan sausage, cheese, rice, and black beans plus either Casera, Pico de Gallo, or the featured salsa. I am hoping that they change tortillas and add a tofu scramble because what they’ve got is pretty lackluster but they do have great coffee so it evens out.

Pueblo Viejo- This trailer opens for breakfast at 7:30 and stays open until 3 am sometimes on the weekend. The refried beans are vegan and the salsa is spicy. They also have a veggie taco and really good guacamole.

Tamale House East- Potatoes, beans, guacamole and food for lover’s queso can all be yours at this restaurant. Enjoy mimosas on their patio and homemade chalupas and gorditas too.

El Flaco Cafe- This hopping little cafe on South Congress has vegetarian chorizo and a few vegetable options but they seem really weirded out by the whole vegan thing so make sure you say no eggs no cheese a few times, they do offer egg beaters and I think that’s where the confusion comes but it’s a pretty good greasy taco if that’s what you desire.

Mellizoz Tacos- This trailer just south of Elizabeth Street on South First has fantastic breakfast tacos. They do have portabella taco and can add spinach which is always a nice option. If you have friends that want to go to Torchy’s take them here instead and they’ll be so impressed.

Lunch and Dinner Tacos

Taco Deli- Since the potatoes at Taco Deli aren’t vegan I can’t really consider taco deli a good place for breakfast but I adore them for lunch. The Freakin’ Vegan which is just beans and avocado is wonderful because the have perfect beans, great tortillas, and a doña sauce that’ll kill you. Sadly for us all locations close at three and they are always packed.

Vivo- Beloved for it’s beautiful patio and delightful cocktail menu this restaurant on Manor is a great place to enjoy some puffy tacos for Happy Hour.

Guero’s Taco Bar- This restaurant on south Congress radiates south Austin charm and they do have a large vegan section on their menu that includes vegan al pastor tacos and food for lover’s queso. Sadly, the execution is off and I mostly go here if I am in the area late or want margaritas. I do like the chalupas and the taco salad better than the tacos but they do offer the full range of toppings so I thought I should mention them!

El Chile Cafe y Cantina - Vegetable and Guacamole packed Puffy Tacos and Mexican Margaritas make a perfect combo to relax for dinner on South First. I love the chilango margarita too.

Sweet Ritual- I don’t know if the chaco taco will stay on the menu at Sweet Ritual forever but if it’s there, you should get it. Ice creams like salted caramel in a homemade waffle cone covered in magic shell and toasted coconut is pretty much what I live for. I want to go there right now.

Beets- If you are into raw food check out Beets on West 6th street for their raw tacos. “three crispy corn taco shells filled with a veggie ground meat, topped with shredded lettuce, salsa and drizzled with cashew nacho cheeze (served with with “sunflower beanz” and a choice of side salad” are pretty good if you like your food kept below 118 degrees.

Papalote- This tiny authentic Mexican restaurant on South Lamar has a ton of vegetable options (cactus, zucchini, poblanos peppers, potato, onion, mushrooms, green beans, jalapeños, avocado tomato, tomatillos and chips) for their breakfast tacos but I really love the tlacoyos which is why I think of it as a midday place. The homemade tortillas and hot sauces are so tasty.

Takoba- This trendy restaurant on east 7th is nice to hit up with the nonvegans in your life because they have good cocktails. The vegetarian taco plate has zucchini, caramelized sweet potatoes, roasted corn, green chiles, queso fresco, chipotle mayonnaise, guacamole so see if you can leave off the mayo and add beans or nopales. Everything is marked with a V which is nice.

Curra’s - Really the reason to go to Curra’s is the avocado margaritas but the tacos are good enough, I do like the tamales better. The rice isn’t vegan but they will let you double bean on the taco plate which will be enough to fill up the vegan truck driver in your life, especially if you stuff yourself on chips and salsa too.

4th Meal (aka late night tacos)

Chi’lantro - Even though you can get Chi’lantro tacos for lunch and dinner I always think of them as a post-bar place. They have multiple trucks downtown on the weekend and the service is fast and the tacos are cheap. I love the fried tofu and the sweet sauce. It always hits the spot.

Taco Cabana - Seriously? Seriously, the black beans are vegan and they make them there and the corn tortillas too. They are open 24  hours and they even have margaritas. You can’t say that about Taco Bell.

Kerbey Lane- Their standard vegan black bean tacos are not very exciting but they are gigantic so if it’s 3am and you need to eat a lot of food and drink coffee it may be your best option since they are 24 hours.

The Buzz Mill- This hip coffee house on East Riverside is open 24 hours and they have pre-made vegan nom tacos until they run out.

Taco Cleanse Addendum – Making Nigerian Tacos from Wasota

Wasota is one of my favorite trailers in town. I love everything there… maybe a little two much. All the food is so good and the portions are so humongous that Dan and I both eat well past our stopping point whenever we get it. We try to stick the leftovers in the fridge but then we can’t stop snacking on them. It’s addictive. During the taco cleanse I realized that the vegan platter would make great vegan tacos, it has so many different elements and there is even a tasty spicy sauce to put on the top. I thought about this constantly until a night when Dan and I were both home because I couldn’t go to Wasota without him.

Putting everything together was even better than expected and we only had to get one vegan platter (with an extra side of plantains) to split. We still ate more food than we probably should of but it was delicious magical food. The taco was Jollof rice, black-eyed peas, creamy spinach, akara fritters, fried plantains, and then topped with the spicy Benin sauce all in a flour tortilla. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recomend you check it out stat. They recently moved the trailer to South Lamar in that little lot across the street from Mr. Natural.

In other taco cleanse news the zine is now available on paper and on PDF. A warning about the latter, we made the zine all with cutouts and photocopies so the PDF version is just a scanned version of the paper version. It still rocks! The paper version is going to be a limited run and will also be available at Rabbit Foods pop-up at Vegan Drinks this Friday.