Voodoo Doughnuts Austin

Yesterday I saw someone walking down 6th street with Voodoo Doughnuts distinctive pink box and it threw me off balance for a second. It’s just so unexpected to me, still, that we have a Voodoo in Austin. Back in my early vegan days the Voodoo in Portland was super special because it was one of the few places in the country you could get vegan doughnuts. It was a Portland institution like Franklin’s BBQ here, always a long line trailing down the street. Now you can get vegan doughnuts in most major cities & somehow a Voodoo opened here. It’s weird wild stuff.

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So if you’ve never been to Voodoo there are a few things you need to know:

It’s cash only. There is an ATM inside but don’t wait until you get all the way to the front to get cash out or everyone will hate you.

Voodoo is open 24/7

It’s right on Dirty 6th so if it’s a time when the bars are busy Voodoo will have an epic line but during the daytime on a weekday you can just saunter in.

The top shelf of the doughnut carousal shows off the vegan doughnuts BUT they will actually get the doughnuts off the racks behind them so make sure you specify that you want the vegan versions.26595938701_beb14d4675

They make fresh doughnuts three times a day. When they first opened they had trouble keeping the vegan doughnuts in stock because of high demand but it’s better now. The cake doughnut flavors change every day depending on what they feel inspired to make but the yeast doughnuts are a bit more consistent.

The Old Dirty Bastard (chocolate, Oreos, peanut butter drizzle)
The Dirt (vanilla with Oreos)
Glazed Ring Chocolate Ring Grape Ape (vanilla grape)
Portland Cream (Bavarian with chocolate)
Longhorn Cream (same but with maple)
PB&J (raspberry filling topped with peanut butter and peanuts)
Raspberry Romeo (glazed with raspberry filling)
Gay Bar (Bavarian cream dipped in vanilla with a rainbow of fruit loops)
Maple bar Voodoo Doll (chocolate dipped raspberry)
Blunts (cinnamon sugar dipped in maple and sprinkles)
Apple fritters Cock ‘n Balls (dick shaped doughnut filled with Bavarian cream, dipped in chocolate–for an extra dollar they’ll write anything you want on it)

If you are feeling indecisive just ask for a dozen vegan that they pick. You can also do a pre-order 24 hours in advance if you want to, say, have 12 Portland Creams waiting for you.

The decor inside is open and airy complete with a doughnut tree and huge windows.26388190400_d73532fab5

The doughnuts are really sweet so ordering coffee is kind of a must unless you are a little kid. Or my partner who could probably put down a whole dozen. I was not able to eat both of these.

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You might want to buy extra because for some reason, everyone who sees you with a Voodoo doughnut box will ask you for a doughnut. Honestly, it’s almost comical how many people will ask for one. But then it starts to make me feel nervous knowing I have something that everyone wants.

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And don’t forget there are also local businesses making vegan doughnuts in other parts of town including Wheatsville and Fat Cat Organic.

 

 

 

I would like Pho Please

My favorite part of civilization is the food.

I am lucky I get to live in a growing city that has everything from Australian Thai to Nigerian. I get to start my day with a breakfast taco and end it with Indian Dosas if I want.

One of my most favorite cuisines is Vietnamese and in Austin we have plenty of options. I love the tofu bun from LuLu B’s and the Bahn xeo from Sunflower but good pho is hard to find. I bet I’ve tried every vegan version in town (and a couple I thought were vegan until I tasted a spoonful YUK!) and none of them have been remarkable. My go-to has been the pho chay from Phonatic and not because the broth was great but because there are enough delicious fresh fixin’s to have a good enough experience. When I read that one of the chefs from Phonatic was opening his own modern pho spot with a vegetarian section I was thrilled! Pho Please is on east Riverside which is a lot easier for me to get to than north Austin or Southpark meadows. The inside is super-modern fast-casual style.25868616332_46b33a57ee_z

You order at the counter and they give you a number. I didn’t try the vermicelli or the banh mi but we loaded up on apps. We loved the Bao but will know to order it with no mayo next time! The dumpling was fluffy and light, the tofu was well seasoned and the vegetables were crisp and flavorful.

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The spring rolls weren’t as good although they weren’t rubbery and old like so many places in town and they had a good amount of tofu. The sad part was the lack of herbs! No basil, mint or cilantro. We liked the unique dipping sauce though.25868650252_3fabb0926c_n

The most exciting part, of course, was the pho chay. I tried the broth before adding any condiments and was pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor. It wasn’t the most intensely flavored broth I’ve had but it was more delicate and tasty. Definitely the best I’ve had in town. I loved that there was a variety of vegetables and that the tofu was fried instead of just thrown in there raw like some places. 25868568922_5ced6527f4_o

Will for sure be back on the next rainy day.

Pho Please
1920 East Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78741.
Phone: (512) 354-9779
Hours:
Sunday – Thursday, 11AM – 10PM
Friday – Saturday, 11AM – 11PM

Counter Culture Junior Opens on South First


The Austin vegan world seems to have come full circle. Years ago Counter Culture opened as a trailer on North Loop. Then it became so popular the owner Sue was able to open up a brick and mortar Counter Culture restaurant on Ceaser Chavez. That restaurant has been so success that Sue bought back her old trailer to open up a South Austin Trailer. Best part is that it’s right next to Rabbit Food Grocery so you can pop in and pick up some groceries while you wait for your food.

So far it’s a soft opening and the menu is going to rotate but I tried -and loved- the samosa quesadillas with 5-spice seitan! The tacos are getting rave reviews too. I can’t wait to try it all.

Buy a copy of the Taco Cleanse before they are all gone!

Everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Playboy magazine is talking about the Taco Cleanse and while it’s on back order on Amazon you can still purchase it every where else! There are a few remaining copies at Rabbit Food Grocery that are signed on South First and Live Oak. You can also still pick up a copy locally at Book People.10296697_1548187045506086_555316242_n

Online it’s still available Powells, Indiebound, Books a Million, direct from our publishers Workman, Urban Outfitters, and online and in stores and Barnes and Nobels.23711812335_f7abef79b4_z

Here’s a great article to get you started

10 Things You Need to Know About the Taco Cleanse Before You Try It

And some great blog posts that go into depth about the recipes

The Taco Cleanse: Proselytizing, Review, and Giveaway

It Happened to Me: Tacos Turned Me into a Party Magnet.

I Did A Three Day Taco Cleanse and Survived!

IS THE TACO CLEANSE THE RIGHT CLEANSE FOR YOU?

Taco Cleanse Release Party at Book People Dec 7th at 7

Facebook Event

The best selling “cleanse” book of 2015, THE TACO CLEANSE, is having release party this Monday, December 7th at Book People on 6th and Lamar. Come and get your book signed while playing Taco Trivia, taking pictures with a DOG in taco costume, and get your book signed by REAL TACO SCIENTISTS! We will be answering all of your questions and giving away tons of prizes. You can buy a case of books and BOOM just like that your Christmas shopping is done. The Taco Cleanse is approved for all stages of life and an acceptable part of any diet plan!DSC_0759

Austin Vegan Thanksgiving Roundup

When I first went vegan I had originally planned to do it for the month of March…then I really liked it so I decided I’d keep it up… until Thanksgiving which has always been my most sacred holiday. I couldn’t imagine not celebrating the holiday with turkey and all the fixings. But, by the time Thanksgiving rolled around I had so many ideas I wanted to try out that I didn’t even consider making a bird and now I adopt turkeys from farm sanctuary every year. I love the holiday even more than in my pregan days! Lucky for me, so does most of vegan Austin and there are all sorts of ways to get your Thanksgiving fix in even if you don’t cook. (If you do cook, check out my pinterest board of favorite recipes)

First off, Wheatsville has been putting stuffed tofurkey, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing, mac and cheese and more on the hot bar every Wednesday for a few weeks now and will continue through the holiday. They are also the best place to buy a manufactured roast since they have Gardien, Tofurkey, Field Roast, and more in stock along with everything else you need from Brussels Sprouts to their awesome cranberry sauce made in the deli. You can order a whole feast, including vegan cheeseballs and pie!

Over at Counter Culture you can pick up the ridiculously delicious Thanksgiving sandwich which is on special through the 26th. If you are going somewhere that isn’t vegan friendly and you want to just pick up a meal to take with you Counter Culture has a great deal for 16 bucks, they will pack up a vegan feast including Seitan Roast & Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, for you and you just have to warm it up. They also have a Gluten free option so make sure you order it ahead of time.

photo from Counter Culture

If you want to pick up an entire feast for your whole family to enjoy there are a couple of options. Inge, the Happy Vegan Baker has a full catering feast menu that includes a roasted root vegetable pot pie or a GF Acorn Squash stuffed with Wild Rice and cranberries along with Sage and Apricot Cornbread Stuffing and all the other accouterments. You can order for just one person or several.

A newcomer to the atxvegan scene Seed Catering, has a beautiful looking spread that you can order for as many people as you like. It includes a cranberry glazed lentil loaf and butternut squash mac and cheese. I want to try it all!

photo from Seed Catering

Every year on Thanksgiving Eve Mr. Natural puts together a full spread with their homemade roast, which you can also buy from them. If you know that you are going to struggle on the holiday playing defensive ominvore bingo it make sense to meet up with some like minded vegans the night before so the Austin Vegan & Vegetarian Association and Vegans Rock Austin traditionally throw a meet-up at Mr. Natural and this year is no different. They will be meeting up at both locations so you can go to either one!

This year BBQ Revolution is celebrating their two year anniversary with a Thanksgiving Party on November 21st. They will be serving vegan “turkey” with Cranberry sauce , Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Mac N Cheese, Greens and some relish options. They are also preparing Thanksgiving meals. You can put in an order at the trailer or at Rabbit Food Grocery.

Bistro Vonish will also be preparing thanksgiving meals for pick up. The order form is online and you can choose from Seitan Cutlets, GF Garbanzo cutlets, Pumpkin Pie Kolaches and more. Check it out here.

Finally, it would be Thanksgiving without pie and though almost everyone I mentioned serves pie I’m partial to Capital City Bakery because it’s my tradition now to always pick up a pie from there. I’ll be having a hard time, again, choosing between Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and whatever else she has going on.

Let me know if I missed anything and I’ll add it here!

Vegan Fine Dining in Austin Texas

Austin Vegan Fine Dining GuideA few years ago my sister was visiting from Chicago. After a few days she said something like, “can we go somewhere nice to eat? Like, not the nicest place in town…but somewhere nice?”. It’s become a running joke among my friend group because I do tend to patronize trailers, shacks, grocery stores, bars, food counters, and other, shall we say, casual establishments. For anniversaries, date nights, and special occasions it can be fun to put on something nicer than a torn up hoodie. As a vegan especially, I do love having a waiter that can explain every aspect of a dish to me. Some people (hi mom!) just really want a good wine list when they go out. And so, on that note, here are my favorite fancy restaurants in town. Sadly, none of them are entirely vegan but I know that we will get there someday. In the meantime, I think these are the best spots to take your parents, clients, dates, or other people that you want to impress by not sitting at a picnic table with toddlers and dirt waiting for your number to be called.

Claypit Contemporary Indian Cuisine

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image from Clay Pit

I had been to the lunch buffet many times before I went to dinner at the Claypit and was seated in their beautiful candlelit cellar. I think it might be one of the most romantic atmospheres in town. All their vegan items are marked and include the vegetable samosas, the roti (but not the naan),  Aloo Gobi, Veggie Ayam, Kadhu Curry, and more. It’s a great place to share entrees and fall in love…with Indian food.

TRIO Restaurant

I recently did a full on review of TRIO, suffice to say their vegan menu was top-notch and the service was the best I’ve had in Austin. Definitely the place to go if you want to spend some money and drink fine wines.

Sagra Trattoria and Bar

I reviewed Sagra over here, they have an extensive vegan menu including risotto, mac and cashew cheese with truffle oil, and several different pizzas and vegetable appetizers. When we went everything was fantastic but I’ve heard that they aren’t the most consistent and often run out of vegan cheese so make sure you ask questions when ordering. Almost everything on the menu can be gluten-free too. Their happy hour looks like a great deal!

Elizabeth Street Cafe

I don’t know if Elizabeth Street really qualifies as fine dining since it’s more of a French Vietnamese cafe but they do have knowledgeable waiters, a beautiful atmosphere, and a nice cocktail and wine menu so I think it counts. I love the style of this restaurant and the multiple vegan options like tofu spring rolls, two different vegan pho varieties, bún, and bánh xèo (pictured). Elizabeth Street would be the perfect place to go for a fancy brunch since most of the nicer American places are so egg heavy. Here is my review.

Sway Thai

image from Austin Chronicle

I love the food and cocktails at Sway. It’s meant to be shared but I’d only bother with sharing if you are going with all vegans because they do have to make everything special (then it’s super fun!). Australian Thai is thoughtfully presented and deliciously prepared, definitely on the spicy side. Dishes like the green curry eggplant, spring rolls, papaya salad, pad thai, squash curry, and salt and pepper tofu can all be made vegan. The big caveat to Sway, and why it’s not on the top of my list, is that you have to sit at big shared tables which I find very awkward. Not a good place to go on a date at all but perfect if you have a large group.

Uchi and Uchiko

image from Culturemap Uchi on the left Uchiko on the right

For many years these two sister sushi restaurants were at the very top of every single “best of” list because their food is delicious, the presentation is exquisite, the service is exceptional, and the restaurant is very stylish but comfortable. They don’t have a ton of vegan options but what they do have is really good and enough to make a meal. The occasionally do a vegetarian night too! Happy hour is a great time to check it out.

Gardner

photo from the Austin Chronicle celery root dusted with pink peppercorn and dotted with beads of black truffle.

I haven’t made it out to Gardner yet but they assured me that many of the offerings at this vegetable focused (but not vegetarian) restaurant can be vegan. “Our current menu features several dishes that are vegan or are designed to serve vegan guests with only slight modifications, including the Brussels sprouts, Broccoli and Brassicas dishes, as well as our Celery Root dish. We train staff on all of our off-menu vegan items as well, as these change often to reflect seasonal shifts.” The price point is a bit high and some vegans on yelp complained that they needed a veggie burger after dropping a hundred bucks at dinner but no one else in town is doing anything super high-end and beautiful with vegetables so it is a good choice if you want some adventure.

Lenoir 

pic from Austin Chronicle

A while back a few friends and I went to Lenoir and had an amazing experience. We called ahead and the chef prepared a special menu for us. If you are ever looking for a wonderful restaurant in a beautiful setting, like a setting you could propose at, Lenoir might be as good as it gets. The presentation of our meal was fabulous and the chef came out and explained every dish. The food was wonderful and I would love to go back. Highly recommended. Read all about it (and see terrible pictures!) here.

Wink Restaurant

image from Austin 360

Wink is a farm to table slow food restaurant that has been around since 2001 and their vegetarian tasting menu is very popular. I’ve heard good things about ordering vegan as well. The chefs will, apparently, make you something quite lovely even if you don’t call ahead. But, calling ahead is always best in a situation like this in my opinion. For whatever reason I still haven’t been there but I would like to try it.

La Condesa Modern Mexican

La Condesa used to be my favorite place to recommend, they had this amazing vegan board that would have four or five different super-exciting and ever-changing “top chef” style entrees. We all went nuts over it. Then they won a James Beard award and didn’t have time for us vegans anymore. Urgh! It is still a somewhat worthwhile option because they have a fun hip atmosphere, amazing margaritas, both salsa and guacamole flights, and a few different options entrees like mushroom tacos and cauliflower steaks. I love their cocktails! I wouldn’t go there for a mind-blowing vegan birthday meal though anymore.

Roots to Leaves Supper Club

from Roots to Leaves facebook page

Finally, not a restaurant but a monthly supper club, Roots to Leaves is another great option for those seeking out an all vegan menu and they have plans to open a high-end restaurant in the future. With seasonal menus that have four courses with items like “Japanese Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Sage Sauce, Smoked Tofu, Brussels Sprouts, Almond Ricotta” you are definitely going to be filled up with exciting foods. You have to bring your own wine and make reservations well ahead of time but it’s worth it! Here’s a review of their earlier incarnation as Hyden Park.

Do you have any favorites that aren’t on the list? Let us know in the comments!