Austin Area Freebirds Burritos now carries Tempeh Calabacitas!!!

OK, I know. Some of you are going to be freaked the hell out that I’m writing about burritos and not tacos so I felt like I have to address that right up front. Tacos will always be my true love, those delicious bites on a freshly made tortilla are all about fun and happiness. You eat tacos will enjoying sunshine and margaritas.

There is still a place in my life for burritos though. When you just can’t with life burritos are there to deliver a large amount of food through a tortilla tube directly into your mouth. You don’t even have to turn your head or bother with a plate. They are the ideal food for when you want to marathon Buffy or any other show that takes place in California, where they say the burrito was first invented. Burritos are for comfort and Freebirds has long been my favorite of the chain restaurants to get them. I love that at Freebirds you don’t have to remember any vegan details, if it isn’t overtly non-vegan than it will be fine to eat. I read that in Mexico the burrito is usually just meat and refried beans but in the US we like to put as many different fillings as we can possibly fit in a burrito and that’s why I love Freebirds, they have so many more options than the other burrito chains. Generally I go for refried beans, Spanish rice, verde salsa, jalapenos, pico de gallo, corn salsa, cilantro, tortilla strips, roasted garlic, and, if I’m feeling extravagant, guacamole. Now, for the same price as the veggie burrito you can now order Tempeh Calabicitas! And they are using locally made Hearty Vegan Tempeh in the recipe.

I love tempeh and stuffing it into tacos is something I do on the regular but I wish they just served up a nice marinated grilled tempeh instead of the calabicitas with summer squash and bell peppers because those just aren’t my favorite vegetables. But, I know most of y’all will dig them tremendously because what kind of vegan doesn’t like vegetables (that’s me, I don’t do lettuce either). So get down there and let them know what you think so they can roll out this option beyond just Austin! You can even order online so that your burrito is ready when you get there and then you don’t have to deal with any ordering pressure.

Kickstarter for a second Bananarchy stand north of the river

Last week, after I filled up on Venezuelan food at Four Brothers and did some shopping at Rabbit Food Vegan Grocery, I enjoyed the special at Bananarchy, “The Peanut Butter Pie Banana is hand-dipped in vegan chocolate, half topped in graham crackers, then drizzled with organic peanut butter and more chocolate” and thinking how lucky I was to live so close to a vegan friendly banana stand. If you are sad ’cause you live in Austin and can’t say the same thing help may be on the way. Bananarchy has a kickstarter going on to open a second banana stand in Austin. So go support it and add some banana love to your life. 

Four Brothers Venezuelan Trailer serves up Vegan Arepas in South Austin

I was cruising up South First a few weeks ago and almost stopped short when I saw that there was a new Venezuelan trailer setting up. When I wrote to Four Brothers on twitter and found out they were going to have vegan arepas stuffed with black beans, fried sweet plantains, tomato, and avocado I knew I’d be happy since that is one of my most favorite combinations. They also said the Mandocas (fried sweet corn fritters) would be vegan without the cheese and I could make a vegan patacone sandwich with the same arepa fillings. When I got to the trailer and saw that Arepa Vegana was on the menu and I wouldn’t have to make any substitutions I was thrilled.

When I got my arepa I was even more thrilled! I had never had Mandocas before, they were sweet and delicious and I could eat them every day. The arepa was just as good as I hoped. I wanted another one immediately but I knew that was a bad idea and sure enough, after the food hit my belly I didn’t need to eat again any time soon. But I’m going back soon. It’s the perfect place to stop since it’s right across the street from Rabbit Food Grocery and Bananarchy. You can do your shopping, pick up some CDs at End of an Ear, eat some tasty Venezuelan food, and then pick up a frozen banana on a stick. The perfect South First dinner! Note that they open at 5 pm and are closed Wednesdays.

Come to Texas VegFest this Saturday April 4th!

The other day I was at Unity Vegan Kitchen eating the most amazing chimichangas and chatting with owner Leslie about Texas Vegfest where she will be vending along with many of our other favorite vegan food trailers. She talked about how at her first Vegfest she was so blown away by how many other people out there care about animals  just like us and what a fabulous community we have. She told me that Vegfest actually inspired the name Unity Vegan Kitchen which I thought was just beautiful. Sometimes as a vegetarian you can really start to feel alone when the default at any meal is always meat so it can be really heartening to be surrounded by other people who celebrate your lifestyle and are stoked on vegan food. Suddenly we get live in a world where the vegan barbeque has the longest line.

It’s also a world where you don’t need pants. 

Although I think that only applies to the very young, I’m looking into it.

You can find out about so many awesome companies, local vegan friendly businesses, activists, and community groups that you are sure to find something to be a part of. Here is a list of who is going to be there.

And then there are food demonstrations and talks about vegan health and fitness going on all day. I’m especially excited to see Jason Wyrick talk tacos and Mo from Mo Betta Vegan cook up easy spring dishes deviled cukes and blackened chickpea salad.

I’ll admit sampling food is my favorite part.

But there will also be live music, kids activities, and other goings on throughout the day. So come hungry and leave happy (wait is that the mcdonalds slogan? I watch too much tv!). It’s going to be a beautiful weekend.

Pre-order THE TACO CLEANSE cookbook and CHANGE YOUR LIFE

It wasn’t long ago that I was feeling really down. I didn’t know where my life was going or what I was even doing. Some friends and I started experimenting with a new way of life, eating tacos for every meal for a whole month. It was dramatic how much our lives changed for the better. We started selling a zine to document our findings and the word spread all the way to New York City where The Experiment Publishing heard our message and decided to help spread it to the masses. We’ve worked long and hard on expanding the original zine into a full cookbook and now you can pre-order the book and fill your life with eternal joy and never ending splendor. cropped-taco-cleanse-cover

Check out The Taco Cleanse blog for more information, recipes, stories, and other inspiration coming soon.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter !!!

And Pre-Order the Book! It’s sure to sell out!

A review of the all vegan Golden Spike Rail Cart

I had a hard time coming up with how to phrase the cuisine at the Golden Spike Rail Cart until I read them use the phrase “elevated stoner food”. For me that nailed the all vegan east meets west menu that has everything from Asian BBQ to Sausage and Waffle eggrolls. Plus, it’s a very different looking cart in the Buzzmill porch set between giant jenga games and a campfire. 

I had a tough time getting a handle on the menu because it was different every time I went and it’s not posted on the website. Now I know to check Facebook ’cause they change the menu seasonally, have different weekly specials, have only brunch on the weekends (though sometimes they will make you items off the main menu if you they have it), and they sometimes run out of things. The good news is, that even though I never got whatever I planned to try I think I loved every single dish I did try. My favorite was their bahn mi sandwich special a few weeks ago. Not many places in Austin do a bahn mi with seitan and this one was just perfectly cooked with lemongrass and thinly sliced just like I like it. The vegetables were fresh and popping with flavor and the toasted baguette and vegan mayo perfected the combo.

See those sweet potato fries in the background? That’s one of the most awesome parts about the Golden Spike if you are a french fry lover (and really what vegan human isn’t). They have a fry bar with all kinds of toppings like their perfect homemade parmesan, garlic, and even the ultimate late night bar food, nacho fries.

I love the Car-Nay asada that they use in the fries, and I get to LOL at the vegan spelling. Veganizing words is one of the more fun parts of veganism, as in, “I love when foods are noochtastic” or “who stole my tofeggs?”. So I don’t know why they didn’t go with the obvious Phish Tacos for their Baja “fish” Tacos. They are probably a bunch of haters since the Buzzmill is a super hipster bar but if you are serving “elevated stoner food” you may as well cater to that demographic imo. REGARDLESS the “fish” taco was delicious. I believe they use the new Gardein fish filets which make my mouth so very happy.

I also tried brunch on another day, I couldn’t resist the breakfast burrito even though I am usually more of a breakfast taco kinda gal. It was so tasty, I loved their seasoned tofu scramble and they give you the option of smothering it in cheese, guacamole, pico, and sour cream.

I need to go back to try the waffle and sausage eggroll which is two eggrolls stuffed with breakfast sausage, house made waffles, and a maple dipper. It’s the perfect good weather brunch spot because the Buzzmill does a vegan bloody mary bar where you can add six thousand olives if you’re me. Speaking of the Buzzmill, it is a logger themed place so they have some serious animal taxidermy going on inside which some vegans find very disturbing. For some reason I don’t get upset by the big bear and yet if it was a bear skin run I would run far far away. To each his own, I guess, but I thought I’d give you fair warning. Maybe I don’t mind it because it looks like a place in Twin Peaks? They should totally run the marathon with vegan cherry pie. Mmm. Pie. The patio is dog friendly and it’s really close to the Norwood Dog Park on Riverside so it’s a perfect date* for you and your dog.

*I mean a nonromantic date obvs.

What’s new in 2015 ATXVEGAN, SXSW and trailers everywhere

South By Southwest and Spring Break are upon us which means thousands of people are about to flood the city for what is sure to be one endless party…until it ends March 22. Here are some posts to help you navigate. My SXSW guide for folks attending the conference lists places to eat. My Austin Vegan Guide has a list of every vegan option in town. My Tour of Austin guide is everywhere you need to go if you want to eat every awesome vegan thing in Austin. The Taco Guide is the key to having fantastic tacos. My late night guide is a little out of date but most of it holds true. Here’s two awesome posts from Mad Betty How to Get Through SXSW and Fun Without a Badge. Read these and it’s all going to make a lot more sense.

For those attending Interactive there is going to be meet up and party sponsored by Finding Vegan Friday, March 13. You can find vegans!

For the music portion Brooklyn Vegan will be back with a full roster of day parties at Red 7. The great part about the Brooklyn Vegan events is that they always have vegan food so it’s a great daytime activity. Just remember to wear sunscreen if it’s hot out! I always get sunburned at sxsw.

If you haven’t been to Austin in a while tons has changed and I am going to briefly go through the new trailers. Remember that trailers can sometimes move around, run out of stuff, close early, or stay open really late during the festival. They are all pretty good about updating Facebook so that’s the links I am going to use.

Our beloved all vegan cheeseburger and taco truck Arlo’s is now firmly planted on Red River at Cheer Up Charlie’s next to the East Side King. You have to go into Cheer Ups to get to Arlo’s but if there is a cover it will be worth it. I love East Side King too so try them if you need some actual vegetables. Arlo’s is usually open late too.

On the eastside newcomer all vegan Cool Beans is making tacos to order along with the best tamales ever.

Just south of the river Unity Vegan Kitchen opened up their amazing trailer. The lasagna, muffaletta sandwich, and whatever is on special are my favorites!

South of the river and east of IH 35 at the Buzzmill Coffeeshop you will find the Golden Spike Rail Cart which has rotating sandwiches and specials, a french fry bar, tacos, nachos, and a great brunch with breakfast burritos and waffle specials.

Further north but still east outside of the pole dancing training ground of Brass Ovaries are two more new trailers. BBQ revolution has smoked tempeh, soy curls, and seitan that you can have on a sandwich or on a plate with mac and cheese and potato salad. Next door is Bistro Vonish which has a rotating seasonal menu including pizzas and kolaches.

Back in the central part of town a little north of downtown two vegan trailers live at the Spiderhouse Coffeeshop. The Vegan Yacht has been around for a while selling their very popular Frito Burrito and newcomer Maggie’s Waffles has both sweet and savory waffles with pizza toppings.

Rabbit Food Grocery opened a brick and mortar store a few weeks ago. They have more vegan snacks than you ever thought possible and are the perfect place to stock up on snacks to keep in your bag so you always have something to eat.

Counter Culture Vegan Restaurant is now open every day of the week and they usually stay open late during the music portion of SXSW.

Bouldin Creek always pares down to a more limited menu during the festival and they stop taking phone orders so locals I recommend brunching at places a little farther out…like the Steeping Room at the Domain.

Have fun, hit me up on twitter @veganlazysmurf if you have questions or leave a comment here.