All the best of vegan NYC in 2016

Sometimes I think if I lived in New York instead of Austin I would have been following a bagel cleanse instead of a taco cleanse. Bagels have long been my favorite part about trips to the city because they are so amazingly good and so many places have a variety of tofu cream cheeses, including green olive. It’s the best thing in the world.30004804410_1d5acdf7fb

Other than bagels, the last few times I went to New York I felt like the popular vegan places were overrated. Candle 79, Champs, Beyond Sushi, Wild Ginger, and Dunwell Doughnuts are all infamous vegan spots that I was super excited to try and then a bit let down by. This trip was different because I went with traveling expert, and awesomest person ever, my pal Jojo who set me straight on all the best places to go. Wait, actually it was my Austin friend Jessica who told me we had to try the impossible burger at Momofuku Nishi which was our first stop.30124738716_b6ee6f9e27

I had read that you have to get in line before they open because they only make 50 burgers a day so we got to happy hour super early. Eventually a staff person came out and asked us if we were there for the burgers. When we told him we were, he said that they don’t do them for happy hour anymore, only lunch! GASP! But then they said they would make them for us. Whew. The impossible burger is supposed to be so meat-like that vegetarians are grossed out. Known as “the burger that bleeds” we couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss was about. In the end, all five of us, all vegan, enjoyed it. Someone said it was on par if not better than Arlo’s here in Austin, which, I have to disagree with. The patty reminded me of the burgers I ate in the elementary school cafeteria. The fries were like McDonalds fries, which was awesome since the real McDonalds fries are made with meat so I can’t eat them. I would have liked it better with some cheese and I do think Arlo’s is better but I’d, for sure, recommend it.

Later we stopped for a slice at Vinnie’s in Brooklyn which reminded me of Dimo’s in Chicago, they have all sorts of crazy options like vegan mac and cheese or teriyaki chicken.30046760082_b7d126d9f5

The next morning we got bagels and did the most touristy thing one could ever do in New York: rowed boats through Central Park. I should have taken a video so that I could use it in a video montage set to New York City. It was so fun, we saw turtles and didn’t capsize once. We headed to Riverdel Cheese shop and deli in Prospect Park in Brooklyn for sandwiches and it was just the kind of sandwiches I love, roasty, toasty, and filled with cheese. I got the M Night Shamlani (or something) which was cheese and salami just like the sandwiches I made growing up. Yes, I went from a diet of almost exclusively meat, cheese, and bread (and olives) to a vegan. I wish a place like this would open around here, I love that vegan delis are getting so popular.


After some wandering about we headed for Lagusta which now has a location in the East Village. I had been to the original in New Paltz a few years back and thought I’d died and gone to heaven, a very expensive vegan chocolate-based heaven. I saved my chocolates for an emergency because I knew at our next restaurant we were going to want to eat everything on the menu.


Meeting up with friends at Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new Brooklyn location of Modern Love is something I’ve been wanting to do for as long as it’s been in existence…or before it even existed. When I found out my friend Laura was going to be in town the same weekend as Jojo I knew it was time to make the trip.


Everything about Modern Love is perfect, from the dark wood walls, the cute bathrooms, to every single thing on the menu. I was overwhelmed. Even though I’d been studying the menu in anticipation for a while I could not decide what to get. Luckily, I had enough people with me that I got to try just about every appetizer. The poutine was what I was maybe most excited for (I did have a dream about it). Instead of french fries they were large potato wedges and covered in the most delicious porcini gravy, and truffled almond  riccotta. We also had chili cheese fries, the tempeh stuffed avocado, Brussels with bacon, and what turned out to be my favorite, the mushroom blintz with smashed beet relish and kasha arugula salad.


For my entree I had a hard time deciding. I really wanted the Mac and Cheese with pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, BBQ cauliflower and kale and I got to try it and it was truly fantastic. The tofu was just perfectly done and crispy on the outside. I ended up getting the Stuffed Poblanos with Street Corn (spicy lentil meat, yuba chicharrones, red rice, jicama slaw, smoked guacamole, pico de gallo, coconut sour cream, fresh herbs). The yuba was like nothing I’ve ever had before. A couple people thought it was potato-skin esque put when Laura said it tasted like pig skin, it was an aha moment. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten something like that!


Finally came dessert and I went for the  Dulce De Leche Coconut Cream Pie.30010364610_9cdcd4e0d1

We tried to walk off the excessive eating by taking Isa’s advice and walking across the Williamsburg bridge which was super fun and beautiful.

Dim sum in New York has seemed like something important to do since I first heard of it in the movie Working Girl circa 1988 and I’ve seen many pictures of Vegetarian Dim Sum House. We met up for brunch even though Jojo thought dim sum for brunch was inauthentic and I think Nick might have just been full up still. Everything was crazy good and only 6 dollars apiece.30157812166_c446c3558b_z

The turnip cake (not pictured) reminded me of the most giant noodle ever. The monk dumplings, the coriander ham rolls, & the vegetarian pork rolls were all perfectly done and ridiculously tasty. It was just so much deliciousness in one meal. I could eat there every week. It would suck to live in New York and be super lazy, knowing that you could get on a train and have the best meals ever if only you could leave the house. I would be terrible at it. At least you can get so many things delivered.

We stopped in Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery to grab some knishes to-go and I followed the sign’s advice and brought one home for a friend! It was delicious. The perfect airplane treat.


We also stopped at By Chloe a couple of times for various desserts. I had never had a black and white cookie so I was super stoked to try one. 30216253151_2784f399ac

We had heard that the yuba sandwiches from Superiority Burger were some of the best food in town so we tried those as well. The restaurant was so tiny we couldn’t all sit at once and I didn’t take a picture but I had to share Jojo’s. I now want to make all sandwiches with yuba.


Seriously. This trip was 100% tastier and way more fun than my last few trips and it was all thanks to Jojo and her wonderful husband Nick. If you are ever on a trip check out her blog Vegan in Brighton cause girlfriend does her research and there is no dicking around eating shitty food with Jojo. It’s all good all the time. 30005346660_64e4545211_o

And grab a knish for the airplane. You won’t regret it. 29671630334_0ce036499d

Boozy Cherry Limeade Bombs

Whiskey Cherries

I believe Texas actually has five seasons: fall, winter, spring, summer, and TEXAS SUMMER. The latter is always in all caps because it’s so hot that you actually start to feel like you’re living in one of those dystopian future hellscapes where everyone is fighting over water and wearing pointy jewelry. Luckily we aren’t quite at that point yet and water is plentiful and delicious cherries from the Hood River Valley in Oregon are able to be shipped to Wheatsville Food Co-op and bought by me during these, as of this writing, pre-apocolyptic days. In these times of heat and uncertainty it can be hard to cook or even eat which is how I came up with the idea for these refreshing and mildly intoxicating cherries. They are the perfect thing to eat poolside, bring on your next river trip, or just to munch on while sitting in the A/C watching women’s gymnastics. They are also super easy to make and don’t require turning on any heat making appliances, a big no-no during TEXAS SUMMER. And I bet they are healthier than getting a Cherry Limeade from the Sonic drive through because there is no added sugar. Just added alcohol.

Boozy Cherry Limeade Bombs
2 lbs cherries, pitted
1/2 cup whiskey
1 tablespoon mint leaves, torn
1 lime, juiced

First pit the cherries, a reusable stiff straw makes the job super easy. Just pluck out the stem and pop the straw in through the cherry. Put in a glass or other bowl with a locking top and add the whiskey, mint, and lime juice. Chill for an hour or two flipping the bowl so the cherries get saturated. Serve as is, in cocktails, or on ice cubes. Enjoy.

If you would like to win a 30 dollar giftcard to Wheatsville and make your own boozy cherries just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite summer fruit, I will pick a winner in a couple days. Make sure you put in an email that works! 

Giveaway closed, thanks for commenting!

Thanks to Wheatsville for sponsoring this recipe. 

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.


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.


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.


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.


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
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!


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