Monthly Archives: February 2013

ATXFBA City Guide: Austin’s Late Night Vegan Food

afb_city_guide_2013_logoI’ve tried to write this post a zillion times. The first post, years ago, spawned into my Austin Vegan Guide, I keep updating it and now it contains almost a hundred vegan friendly places in town. I also wrote a SXSW vegan guide last year that was supposed to have late night options too, but I started writing all sorts of other festival related stuff. The thing is, when it comes to Austin, I can’t just STFU. I have so much to recommend! This post is part of the Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance’s city guide so check it out and especially see my fellow vegans work, Lizz Delicious on Date Night, and soon Red Hot Vegans on Desserts, and The Little Red Journal on Healthy Eats. There are tons of categories from gluten free breakfast to vegetarian trailers to cocktails so it’s really super cool and comprehensive. I’m going to try and keep this late night list mostly to favorites because that’ll be plenty and if you just need a reference about the town you can check out the main guide where I try to mention when places are open late or if you are visiting try The Vegan Tour it has maps!

Downtown 6th Street and Red River is kind of the epicenter of bar life in Austin. Usually Friday and Saturdays find 6th street closed down to cars as a million students, tourists, frat boys, locals, yokels, cops and every other kind of night owl converge as a drunken hungry horde. Red River still has a lot of music venues keeping people dancing….or, more often, occasionally nodding to the beat and taking pictures of the band with their cellphones. 

Hoboken Pizza– open until 2:30am Red River & 7th. Vegan Pizza on Red River with Daiya.

Be More Pacific- 5th & Colordao. This Filipino truck moves around every day but seems to end up here most late nights. Check the schedule. The Adobo Tofu and the fried rice can both be made vegan. Open until 2am

Wok Around Austin 529 Brazos St At this trailer you pick jasmine rice, brown rice, or noodles, then a sauce and then a protein.

El Sol y La Luna 600 East 6th Street. This tex-mex restaurant has tons of different options like veggie chorizo, tofu tacos, and spinach and mushroom enchiladas. Open 11 on weekdays and 1 am on the weekend. Closed early sunday.

Chi’Lantro BBQ, Korean BBQ trailer, has a fab tofu taco for 2 dollars. And spicy fries. Location changes daily, you can also follow them on twitter cause they have two trailers that usually end up downtown. Will probably be open until at least 2am during the weekend. This is where I usually go after the bars if I’m downtown.

Rainey Street  If you go a couple of streets down towards the river you will find the Rainey Street area which is all super trendy bars and hotspots with maybe a slightly older crowd. 

G’raj Mahal 91 Red River An Indian trailer with table service under a tent. Somewhat vegan friendly (the rice isn’t vegan) and open until 2am on the weekend.

La Fantabulous 74 Rainey St Potabello & Onion tacos at this trailer. Open til midnight on the weekend.

Masala Dhaba 75 Rainey St They have a vegetarian section on their menu at this food trailer that includes stuff like Aloo Gobi, Korma, and Samosas. Open til 3am on the weekend.

Bangers This bar has a zillion beers on tap, a little dog park, and a full sausage oriented menu but they make a vegan sausage! Also boiled peanuts, fries, a veggie plate, a fruit plate, and even a jar of pickles.

Via 313 – 61 Rainey St Behind Craft Pride. Trailer with Detroit Style Pizza with follow your heart cheese. Open til 2am on the weekends.  There is another location on east 6th.

Eastside If you keep walking down sixth street under the highway you will soon find yourself on the eastside which is so hip you can find kombucha on tap and heavy late night bicycle traffic.

Arlo’s Austin- 1104 E. 6th on the Cheer Up Charlies patio. An all vegan trailer with the best Bac’n Cheeze Burger in town or maybe the world. Plus, a BBQ burger, Chili Dogs, Chick’n Tacos, and Chip & Guac. Open 8pm to 2am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My review

Miso Hungry– Pan Asian trailer next to Cheer Up Charlies and Arlo’s. Vegan Bahn Mi open until 2am on the weekend.

Via 313 – 6th & Waller. Trailer with Detroit Style Pizza with follow your heart cheese. Open til 2am on the weekends. There is another location on rainy street.

Fire and Soul 1104 East 6th Spicy vegan corn dog, deep fried avocado balls and sweet potato fries. Open until midnight on weekdays 2am on weekends. Closed Sunday

Handshakes 1104 East 6th Creative milkshake stand with many vegan options. Open til 2am Friday & Saturday. Closed Sunday.

The Vegan Yacht– 1700 east 6th st behind the Grackle. I love the frito burritos at this all vegan trailer, it’s Frito Pie with organic fritos in a burrito. I like to add avocado. They also have tacos, sandwiches, and quesadillas.  Open Daily 3pm-midnight. Check their facebook to see if they are closing up early.

The East Side King at the Liberty 1618 1/2 E 6th St I love the beet fries and the vegetable meshi at this Paul Qui trailer. Open to 1:30 am.

Everywhere Else If you are in a car you will want to pretty much avoid the areas above and hit up a place where you can park..and actually drive.

Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse– 1900 South 1st. The tofu scramble is next level. You can get it in anything on the menu including the omelette which are fabulous. Also try with the vegan queso, the homemade veggie chorizo and the potato hash cake. The breakfast tacos are really good. Ask for the special tea menu. They also have fantastic baked goods from Happy Vegan Baker and Red Rabbit Doughnuts. The kitchen is open until 11:45pm and I love that you can order breakfast at night but they have entrees too like the delicious BLT.

Black Sheep Lodge– 2108 Lamar, I love the sweet potato fries, they also have veggie burgers and a portabella sandwich and fried jalapeño strips breaded in cornmeal that are delicious. And tater tots. And really good beer. Serves food til midnight and 1 on Saturday but open later.

Gueros– South Congress. Special vegan part on the menu. Get a margarita (or several) while you wait. Also chips and salsa that you get yourself the best Vegan Queso in the world. Mmm vegan meat. I like the taco salad and the tostada.  Open until 11 Thur-Sun

Habana- 2728 South Congress. vegetarian friendly Cuban food and delicious tropical cocktails. I love this place! You can even sit in a little cabana hut. Here is a list of of what is vegan. I love the monfongo and the quinbombo and tons of plantains. And the servers have always seemed very knowledgeable. Open until 11 Fri & Sat

Curra’s– 614 E. Oltorf St. Great Mexican food and amazing avocado margaritas. They have a veggie taco plate with homemade chorizo and super fat tamales, both bean and veggie. The rice is not vegan but they let you double up on the beans. Also Food For Lovers queso. Make sure you say no cheese. Open until 11 on Fri & Sat.

The Hole in the Wall East Side King- Beet fries, Brussels sprouts stir fry. It is a trailer behind the Hole in the Wall and one of my top faves.

Thai Kitchen– multiple locations. Open til midnight on the weekend at the Guadalupe location but the others close earlier. Typical thai. Green Curry is popular.

The Parlor– 4301 Guadalupe St has vegan pizza with follow your heart cheese and veg sausage My favorite pizza in town. m-f open til midnight. 1am sat

24 hour places 

24 Diner– Across the street from Whole Foods next to Waterloo music is this diner that is open around the clock. Veggie Po’Boy and a Veggie Burger on the menu.

Kerbey Lane– Multiple locations in every part of town. 24 hour diner. Vegan pancakes. Tacos. Sweet potato fries and all sorts of other stuff. I am not a fan of their homemade “soysauge” but almost everything else is pretty good and I especially love that they bring vegan butter with the pancakes. Your best bet for 4 am.

Bennu Coffee- 2001 E. MLK Blvd 24 hours Daiya Pizza from Hoboken, tacos, green cart wraps and cupcakes from Happy Vegan Baker

Star Seeds has a couple vegan items and it’s 24 hours so I am adding it but I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Magnolia is another 24 hour diner that just isn’t very vegan friendly even though it’s very vegetarian friendly. They love their butter and cheese so I don’t recommend even trying but I thought I’d mention it so you know to stay away if you can because it is really popular.

The Buzz Mill– 1505 Town Creek (off Riverside) 24 bar and coffee shop with vegan pastries from Sugar Circus. I haven’t even been there but it’s the only late night vegan option I know of on East Riverside. I’m sure by the time I hit “post” 10 new places will have opened up.

If you have a favorite that I didn’t add please put it in the comments!

vegan cream PUFFS OF DOOM

A while back one of my oldest friends told me she was starting a small cream puff business in Chicago called Puffs of Doom. When she told me she was going to have vegan cream puffs I was really excited and thought there would be a token puff I would one day get to try on a trip to my home state. I followed her new company on twitter and on the facebook and I watched her business grow and get recognition from all kinds of fancy foodie press, even the Today Show covered them! The many different kinds of vegan puffs all sounded unique and delicious, she has creamy chocolate ones and noochy savory ones like potato curry. Seeing the puffs filled me with longing but it wasn’t until last spring when my other friend was having a bridal shower that I finally got to try them.

I was blown away.

So was Amanda who ended up having them at her wedding (along with a cake from Capital City Bakery)

I started begging Becky to ship some out to me but she was only selling them at farmer’s markets and coffee shops in Chicago. Finally, this Valentine’s day it happened, I got a giant package of puffs in the mail.

I wanted to save them to eat with Dan when he got out of work late but I had to take photos while it was still light out… and then I couldn’t resist. I tried the Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso and I had to close my eyes and let the world just stop. It was kind of like a cross between a Boston cream pie doughnut and a rich flaky croissant. The best of both worlds.

I thought, “I should really bring some to Kristen she would love these” quickly followed by “That would mean less puffs for me” and “I wonder how many I could eat before Dan noticed some were missing”. And they were his Valentine’s Day surprise!

The puffs brought out the worst in me!

And in Dan too. He tried them late when he got home from work and then, the next day told me to leave work early so we could eat them together. I mentioned our friend was coming for the weekend and he said “hide them!”. When I got home he told me I would love the chocolate peanut butter…and I did.

He said, “I didn’t think I’d like the Strawberry Champagne but it is amazing and has, like, a whole strawberry in there”… it does…

And the Oreo…oh the Oreo

and, oh yeah, Espresso Chocolate

We talked about joining the “puff of the month” club and knew that would never be enough. Maybe a Puff of the week club? We talked about moving to Chicago. Dan said they were the best dessert he ever had. And this kid loves his dessert more than just about anything.

I recommend you try them.

Or, maybe be better off for never having known true puffed out bliss.

I’d rather have the perfect moment.

Chicago, you win this round.

Going back to Houston town

Even though people pour into Austin in ever growing numbers, to me, it still feels like a small town. Whenever I go to Houston it feels like such a thriving metropolis. It’s just a couple of hours away but everything is different. It’s flat and sprawling with more tropical trees and you can’t even find breakfast tacos on every corner. My mission was to see a bunch of old friends, snuggle with my favorite cat, eat a ton of Asian food, and kick it old school (aka watch Star Trek with my bff).

Our first stop after the Menli Collection art museum (which had everything from Andy Warhol soup cans to Congo Jesus sculptures and is free!) was for eating at Nidda Thai where I tried the deep fried eggplant in yellow curry.

It was delicious but hot as a soldering iron plunged onto your tongue  I really liked the rice flour crust on the eggplant although when I asked if there was egg in it the waiter looked at me like I was crazy, maybe he thought I didn’t know what eggplants were? We later went to a bar called the Hay Merchant to meet up with an old friend and we also got stuck at a table with the most annoying people I’ve maybe ever met at a bar. Here’s a Lazy Smurf Tip™ if some girl starts telling you that she is running for governor of Texas and then meowing get the hell out of there stat.

The next day, after stopping at Dirk’s for coffee, we went to the planetarium to watch “Cosmic Collisions” and then got a free pass to the butterfly conservatory from checking in on foursquare! Finally one of my 1276 check-ins paid off! The exhibit starts with a lot of terrifying cockroaches and scorpions but then you get to walk into, what seemed like a giant jungle terrarium, to see thousands of butterfly’s

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It was the best thing ever to do on a cold and rainy winter day. After that we headed over to Quan Yin for lunch but it was temporarily closed for Lunar New Years.

We enjoyed the show and I got a mung bean pastry in a little Chinese bakery that had tons of vegan options.

At Quan Yin I was overwhelmed with choices since everything was vegan and decided I want to have a birthday party there so we can try everything. They have those fun tables with the lazy susan at the center like on My Three Sons and I wished that I had a bunch of people to use it with. We started with fried dumplings.

Amanda got the vermicelli bowl and it looked so good.

I panicked and got the orange peel chicken which was was good but I didn’t like the celery and carrots in the dish, I would have preferred broccoli.

After watching a ton of videos about pygmy goats and sloths we went out with my other friend at the Grand Prize bar and then came home to cuddle with the world’s most adorable cats.

The next morning I tried to hunt down vegan kolaches at Inversion coffeehouse but they only had cookies from Sinful Bakery. It sounds like you can only get them at the farmer’s market and maybe at central market. Next time I go I imagine they will be everywhere. Because that’s how I like to imagine Houston of the future, a vegan paradise. Amanda and I generally spend a lot of time oooing and ahhing over plants and this trip was no different. She took me to Another Place in Time where I bought some ferns and a succulent and saw a ton of neat plants.

We intended to overeat and go out in a blaze of glory by checking out the Pepper Tree Vegetarian Buffet that Vegan Houston always raves about but alas it was closed on Monday! We settled for Cafe TH where I was super stoked to see this sign.

But the pho was just good rather than grrreat. I don’t think I can ever truly enjoy any pho that isn’t made in the long process of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World. It has spoiled me forever!

We went home and I pretended like I was going to feed the cats so they would say good-bye to me which kind of turned into a nightmare because then they were desperate for food. Sorry cats! I love you!

It was a great weekend! I can’t wait to go back.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope that you already made plans if you want to do something with your sweetie tonight. I know Counter Culture and Bouldin Creek are both doing special fancy dinners. If they are sold out, there are chocolate covered strawberries galore at places like Mr. Natural and the Daily Juice. And of course sundaes and now hard packed ice cream at Sweet Ritual. I’ve been lusting over the pictures. If you’re a Valentine’s Day hater the Alamo is doing a Love Bites sing-a-long which I so want to go to. We started celebrating early by going to Capital City Bakery yesterday and I want to go back today – before they sell out- to get some broken heart cookies for my friends. Dan got us a six pack of cuppies.

They are so good.

They also have pretty glittery cookies.

And non glittered for the broken hearts

My person has to work tonight but don’t worry about me, I’ll be cuddling with the snuggliest beagles in the world wearing my “eat your heart out I’m Serbian” T-shirt in true Lazy Smurf style.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse: Vegan Breakfast tacos and coffee, what more do you need

Last night I was at the Vegan Nom with, what can only be described as a plethora of vegans including the wonderful organizers of Vida Vegan Con, and I learned that the Cherrywood Coffeehouse’s vegan taco options are not as well known as I, a taco connoisseur, would have guessed. In fact, someone even accused me of “holding out”. I took this comment to heart and decided to put things right by breaking out the old blogging machine and posting some pics less than 24 hours later. If that’s not service, I don’t know what is.

Cherrywood coffeehouse is a lovely little spot right of 35 next to the monarch convenient store on 38 1/2 street. They have salads, hummus tacos and sandwiches, and smoothies along with espresso and beer but the real draw for me is their breakfast tacos with their delightful shoestring potatoes.

The range of vegan ingredients is extensive and I think they are the only place in town that puts deep fried tofu cubes in a taco…with deep fried potatoes. Ah, the healthy vegan diet.  They also have soyrizo, guacamole, mushrooms, refried beans, and lime rice. I always have a really hard time deciding but the last time I went with an tex-mex theme for one (tofu, potato, and guac on flour) and a Mexican theme (beans, rice, and mushrooms on corn) for the other and it worked out really well. And I didn’t have to eat again for the rest of the day because these suckers are pretty big.

It can get really busy during prime brunch hours, especially if it’s a nice day and the patio fills up, but on weekdays you can always find a table. And they serve breakfast tacos all day so check it out next time the taco craving strikes.

 

Mexico Part III: Ruins, beaches, and vegan food in Tulum

After spending time with the whole fam in Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel, and Akumal the responsible people flew home and my sister and I went to spend a few days in Tulum. We got to stay directly on the beach at place called Zahra. This was our view from our back door. 

Our little cabana was actually very romantic.

The bathtub was carved out of a log! Tulum beach is a long string of hotels along the beach but it’s got a rustic hippie/yoga vibe. The power goes out in a lot of places at 11 pm. 

Whenever there are hippies around you are bound to find vegan food as well and I was not disspointed in Tulum! My absolute favorite was Restaurare which was very high quality and had the nicest staff ever

for dinner I had an amazing mole but it was a real struggle to decide between all the options. We went for breafast as well and I had my only tofu of the entire trip. It was delicious.

They also make fresh juice there, which I guess really everyone does, but it is always outstanding. They told us by the next time we come back they’ll be making cocktails and they are trying to source local beer and wine as well.

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We rode bikes up and down the beach rode.

On the one end is a huge nature reserve and we went a little ways in to check out the beach. I was sad that I didn’t see any monkeys.

Along the beach rode there are cenotes you can swim in and tons of hotels where you can stop and have a cocktail. On the other end of the beach road are Tulum’s Mayan ruins. I took a boat trip out to see them and to snorkel on the reef.

I did not see any turtles there but I did see a nest by our hotel.

Here’s our cabana from the other side in the morning light.

A lot of the bars in both Playa and Tulum have swings hanging around the bar which is so much fun.

There are plenty of places to find my favorite Mexican breakfast, rice, beans, avocado, and plantain tacos like Puro Corazon

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We rode bikes into Tulum town but it wasn’t nearly as pretty and I couldn’t find nearly as many vegan options so stick to the beach unless you need to buy something other than hammocks.

We even biked in the rain a little bit. If you look closely at this picture you can see the rain coming in.

But mostly it was beautiful.

I would go back in a heartbeat.