Monthly Archives: June 2013

This weekend I’m going to eat pizza, paint my nails, and maybe do some Hippie Vegan Bullshit

If it was 20 years ago and my friend Sandra was here we could have a sleepover and talk about boys and who would look best in a tux too. As an adult I am now eating pizza and painting my nails for political reasons.  Oh, and I’m meeting with a team of Taco Scientists. You never know where your life will take you.

Living under the rule of an evil Republican super majority in Texas can be very disheartening. These totally corrupt officials continually make life for everyone in our state increasingly more difficult. Our privileged blue state compatriots in the rest of the country write off what happens in our state and laugh about how we are just backwards jerks that don’t deserve healthcare or factory safety regulations or education because we are stupid enough to keep voting these fuckers in. Well, you know what non-Texans? It isn’t that easy to fight against their racket when all the decks are stacked against you. These people keep getting elected because they have gerrymandered the state into such a mess of cockeyed districts that the white evangelical voters have more voting power than they should in a state with so many people that live in cities, women, Mexican-Americans, and African Americans. The people in charge of this state work so hard to disenfranchise poor people that it can some times seem impossible to fight them, they have all the money and the power and they use it to make sure people that don’t agree with them can’t vote, aren’t educated, don’t have good jobs, and have to spend every minute of their lives struggling to get by. In some cases they are too exhausted to even realize that things could be another way. The media talks about our low voter turnout but, from my perspective, the apathy comes from continually witnessing such a corrupt system. It’s very demoralizing.

That’s why Wendy Davis’ filibuster was so inspiring to me and so many of my allies. Here was a woman literally standing up against these men that have made life so hard for so many and just want to make it worse for their own twisted reasons. As the filibuster went on and she schooled all these pathetic senators on why women’s healthcare is so important more and more people started watching the livesteam and heading down to the capital. When she got stopped for a third illogical reason we had to start drinking. Then the democrats stalling tactics attempting to run out the clock had me frantically checking twitter and the clock thinking they couldn’t possibly keep this up. After being repeatedly ignored Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, said “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” I immediately started cheering along with thousands of others all over the state and also with the people cheering in the capital who screamed so loud and so long that they STOPPED THE BILL from being about to pass. After so many years of reading about Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and Molly Ivins to see there was still hope for women in Texas made me feel an incredible sense of elation.  I know Dick Perry has called another special session and evil will probably prevail this next time but for that one day we got a glimpse of where the future could be. The internet went nuts.

To celebrate and gear up for the next week I’m dying to get a ridiculous manicure that even supports planned parenthood. When I wrote Nails Y’all to see if her products were vegan too she wrote back:

Thank you for your interest + support! I am overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of such amazing, passionate, and inspiring ladies who want to show their support for women’s healthcare in Texas. Unfortunately, all appointments for the Hands Off fundraising manis are booked. But don’t despair! Here are a few ways that you can still get in on the action:
Get a set of your very own DIY Wendy Davis nail decals! You can totally take control of your own nails with these babies. Each kit contains 12 nail decals, Q-tips, and easy-to-follow instructions. Each kit is $25, and $10 goes directly to Planned Parenthood! To purchase a kit, contact me via email to pick it up in person, or head over to Etsy. In addition, I’ll have kits available Sunday, 6/30 at East Side Show Room (1100 E. 6th) from 7pm to midnight. Spread the word!
Nails Y’all + Planned Parenthood are working to make it easy for you make tax-free donations to support women’s health in Texas. If you’d like more information about donating to the cause, shoot me an email.
For future manis, book an appointment with me at Paloma. (Wendy’s are in my rotation, now!) And we use locally made, vegan products! More of my nail designs can be seen via Tumblr and Instagram (@nailsyall).
I’m sorry that I was unable to accommodate your request, but I am so thankful that so many ladies reached out to fight the good fight through nail art.
Thanks,
Meghann

I’m so excited to do mine!

This Saturday is also Vegan Pizza Day, I’ve been working on a recipe for Chicago style pizza that might be ready for next year but for 2013 I’m heading to Capital City Bakery for Pizza Rolls for lunch and probably picking up my favorite VIA 313 for dinner! There are lots of ways to celebrate, check out the Lonestar Plate for a guide to vegan friendly pizza in Austin.

Also this Saturday will be the return of Hippie Vegan Bull$#!*. The last one got rained out but I don’t seen that happening here for the last weekend of June, here is the scoop:

Hippie Vegan Bull$#!* – Saturday, June 29 from noon to 7pm – is a free, family-friendly & dog-friendly celebration of all things peaceful, organic, and weird in Austin.

The Empire parking lot will be home to a local vegan marketplace featuring ice cream by Sweet Ritual, vegan sausages, hot dogs & burgers from The Hot Dog King and, sweets from Capital City Bakery. The garage will host vendors selling miscellaneous hippie bull$#!* including professional tie-dye and demonstrations & training from Texas Footbag, YogaSlackers & Keep Austin Slacklining. The garage will also serve as our bicycle & skateboard valet as well as the home of our massive group finger painting mural.

The patio will host a yoga class by Wanderlust at 4pm, drum spheres (bring your hand-drums), and Frisbee. The Control Room will transform into the Crash Pad where music-lovers can participate in an improvised jam on-stage (so bring your instruments & musical friends!) Those who want to chill can enjoy the show from the air-conditioned comfort of couches, cold beverage in hand, all while surrounded by 300 degrees of trippy, psychedelic projections. Facebook Event – http://www.hippieveganbs.com

Enjoy the weekend! Remember to wear suncreen and keep your dogs out of your parked car! I will break your window.

 

The Austin Vegan Guide: 224 vindications of vegan friendliness

When I first moved to Austin in 2003 I had a printout of all the vegetarian restaurants in town and I think we covered the list in the first weekend. It definitely fit on one sheet of paper. Mr. Natural, Mother’s, Veggie Heaven, and Casa de Luz were all there and are still around today. I think since these places have been around for so long that maybe people don’t realize how vegan friendly Austin has become in the intervening years.

When recently Paul McCartney announced that Austin was the most vegan friendly city in the country I was surprised almost every vegan I know in Austin wrote something like “if only it was true” or “Portland is the most vegan friendly”. I also saw a lot of “Paul McCartney isn’t even vegan” and “Fuck Peta” etc. Then the Lonestar Plate did a post about vegan restaurants by the numbers and LA came out on top.

It felt like I was the only person excited. Maybe I’m amazed easily.  Where once kitchen staff looked at you with complete condescension I have now had some of the best chef’s in Austin come out to ask me if I am enjoying the vegan items. A few months ago we asked Lenoir if they could make us a vegan four course meal, and they were happy to do it. The chef even came out to tell us about every course. I went to Swift’s Attic a few months ago and the chef heard there was a vegan at the table and came out to tell me about how they really wanted their vegan options to be special. I have had some truly amazing meals at places in our city that rival anything I’ve tried at vegan restaurants in New York, Portland, or San Francisco. Plus we have breakfast tacos aka the reason that Austin will always be better than the rest.

The more we are out there saying we love vegan options and we will support restaurants that have them the more vegan friendly the city becomes. Then it is so much easier for new people to try more vegan items and realize it’s not all dairy free cheese and sprouts but a cuisine in it’s own right. And the more people eating vegan food the less animals have to suffer and trees get cut down to make way for grazing.

Our vegan community in Austin is easily the best in the country (sorry other people but it’s true). We have so many different passionate groups working to further the cause in different ways. Vegans Rock Austin, for example, does mostly social events but through those so many people have become connected and started other groups. The forum is also the go-to spot on the internet to find out if something is really vegan. Texas Veg Fest grew from VRA and has put on one of the best vegan festivals in the country, and it’s only in the second year! Meanwhile, Vegan Drinks has been bringing all sorts of new folks together, the Vegan Party Barge has been rocking the lake for years, the Lonestar vegetarian chili cook-off is one of the longest running vegetarian events of all time, vegan bake sales have brought in tons of money to help animals, and the community keeps growing. Now there are single nights at Counter Culture. Rabbit Food Grocery has pop-up shops all over town bringing the best vegan products in the world to Austin Texas. The list keeps growing and all sorts of new things are in the works.

And speaking of lists, that’s why I have been working on my Austin Vegan Guide for so long. I want you, whoever you are reading this, to try the vegan dishes at some of these places. If you don’t like what you get tell the staff. If you wish a pizza place would carry vegan pepperoni let them know, if you think someone is dumping way too much turmeric into their tofu scramble, shoot them an email. If you have an awesome meal at a non-vegan restaurant, write a yelp review about it so other vegans will find out. If a restaurant has a great special tell your social network. Veganism is probably the only ism out there where you can help the cause by eating out! Well I guess capitalism is another one but that’s the model we’ve got.

There are 224 vegan friendly places in Austin that I know about that you can try. If you always go to the same places I am asking you to get out of your rut. The list keeps growing with places I want to try, restaurants people love, trailers on the move, and places we need to support. If you find more, let me know in the comments on the vegan guide page or on twitter or facebook. I update the list constantly and I’m always amazed how far we’ve come.

It doesn’t matter if Paul McCartney knows what he’s talking about when it comes to vegan food in Austin. What’s important is that he said it and he’s actually kind of famous. Hundreds of people heard it and thought of Austin and Texas in a different way.

Portland, Astoria, and the Oregon Coast

Whenever I travel north I check the weather and try and pack accordingly. Somehow I always end up with sandals and sundresses and have to borrow clothes from everyone I know. Lucky for me, I know a lot of people in Oregon that can both lend me clothes and somehow put up with all my whining. The same people drive me around the city and the countryside, build forts for me to relax in, and lounge around spas with me.  It’s no wonder why it’s hard to come home. I planned my trip to Oregon by way of New York thinking that surely ten days would be enough time. It never is. My first food stop, as usual, was the flavor spot for a dutch taco, for those uninitiated that breakfast sausage and maple cream folded into a perfect waffle.


Also as usual we finished the waffle and immediately wanted another one because they are so damn delicious but instead we headed over to pick up another friend for our trip to the Oregon Coast. Leesha wasn’t quite ready yet so Hannah and I waited for a nearby bar to open and came in with the other Tuesday morning regulars.

the open sign as a lie AT FIRST

After the beautiful drive and seeing the sights of the coast in the laziest way possible we made it to the Ft. George Brewery in Astoria for some much needed drinking. It was, after all, really cold out.

The best part about drinking at a brewery is you can just say, “one of each please” and you can try it all. “One of each” actually became a theme later in the week with food as well. After drinking we wandered around Astoria a little more.

The shops all closed at 5 so we really had no choice but to head to another bar, this time on the docks where I could keep my eyes peeled on the water searching for whales. When a sea creature finally did breach I yelled “a walrus” but later learned that Oregon is not in the actual arctic and it was indeed a sea lion.

Since I was sharing pics on Instagram I kept getting tips on other places to go and we got to see the goonies house.
And while we were up there we could hear the barking of more sea lions below and I soon found myself breaking onto private property with two random little girls to come and take this shot.

It was amazing.

The next day, I spent a long time laying in bed looking at the weather outside, too scared to get out of bed. Watching Joanna’s Instagramming made me want to check out Junior’s cafe and my friend Claire picked me up and we went..

We had an awesome sassy waitress and I definitely enjoyed the Vegan potatoes with vegetables and tofu sauce. And toast with marionberry jam. I love that every single place in Portland has homemade jam and secret aardvark sauce. Also, I learned that all servers in the state of Oregon are happy to tell you what is vegan and gluten free. Even if you don’t ask, they intuit that you are omitting dairy products and suddenly say, “hey that bread has milk products in it”. Here you can’t even ask about bread at places like Whole Foods without getting the ole “girl you be crazy” eyes.

After filling up on an excessive amount of food and coffee Claire and I headed to the Loyly spa for some much needed heat and lounging about. It was here that I decided I needed to open an inexpensive lounging spa in Austin, but what would be the hot weather equivalent of a good steam? A fancy walk in freezer? Super cold cucumber misters? I have to figure the details out, I can promise there will be hammocks and a swim-up bar. Loyly was lovely, vegan friendly and, I think 15 dollars to hang out in the steam room, the dry sauna, the showers, and the lounging area. Masks and massages were extra. I was able to raise my core temperature enough to make it through the day.

Later that night my Vida Vegan week unofficially started when I met Jojo, Randi, and Mandi at Portobello where we ate pretty much everything on the entire menu.

Everything was amazing, I love their gnocchi 

But the potato pizza might have been my favorite. Or the beet tartare. Or the salted caramel sundae with homemade coconut whip and toasted pine nuts. It’s hard to say.

So that’s my pre-con fun, stay tuned and be amazed by all the things I ate in the following days. I still can’t believe it.

New York: The City So Nice They Named It Twice*

When it’s been summer for a while in Texas it’s hard to remember what it’s like everywhere else. “No pants” kind of becomes a way of life. To put it succinctly, I packed all wrong for my trip to the north starting with upstate New York. Swacket totally lied to me saying that I’d be comfortable in jeans and a hoodie when I would have been happier with snowpants and a heavier jacket than I own. I mean, it’s the end of May! Also, I never learn. The nice part about the change in temperature was that it was just the starting moments of spring and everything was in bloom. We got off the plane at Newark and made our way to Ethiopian food at Lalibela‘s as soon as was humanly possible.

We had such warm service and it was a cute place but even though there were more vegetarian options, I have to say I like the Ethiopian places in Austin better. Lately it seems like they have just been popping up everywhere. We must have at least five by my count.

We headed up to Hudson on what I thought would be a two hour car ride, 6 hours later found us checking in to our sweet Air B&B house and meeting with our friends to start celebrating the next days wedding which was to be at a beautiful spot right on the Hudson river.

In the morning we drove across the river, through the town of Rip Van Winkle, and onward to the Love Bites Cafe which I thought was particularly apropos on a wedding day. (PS, lately I have been totally overusing the word apropos. It’s really fun to say. PPS I always totally overuse the word totally even though I’m not an 1980s california valley girl. I totally don’t know where this comes from.) We arrived in Saugerties, an adorable town with a ridiculous name, and settled in for another very expensive meal. Why is everything in New York so expensive? I mean, I get it in the city but every place we went was pricey and nothing was Texas sized.

I got the sweet potato hash which was pretty rad, although I could have used more greens…and more potatoes. 

We trucked back over the Hudson to Hudson to get ready and found the beautiful wedding spot.

Jen and Ian are so in love and I am so happy for them! If you live in New York and are interested in placenta encapsulation she is totally your girl. We had fun with masks and they had a delicious Mexican spread with tons and tons of vegan options so it didn’t end up mattering that my breakfast wasn’t lumberjack style.

The next day I had breakfast at Earth Foods and I still wish I could take it back. I know better than to order a tofu scramble that is described as having ginger, tamari, and sesame. Having tamari listed on the menu immediately signals that you are somewhere with a 1970s approach to veg food. Surely, you can put those items in a tofu scramble, but clueless restaurants try it, it’s always kind of… disappointing. Anyway we weren’t there for the food in the first place so I wasn’t even thinking of this as an “eat everything in sight trip” until my instagram friend Dianne reminded me that Lagusta’s Luscious was right on the way down to the city. Holy shit. The Motherland.

I

I instantly turned into a vegas style high roller and I said to Dan, get whatever you want it’s on me. It was overwhelming. They had baked goods.

Chocolate bars, and things covered in chocolate. 

And so many handmade chocolate truffles.

We got the chocolate pyramid, the apple carmel, the croissant infused carmel, the furious vulva and more.

I think the chocolate turtle was my favorite.

Lagusta is in New Paltz which seemed like a serious hippie town. But maybe that’s just because we went to Karma Road for lunch.

Imagine friendly dreadie types, quotes from the Dali Lama, pictures of farm animals, and magazines about the healing power of flowers, with the dead softly playing and you will have a good idea what this place is like. We were really confused about the ordering process and ended up with a smattering of warmed up deli food which ended up being ridiculously expensive but luckily VERY tasty.

Then it was onward ho to Manhattan to meet up with some old friends at a micro falafel place called TaïmTaim

When I saw they had green olive falafel I think my heart skipped a beat. It was delicious.

We stayed the night with another friend in Brooklyn who took me to Bagel World in the morning. Bagels are one thing you just can’t really get in Texas so I was stoked for a New York bagel. When I saw the hand written sign; “this way to bagel paradise” with all the tofutti I knew I was in the right place.

I opted for scallion cream cheese on a poppy seed with olives aka what I would eat every single day of my life if I lived in New York. This blog would be about bagels then instead of breakfast tacos.

As much as I loved this bagel I’d rather be in Texas. Our food carts would never have a line like this.

That’s right, I went to the Cinnamon Snail, and after waiting in the line that seemed to last the better part of the day I learned that the cart was cash only and I only had seven dollars. In Austin this would be enough for a meal but in New York the best I could do was a couple of doughnuts. It all sounded so good. Maybe we can get them to drive down for Texas VegFest somehow? I doubt it, they probably make a killing. (not literally because they are so vegan) The doughnut was good and I was glad to have it on my cross country flight to Oregon which will be the next post. For now I will go back to enjoying New York on the screen.

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