Category Archives: austin

Lazy Smurf’s favorite vegan dishes in Austin for 2015

Usually I do this post in January but I didn’t cause I can be kind of….lazy. But here we are in April and I figured with Vida Vegan Con right around the corner some folks might want to know what dishes in Austin I crave the most. Maybe these aren’t the very best dishes in town and I’m sure they aren’t the healthiest, but this is what I get fixated on & nothing else will do. For what to do in Austin check out A Vegan Tour of Austin, and for every vegan option I know if see the Austin Vegan Guide. I also have a Vegan Taco Guide because tacos are the best. But you asked for it so here is my

2015 Top Ten

Bouldin Creek Breakfast Tacos

In years past I’ve said the rennedict or the tofu scramble/omelet are my favorite thing at Bouldin and while that’s often true it’s more true that I love the breakfast tacos. I never go long without eating the “Ren”, Tofu scrambler sautéed with jalapenos, garlic and onion and the “Neil”, Tofu scrambler, sautéed mushrooms, and spinach on corn. It’s my first meal when I come home after a long trip and what I get when I am so hungry I can’t think. On a craveability scale of 1 to 10 I’d give them a thousand.

Capital City Bakery Cupcakes, Brownies, Kolaches, and everything else

The truth is, I never really cared about cupcakes until I tried the ones from Capital City Bakery. Theirs are so light and airy and missing any cloying sweetness you get from other bakeries. These cupcakes are the best form of vegan activism there is because once a person realizes that vegan cupcakes are better, well, it can open their mind. I get the brownies all the time too and they are the perfect sweet treat for me, chocolate mixed with chocolate chips. Here’s a protip, that sucker will feed you for a week if you divide it up. And the ham and cheese kolaches are the kind of food that I never would have imagined I’d still get to eat vegan. Have it warmed up, though. It’s so good.

Migas Taco at the Vegan Nom Rockin’ Vegan Tacos

Since you can’t always get the Vegan Nom’s barbequed brisket with jalapeno mac and cheese taco I will happily put the Migas Taco on this list. It’s perfect for mornings when you’ve had too much fun the night before or if you are having a bad day and want to change that. I love their simple tofu scramble and mixed with roasted peppers, tortilla chips, cheddar, and a chipotle sauce it is even better. On the right is the maple miso sweet potato taco which is a close second in favorites. Everything they serve up is awesome.

Sweet Ritual Ice Cream Cone Sundae

On any given day Sweet Ritual Ice Cream Parlor has 17 different artisanal flavors. The specials like “Death Metal By Chocolate”, the “Peach Brown Betty” or the “Lady Pleaser (chocolate covered potato ships with smoked sea salt” will slay you with deliciousness but if you put that ice cream inside their homemade, chocolate dipped cone and then cover it with toppings like toasted marshmallows and peanut butter magic shell you will understand the meaning of life. It’s to eat ice cream. And they have different varieties from hemp to coconut and GF cones so I promise there is something for everyone.

The Tofu Vermicelli Bowl with Vegetarian Sauce at Lulu B’s

I’ve probably had Vietnamese Bun over a hundred times and the one from Lulu B’s is my favorite, I don’t know if it’s their chewy lemongrass tofu, the always super fresh vegetables, the mint and basil, the wonderfully excessive amount of peanuts, the sweet spicy sauce that everything is drenched in or just the perfect combination of all of the above but it’s the best version there is. They moved to a little restaurant on South Congress but it’s still cash only so beware!

Pizza from Via 313

If there was ever going to be a pizza that I would refer to as “The Love of My Life” this would be the one. VIA 313’s Detroit style pizza is truly something to get obsessed about. Their pizzas are baked in individual oiled steel pans that make the crusts taste almost deep fried on the bottom. The Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese is cooked right on top of the crust which works much better on a vegan pie. You pick your toppings and the sauce goes on top and tastes fresh and herby. I love that they don’t skimp on my olives. They have a couple of locations, one at Craft Pride on Rainy Street which is fun because the only serve Texas craft beer and one on East 6th outside of The Violet Crown Social Club but soon, like really soon, they are opening a full on restaurant in Oak Hill. I can’t wait.

Smoothies and Salads at Juiceland

I honestly don’t think I’ve had a better smoothie in my life than the ones at Juiceland. Pictured above is “The Love Below” which has Cherries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cacao, Coconut Oil, and Rice Milk. But I love the Originator just as much. Maybe it’s the Fresh Apple Juice but it also has Bananas, Blueberries, Cherries, Peanut Butter, Brown Rice Protein, Spirulina, and Flax Oil. I’ve tried to make these suckers at home but it’s just not the same. And their salads are off the hook too! It’s my summer ritual to go swimming at Barton Springs and then get a smoothie and a Double Rainbow Salad or the Quinoa Ranchero Bowl. The perfect meal when it’s 5,000 degrees out. And here’s a protip, they sell some of their juices by the gallon to make cocktails out of! The Kale Cucumber Margarita is the best thing ever to take with you on a river trip with a bottle of vodka, so healthy!

Bac’n Cheeze Burger with Tots at Arlo’s 

I often say that the one thing I’ve ever seen all Austin vegans agree on it’s the love of the Arlo’s Bac’n Cheeze Burger. Now that I’ve written it down someone is sure to disagree but most of us adore their handmade lentil based patties topped with cheddar daiya and vegan bacon. For me it’s always a late night downtown meal but now that they are open for lunch and have opened a second location on South Lamar I will get even more Arlo’s in my life.

The Specials at Unity Vegan Kitchen

Lately Unity Vegan Kitchen, a trailer off Barton Springs Road, has been killing it with their weekly specials. It’s always exactly the food I didn’t even know I wanted and then suddenly couldn’t live without. Last week it was breakfast mac and cheese, which was mac topped with tempeh bacon, tofu scramble, avocado, and all kinds of other good stuff. A few weeks ago it was chicken chimmichangas. And then she brings back the chicken and waffle special with white gravy. It’s all irresistable. I also love the muffaletta sandwich which is always on the menu, her homemade bread makes all the difference,  and the quinoa spring rolls are light and yet filling enough for a while meal. Don’t miss it!

The Buddha Bowl at the Steeping Room

I remember when I used to travel all the way up to the domain shopping center in the northiest section of North Austin to get a delicious bowl from The Steeping Room, so glad they opened one a bit more central on north lamar. I love that the beans, grains, and greens change all the time for variety at the Steeping Room. But, you can always get tofu, cashew sauce, peanut sauce, or even tamari which I’ve never tried because they have cashew sauce and peanut sauce. I also love their B.A.T. sandwich, tempeh bacon, tomato, and arugula with their hot soup like cream of mushroom. Of course the most fun part is picking out a tea from their 7,000 varieties and they always have dessert too!

So that’s what are my personal favorites but their are a ton of other things that could have been on this list like the barbecued soy curls at BBQ Revolution, the corn tamales at Cool Beans, the AMAZING homemade Cheeze plates at Counter Culture, the Vegan Platter at Wasota African Cuisine, the Veggie Meshi and Beet Fries at the East Side King Brunch at Bistro Vonish or “elevated stoner cuisine” at the Golden Spike Rail Cart. The Green Curry at Sway or the pastries at Thai Fresh. The sausage empanadas at the Fair Bean or the frozen bananas with toppings at Bananarchy the Freeto Burrito at The Vegan Yacht or the Tofu Po’Boy at Wheatsville or the Seitan Reuben at Schmaltz. The Mexican Pancake at Mr. Natural. Vegan Jambalaya on a stick at Baton Creole or the breakfast tacos with shoestring potatoes at Cherrywood Coffeehouse or the Sunday night vegan ramen special at Ramen Tatsu-ya.

Let us know what your favorites are!

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.

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.

Kickstarter : Build Austin a Blue Cat Cafe with rescued & adoptable cats!

Do you wanna hang out with cats in a cafe setting? WHO DOESN’T??? Contribute to the kickstarter! Let’s make this happen Austin! And, of course, since they are big animal lovers all the food will be vegan too! Score!

The Blue Cat Cafe a cat cafe to pet and play with rescued adoptable cats while also enjoying good food, music, art, and fun events!

Super Natural Foods – a new raw vegan meal delivery service in Austin

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Super Natural Foods to let you all know about their new meal delivery service here in Austin. Normally, I wouldn’t be too excited about another raw cleanse program but this one really caught my eye because they are using local, organic, vegan products, they deliver, and along with some raw food experts, the executive chef from Beets is involved. I thought Beets had really delicious raw foods and I was sorry to see them close down. Also, I’ve been eating tons of tacos and ice cream lately (but not yet ice cream tacos) so I thought it would be a good idea to get some raw veggies into my diet. They deliver a big bag of all the food that you will need for the next day at around 7pm, right after they make it, so that you will be all ready for the next day. When I got my bag I couldn’t believe how much food was in it. 

I was actually feeling really ill the next day so it couldn’t have come at a better time, although my pictures did suffer from my lack of attention to detail! I assure you that all the food was amazingly fresh and vibrant. In fact, that is what I was most impressed with overall, everything from the vegetables to the containers, to the details of the diet seemed very high quality.

The day started with Strawberry Banana Malt Smoothie which I really adored. I usually don’t like smoothies that aren’t fresh out of the blender but this one was still delicious even though it was made the day before. Maybe it’s a high-powered blender thing? Their Signature Green Juice was still fantastic too, I was worried from looking at it that it might be to grassy but it was really tasty with a nice mix of greens and other vegetables like cucumber. Included with the food is a days worth of supplements including a pro-biotic,  a blood purifying herb called manjistha, and a colon cleansing herb called triphala. They also packed in some shots made with lemon juice, ginger juice and cayenne pepper and are meant to optimize your digestion. 

For lunch a beautiful Eggless Egg Salad Bagel with crudite was included. As a flour bagel lover I was a bit wary of this but it was tasty and healthy and the portion was quite large. In fact I wasn’t even hungry for dinner!

Don’t worry, I still ate the snack which was Maca Energy Nuggets. They didn’t sound too enticing but I absolutely loved them. I wouldn’t even let Dan try them (Shh it’s a good thing he just looks at the pictures). I ate them with the zucchini soup  which I wasn’t a big fan of but I think they are going to work on.

This was served with a salad of petite Greens with shaved root vegetables, sweet 100 tomatoes and fennel vinaigrette. which was still beautiful by the time I got to it the next day. 

It’s a lot of food for one person! I think this would be a great option for someone with a healthy appetite that wants to get more healthy things into their body. Since it’s delivered and all the meals are ready to go it would be great for anyone that doesn’t have time or interest in dealing with preparing raw food. It would be perfect, too, for somebody who is dealing with an illness. I know from experiance that it can be impossible to aquire healthy food like this when you are too sick to drive anywhere. It’s much easier to do a taco cleanse :)

Good luck to Super Natural Food, I hope that you all are super succesful.

 

Vegan Weekend Plans

One thing that I do to make myself feel really terrible is make a ton of plans for the weekend and then cancel them all. This is going to be one of those weekends because there is so much vegan action that sounds like a blast. But, if you read yesterday’s post and saw what my deepest desires are then you know that I won’t make it to all of these events. Hopefully there are more energetic people out there than me and so this post is for you!

First up, is the return of Vegan Drinks tonight at Cheer up Charlies. It’s super exciting that Arlo’s reopened at the Red River location and they are even giving away free french fries if you tell them the secret password: VEGAN DRINKS FRIES! . The drink specials will include The Vegan Yeti (White Russian), The Banana Hammock (pineapple, banana juice, coconut milk & rum), and Whiskey Root Beer Floats made with ice cream provided by Sweet Ritual! It’s tonight Friday at September 5th at 7pm.

On Saturday morning, I will spend the morning at the Beagle Brigade at Norwood Estate Dog Park. Then, at 5pm Unity Vegan Kitchen is going to be throwing a birthday party at their new location in South Austin! And they are going to be making their chicken and waffles with an even better recipe! Hard to imagine cause they were pretty amazing at the 4th of July Party. 

If you don’t stalk Austin vegan business you might not know that there have been a lot of changes in the past few weeks. The Northloop trailer park had to close down completely and Red Rabbit moved into Monkeywrench Books, Taco ‘Bout It closed down, Unity moved to the South Austin Social lot, and BBQ Revolution moved next to Brass Ovaries at 3111 Manor Rd. The Vegan Nom moved back to it’s original location on North Loop. The Dojo closed down and it looks like the Health Box shut down too.

On Sunday Mr. Natural is serving up their monthly vegan brunch buffer at the Ceaser Chavez location.  They will be serving a Boston creme cake as a special treat. Counter Culture will also have brunch, as they do every weekend, this time they will be continuing the special of Blueberry Blue Corn Pancakes with Organic Maple Syrup which are amazing! And as usual Counter Culture will also be hosting the Rabbit Food Pop-Up shop so get your orders in. And if you haven’t read about it, please check out their awesome kickstarter ’cause it’s going to be the best thing ever.

On the horizon for next week Counter Culture will be hosting a Wine and Cheese night on September 10th. If you haven’t tried their cheese, it’s so good! I promise you will love it. They have also gotten together another screening of Cowspiricy because the last one sold out and it’s getting rave reviews. Finally, next weekend there is going to be a AVVA+VRA End of Summer Cookout .

So that’s the weekend haps that I know about. I can at least guarantee you one thing, I will spend the weekend eating vegan food.

Happy Veganmofo!

Rabbit Food Grocery is moving to a Brick & Mortar with your help!

Sometimes when you talk about veganism people call you an elitist and say that a vegan diet is too expensive.

Mostly, it’s cause people are dicks and they have to give you a hard time about something.

But, beyond that, I never understood this argument since the vegan meal is  almost always the cheapest entrée  on the menu, especially if you have to make your dinner from the sides portion.  Maybe people think that because guacamole is usually extra?

Anyway, for years I’ve wondered about this idea of veganism being more expensive and I think now I finally get it. The reason that you spend more when you are vegan isn’t because you are buying more expensive food, it’s because you find all sorts of great people and causes to donate too. People don’t want you to know that vegans are actually awesome and they are always doing cool shit like saving elephants, planting trees, and in this case, building an all vegan grocery store.

I’ve been hearing Jessica talk about her dream to open a vegan grocery store since before I even knew her IRL. This is something she and Gabe have been working on for a million years. They have been so successful with their online shop and pop-up shops (blogged about here) because they have got their shit together. They are the kind of brilliant vegans who are always working towards the cause to save animals. When I saw a pet bunny being carried down the road in my neighborhood by a dog it was Jessica and Gabe that I called to help me with it. And of course, not only did they help me save that bunny but they ended up adopting it. I trust these people with my vitamins, my dog food, and I know that I never have to order some special new vegan product because Rabbit Food will be the first to have it in stock.

I am so excited that that they are finally getting to open the store. Reading that in addition to groceries they will have a vegan coffee bar with bagels and homemade cream cheese, breakfast tacos, and a community event space is making my heart pitter-patter with enthusiasm.

So today I am asking you to check out the Rabbit Food Grocery Kickstarter and donate if you can. They have tons of cool prizes for out of town people too and think about how exciting it will be to shop here! No label reading! Lot’s of cookies! It’s going to be the best!