Tag Archives: austin

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.

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!

Roasted Tofu Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Still reeling from the closure of Veggie Heaven I searched the internet looking for another place where I could find cheap noodles with tofu and vegetables for lunch. I don’t know why this is so hard to find in central Austin, really. I had heard a rumor that a new vegetarian place opened up in Veggie Heaven’s spot but instead it looks like it’s going to become a vintage t-shirt store. Because that’s what we need more of…T-shirts. Then I tried to go to the Eastside King at the Hole in the Wall but there was no way I was going to find parking around there in the middle of a Thursday, although the Arby’s next door had a billion spots open.

I did not consider making it an Arby’s night.

Instead I drove aimlessly until I remembered Zen Japanese, it had been long enough since I’d been there that I had forgotten how boring and overpriced their food is. For over twice as much as Veggie Heaven you get a bowl with tons of noodles, mushy tofu, a minuscule amount of vegetables, and a sauce so bland you have to make your own out of the condiments. I think this time I chose the spicy Szechuan. Maybe it would have been spicy to a five year old and perhaps that is who this plate was intended for. And why don’t people research how to cook tofu before putting it on a menu? You it’s just a google search away to learn that you have to freaking press it. 

After I finished I immediately started craving what I really had wanted from Zen. A multitude of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, roasty toasty tofu with some actual flavor, some crunch, and a well balanced, comfortingly spicy peanut sauce and so I looked up some recipes. I was still in search of the perfect peanut sauce, I have tried many over the years and learned that I don’t like coconut in my peanut sauce or an excess of sriracha or sugar. There has to be fresh garlic and ginger or else it’s going to taste like something that you find at the airport and I was pleased to find a recipe that looked good from Oh My Veggies. I also learned that if you store natural peanut butter upside down you won’t end up with an oily mess. I felt a little dumb that that trick had never occurred to me because when I tried it I was thrilled by how easily I was able to stir the peanut butter after opening it. Score.

While perusing recipes I came across another tip, this one from With Food + Love for baking crispy tofu in the oven. The trick is to sprinkle on cornstarch after you marinate it before baking it in the oven and then spraying with a bit of oil. It makes so much sense to use cornstarch in baking because that’s how you get the great coating when you fry it. This is how I will bake my tofu from now on, I want to try the recipe that she posted with it Roasted Broccoli + Crispy Tofu Bowls with a Blood Orange Soy Glaze because I’ve been on the hunt for a good orange tofu recipe for forever.

So, while this isn’t a recipe here is how you can recreate this perfect little Roasted Tofu Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce for yourself. Make the tofu and then the peanut sauce following the directions. Cook some Udon noodles (or rice noodles or linguine or whatever) in boiling water and in the last few minutes of cooking add a bag of your favorite frozen mixed vegetables and cover with a lid. Cook until the vegetables are just done, don’t let them overcook! You can always steam them over the pasta water if you want to be sure. Then drain, mix in the sauce and tofu until everything is beautiful and then top with chopped peanuts and green onions. A perfect simple meal.

Rabbit Food: Austin’s Vegan Grocery Store Opens on South First

I almost cried when Jessica and Gabe started doing pop-up shops back in 2012 and walking into their new brick and mortar all vegan grocery store was almost too much to deal with. I can’t believe Rabbit Food is finally here AND on South First sandwiched between my favorite coffee shop The Fair Bean (get their vegan empanadas) and Bananarchy, across the street from End of an Ear record shop and a new Venezuelan truck called Four Brothers that promises to have vegan arepas! We are living in an amazing time to be a vegan in Austin Texas. 

The soft opening was on February 1st and though everything isn’t in stock yet I couldn’t believe how much they did have, and how freaking cute everything is.

Of course they have every vegan snack you could ever want, from Earth Balance puffs, to Coconut Bacon, and Vegan Twinkies it’s all there.

Then they also have a bunch of cute knitted items, toys and kitchen items from handmade Gryffindor scarves to vegan kitchen towels.

There is an array of vegan health and beauty products including everything from Vitamin D spray to multiple kinds of vegan condoms which will be great anyway but especially if you meet someone AT the store.

They even have fresh foods, WHAT! It’s a one stop shop!

Plus cuties abound everywhere having fun.

And if you pitched in you can find your name on the Kickstarter sign. I stared forever until I found mine and then pointed out to everyone around how awesome I am.

I am so happy for Jessica and Gabe and all of us in Austin and basically the world. So go there, and support the team so they can keep supporting us!

Cool Beans: A vegan Mexican food truck in East Austin

I’ve been buried working on a huge project which means I haven’t had the chance to stalk all the new trailers in town. It’s incredible the Austinites are pumping out so many different vegan food options and I can’t try them all! I was so excited to learn about Cool Beans, because if there is one thing I love in the world it’s vegan tacos. Cool Beans is run by a couple from Brownsville and everything we tried was legit. My friend Jessica (who is about to open the brick and mortar vegan grocery store Rabbit Food in a brick and mortar on South First and live oak) and I had a chance to try out some of the options. I went for the fresh corn tamales with cashew cream and Mexican rice. 

I loved that they were served on a recycled record, so cute! And the tamales might have been the best I’ve ever had! Co-owner Priscilla told me that she learned the technique on family trips to El Salvador. They are so soft and full of corn flavor. I could eat them every day.Then I also got to try the Native which is their version of an Al Pastor made out of local garbanzo tempeh and served with grilled pineapple, cilantro, and onion. I loved this taco, so much better than other vegan Al Pastors I’ve tried in town. Jessica also had the OutKast made of marinated baby bellas, caramelized onions, and cilantro. They make their homemade tortillas to order and they were very different from other tortillas I’ve tried. I think they were spelt and a bit crisp.

We had a bit of hard time finding the trucks, it’s wedged in a little park behind Takoba at 1403 E 7th St. You turn in on the ally on Navasota between 6th and 7th. But go out there and support them and tell them what you think! It’s supposed to be beautiful all week! TACOS!!!!!!!!!