Tag Archives: breakfast

CLOSED Austin Java Tarrytown Redux + a GIVEAWAY!!!

UPDATE 2-10-2014 Austin Java Tarrytown suddenly shut it’s doors forever over the weekend. The word is that the veg options are going to move to the Barton Springs locations.

Almost exactly a year ago a new all vegetarian Austin Java opened up in Tarrytown. We went and, like the other Austin Javas I’ve been to, the food was pretty disappointing. There was a lot of confusion about what was vegan and what wasn’t and it seemed like no one really had any idea about how to make delicious vegan food. Folks from the neighborhood were really disappointed and the reviews were kind of depressing since everyone was blaming the bad food on the fact that it was vegetarian. I still held out hope that things would change and sure enough a new manager was brought in, Maddy, who seems to be doing everything right. First she consulted with local vegans, the ladies behind our local tempeh company the Hearty Vegans, to help her out. And help they did! The menu is definitely pared down and, if I’ve learned anything from watching Kitchen Nightmares, it’s that that is a good thing! There is a lot more focus on making things in house from whole foods rather than store bought substitutions. A group of us were invited to try out the new menu on the house and if they can recreate our meal for their paying customers I think that it is going to be very successful with both vegans and omnivores. In fact, Maddy said since developing the menu she learned to love vegan food so much that she’s now eating that way most of the time!

We started with some agave & lime marinated cucumber tapas that were topped with avocado and pico de gallo. This is something I would never normally order but I really enjoyed it. The marinade took the edge of the cucumber and I could see this being a great app in the summer when it’s 5,000 degrees. I enjoyed them with a glass of delicious chardonnay, I never would have thought of Austin Java as a place for wine and I’m glad I tried it since they often have happy hour specials.

Next we were brought a couple of samples of pasta. The pasta primevera is something that I get from time to time at the Austin Java on 12th because it’s one of the few vegan meals they have and I am always super disappointed with the mushy noodles, oily overcooked vegetables, and bitter taste. The pomodoro at the Tarrytown location was totally the opposite of that. I think the other locations would be blown away by the difference that an al dente noodle, a well cooked vegetables, and a light sauce makes. Also viva la vegan parmesan a fresh basil.

We also tried the jalapeno mac & cheese which has avocado and pureed peanuts as it’s base. I loved this dish, in fact, I’ve been trying to make my own version of avocado mac over the years and it never worked out nearly this well. Not everyone at the table was sold on the peanut butter but I didn’t really notice it, I thought it was delicious and creamy and I’d order it the next time I go back for lunch. I loved the basil and the corn. I’ll be curious to see what other people think.

Next we were brought some sandwiches. The curried tempeh wrap was my favorite. It was kind of sweet with pecans and maybe even dried fruit but on a thick salty pita. I thought it worked really well, and again, I hope this sandwich comes to 12th street because I could easily eat it a few times a week.

We also sampled the southwest veggie burgers that are made in house and also gluten free. We tried them on a GF bun that’s made locally by  Misty Morning Bakery which I think is popular with the GF-vegan community. The burger stayed true to it’s veggie roots and wasn’t trying to be a meat replacement so I think it will be popular with the non-vegans too.

I think next came the black bean chili which was very similar to a chili I used to sell on the lot a million years ago. It was a little sweet and had pops of corn. I really liked it, a nice wholesome dish. They should enter the Lonestar Veggie Chili Cook-off next year.

Next came the tempeh “street taco”. Since we were just getting samples ours were on fried tortillas and I should have asked if that’s how they will always be. I liked it, it reminded me of homemade nachos. The tempeh ground beef was delicious and I think we all really enjoyed the filling. In fact, I do believe it was Nanette’s favorite dish.

Finally we were brought pancakes and I didn’t even take a picture since I was so full at this point that I could barely manage and also you all probably know what a pancake looks like. These were damn near perfect. The batter was agave and banana sweetened and topped with a cinnamon butter and maple syrup. We all loved them. Molly said they were the best in town and I already want to get them again.

She sent us home with cupcakes and cookies and, honestly, we thought the chocolate chip cookie was one of the best in town. I’d put it right up there with Celeste’s Best & The Big John from Whole Foods.

I’m so happy with the new menu and so glad that Maddy reached out the Hearty Vegan and that they were so helpful. It’s nice to have well prepared tempeh on a menu because tempeh is really unique and delicious and you can’t get it many places in town. They even have a tempeh scramble that you can sub in the migas. Nearly everything on the menu can be veganized and there were a lot of GF options. They haven’t printed out new versions of the menu yet so be sure to ask for vegan things when you go (like the pancake). And of course, let them know what you think. I think really one of the best things for veganism is to have great vegan food all over the place and I’m happy to add Austin Java Tarrytown to the list and I hope it all goes really well for them.

This contest has closed, due to unforeseen circumstances Austin Java won’t be able to honor the winner for a while.

TO WIN A FREE MEAL

Generously, they have offered a free meal to two lucky readers! If you would like to win please comment below. Let me know what you are most excited about trying on the new menu. Make sure you comment with an email that you check so I can notify you if you are the winner.

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.

 

Ruta Maya Coffee Trailer on South First

The Bouldin Creek Trailer Park is becoming my favorite park. Sure, part of it is that it directly on South First which I travel down every single day and I’m not always one for leaving my side of town. It’s always had different vegan friendly establishments moving in and out but once Wasota moved in, it became a top spot in book. Then Little Thai Food moved in and I became obsessed with their Tom Kha and now, the missing element of the east side of the street (I’m no good at left turns you should see my car) was breakfast and now Ruta Maya has come in and potentially changed my morning routine.

Ruta Maya is an Austin institution that’s been around forever and by forever I mean 1990 when it was a downtown spot on 4th to have coffee and talk about organic food, do some Tai Chi, and maybe bring your dog named Marley. They eventually got ousted from downtown and moved to Penn Field on South Congress into a really huge location that had tons of events like drum circles, Brazilian dancing, yoga, shows like Harry and the Potters, free classes and of course their locally roasted coffee. Now they have even been ousted from that location too as Austin gets more and more difficult to hold a lease in. I’ve heard they want to open up a new brick and mortar location but for now, in addition to still selling coffee beans in stores, they have this little trailer on at 1207 S. 1st St in the Bouldin Creek Trailer Park. I noticed it yesterday on my drive downtown and got to try it this morning. So far, it’s the soft opening and they don’t have much of a menu but they were super nice and offered to make me a spinach, mushroom, and black bean taco. I was also very pleased to see that they sold tiny 8oz coffees. I recently fell in love with the small coffee on my trip to New York and they aren’t as ubiquitous in Austin.

It sounds like their new menu is going to have lots of breakfast items but dinner specials too and they were very excited about all their gluten free options, including GF bagels. They will have regular bagels and I kind of begged them to serve vegan cream cheese so cross your fingers that they add that to the menu. If they do, it will probably become my #1 breakfast stop because as much as I desire Whole Foods breakfast tacos, I do not love the line. Also the Bouldin Creek Trailer Park is kind of beautiful, with the sometimes active creek, the nice seating, and shady trees. It’s a great spot. I am excited to see what all they decide for the grand opening in two weeks.

 

Sunny Days in Texas: Zucchini Migas

Migas are a regional Mexican dish created to use up leftovers from the night before. Traditionally, cooks fry up some onions, peppers, and spices, add the leftover meat, and then scramble with eggs and cheese and then mix in last night’s tortillas. Restaurants in Austin have about a zillion spins on this, sometimes using chorizo or queso instead of cheese, or using tortilla chips instead of dried out tortillas and, of course, the migas breakfast taco. So… maybe not quite a zillion but more like 10 different ways. Mr. Natural has the best tofu version I’ve tried.

I think the first vegan food blog in Austin that I was aware of was Two Vegan Boys.  Krys is always cooking up amazing vegan comfort food for her family and has lots of tips on being frugal and gardening. I was really excited that she donated her recipe for Zucchini Migas to the Sunny Days zine because I love migas and everyone always need more recipes for zucchini!

It took me quite a while to get the technique for making migas right. I think the trick is to keep a low heat once you add the tofu and to turn over the tofu instead of stirring it. The recipe called for firm tofu but for some weird reason I only had soft tofu on hand and I was pleased that it worked so well. I also ended up baking some tortillas to make chips because I didn’t have any on hand. Next time I’ll use queso instead of cheese and serve with some roasted potatoes. Or migas con hongos is always good too.  It is a great flexible recipe, now I’m even more excited to try her homeade oreos, also in the zine!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Breakfast Taco Guide

This morning I had a breakfast taco with veggie chorizo and roasted potatoes on a spelt tortilla because I am a lucky mofo. If you live outside of Texas acquiring breakfast tacos may be a little more difficult than stopping at your local whole foods where you can choose from a panoply of vegan ingredients. That is why I have written a guide to making your own tacos at home, and included a revised version in the Sunny Days in Texas zine. People in the rest of the world seem to have some strange notions about what is and isn’t breakfast and why everything should be in a taco. So I am hoping to finally set the record straight. Once an Austinite friend of mine went on a roadtrip to California and got into a fight with his waiter about whether something was a burrito or a taco. You don’t want this to happen to you so read the guide and eat a taco.

If you are reading this blog from outside of Texas, I’m curious, can you get breakfast tacos where you are? Let me know so I can plan my next trip. I know they have them on Maui and in Chicago and then there are the Dutch tacos (that aren’t really tacos) in Portland.

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Portland: The Flavor Sport

Someone told me this morning that they have never been to Portland but had heard it was like Austin 20 years ago. I said it is more like what I hope Austin will be… like….in 20 years! First of all the mass transit is fantastic if you can walk and you don’t have to worry about crazy people trying to murder you with their cars. It is also just so much easier to be vegan. It is super easy to be vegan in Austin, don’t get me wrong, but in Portland you go to place and say, yeah I’d like that vegan and there are no questions or eye rolls. People just say “would you prefer soy or rice milk?” I had so much food and such a great time that I am going to do multiple posts, which is something I rarely do on travel but it has to happen. A lot was crammed into those 5 days.

Perhaps my most exciting cramming was done as a recommendation from my friend Panda Cookie (who btw makes the cutest monsters and crafty things you have ever seen) who told me to check out the Flavor Spot where I could get waffle wraps. Even though I have a cast on my leg I decided to go for it, be brave and take the bus to the spot.

It was closed.

I should know better with trailers to always call ahead.

It became my number one quest of Vida Vegan con to get to that trailer when it was open, and get there I did. First, I feel like I should mention that the flavor spot only has one vegan option out of like 10 options all together and it didn’t phase me one bit because I knew, immediately, that even if I lived next door to this magnificent trailer I would never get anything else ever again.

I wonder what Dutch people or Mexican people would think of what they call a dutch taco? I can’t imagine an American that would think anything besides YES !!! Breakfast sausage and a non drippy maple spread ensconced in a waffle wrapping would have made me purr if I was a kitten. The portion was generous and though I immediately wanted to eat ten more in about five minutes I never wanted to eat again. That was it. Done eating forever. Waffle taco. Please open one in Austin.

The only thing I will do different next time (besides call ahead and check the hours!) is bring my own coffee because theirs was sub-par and they didn’t have any vegan creamer. But really, if you ever wanted to find something that you could share with the Homer Simpson in your life and still be vegan this is probably the place to go. Well, actually now I can name several, stay tuned!

 

Morning Spiced Rice

I am somewhat incapable of making breakfast at the appropriate time. This weekend, for example, by the time I decided I really wanted olive bagels for breakfast it was already 11am. Then I had to motivate to mix up the dough, let it rise, boil the bagels, and then bake them. I didn’t have breakfast until, like, 2:30 pm, technically brunch,  which is pretty standard for the weekend version of me. The problem is I get really hungry by about 9 so the laziness isn’t really an asset in this case. That is why I love leftovers for breakfast. My favorites are gallo pinto and polenta rancheros.

Sometimes I want something a little sweet and warm for breakfast and in this case leftover brown rice is the perfect thing to have.

I spice brown rice the same way as I make oatmeal, with cinnamon and sugar. First I put the cooked rice in a little pot with some hemp or almond milk. Then, once the rice starts to plump up I add brown sugar, a little cinnamon and sometimes even chai tea spices like cloves and cardamom. Sometimes I top it with maple syrup, if I have maple syrup which is pretty rare, but you could also add apples or bananas or really about anything you can think of. The best part is that it takes about 5 minutes to do and uses something I almost always have on hand, cooked rice.

Remember how I said my plan was to go camping over the weekend? It totally didn’t happen, it was way too cold for sleeping outside and there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do in town anyway, like the EAST austin studio tour, the Thanksgiving sampler party at Wheatsville, and brunch at Counter Culture. Would you believe I did none of it! If you know me at all, actually, it probably isn’t very surprising. Anyway, the laziness was kind of helpful because I ended up being somewhat productive. In a Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, there are project instructions for a cross stitch project and I was totally inspired to try it. I ended up spending the weekend making a couple of cross stitch projects and watching  Twin Peaks….and then making cherry pie.

This is the one from the book except I changed the text, it was supposed to say “Flesh is for Zombies Go Vegan” but I remembered something I saw at the Renegade Craft Fair that said “I love you more than zombie brains” and made that instead.

It was so much fun, I haven’t made once since I was a tiny kid and now I have so many ideas now I want to make them for everyone I know.