2012 was such a great year for vegans in Austin, Rabbit Food Grocery pop-up shops expanded to include all sorts of hard to find vegan items from condoms to chocolate covered Twinkies they have got it all. Capital City Bakery and Sugar Circus both opened up their doors to cupcake loving vegans and both have fantastic reviews. Sweet Ritual added chocolate dipped homemade waffle cones to their menu and had a successful kickstarter for hardpacked ice cream, and both Sweet Ritual and Cap City made into the Chronicle’s best of Austin. Arlo’s moved their game-changer vegan burgers to Cheer-Up Charlies where ATX Vegan Drinks started having monthly events, many participated in the Worldwide vegan bakesale,and the bakesale for SARA animal sanctuary and we raised a ton of money for animal sanctuaries in Texas. Counter Culture opened their doors to their long awaited brick and mortar restaurant on the eastside. Green Island Catering started selling readymade vegan meals at the Daily Juice and hosted yet another Vegan Party Barge. Juiceland opened two more northern restaurants, the Steeping Room opened a second location, Austin Java opened an incredibly vegan friendly location on the westside, a ton of bloggers joined our happy vegan blogosphere, and that’s just off the top of my head!
My top ten is an annual tradition of what I liked the best this year, there are always repeats because I eat them all the time and I don’t want you to miss them! Other things have fallen off the list due to declining quality (using a shit-ton of turmeric in a breakfast taco for example). This year it was harder than ever to keep it to ten, somehow there wasn’t room for my beloved Bouldin Creek which I promise hasn’t declined in quality, but here is what I’ve got.
Brunch at Counter Culture.
The Potato Bowl
If there is one thing that I really wanted in Austin it was a place to sit around enjoying vegan brunch. A place to get your tofu scramble AND sausage that wasn’t chorizo or disgusting, just some good-old American vegan sausage. And fresh juice. And coconut water. Oh and maybe some tempeh bacon. And some french toast. Usually I prefer Mexican breakfast but Counter Culture gives me the option for Mexican or traditional American and your don’t have to wait an hour to sit down….yet. With Rabbit Food Grocery hosting their pop-up shops on Sunday it’s certainly become the can’t miss weekend event.
La Condesa Vegan Platter– I feel like this is the best secret menu item of all time. La Condesa has become my go to place for nice vegan meals because they have a fantastic atmosphere, the service is great, the cocktails are unique, they have 6 different salsas and four guacamoles, and the platter is always remarkable. I promise some day soon I’ll take my camera and take notes so I can properly blog about it but it’s always different every time. Truthfully, I also end up drinking too many fancy cocktails. They even have a vegan dessert. So go there next time you want to be pampered and check out Vegan Explosion’s post for an actual description.
The Specials at Capital City Bakery
Thanksgiving Pecan Pie with Caramelized Marshmallows on top, Mini Apple Pies with a side of coconut ice cream, and Cinnamon Roll Saturdays are what make me go to this magnificent vegan trailer more than I should. I think Kristen’s dedication to heard work and high quality is her secret and she makes the best baked goods I’ve ever had. Everything is just so perfect.
Wasota Vegan Platter
This got number one last year and I couldn’t resist putting it on the list again. I just love everything about Wasota and every element of this platter is addictive and just so crave-able Dan and I both will save leftovers only to eat them cold from the fridge at the first opportunity. I don’t know where they get their pixie dust but it sure would like to buy some and put it on all my food
Tom Kha Soup at Little Thai Food This soup has become my number one obsession, I blogged about it a while back, so check it out. Basically its the best Thai coconut soup I can remember ever having and perfect for dreary weather days.
Austin Cream Pie from Red Rabbit Bakery
Everyone loves the doughnuts from Red Rabbit Bakery. Honestly, that is kind of weird and just goes to show how great they are. People don’t even complain about them on yelp! And people complain about everything on yelp. I love all of their doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, bread, and apple fritters, but those cream filled doughnuts that you can only get at the dang farmer’s market are easily my favorite.
Chocolate Covered Waffle Cone Sundae’s from Sweet Ritual
I don’t think you really need me to describe these, just re-read the title. And yeah, the one in the photo is topped with chick-o-sticks.
Arlo’s Bacon Cheezeburger
When this trailer opened I was a little excited that there was another vegan trailer opening, but then I read the menu and thought, eh veggie burgers. The next thing I knew everyone was raving about them. One bite was all it took for me to become totally hooked. Their homemade patties topped with tofu bacon don’t sound nearly as delicious as their execution makes them. Plus Arlo’s is next to the vegan bar Cheer Up Charlies and you can get french fries and vegan milkshakes from other trailers in the trailer park next door to create a full 50s diner style meal.
The Salads at Juiceland
While it might be true that the lure of The Originator smoothie is what brings me to Juiceland all the time I am constantly amazed by how much I adore their salads. I don’t even usually like salad. First I was hooked on the Soba Noodle Kale salad, then I finally tried the Quinoa Ranchero and that was all I wanted to eat for weeks. Though it was hard I finally, skipped it tried the Double Rainbow Quinoa salad and I loved it too! Juiceland amazes me!
The Tofu Vermicelli Bowl at Lulu B’s
This year I traveled quite a bit and I went to Vietnamese restaurants all over the place and I am more sure than ever that the vermicelli bowl from Lulu B’s belongs on this list, as it has every year I’ve been doing the list! I brought a couple of friends who had just spent the last 6 months in Thailand and Vietnam with me one day, they were so sick of noodles that they didn’t order anything and then they couldn’t believe how good my dish was and wanted to go back. Lulu B’s fantastically grilled tofu mixed with their always fresh ingredients and spicy vegetarian sauce always keeps them a step ahead of everyone else.
Best New Product – GoodSeed Organic Burger & Breakfast Sausage
I used to love the food truck down on Oltorf and I am thrilled that the people behind the trailer are selling their burger all over the place now, you can pick it up at Farmer’s Markets, Wheatsville, Greenling, Ingredients, and tons of other local spots. Additionally, some restaurants are now using the patty including Javelina, Snack Bar, Red’s Porch, and the Violet Crown Theater! I love buying a prepackaged burger from a company I completely trust that’s filled with organic non-gmo healthy ingredients.
Most Missed- Toy Joy
Thank all that is good that we still have Sweet Ritual but I will really miss the vegan ice cream at Toy Joy. I already missed the vegan cafe Dhaba Joy that used to be there. Not only do I adore their ice cream and late hours, but I also was always loved to bring friends there because instead of “vegan ice cream wtf” they would be all excited about Hello Kitty and Star Trek toys. Plus now I won’t have a reason to wander around buying toys I don’t need while waiting for my milkshake. It’s a sad sad closure.
If you live in Austin tell me what your favorites were. I love seeing everyone’s list.