Tag Archives: lunch

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!

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Vida Vegan meet-up at the Liberty tonight (2/6) & a review of the newest Eastside King

Eastside King trailer behind the Liberty on the Eastside

I’ve long been a fan of the Eastside King, I mean anyone who has brussels sprouts in a Vietnamese stir-fry and beet fries is going to rank pretty high on my list. It’s been fun to watch the expansion as new trailers and a couple brick and mortars opened up around town as the word spread and Paul Qui became super famous. I love that a place that’s so trendy and popular has awesome vegan dishes because the number one reason people give up on veganism is that it’s inconvenient when eating out. So thank you Eastside King! Tonight the crew from Vida Vegan are going to have a meet-up at the original Liberty Location from 5-7. And if you aren’t feeling that trailer, there are tons of others nearby like Via 313.

I got to check out the new South Lamar Eastside King location a couple weeks ago and I was pretty stoked that they had the same offerings from the liberty location that I already love.

They also added tacos to the menu at the new location! I guess they had to since it’s smack dab in South Austin. The Mochi taco is “mochi in a steamed moo shu wrap topped with bico, , yuzu kosho salsa, avocado, basil, cilantro, mint and it’s delicious.

I was worried when I bit into it that they forgot and added cheese but we decided it was the mochi. I was with my friend and most amazing cookbook author Isa and I kicked her (not at all discreetly) when Paul Qui walked by so they could say hi. I’m the worst! It was fun though. The new location also has a giant Tanuki.

I was very happy with the experience overall (except parking can kind of be a bitch we parked at Chipotle which is probably a bad idea) they were super friendly about the vegan thing and everything was delicious.

So hopefully I’ll see some of y’all tonight! I wonder if we will get another snowday tomorrow!

Delicious Houston

August is a month of travel for me, luckily I have the best house sitters in the world but I am still going to miss those dogs. Things I will not miss include 100+ weather, work, driving, and going to meetings! Hooray for me!

Travel stated by going to Houston this weekend where I finally tried salt toasted tofu in China TownIt was salty spicy and delicious and I want to eat it right now. We also ordered “hollow green vegetables with garlic sauce” and spent the entire time leading up to getting the food discussing what hollow green vegetables they would be. It turned out they were water spinach, something I had never had but was hollow, green, and delicious! Too bad I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. That is some shoddy blogging my friends!

Later we went to the Hobbit Cafe which is all Lord of the Rings themed.

Our waiter looked like he must be a hobbit but I didn’t take his picture to show ya’ll because it just seemed like it would be taking weird to a whole new level. I mean, who takes pictures of their waiter? The hobbit cafe is very veg friendly but I decided I wanted a burger because they were hobbit made. The thing is, I find it more than a little hard to believe that a hobbit would make a burger so large, I know they have huge appetites, but they are just so little and this monster was way too big for me, a fully grown human.The sweet potato fries were dope though

The Vegan Yacht

I finally checked out the Vegan Yacht at Cheer Up Charlies on East 6th street today and I’ve got to say that I am so impressed! I really didn’t understand until recently that the yacht is a veritable eating establishment and I have been missing out! Cheer Up Charlies used to be a trailer that served mostly beverages but then a couple of months ago the opened up a brick and mortar bar that serves beer, kombucha, and delicious vegan chocolates. They have a lot of events and outdoor movies there. The Vegan Yacht is on the back patio surrounded by little tables and succulents.Although I have heard the menu changes quite a bit, I thought is was pretty great. This Wednesday it included several sandwiches, a TLT, a mock chick’n, and one with sprouts, tomato and avocados along with the latter in lettuce wrap form for the raw/healthy/carbaphobic types out there. They also have a quesadilla made with seitan, daiya cheese, avocado, and bell peppers. We had a hard time deciding! For drinks they have iced coffee & chai, and smoothies or you can go to the bar inside. They also had beet brownies and coconut bliss for dessert. As usual when confronted with an all vegan menu I panicked. There were so many options! I was at Counter Culture over the weekend and someone was raving about the frito pie, that they serve either in a bowl or in burrito form and I thought it was just crazy enough to work and ordered the frito burrito. He gave me the option of adding avocado or daiya and I went with the former. It was fabulous!They perfectly grilled the tortilla which made it have a really nice texture and made it easier to eat. The chili was great and had corn and big pieces of onion in it and it wasn’t spicy at all if that is a concern. I would definitely get it with avocado again. Mmm. My friend tried the TLT which was also on grilled bread and surprisingly tasty.The tempeh was especially reminiscent of bacon which I have never really picked up on before from other tempeh bacon. Or maybe it was just the familiarity because of the vegan mayo and tomato that made it so evocative of the BLTS of yesteryear. Whatever the reason it was a perfect sandwich. I don’t know why they don’t have sides though? Some fries or chips or brussels sprouts or broccoli rice casserole or something would have been a nice side dish. At night it would be perfect to grab a sandwich and then go to the Eastside King for Beet fries.

I loved that they were open for lunch because I thought it was just a late night spot, but they actually have really perfect hours; closing after lunch and reopening at 7 until the party is over so it can be one of the best spots to check out for late night vegan eating.  And they have parking!They also have a Sunday Brunch that I can’t wait to try, especially since they are open until 4 pm for Brunch which, to my mind, is the only civilized thing to do.

I hope the Vegan Yacht sails for a long time. We both really liked it and they seem like really good people! 

New Amy’s Mac & Cheese, 520 Calories? What the What????

I have been seeking the new Amy’s Mac and Cheese that is made with Daiya Cheese for a few weeks. Then I finally saw it at whole foods and was so excited. I love mac & vegan cheese more than I ever liked the dairy version so I was just stoked that maybe there would be a good frozen option to have for work lunches.  I couldn’t believe when I looked at the nutritional information and saw that it was 520 calories, for a teeny tiny side of mac & cheese!  I felt gross eating it. I didn’t think it was good either, kind of gluey, oily, and bland. I know a lot of you vegans love the daiya cheese but give me a good nooch sauce any day over that! I will stick with mac daddy and the Vegan Mac & Cheese at Wheatsville. I wish toy joy still carried their fabulous version. The strange thing is, I really like most of the other Amy’s frozen entrées.

If you are looking for a fantastic frozen meal I recommend the Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake, I tried it last week. It has plantains, sweet potatoes, black beans, and kale and was surprisingly good! And since it is only 340 calories for the whole meal you can still have some ice cream when you are done! Or an entire jar of olives. Or a delicious summer brew. Or a chocolate bar with almonds. Mmm chocolate.

Edible Earth– an all vegan trailer on South 1st

The other day I read the Statesman article about how some folks think that the trailers in Austin should be more heavily regulated. I figured that was just because someone else was very greedy since every trailer I have been to seems very clean and well run. But then I read the comments and couldn’t believe how many Statesman readers have never gone to trailers, someone said “Who goes to trailers anyway homeless people?”. If the homeless can afford to eat at the trailers I go to they are some pretty well fed people! It is such an absurd thought! Can you imagine the homeless population are supporting all these hundreds businesses. I guess they have to spend their huge incomes on something since they don’t have to pay rent. People are just so stupid at this point on the internet that it is hard to even read anything without skipping the comments. Except for my comments which are always wonderful and my commenters who are the best on the net!

I think at this point I prefer to eat at trailers. It is a lot cheaper, I don’t have to have someone wait on me, and I can leave whenever I want to. Plus, it seems like so many trailers are more vegan friendly than… just about anybody! Instead of trying to get through to third parties you usually get to discuss the food with the person that cooks it and they are happy to tell you all about it. Places like TaKorea, Bananarchy, and Frietkot are all so helpful and talk honestly about what does and doesn’t contain animal products. There are no corporate policies, hostility, ignorance, or pretentiousness that I deal with sometimes in restaurants regarding vegan food. If you like the trailers too, sign the petition to tell the city that if something is working out fabulously they should leave it alone!

All-vegan trailers have a very special place in my heart. When I first tried Edible Earth I stared at the menu not wanting to make a wrong decision.Even though I knew that they were an all-vegan trailer (it says so in big letters, right on trailer) I still questioned the veracity of everything and both times they were super friendly and helpful in response. Earth Balance, Daiya Cheese, Toffuti sour cream, and all of the other vegan dairy substitutes were well represented. The first time I went I thought the burrito was a little small and the price was rather high but they have since come down on prices since. I would love if they added a side to the burrito like gallo pinto style rice and beans or fried plantains. The next visit I checked out the Loaded Baked Potato with the added vegan taco meat. Six dollars seemed just a little but much for a potato until I saw it. The potato was massive! Maybe the biggest potato I have ever seen. I was really hungry after the beagle brigade and farmer’s market and I still couldn’t eat the whole thing. The potato itself was crunchy on the outside perfect and over-filled with toffuti, daiya, chives, taco meat, and salt and pepper. I loved it! I used to always get potatoes like that back in the pregan days of yore so it was wonderful to travel down that road once again.

The rest of the menu is filled out with salads, quesadillas, and an every changing array of sweets. I got a chocolate chip cookie to share with my mom and we both thought it was tasty.

Since I am personally not a big salad fan I wish that the menu had things like Tempeh Wings, BBQ Seitan Ribs or Smoked Tempeh with Mac Daddy,  or an Eggplant Muffaletta but, then, that is my fantasy trailer and I am sure that tons of people prefer salad and…..um…. vegetables. Next time I go I am going to tell her to consider Jes’ Fried Green Tomato Sandwich for a special. God I love that sandwich and it is green tomato season!

So the next time you are on South 1st check it out and support vegan trailers!

Beautiful Days at Blue Dahlia Bistro

Days are slipping from sunny and gorgeous to sunny Sunny SUNNY quicker than you can find your flip flops here in Austin Texas. It has been the most lovely spring, the water is flowing at the green belt, flowers are blooming everywhere, and all of my meals have been taken alfresco as of late. Yesterday Jodi at Tasty Touring asked what our favorite patios are in Austin and I first thought of Blue Dahlia. It is the kind of patio that I hope to recreate in my own backyard, except with less tables and more pillows. It is a beautiful atmosphere with lots of plants and shade. A perfect place to while away the hours.They also have plenty of good food on the menu. The lattes are fabulous. Most, if not all, of the bread is vegan. They have an olive bread that fills my heart with love for mankind. They also have a hummus plate, soup, sandwich (ask for no butter) and several entrées and big salads. I love to get the bread plate with several different fresh baked breads with different spreads.  I haven’t tried everything because I almost always get the gigantic black bean salad. It has mixed greens topped with tomatoes, cucumber, avocados, black bean and a corn & bell pepper salsa that is just so fresh and bright that I can’t even describe. They also have a large wine list and happy hour specials. So if you are downtown and need to get out of the heat check it out.