Note-I wrote this some time ago and things have changed so much! I am going to redo the list soon
1. Frito Pie & Tater Tots from Dog Almighty. I love Dog Almighty, it is walking distance to my house so I really go here way too much and get the frito pie. But the thing is, the chili in the frito pie is just so awesome and they cover everything with tons of jalapenos and onions (if you want). I always want to order other things but usually I can’t. The Frito Pie pulls me back almost every time. Despite the complete joy and love I have for the frito pie it doesn’t touch the glory that is the Dog Almighty Tater Tots. I crave the golden nuggets of potato perfection. If you have only ever had tots in the school cafeteria or at Sonic it is time to get on your bike and get the hell over to dog almighty. These tots are a revelation. If I ever start to contemplate suicide remind me of these tots and they will be a reason to live.
2.Breakfast Taco from Whole Foods (Potato, Tofu, Pico on Spelt). At my office we have a rule that if you are going to be late you have to bring in tacos so I eat these tacos at least 3 times a week. Sometimes I even drive up here on the weekend just to get the whole foods taco. If you have only tried it once I urge you to go again because the aren’t always fantastic. It appears that a lot of people work at whole food and sometimes they don’t know what they are doing, but when the ingredients are hot, the potatoes well seasoned, and the taco maker is proficient at completely filling the taco so it is overflowing with goodness it is the highpoint of my day and only costs $1.79. The Breakfast taco is why I could never move away from our fair city. And they have multiple vegan options: vegan chorizo, black beans, lime rice, and steamed vegetables. If I get two I get chorizo & rice and pico (the pico is key) but usually I just get one and it fill me up for a long time.
3. The Avocado Sandwich at Good Seed Organic. This trailer is one of those delightful places that only uses non-GMO, organic, and mostly local food where you can really tell with every bite. The avocado sandwich is served open face with sprouts, sun-dried tomato pesto, tomatoes, & herb infused avocado. It doesn’t really sound like much but each ingredient is at it peak and put together so lovingly that you will wonder how you can eat another avocado sandwich again. Plus it is served with a side of yam rounds with agave mustard. What are yam rounds? Go to GoodSeed Organic and find out.
4. The Lemongrass Tofu Vermicelli Bowl at Lulu B’s. Lulu B’s is another trailer that is on the opposite corner of Good Seed Organic on Lamar & Oltorf and the people that work at the Office Depot in between are probably the luckiest big box store workers in the USA. I don’t know how Lulu B’s make their tofu so freaking good. One day I will have to ask them but lately there is always a really long line and they seem a little hurried trying to make everyone happy, don’t worry the quality is still high. When I go with non-vegans they invariably get the pork and then they invariably end up wanting my tofu because it is superior in every way. The bowl also has a ton of noodles, cucumber, lettuce, cilantro, mint, basil, and peanuts with a vegetarian sauce that is good at first and just gets better and better as it soaks down to the bottom of the bowl. The whole gigantic ensemble is really fresh tasting and only cost 6 bucks! And if you are in a hurry you can call ahead.
5. Tofu Scramble & the Potato Hash Cake at Bouldin Creek Coffehouse. People are very particular about tofu scramble. I have made multiple recipes of it at home and I have eaten it in Austin, Chicago, Portland, Olympia, Seattle, and Costa Rica. For me, none of these can TOUCH the tofu scramble at Bouldin. It is simple and wonderful and perfect every time. The best part is that you can have it there in a range of options, whether it is stuffed into tacos and sandwiches or mixed with vegetables or on the side of other breakfast favorites it is consistently awesome. Although the potato hash cake isn’t quite as reliable when it is good it is so great; crispy and herb-y and potato-ey all at once. This is the perfect breakfast.
6. Asian Style Noodle Salad at Beet’s Cafe. I feel weird about putting this on the list because I have only been to Beet’s once but the thing is, since I went a couple weeks ago I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this salad and I don’t even like salad. I wanted to try it because I love noodles and I had never had raw kelp noodles and you’ll never know unless you try something! I am so glad I did, they were really good, very much like the glass noodles that you sometimes get at southeast Asian places but made with kelp which is really good for you and not at all evil. Unlike most noodle salad, though, it wasn’t overwhelmed with noodles. Instead there were tons of other sea vegetables, napa cabbage, daikons, scallions, carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds all tossed in a fabulous miso dressing. I can’t wait to eat it again!
7. Chick-o-stick Milkshake at Toy Joy. Toy Joy is one of the greatest toy stores anywhere. They have tons of stuff for people like me, Star Trek lunch boxes, Simposn’s figures, pictures of Han Solo looking mighty fly. They also have vegan softserve. With a happy hour. And they will turn this soft serve into sundaes with vegan toppings or they will blend it into the finest milkshake in town while you gawk at all the Japanese candy and 1UP mushroom Mario toys. The shake is so thick and delicious and really one of those times where you have to assure yourself repeatedly that it is indeed vegan because it is pretty hard to come up with something so creamy and butterfingery when you don’t do dairy.
8. Popcorn Tofu at Wheatsville Co-Op. The popcorn tofu po’ boy is probably the number one thing that people from Austin tell other vegans about when they are coming to our town. It is delicious. They use this cashew tamari dressing for the po’ boy that is beloved by nearly everyone and slap that onto a big hoagie bun with vegetables. In the past, you couldn’t always get the popcorn tofu but now that the deli kitchen has expanded you can get it any time you go. And the brilliant part is that you can buy the popcorn tofu by the pound as well. Then you can either eat it there with their vegan mac & cheese and other salads or you can take it home and serve it a top a bowl of mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. As far as I know no one has really cracked the recipe. I know the breading is some sort of nutritional yeast combo but I don’t really deep fry stuff at home anyway so I will keep going to the co-op and, umm, asking for a free sample while I wait for my order.
9. Avocado Margaritas at Curra’s. When I first heard about these I think my first reaction was surprise, followed by confusion, and then settled into intense curiosity until I finally tried one, and then another, and then had too many and had to go home and dream about the wonder that is the Avocado Margarita. It is true that I am one of those people who think that nearly everything is better with some avocado but damn, I never thought I would say that about a Margarita. Curra’s is one of those places that best exemplifies Austin Tex-Mex. I mean, you can get french fries covered in veggie chorizo and salsa for god’s sake. They have portabello fajitas, they will give you a side of bananas with anything, and they have tacos with napolitos, chorizo, and mushrooms.
10. I thought a lot of about what should be here in the tenth spot. The bubble tea at Momoko, the peanut butter chocolates at the Daily Juice, or even the Guacamole at Mr. Natural but nothing seemed quite deserving enough to belong on my list so this October I am hitting the streets. I am on a VeganMoFo mission to find the other best vegan food in Austin.