Monthly Archives: September 2011

Bakesale for Bastrop coming October 1st

I remember after the bakesale that we had to raise money for Japan we all talked about how well it went and when we should all get together to have another one. We had no idea it was going to be to help our neighbors right here in central Texas. The wildfires have been disastrous and the one in Bastrop has yet to be contained… over a week later! It still smells like smoke in Austin and I keep reading the saddest stories from Austin Pets Alive about people going in to rescue pets that were left behind in their houses. Please donate if you can! They have been working so hard to take care of all the dogs and cats that were affected by these fires and they are struggling to keep up with medical treatments.

Just when I started to feel really helpless about the whole situation I got an email from the wonderful Kathryn who had already started organizing another massive bakesale. Since she put out the word over 100 people have already signed up with offers of baked goods! I am hoping that vegans are ready to participate in another bakesale. It was really great that we had vegan items at every single location last time! If you aren’t a baker there are plenty of other ways that you can help, please keep on eye on the webpage or follow on twitter or facebook to stay tuned. And if you are wondering what to make, check out this recipe roundups I did a few month ago.I still haven’t decided what to make.

What are your favorite recipes for bakesales?


Portland: Hungry Tiger Too

I have officially been writing about all the great food that I ate in Portland for longer than I was there! I promise I’ll be back to the regularly scheduled program soon.  It has been a summer of travel posts. Hungry Tiger Too was one of my most favorites because although I have been hearing about fried tofu and waffles for a long time I have never gotten to try it until this trip. It was better than my wildest dreams; truly as if an angel from the southern part of heaven came down and delivered it to this strange quasi bar in Portland. The crusty crispy outside of the tofu was perfectly seasoned and flavored and topped with maple syrup and bottomed with a perfect wafflle it was truly a glorius gluttenous meal, especially when you consider that this was second breakfast and along side a full serving biscuits and gravy.and a Tofuffalo SaladLucky for me I was sharing with more wonderful friends and didn’t have to eat all of this myself! Although I ate more than my share of tofu, sorry ladies! I couldn’t stop!




Portland: Mee Sen Thai

One thing I love about Portland is that everything is really cute. In the places I have lived my favorite Thai restaurants are usually hole-in-the-wall shacky-type places with sometimes questionable service. In Portland they certainly have that style of restaurant but then they also have super adorable Thai places like Mee Sen which is, what, shabby chic? Do people even say that anymore? There must be a better descriptor! The point is, I couldn’t get over how cute everything was.  I loved the reused whisky bottle with tin cups they brought for water .Really, the whole reason we picked this place was because they have delightful tamarind sours and after a girly day of hanging out at the community spa it seemed like the perfect finish. We decided to order several courses to share because Portland is all about communal experiences. We started with the fried tofu, which was just like your favorite hippy: crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the middle.

Before we knew what was happening our Tofu Larb came out just as our dry soup was put on the table. It was an onslaught of tofu!The Tom Yum (dry) was my favorite part of the meal since I am a sucker for peanuts, noodles, and fried things in general. We also got the Pad See Eww, which is always a favorite of mine and was perfectly acceptable here. I love a wide noodle. Actually I learned Mee Sen means “Have Noodle” but it also means “have a connection/good friends” so we were happy to mee sen at Mee Sen, a delightful meal shared with two of my favorite ladies.




Portland: Aladdin’s Cafe

One of my favorite parts about visiting big cities is eating food from cultures that are underrepresented in Austin. On this trip to Portland I was really excited to go back to Al Amir and have their magnificent eggplant and vegan baklava again, but alas it wasn’t to be. Luckily the city is packed with Lebanese restaurants and my loving and wonderful hosts Hannah and Ryan picked up take out from Aladdin’s Cafe for us to enjoy at home.

We decided to share all of the vegetarian appetizers so we had a tray full of the usual Falafel, Homous, Baba Ghanouj, Grape Leaves, and even got some extra pita as well. Everything aside from the underbaked pita bread was top notch. I thought the homous was deliciously smooth and creamy, and as always I wanted more falafel. We also tried the deep fried vegetables, which had cauliflower and carrots and then two dishes I had never had before. The Mehumara, described on the menu as “a blend of walnuts, toasted bread, garlic, onions, pomegranate, jalapeno and extra virgin olive oil.” It was not quite what I expected, a little bit sweet and sour, but I think it was my favorite part of the meal. We also had the Foul Mudamas which were fava beans cooked with garlic and onions and perhaps something smoky too, it had a very unique flavor.

We were unable to eat everything but we gave it our best shot! Actually that could describe my entire trip to Portland.


Just when you think things can’t get worse


The record breakingly awful drought coupled with the most hundred degree days ever has made Texas a pretty miserable place to live and it has been a disaster for wildlife, farms, animals, and trees. Our beautiful city is looking more like an old western all the time. It is so dry and windy that fires are starting faster than you can say Labor day and last night we had the worst of it yet.

There is devastation all around central Texas. To the east bastrop has been consumed with fires burning between 14,000 and 25,000 acres, 300 473 over 800 homes and some of the most beautiful forrest I have seen in Texas went down in flames. Dripping springs, Steiner ranch and other beautiful spots are all in serious trouble. It seems like everywhere around us is on fire. It’s pretty scary.

Last night on twitter I saw that Austin Pets Alive was begging people to foster the dogs and cats they already have so they could make room for all the animals from the Bastrop animal shelter.

We rushed over there and the scene melted my icy heart. It was 11pm on a Saturday night and the parking lot was packed with dogs, people, volunteers, and lots of love. Even though there was kind of a chaotic panicked vibe everyone was keeping their cool and just waited to do what they could. I though the dogs would be crazed and nervous but they all seemed pretty happy! We saw chihuahuas and pit bulls and puppies and all the other usual suspects as we filled out our form and waited about 2 minutes before we were given an adorable puppy and sent on our way.


Charm is such as schmuppy that the beagles don’t know what to think! Her legs have grown so fast that she can hardly walk and instead kind of flops around adorably. She already climbs on my lap when she is scared of something and walks between my legs when she doesn’t know where to go. Her tail leaves a path of destruction in it’s wake and she is so full of love and excitement for her new life that it is rubbing off on all of us!

If you can, Austin Pets Alive needs homes for these dogs and are waiving adoption fees. They also need donations as quick as possible because many are injured. This tragedy would have completely overwhelmed any other rescue organization but APA somehow is still helping everyone. They continue to amaze me.

Also the red cross is taking donations and asking for volunteers. They are only taking money right now but check this round up from KLBJ for other ways you can help. People are in shelters and I’m sure they will soon need people food, dog food, and cat food among everything else.

And if you have a weather machine that can control the rain, please now is the time to use it!

Portland: The Homegrown Smoker

It baffles my mind every time I think about the fact that Portland has a vegan barbecue trailer and we, in Austin Texas, do not. It makes me want to quit my job and buy a giant smoker. We all know that that is not going to happen, I am staying in the AC, not tending to a fire all day. So someone please open one, I promise I’ll go every day.

And if you do open one it is probably a good idea to do a barbecued soy curl mac and cheese wrap. I often have these two items on the same plate but never before have I had them in wrap form! Trailers are great!

They also had coconut battered deep fried oreos, Fu’fish Po’ Boys and all sorts of other barbecued madness. Last year I went and got STFU puppies. Clearly, the folks behind the Homegrown Smoker are creative geniuses and it is time someone in Austin ripped them off.

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!