Monthly Archives: November 2012

CLOSED 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.


Thanksgiving Recap

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Mine was totally low key because it was just Dan, me, and the dogs. It was super nice out and I finished cooking way early so we got to eat outside. I made Isa’s seitan roast stuffed with shitakies and leeks for the first time. It was tasty and I loved the filling but it wasn’t as good as the roulade or the seitan dumplings we made in years past. The star of the show was, as in years past, the miso glazed brussels. We love these, they were the first thing we ran out of. We made the diner dressing like last year and tried the brown gravy from Vegan Diner. The dressing didn’t turn out as well as last year, I think my bread to liquid ratio was off and I didn’t love the brown gravy. For leftovers I made her sage gravy and I don’t know why I didn’t make it for thanksgiving because it is the best recipe ever.

We went traditional with the potatoes and made enough to last the century. Dan adds green onions into the potatoes and this is totally the way to go. We also roasted a ton of garlic and mashed it first with a bunch of melted earth balance. 

We also picked up cranberry orange almond sauce from Wheatsville because I love it.

Here is the whole plate in all it’s glory.

Poor McPuppenstein was so jealous because he was all dressed up for the occasion with no where to sit. He looked the maître d.

Probably the best part was the pumpkin pie from Capital City Bakery.So that was Thanksgiving. Next year I want to try either Miyoko Schinner’unturkey or Vegan Appetite’s unturkey. They both look so good and have been getting great reviews.

BTW if you are a food blogger I recommend doing a Thanksgiving wrap up post because it really helps planning for next year. 

Everyone’s your friend in New York City

Last week I suddenly took a trip to NYC to stay with my Dad in the hospital after his heart attack He’s doing really well. We are already talking about kale and yoga and all the other things that he is excited to integrate into his life. I was totally surprised that the hospital served him fried chicken, roast beef, and ice cream. What the hell? Isn’t that, kind of, the OPPOSITE of what you should be eating?

It was a tough trip for me, I was pretty stressed out already before this happened and being worried about my Dad was just adding to the anxiety. Also, I am not a big city girl. Lately you can hear me complain quite often about the fact that the pace of life in Austin has gotten too dang fast and that it just isn’t as chill as it used to be. What happened to slackertown? This trip sure put things in perspective. In New York it’s like you are always in the middle of a sea of humanity. I spent way too much time underground.

I bet I was at this station 96 times

On the other hand, I hadn’t been to New York in quite a while and I was 100% stoked to go to the most vegan friendly city in the ole USA. Even more than that, I was excited to be reunited with my old breakfast bff; the bagel. The first one I had with hummus and kalamata olives was all that I could ever hope for. I also love that in New York the small coffees are actually small!

I got to stay with one of my most favorite people and his super adorable fiance in Brooklyn and they took me to the hipster part so I could compare and contrast Williamsburg with Wicker Park and East Austin.

They also went with me to Wild Ginger which I had heard many good things about but found pretty so so. I’d compare it more closely to Austin’s Veggie Heaven than Portland’s Lucky Strike. We shared the fried tofu skins which were pretty good. 

Then I got the Citrus Seitan because it had kale and sounded good. I like that it came with an orchid, it was like being in the tropics! But the seitan was a little gummy and the dish was over sauced Chinese take out style. It was fine, just not what I was expecting.

The next morning I got off the train at the hospital just as my lovely sister was getting in to town and I immediately dragged her to Absolute Bagel, which was only a block away. There was a line down the street! She immediately wanted to leave but I figured if you are in a city that has, probably over a thousand places to get bagels and there is one with a huge line, it must be worth the wait. It was vegan bagel heaven inside. Fresh bagels were coming in like popcorn at the movie theater. There were, like, ten flavors of tofutti including green olive. *swoon* This is the very bagel that I made at home, poppy with green olive cream cheese. I have to go to two stores and my kitchen to make it happen. 

As I did the day before, I spent most of my time with my Dad. But his procedure was such a success that they let him go and we spent the afternoon helping him to Staten Island. The fun part of New York is that everything seems familiar. 

And you can’t help but see the sights as you go from A to B. Well, as long as you are above ground. 

After getting my Dad settled I somehow convinced my sister to go to Moo Shoes and look at vegan boots and then we went to an adorable bar Casa Mezcal for fantastic cocktails. We had the cutest hobbit bartender and we loved the drinks. Then we headed over to Candle 79 for a fancy vegan dinner. We ordered the mushroom fricassee to start and I liked it’s earthy simplicity. My sister tried the butternut raviolies which we actually giant whole wheat raviolos. We liked my entrée a lot more. I went for the famous seitan piccatta and it was all it’s cracked up to be. Oh the creamed spinach, the mashed potatoes, and that glorious tangy lemony sauce. It was addictive. It would be hard to order anything else there. 

To finish I wanted cannoli but Lana wasn’t nearly as excited about the novelty of vegan cannoli and was dying for the peanut butter mousse. 

It was delightfully smooth and rich. I want to make both recipes from the Candle 79 cookbook which I have at home and haven’t made one thing from yet. I have no excuse either because it is a gorgeous book and I want to make everything. After all that fabulous dining, wine, and mezcal I had to get up at 5:30 am to catch a flight. It was strange getting on the train in the middle of the night and emerging at the airport in the light of day. 

I was so happy to be home and so happy my Dad is doing so well and that I got to see my friends and my sister.


Please god, no more trips! No more family emergencies! No leaving Austin…until our upcoming trip to Mexico.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is coming it’s practically here!

I say it every year but I’m saying it again: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am especially looking forward to this one, I want nothing more than to hunker down with a tasty feast that will last me the whole weekend. This year we don’t even have anyone coming over so I can wear pajamas all day. I also love all the pre-Thanksgiving meals up to the big day. Now, it’s become tradition to go to Mr. Natural the night before and then Wheatsville has been having Wednesday Thanksgiving on the hot bar for weeks.

Wheatsville Wednesday Hot Bar

Meanwhile on another end of town, Counter Culture has had their fabulous Thanksgiving sandwich on the specials menu last week and Sue has promised more fun stuff in the days leading up to the holiday.

If you are looking to purchase meals for Thanksgiving Day the Happy Vegan Baker has a whole array of items to choose from to create a 100% hassle free feast. She does pot pies or stuffed acorn squash for the main course so I bet it would be perfect for GFers and E2. Inge’s whole menu can be made with accommodations for dietary restrictions. She also has Pumpkin Cheesecake and Maple Pecan Pie! 

Mr. Natural and Wheatsville will also sell you whatever you need, they both have extensive vegan menus to chose from. This Saturday, the 17th. Wheatsville is doing their sampler. If you have never tried it before you should go. Last year I bought a couple of side dishes from them and it was fabulous.

I got my vegan pie, though, from Capital City Bakery and this year they are selling pumpkin, chocolate cream, and sweet potato pecan. Since last years was so fabulous I am getting another one this year. They sell them both in pie size and in mini pie size and we have had a hard time deciding which one to get. Last year, the pumpkin was perfect but I know everyone loves her chocolate cream and sweet potato pecan. Decisions decisions.

Capital City Bakery Pumpkin Pie

I tried the gardein roast last night and it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either so I think I’m going to stick with a homemade roast this year. Here is my menu so far but it is subject to change

PPK Seitan Roast stuffed with shitakes and leeks
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Diner Dressing (we loved the recipe from Vegan Diner last year)
Sage Gravy (also from Vegan Diner)
Cranberry Orange Almond relish (from Wheatsville)
Pumpkin Pie for dessert from Capital City But I might get two pies.

I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Austin’s 24th Annual Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off this Sunday Nov. 11

It doesn’t matter if you would rather eat a great quantity of chili or make a great quantity of chili, the cook-off this Sunday there will be something for everybody rain or shine! I’ve gone in years past and was completely blown away by the different styles of chili. Some teams had a million toppings, some used none. Some were spicy, some were bland, some were burned, at least one was Indian inspired, and I was surprised how much I liked the raw one! Some were packed with vegetables and some were traditional beanless Texas-style bowls of red. In the end I was so full I thought I would never eat again.

They are still looking for volunteers to work the festival and teams to compete for the hundreds of dollars in cash prizes. The people’s choice award will get $200 and a panel of judges, (including me!) will choose 4 winners in 2 categories, “Traditional” and “All Veg”. Second place in each division gets $150, and first prize in each division gets $250! The deadline is today November 7th to enter so get to it!

I think what makes the cook-off so special is that it is the longest running vegetarian chili cook-off in the world and it started right here in Austin! Everything will be vegan and a portion of the door will go to Texas Humane Legislation Network, a grassroots, nonprofit organization that fights for the enactment and enforcement of laws to protect animals from neglect and abuse, acting as the voice for animals in the Texas Legislature. The Cook-Off is returning to the site of the first cook-off in 1989, at the Burnet Road Farmers Market in Austin.

Advance tickets are on sale now and I promise you won’t go home hungry. There will be a lot of vendors selling cupcakes, hemp supplements, funnel cakes, and all sorts of other things you vegans crave. So be there. No matter what. LA is having a cook-off too the same weekend and we need to show them how it’s done.

Get down to the cupcake polls at Cap City!

Austin: cupcakes are going quick so you better get down to Capital City Bakery before they sell out! Mittens started out ahead but now the Obamacakes are the hot commodity with Anarchy close behind.

I loved seeing them all lined up. Anarchists,  Republicans, Democrats and Independents all together. Even plain old pumpkin stood by for the non-citizens, felons, and the disenfranchised among us.  Just like in the so called “official” election green/libertarian/independents were coming in last.

” Go ahead, throw your vote away”

On the other hand, coming in second was the anarchy cakes!I got two Obamacakes for us to either toast with or comfort ourselves with tonight while watching the returns.

My boss, who considers himself quite the anarchist, was thrilled to get his cake. Even though, technically, he is indeed “the man“.Go vote and please also enter to win Food For Lover’s Vegan Queso because it’s also national nacho day!!!


GIVEAWAY: Queso for National Nacho Day!!!

extreme vegan nachos with food for lover’s queso

Today is November 6th which means it’s election day AND National Nacho Day. It makes so much sense that our most essential civic duty would be shared with one of our most gloriously lazy comfort foods. I love nachos and I love voting so today is a great day for me. Nachos were definitely one of the things I missed the most after going vegan. They were my go-to treat at the movie theater, middle school lunches, and lazy nights at home. They remind me of my taco bell filled youth. It was sad going to restaurants and watching my friends enjoy their chips and queso.

Then, one glorious day Chris & Crystal Tate started selling their magic jars of queso and my life changed forever. No longer would I be deprived of such a critical food group! It’s been so fun watching them go from selling homemade queso at Bouldin Creek to having jars around the world! Just the other day my friend in Maine told me she picked some up at the Whole Foods there. She’s not even vegan but she’s hooked. She said, “will you ask them why it’s so good”. The craziest part is that, it’s kind of good for you. Nutritional yeast is packed with vitamins unlike, say, dairy cheese and it only has like 20 calories a serving. That’s only 240 calories if you accidentally eat the whole jar. That’s not very much folks. Like a jar of olives the jar of queso has become a standby in my fridge.


And it can be in your fridge too! To celebrate National Nacho Day and win a jar of queso AND a jar of the new mild queso for all your non-Texan friends all you have to do is comment below and tell me what’s the most ridiculous thing you have eaten for fourthmeal? (In case you are so vegan and you don’t know, Taco Bell has a marketing campaign to inspire Americans to add an extra meal after dinner, presumably after “kickin’ it”.) Enter by 12:00 AM on November 7th. Since it’s National Nacho Day you must have a US address.

Also, they are giving away an entire case of vegan queso for the most outrageous plate of nachos submitted to them via IG, FB, Twitter and email. The Winner will be announced on the 7th on – launching on the 6th.


Too little too late: vegan options at fun fun fun fest.

So obviously, well obviously if you went, fun fun fun fest is over but I wanted to share some pics because A) I took them B) people in the future might wonder if ffffest is vegan friendly (spoiler: it has been from the get go!) and C) I think two of the new-to-me vendors might be out in the greater Austin scene the other 362 days that are not fun fun fun fest. That was such a poorly constructed sentence that I will take this opportunity to apologize. The whole fest has gotten so huge. In addition to the veggie hot dog eating contest, which has been going on for a while, there was also vegan arm wrestling, the taco canon, regular wrestling, and expanded skatepark and bmx biking.

People even color coordinate to match the stage they are watching. 

I saw a couple of bands that I liked but once I saw the menu for the new Whole Foods truck I was totally preoccupied with getting one of their sliders and chickpea fries.They haven’t decided where the truck is going to be forever, but it looks very mobile so I bet it will move around a lot. If you see it try the Argentinean and tell me how it is because I tried the New Yorker and I really enjoyed it. I loved the chicken and the spicy buffalo sauce. I was worried about the celery dressing because I’m not a big celery fan but it was creamy and non offensive to my overactive celery taste buds  My only criticism is that the bun was too bunny. I don’t need all that bread. But I guess too much is better than not enough, right? Maybe that’s just how sliders are. I was so thankful there were two vegan options. They were out of the chickpea fries by the time I made it back but I’m will follow this cart until I get to try them!

The New Yorker: mock chicken with vegenaise and spicy wing sauce topped with celery dressing.

Later, I saw another stand, True Nature’s Child, that promised vegan and gluten-free farm fresh options. I really wanted to try it because the menu sounded great but it wasn’t to be. It looks like they are at a farmer’s market for now, I’ll follow and hopefully get to try them someday. I loved that they have cashew vegan cheese. I’m so sick of daiya. There were a ton of other familiar carts too, Kebabalicious, Hey Cupcake, the Naan Stop, Juiceland and probably other ones too. I can’t remember them all. I am so tired. That’s my report.

PS Get ready, tomorrow is November 6th, better known as National Nacho Day

PPS I found out the energy sheets I was talking about the other day are vegan! Maybe I should take one right now….

Tom Kha Soup at South First’s Little Thai Food

Ever since it turned to autumn I have wanted three things, a movie to watch, a beagle to cuddle with, and a wonderful bowl of soup to eat. The first two are easy but finding delicious vegan soup in Austin can be a challenge. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot most of the year people never honed in on their soup making skills. Maybe the problem is a certain group of dieters trying to remove salt and oil from all things vegan. Maybe people can’t imagine a creamy soup without the dairy crutch. Whatever the reason it means that a lazy smurf like myself has to suffer SUFFER through either poor soup or, of course, just making my own delicious soup. My suffering has come to an end thanks to a little trailer right next to my beloved Wasota on South First called Little Thai Food.

I first tried it on a dark and chilly night after a stop at Vulcan Video. I ordered both the Curry Fried Rice and the Tom Kha soup because soup is not a meal. The ladies working there were super nice and answered all my vegan questions seeming to know exactly what I was talking about. When I got my takeout order I thought I might have gotten someone else’s order because the portions were humongous, it looked like I had enough to feed a family. The Tom Kha comes in one of those large plastic containers that would be, like, 46 dollars at Whole Foods and there is also a carton of rice that comes with the soup. My fried rice on the side was definitely overkill for that one meal. Delicious, fabulous overkill. Since then I’ve been back quite a bit. They know me there. I always get the same thing: that glorious Tom Kha soup. It has enough lime juice and lemongrass that you couldn’t possibly add any more, and I always add more. It also has, what I would consider, a gentle spice from the chiles. There is plenty of tofu, mushrooms, varied appropriate vegetables, and cilantro. Enough to easily spread to two servings (pictured above is half). And then there is the broth coconut and galangal. That’s all you need man. It hits all the Thai flavorings just perfectly it’s hot, sour, salty, and sweet. Basically it’s bursting with flavor and totally forking delicious.