Category Archives: Austin Guides

Austin Vegan Pizza Guide

I feel like maybe we have hit peak pizza in town so it’s time for a guide! Actually, there is plenty of room for more, get to it new Austinites from Italy, New York, New Haven, Chicago, and California! Check out Penny’s Portal if you need a list of vegan and gluten-free.

Lil Nonna’s – This trailer on the eastside at the Buzzmill has incredible New York style Pizzas and square Sicilian style pieces by the slice. They have housemade vegan cheeses and meats (omg the beetaroni) and spectacular seasonal specials like fig and homemade goat cheese or a Caprese with vegan fresh mozzarella slices, locally grown golden tomatoes, and watermelon balsamic vinaigrette. GF crust available. Delivery available from Amazon Prime Now or Favor.

NY Style

Sicilian Style

Via 313 – What started as a trailer has now blossomed to an empire with restaurants and trailers all over town. This Detroit Style pizza is pretty much the love of my life. They use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, and have a spicy tempeh on the menu along with the standard toppings. I love the trailer on Rainey street behind Craft Pride where you can sit on the patio and try out amazing Texas craft brews and the other one on the eastside at the Violet Crown, but the restaurants in Oak Hill and on the Drag have air conditioning and parking. And the no wait app! Via313

The Parlor – Also on Guadalupe “Home of the first Vegan pie in Austin. Gourmet toppings made in-house by Austin Vegan Meats. Full bar, great wine, local craft brews, daily happy hours. Pinball machines, jukebox with everything from The Clash & Billy Holiday to Slayer & Jimi Hendrix. Outside shaded patio, and lots of indoor seating. Order at the bar, and seat yourself.”

the parlor

Picture courtesy of @rabbitfoodgrocery

Bistro Vonish This trailer on north loop serves very popular seasonal pizzas with different local farm fresh produce and house-made cashew cheese.

bistro vonish

photo courtesy of @bistrovonish

True Food Kitchen – This California chain by Trader Joe’s downtown has some great vegan options but my favorite is the rotating seasonal pizza. There is only one choice at a time so check out the website, here is one from last fall with kale, cranberries, vegan goat cheese, sweet potatoes, & caramelized onions.True Food Kitchen

Counter Culture – If you are looking for creative vegan specials and a gluten free crust this vegan restaurant will not disappoint. They have a really tasty corn based crust and ever changing specials like Gumbo Pizza with local okra, zucchini, corn, blackened tempeh, setian sausage, and spicy aioli or brie and apple with spinach, fig sauce, and carmelized onions. Spaghetti squash and beet ball pizza below. Follow along on instagram to see what the weekly special is.

Counter Culture

Picture courtesy of @countercultureaustin

Promise Pizza – This spot in Round Rock was the first place I ever tried Daiya cheese way back in the day! They are still there serving up organic pizza to the north of Austin. Promise Pizza

Conans Pizza – with locations all over town this is the place for late night delivery & daiya cheese lovers. Conans

Brick Oven on 35th – This cute little Italian restaurant doesn’t have vegan meat or cheese but they have a nice little spicy vegan on the menu with chipotle pesto, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.Brick Oven

More options with vegan cheese

Hoboken Pizza– open until 2:30am Red River & 7th. Vegan Pizza on Red River with Daiya

ZPizza– Several locations, the south is by the new Alamo at 5701 W. Slaughter Lane but there is one at 3300 Bee Caves Road, and one in Round Rock 200 University Blvd. This pizza place has Daiya cheese, vegan meat crumbles, and gluten free crusts available.

Mangieri’s Pizza Café 5900 W. Slaughter Ln, Suite 460 and in Lakeway 2133 Lohmans Crossing Rd. Daiya Cheese and tons of veggies are available at this pizza place.

Austin’s Pizza 2324 Guadalupe (Multiple locations in every part of town) Follow your heart vegan cheese can be added to any pizza.

The Pizza Press 404 W 26th St. This California chain has Dayia cheese available and both the regular and gluten free crusts are vegan.

North Door Pizza – 502 Brushy St. Teese cheese is available for your hand tossed pizza at this venue on the eastside. They also have a GF crust. Late night mini pizzas until 3am on the Friday and Saturday.

Spartan Pizza 1104 E 6th at Waller. Vegan Cheese plus delivery. Open until 3am Fri & Sat.

Flaming Pizza 3220 Feathergrass Ct #140 Vegan Cheese and lots of vegetable toppings. Unlimited Toppings.

Blaze Pizza Lakeline Commons  14009 N. Research Blvd. Vegan Cheese and toppings like spinach, zucchini, and artichokes. They also have all their nutritional information on their site so you can see all their crusts, including the GF one, is vegan.

Pie Five Pizza Co 2424 FM 685, Ste. 200 Pflugerville Vegan Cheese option and a spicy sriracha marinara sauce at this chain.

Mellow Mushroom  2600 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd This chain has daiya cheese you can put in their pizzas and calzones along with tempeh and tofu for toppings.

PizzaRev– Vegan dough at this custom pizza spot has daiya cheese for $1 more and unlimited toppings.

MOD Pizza – This chain has spots in Mueller, Westlake, and on east Riverside. Create your own pie with dairy free cheese & tons of veggies. You can top it off with some sriracha or a bbq swirl

Pour House – 6701 Burnet Rd. Follow Your Heart vegan cheese isn’t on the menu but you can ask for it.

Austin’s Pizza – This delivery chain has locations all over town and they have vegan cheese

Whole Foods – Multiple locations. Their pizza by the slice usually has a vegan option. You can also buy whatever you want at the store and they will use it for toppings if you like.

Eastside Pies – Multiple locations. 1401 Rosewood Ave, 5312 Airport, 1809 1 W Anderson, The crust, both regular and GF and garlic knots are completely vegan. The bases are as well you can get hummus, black bean, marinara, spinach curry, tomatillo, chimichurri, or pesto even the special pestos are vegan! The only base that isn’t is the ricotta cheese. The breaded eggplant is not vegan but there is a wide range of fun toppings like sweet potatoes, avocado, Habañeros, and Spicy Slaw. Follow Your Heart cheese.

DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks at Arbor Trails on William Cannon has Daiya cheese but only at that chain location and it isn’t on the menu.

Pizza Day 10225 Research at Great Hills station next to Sprouts. Daiya Cheese New York style pizza.

Pieology 1201 Barbra Jordon Blvd. pizza chain with Daiya Cheese.

Aviator 6501 South Congress Ave Suite 1-105 Vegan cheese available.

Turntable Eatery– 5111 Airpot Blvd They have a vegan specialty pizza on the menu: The M.C. has tomato sauce, vegan cheese, basil, oregano, and olive oil.

Pinthouse Pizza 4236S. LAMAR BLVD. The south Lamar location has vegan cheese.

Other options with no cheese

Backspace 507 San Jacinto. Most of the antipasti like , chickpeas, tomato, onions, basil, oregano or spicy cauliflower, capers, calabrese, lemon are vegan and the pizza crust is vegan too at this classy brick oven pizza place and bar downtown. They have valet and are open until 11pm.

Home Slice– South Congress Pizza is vegan if you hold the cheese. Also the garlic knots.

Pieous– 12005 Hwy 290 W,  Brick oven pizza and salads at this pizza spot just outside of town. The marinara pizza is vegan & you can add veggies like Brussels Sprouts. South Austin Foodie has a review with pics of the menu.

Pinthouse Pizza 4729 Burnet Rd, 4236 S Lamar Blvd “The greenbelt pizza”, Red sauce,  mushrooms, Kalamata olives, garlic, green peppers, poblano peppers, red onions, spinach, and cherry tomatoes is vegan with “no cheese what-so-ever”

Tony C’s Coal Fired Pizza 10526 W Parmer Ln. and a second location in Bee Caves 12800 Hill Country Blvd. Thin crust marinara pizza.

Quezzas –  424 S Lamar Blvd. “Modern Mexican Pizza”. This food truck takes a go veggie stuffed quesadilla and tops it with more cheese, salsa verde, soy chorizo, and romaine lettuce but you can substitute whatever other vegetables you like.

 

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Women owned vegan businesses in Austin

For International Women’s Day I thought I’d do a quick wrap up of the small businesses in Austin that are owned by women. There is a nationwide women’s strike today and although folks wanting to take part in the strike are encouraged to buy nothing and do no paid or unpaid labor, most of our small businesses need every penny so feel good about filling up your belly with delicious vegan food.32481086824_6102003b38_c

Unity Vegan Food  just moved over to the other side of Lamar but still on Barton Springs, right by Biscuits and Groovy across the street from Peter Pan’s mini golf. The food is as great as it ever was. Recent specials have included fried mozzarella sticks, chimichangas, and quesadillas but the muffaletta on house made bread (above) is always on the menu and so are those awesome avocado chocolate chip cookies.

Counter Culture Restaurant on East Cesar Chavez is always open and run by the indomitable and ever-present Sue. They just completely overhauled the menu with new sandwiches like the Pastrami Melt and Jerk Seitan and she always has daily specials like Artichoke Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza.

The Vegan Yacht is family owned and always delicious, they recently had a break in so if you’ve been waiting to check them out today is a great day! Their Freeto Burrito is infamous but the Buffalo Tempeh Burrito with blue cheese dressing is a good bet too.

Sweet Ritual ice cream shop is owned by not one, but two women and it would be difficult to find better vegan ice cream in the whole world. Their specials change every day, chocolate fans be on the lookout for Death Metal by Chocolate, and they always have  flavors like Peanut Butter Cup, Salted Caramel, Vanilla soft serve and lots of toppings like Magic Shell and edible glitter.

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Cool Beans has some of the best Latin American food in town, I long for their tamales (above)! I haven’t tried their tortas yet but they look amazing! They have moved a few times and are now on the lovely patio at the Spiderhouse off Guadalupe. And on the weekends they have brunch now!

Curcuma on South First takes it’s inspiration from Ayurveda and has popular drinks like the turmeric enhanced Golden Mylk or the Sexy Jo which has cacao, maca, cashew mylk, coldbrewed coffee, and cinnamon. They also have Sweet Potato Toasts and Bowls featuring whole foods ingredients.

The Great Y’all on the East side is owned and operated by two women who cook up Asian inspired bar food like cauliflower gobi wings, Samosa wontons, rotating flavors of bao, and cashew rangoons. Sometimes they have soup specials too, like hot and sour and won ton.33238152656_b3fcb64d30_c

The Beer Plant gastropub on the westside is another owned by a wife and husband team and has been getting better and better as time goes on. The sandwich pictured above is the Purple Pig which has beet bacon, sliced avocado, sunflower sprouts, green leaf, tomato, mayo on 9-grain bread. They also have their super popular “Hops and Chips”, a house made cheese plate, salads, desserts, and all sorts of delicious brunch options on the weekend.

The Blue Cat Cafe 95 Navasota Street, right off Ceasar Chavez. Inside you can hang out with cats that are up for adoption and watch them play on elevated walkways, lounge in unique cat beds, or play with toys. Outside is a vegan food truck with hot dogs, frito pie, nachos, and espresso drinks.

Capital City Bakery–  2211 east Ceasar Chavez. The best vegan baked goods in town. For real. Apple Pie ala mode Peanut Butter Crunch cupcakes this is where it’s at. I also love the Ham and Cheese Kolaches, the brownies, and their super espresso drinks.

Rabbit Food Grocery South First and Live Oak- An all vegan convenience store packed with so many vegan goodies that are hard to find anywhere else. Right now they have a ton of Easter treats. I love the Chocolate Hollow Hazelnut bar like nothing else. They also have vitamins, local handmade knitted items, cookbooks, and dog food. And they always have cookies by another women owned business in town, Celeste’s Best.

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Doggie Style has become my favorite “fast food” style place in Austin, I mean, they sometimes have a poutine dog on special! That’s what’s pictured above! The regular menu has a Chili Cheese Dog and a Chicago Dog. And they have this killer french fry plate with all the toppings. And Nachos! And free beer on Sundays! I don’t even like hot dogs and I just love this trailer.

Skull and Cakebones 3991 E Hwy 290 a, Dripping Springs. Newly opened all vegan, locally sourced bakery Skull and Cakebones is super popular! They have really fun items you can’t easily find in Austin like Babka, scones, and house made hot pockets. They also have soup and sandwich specials and, a variety of toasts, and espresso.

Cheer Up Charlies 900 Red River St You may know Cheer Ups for their awesome shows, queer friendly atmosphere, or just that Arlo’s has awesome burgers outside but they are also completely vegan! The two women owners make sure that all the drinks at the bar, from beer to kombucha is always vegan friendly! AND they have fresh squeezed local juice for their cocktails!

It’s also a great day to get out and do some activism which is… always happening in Austin these days. Today March 8 they are having a hearing in the Texas Senate about the fetal remains bill and you can testify at or just register your opposition to for the record. There is also an emergency rally outside of US Congressman Roger William’s district office in support of Planned Parenthood which the new healthcare bill defunds. And there will be a Planned Parenthood action forum afterwards.

Austin Vegan Thanksgiving Roundup

When I first went vegan I had originally planned to do it for the month of March…then I really liked it so I decided I’d keep it up… until Thanksgiving which has always been my most sacred holiday. I couldn’t imagine not celebrating the holiday with turkey and all the fixings. But, by the time Thanksgiving rolled around I had so many ideas I wanted to try out that I didn’t even consider making a bird and now I adopt turkeys from farm sanctuary every year. I love the holiday even more than in my pregan days! Lucky for me, so does most of vegan Austin and there are all sorts of ways to get your Thanksgiving fix in even if you don’t cook. (If you do cook, check out my pinterest board of favorite recipes)

First off, Wheatsville has been putting stuffed tofurkey, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing, mac and cheese and more on the hot bar every Wednesday for a few weeks now and will continue through the holiday. They are also the best place to buy a manufactured roast since they have Gardien, Tofurkey, Field Roast, and more in stock along with everything else you need from Brussels Sprouts to their awesome cranberry sauce made in the deli. You can order a whole feast, including vegan cheeseballs and pie!

Over at Counter Culture you can pick up the ridiculously delicious Thanksgiving sandwich which is on special through the 26th. If you are going somewhere that isn’t vegan friendly and you want to just pick up a meal to take with you Counter Culture has a great deal for 16 bucks, they will pack up a vegan feast including Seitan Roast & Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, for you and you just have to warm it up. They also have a Gluten free option so make sure you order it ahead of time.

photo from Counter Culture

If you want to pick up an entire feast for your whole family to enjoy there are a couple of options. Inge, the Happy Vegan Baker has a full catering feast menu that includes a roasted root vegetable pot pie or a GF Acorn Squash stuffed with Wild Rice and cranberries along with Sage and Apricot Cornbread Stuffing and all the other accouterments. You can order for just one person or several.

A newcomer to the atxvegan scene Seed Catering, has a beautiful looking spread that you can order for as many people as you like. It includes a cranberry glazed lentil loaf and butternut squash mac and cheese. I want to try it all!

photo from Seed Catering

Every year on Thanksgiving Eve Mr. Natural puts together a full spread with their homemade roast, which you can also buy from them. If you know that you are going to struggle on the holiday playing defensive ominvore bingo it make sense to meet up with some like minded vegans the night before so the Austin Vegan & Vegetarian Association and Vegans Rock Austin traditionally throw a meet-up at Mr. Natural and this year is no different. They will be meeting up at both locations so you can go to either one!

This year BBQ Revolution is celebrating their two year anniversary with a Thanksgiving Party on November 21st. They will be serving vegan “turkey” with Cranberry sauce , Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Mac N Cheese, Greens and some relish options. They are also preparing Thanksgiving meals. You can put in an order at the trailer or at Rabbit Food Grocery.

Bistro Vonish will also be preparing thanksgiving meals for pick up. The order form is online and you can choose from Seitan Cutlets, GF Garbanzo cutlets, Pumpkin Pie Kolaches and more. Check it out here.

Finally, it would be Thanksgiving without pie and though almost everyone I mentioned serves pie I’m partial to Capital City Bakery because it’s my tradition now to always pick up a pie from there. I’ll be having a hard time, again, choosing between Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and whatever else she has going on.

Let me know if I missed anything and I’ll add it here!

Vegan Fine Dining in Austin Texas

Austin Vegan Fine Dining GuideA few years ago my sister was visiting from Chicago. After a few days she said something like, “can we go somewhere nice to eat? Like, not the nicest place in town…but somewhere nice?”. It’s become a running joke among my friend group because I do tend to patronize trailers, shacks, grocery stores, bars, food counters, and other, shall we say, casual establishments. For anniversaries, date nights, and special occasions it can be fun to put on something nicer than a torn up hoodie. As a vegan especially, I do love having a waiter that can explain every aspect of a dish to me. Some people (hi mom!) just really want a good wine list when they go out. And so, on that note, here are my favorite fancy restaurants in town. Sadly, none of them are entirely vegan but I know that we will get there someday. In the meantime, I think these are the best spots to take your parents, clients, dates, or other people that you want to impress by not sitting at a picnic table with toddlers and dirt waiting for your number to be called.

Claypit Contemporary Indian Cuisine

clay pit pp_7908

image from Clay Pit

I had been to the lunch buffet many times before I went to dinner at the Claypit and was seated in their beautiful candlelit cellar. I think it might be one of the most romantic atmospheres in town. All their vegan items are marked and include the vegetable samosas, the roti (but not the naan),  Aloo Gobi, Veggie Ayam, Kadhu Curry, and more. It’s a great place to share entrees and fall in love…with Indian food.

TRIO Restaurant

I recently did a full on review of TRIO, suffice to say their vegan menu was top-notch and the service was the best I’ve had in Austin. Definitely the place to go if you want to spend some money and drink fine wines.

Prelog’s 

360 Nueces & W. 3rd Ask for the 5 course vegan meal with pairings at this trendy hotspot.

Sagra Trattoria and Bar CLOSED 

I reviewed Sagra over here, they have an extensive vegan menu including risotto, mac and cashew cheese with truffle oil, and several different pizzas and vegetable appetizers. When we went everything was fantastic but I’ve heard that they aren’t the most consistent and often run out of vegan cheese so make sure you ask questions when ordering. Almost everything on the menu can be gluten-free too. Their happy hour looks like a great deal!

Elizabeth Street Cafe

I don’t know if Elizabeth Street really qualifies as fine dining since it’s more of a French Vietnamese cafe but they do have knowledgeable waiters, a beautiful atmosphere, and a nice cocktail and wine menu so I think it counts. I love the style of this restaurant and the multiple vegan options like tofu spring rolls, two different vegan pho varieties, bún, and bánh xèo (pictured). Elizabeth Street would be the perfect place to go for a fancy brunch since most of the nicer American places are so egg heavy. Here is my review.

Sway Thai

image from Austin Chronicle

I love the food and cocktails at Sway. It’s meant to be shared but I’d only bother with sharing if you are going with all vegans because they do have to make everything special (then it’s super fun!). Australian Thai is thoughtfully presented and deliciously prepared, definitely on the spicy side. Dishes like the green curry eggplant, spring rolls, papaya salad, pad thai, squash curry, and salt and pepper tofu can all be made vegan. The big caveat to Sway, and why it’s not on the top of my list, is that you have to sit at big shared tables which I find very awkward. Not a good place to go on a date at all but perfect if you have a large group.

Uchi and Uchiko

image from Culturemap Uchi on the left Uchiko on the right

For many years these two sister sushi restaurants were at the very top of every single “best of” list because their food is delicious, the presentation is exquisite, the service is exceptional, and the restaurant is very stylish but comfortable. They don’t have a ton of vegan options but what they do have is really good and enough to make a meal. The occasionally do a vegetarian night too! Happy hour is a great time to check it out.

Lenoir 

pic from Austin Chronicle

A while back a few friends and I went to Lenoir and had an amazing experience. We called ahead and the chef prepared a special menu for us. If you are ever looking for a wonderful restaurant in a beautiful setting, like a setting you could propose at, Lenoir might be as good as it gets. The presentation of our meal was fabulous and the chef came out and explained every dish. The food was wonderful and I would love to go back. Highly recommended. Read all about it (and see terrible pictures!) here.

Wink Restaurant

image from Austin 360

Wink is a farm to table slow food restaurant that has been around since 2001 and their vegetarian tasting menu is very popular. I’ve heard good things about ordering vegan as well. The chefs will, apparently, make you something quite lovely even if you don’t call ahead. But, calling ahead is always best in a situation like this in my opinion. For whatever reason I still haven’t been there but I would like to try it.

La Condesa Modern Mexican

La Condesa used to be my favorite place to recommend, they had this amazing vegan board that would have four or five different super-exciting and ever-changing “top chef” style entrees. We all went nuts over it. Then they won a James Beard award and didn’t have time for us vegans anymore. Urgh! It is still a somewhat worthwhile option because they have a fun hip atmosphere, amazing margaritas, both salsa and guacamole flights, and a few different options entrees like mushroom tacos and cauliflower steaks. I love their cocktails! I wouldn’t go there for a mind-blowing vegan birthday meal though anymore.

Roots to Leaves Supper Club10409188_782598831830398_4262306173375379241_n

Finally, not a restaurant but a monthly supper club, Roots to Leaves is another great option for those seeking out an all vegan menu and they have plans to open a high-end restaurant in the future. With seasonal menus that have four courses with items like “Japanese Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Sage Sauce, Smoked Tofu, Brussels Sprouts, Almond Ricotta” you are definitely going to be filled up with exciting foods. You have to bring your own wine and make reservations well ahead of time but it’s worth it! Here’s a review of their earlier incarnation as Hyden Park.

Do you have any favorites that aren’t on the list? Let us know in the comments!

My favorite local vegan products at Wheatsville co-op

I’m so excited for Vida Vegan Conference this weekend! I stopped at Wheatsville food co-op to show you all some of my favorite local vegan products.

Of course we have tons of local produce from central Texas and if you are in town right now peaches from Fredricksburg are available! We wait for these babies all year.

Next to all the tofu, seitan, and plant meats from far and wide you will find locally made tempeh from the Hearty Vegan in the refrigerator section.

Celeste’s Best Cookie dough is in the fridge too. You can bake it in the oven or even eat it with a spoon since its vegan!

The best hummus I’ve ever had is in the fridge too. Grandma’s hummus should not be missed!

Over in the freezer section they have both of our local vegan ice cream options. Nadamoo is coconut based & it’s creamy and delicious. The mint chocolate chip is my favorite.

Sweet Ritual has different bases depending on the flavors they carry 8 different ones. Cashew is the base for strawberry, vanilla, & Cubano coffee.

Coconut is in the mint chip, Sweetsville, salted caramel, toasted coconut

And the Peanut Butter Chocolate has a peanut butter base. And it’s freaking delicious.

The “Sweetsville” flavor is my favorite though. It’s a vanilla malt with chunks of cookie dough from Celeste’s best!

Both ice cream companies recently started selling ice cream sandwiches too. And both teamed up with local vegan bakeries to do it!!! Sweet Ritual has a bunch of flavors & a cookie made from Capital City Bakery. Wheatsville also carries a gluten free cookie ice cream sandwich made with cookies from Better Bites Bakery. 

Nadamoo has cookies from Skull & Cakebones which also has a bunch of baked goods on sale at Wheatsville too.

These days we have tons of local beers and most of them are vegan. Wheatsville carries a good variety including Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap.

If beer isn’t your brew try Kosmic Kombucha! It is the best kombucha I’ve ever had!

Most days the hot bar has vegan Mac & cheese. I like to pretend it’s healthy since it has broccoli in it.

But wheatsville’s deli is most famous for its popcorn tofu.

I can pretty much guarantee you’ll go nuts over it. I think it’s the nooch batter. You can also get the popcorn tofu at the deli in a po’boy or you can by large quantities in the deli case. Oh and try the buffalo popcorn tofu too, it’s just as good, you might even like it better. There is even a vegan blue cheese sauce to go with it.

Have fun!

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!

Top 10 Austin Vegan Eats for 2013

Every New Year it is kind of fun for me to reassess my top ten favorites for vegan dishes in Austin. The list is usually split between my obsessions and my favorite places to take people to show them what Austin vegan food is all about.

My plan was to try a few more spots over the holiday break but laziness & cedar fever got in the way so The Dojo and a few others will have to wait for next year, hopefully they will just get better and better! I did make it to the new Eastside King on the South Side and I’m happy to report that I loved it as much as the original. The mochi tacos are delicious but the Brussels and Beet fries are still the best part. I spent a whole month eating tacos during the Taco Cleanse so tacos kind of dominate this list. I thought about even making a ten best tacos list but then I remembered I already made a taco guide. I’m stoked that this year I finally get to add barbecue to the list! After years of shameful waiting the entire Austin vegetarian community was SO HAPPY that BBQ revolution opened up with their delicious tempeh, soy curl, and seitan barbecue, I have a feeling they are just going to keep getting better. Vegan Beignets at Barton Creole, Croissants at Thrice, and Cinnamon Rolls from Capital City, Sugar Circus, and Happy Vegan baker were all super popular this year. It was the best year we’ve had for vegan sweets. It was tough to choose from so many great places but after much consideration, here is what I’ve got.

1) The Vegan Nom barbecued brisket tacos with jalapeño mac and cheese

The Vegan Nom really stepped up their game this year adding the del ray to the menu, a second trailer on East Riverside and claiming the top spot on my list with their amazing/phenomenal/ZOMG barbecued brisket tacos with jalapeño mac and cheese. Right now this taco is only an occasional special and it sells out within an hour of opening, but seriously, this is probably the only dish in Austin where I had one…. and then bought three more to take home. This taco is probably my favorite thing I ate this year. It’s kind of crazy since it’s made from two things that should not be so freaking great vegan (smoked brisket and jalapeno mac & cheese) but it somehow manages to transcend their animal based counterparts.

2) Via 313 Pizza

It’s hard to call this pizza number two on my list because it’s probably been my biggest craving all year. I grew up eating a lot of Chicago-style pizza – I absolutely loved the kind of pizza you just couldn’t get in my hometown- and it was always my first stop in the city. Then I moved away from the midwest and pizza kind of lost all of it’s luster for me. The rest of the country kind of does takes on New York-style which will always be variations on Pizza Hut to me. Once I went vegan, the jig was up completely. I’m not a big fan of the two major vegan commercial cheeses. So, when I first started hearing a lot about Via 313 I wasn’t very excited, I did like that they used Follow Your Heart cheese, but it didn’t seem worth passing up Arlo’s for anytime I was in that area. Then finally I tried it. I think my pizza was, like 14 dollars, and TINY. I was mad.

And then I took one bite and knew I’d be back the next day. Detroit-style isn’t exactly like the pizza I grew up with but it’s got a big fucking delicious crust and sweet non paste-y tomato sauce *on the top* as it should be. It’s a freaking revelation. Everyone I’ve taken there, from the midwest, from my mom to my best friend, has loved it.

3) Sweet Ritual Chaco Taco.

Our wonderful little vegan ice cream shop has also upped their game this year because, in addition to their soft serve, they now make ever changing magical hard pack flavors like Thin Mint (with real girl scout cookies!) and Sweet Potato with candied pecans and even COFFEE WITH RED RABBIT DOUGHNUTS CHUNKS and oh yeah, they even make their own Magic Shell. This year they also started selling pints at the Flag Store and the Oak Hill Juiceland. During the month of the taco cleanse, though, they started whipping up Chocolate Tacos and I was totally obsessed. The flavors of ice cream would change up but there would always be a delicious chocolate toppings and sometimes toasted coconut on their amazing waffle cones. They were kind of like a drumstick but, GOD, so much better.

4) Bouldin Creek Tofu Scramble.

I’ve realized that when vegans visit Austin the second time Bouldin Creek is usually their first stop, and with good reason. Bouldin is one of the few places I can think of in town that has had consistently delicious food for a thousand years. Everyone loves Bouldin and the key to it all, I think, is their tofu scramble. Whether you get it in a breakfast taco, amidst the gloriously decadent Rennedict, or in the Garden Scramble it always hits that perfect spot. Plus they open super early, stay open late, have a lovely patio, a warm inside and a friendly atmosphere. I’m so glad they survived their move across the street and I am hoping the manager Leslie bring her same magic to Flipnotics, which she also recently was put in charge of.

5) Puffy Tacos at El Chile y Cantina.

A taco doesn’t have to have any special “vegan” ingredients to make me happy. I am just fine with refried beans, potatoes, nopales, avocado, rice, or whole beans most of the time. For me, the best tacos are all about the quality of the tortilla and the toppings and that is why I love the puffy tacos at El Chile. First, their fried tortillas have the perfect consistency, they are never a bit greasy or mushy. Then they also seem to actually care about the vegetables they are putting on the tacos which is surprisingly rare! You would think restaurants wouldn’t serve overcooked roots and oily greens but alas, they are nearly always an afterthought. At El Chile the veggies are cooked correctly and then PILED on with tons of guacamole, fresh lettuce, and creamy beans. They also make a damn good margarita.

6) The Muffalata Sandwich at Unity Vegan Kitchen.

One of my favorite new trailers to open this last year has been the amazing Unity Vegan Kitchen. I first got to discovered it at the amazing 2013 Texas Veg Fest where everyone was raving about the cashew cheese lasagna. I am in love with the Muffalata sandwich, and not just because olives are my most favorite food forever and ever. I love this sandwich because it is perfectly executed on delicious homemade bread and thinly sliced marinated tofu. This is a woman who isn’t afraid of using a little oil and salt in her food either, which can be tough to find at all vegan places. They are going to be moving to North Loop House and Yard at 701 E 53rd St by BBQ Revolution and Red Rabbit on Jan 22.

7) Wasota Vegan Platter.

This is another perennial favorite of mine, that I’ve gone on and on about at length. Everything on the platter defines deliciousness and goes together so well that I can never stop eating it even after I’ve had my fill. That amazing flavorful rice, the perfectly fried plantains, the creamy spinach, the salty akara dumplings, the luscious beans, it’s just too good to even deal with sometimes, like last meal on earth good. This year the trailer moved to a lot on South Lamar across the street from Mr. Natural.

8) Cherrywood Coffeehouse Breakfast Tacos

One of my out-of-town friends had heard me talk about breakfast tacos A LOT. Actually, along with Star Trek and my dogs, tacos are topic I can go on about indefinitely. She’s heard me go on and on about breakfast tacos but didn’t have one until this year. I had a hard time trying to decide where to take her, I think we’d just come off the taco cleanse so my head and belly were full of ideas about the perfect taco. Eventually I decided it had to be the always consistent Cherrywood because their tacos are what a vegan breakfast taco should be (IMO), they have endless options like the standard veggie chorizo, guacamole, and refried beans but they also have deep fried tofu and shoestring potatoes (aka french fries). Breakfast isn’t breakfast without potatoes and veganism would be NOTHING without the french fry so they are, kind of, the perfect thing to have on a vegan breakfast taco. My friend took one bite and said “I get it now” and ordered more to smuggle to California.

9) Pie from Capital City Bakery

It’s tough to pick a favorite at Cap City, the brownies are so rich and delicious and probably weigh a half pound. The cupcakes are light and beautiful. The cookies are perfect, especially when filled with ice cream. But, I think the pies are my favorite part. We got to try a sampler of all the thanksgiving pies this year, from Pecan to Sweet Potato and each one was amazing. The tomato pie during pizza day (pictured above) was incredible. I am just so excited that the brick and mortar finally opened up so we can have perfect pies from Kristen @inmypies whenever we want. We really are living in a Golden Age.

10) Green Curry at Sway

I was so impressed with the Green Curry the first time I tried it at Sway on South First street that I tried to grow those little eggplants over the summer. I ended up with two which wasn’t really even a big enough yield for one curry. Luckily, you can always get them in the Green Curry at Sway along with a really tangy Pad Thai and a tapioca pudding with avocado sorbet and you pretty much have a perfect meal. One of my friends said he didn’t even really like Green Curry but that this one was a game changer. I think it’s all about the veggies. And the coconut cream on top. It’s super spicy though so be warned if you don’t like the heat.

Favorite Local Product: Kosmic Kombucha

I tend to go through periods where I suddenly drink Kombucha all the time and my favorite is Austin’s own Kosmic Kombucha. Over the last year I have tried just about every flavor going through weeks where I would only drink “Clockwork Orange” (Organic Kombucha, Orange Juice, Vanilla Rice Milk, & Vanilla) or the “Mint Julep” (Organic Kombucha, Organic White Grape Juice, fresh squeezed Orange and Lemon Juices, Fresh Mint). I think the “Pear of the Dog” (Organic Kombucha, Prickly Pear, Lime, Orange, Olive Juice, Sea Salt, & Agave) might be the most interesting Kombucha I’ve ever had. I love them all.

Most Missed- I thought about this category so many times over 2013. When I went to La Condesa on my birthday and found out they no longer offered the amazing vegan board I might have shed a tear. Oh, and when they told me it was because they were so busy now that they won a James Beard award it made me hate the culinary world as a whole.  And then when my favorite trailer park with Cap City, Conscious Cravings, and Moses Falafel closed down I thought that I might have to give away the category to the Longhorn Trailerpark. But then, in the waning days of 2013, one of the worst closings ever hit the vegan community like a knife to the gut; Cheer Up Charlies the vegan friendly, queer friendly, center for happy people had to close down (new development of course) and rumor’s started that our beloved Arlo’s would not re-open. I’m still hoping that these rumors aren’t true, this is a trailer that had over an hour wait at Texas Vegfest will somehow persevere, but it really doesn’t look good. They haven’t responded to any requests for info and aren’t saying anything on social media but have told others they aren’t interested in running a trailer anymore. I don’t know how we will go on without the wonderfulness that is the Bac’n Cheezeburger aka the best vegan burger I ever had. I wish I could at least have one more to say good-bye.

Please feel free to leave any favorites in the comments or make your own top ten, we all have such different ideas of what is the best! Any time I see people recommending places that aren’t my favorites I’m utterly shocked but, really it just gives us all more to love. The Vegans Rock Austin Poll has barely anything in common with mine. Red Hot Vegan did a bunch of favorites during veganmofo too and I think we have one dish in common. If you are interested in what’s in and what’s out for me here is my 2012, 2011, and 2010 lists, most of the places I mentioned before but didn’t list this time have either closed down or are still a favorite though. Hopefully 2014 will be the best yet.