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.
Last year on Cinco de Mayo, I listened to a local radio station lament the fact that people ignorant of Mexican culture don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is all about and yet they still celebrate by knocking back a couple of Cuervos and maybe having some nachos. What was absurd, to me, was that they went on and on about how this was such a travesty and yet they never once mentioned what Cinco de Mayo is all about. For one thing, I don’t even think it is a national holiday in Mexico. According to Wikipedia it is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla but they fail to mention that it is probably more intensely celebrated in Mexico’s former territory: Texas. The date commemorates the defeat of the French by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín and was also the last time the Americas were invaded by another country. In Texas, and the rest of the US, however, we primarily use the holiday to celebrate Mexican culture which in my mind means eating Mexican inspired food and yes, drinking beer and eating nachos. I thought I would do a round-up of some tacos that I have posted about to inspire some taco ideas other than the standard American version.
I would love for any other bloggers to link below to any of their favorite taco creations!
And have a happy International Worker’s Day
Every year Austin host the ACL music festival which is like a typical festival in the park with multiple stages of large touring acts. One aspect that makes ACL a little bit different and a little better is that instead of the typical festival food (elephant ears, corn dogs, and cheese fries) ACL has local Austin restaurants set up stands and come up with items just for the festival. This usually means a lot more veg options than the corporate fair and better food. One breakout is “the chicken cone” and though it sounds like something you would get at any state fair, according to my friends it is worth going to the festival for the deep fried chicken surrounded in coleslaw with a spicy dressing all surrounded by a tortilla like cone. After years of huge lines at the festival the restaurant decided to open a trailer on South Congress and I checked the online menu and it seemed to have some possible veg options so we were on our way.For vegetarians they have a deep fried avocado cone, and I say vegetarians because the coleslaw is not vegan. I got mine without and found the fried avocado pretty lacking without any accompaniments. That’s not to say it wasn’t good; the batter was crisp and tasty and the avocado was in really big chunks, it was just lacking a flavor contrast. Some spinach and tomatoes would have made it worth returning. Sadly, I won’t be. One reason I thought the whole trip might be worth it is because the menu also mentioned chili-dusted fries. In reality, they were just somewhat soggy regular fries, served in a cone, and lightly sprinkled with chili which I could hardly taste.
The real slap in the face from the mighty cone was their descpription of their “Veggie Sliders”. Online it only mentions that they exist but at the store they sounded great, I don’t remember the details because I was shocked and appalled by the note that the sliders were “Almost vegan, just a little butter”. You F****** bastards. You could easily make these vegan, you know how to do it (a little oil or margarine instead) and instead you choose to say “Screw you” to any vegans who might fall in love with your trailer, write blog posts about it, and send recommendations to everyone in the vegan blogosphere. Instead, you have to get uppity and laugh at us with your stupid sign proclaiming your love of butter. Really, if the sign had said “Not Vegan” I would have respected them for being clear, but the taunting “Almost Vegan” sent me into a rage.
I have been working on a recipe for Green Chile Macaroni, this version was more like Macamole but it was really freaking good anyway but the real one is forthcoming. The tempeh was just marinated in apple cider vinegar and soy sauce and then dipped in cornstarch and pan fried. They looked exactly like those chicken strips at fast food places.
Last night I went for a two hour walk through a nicer neighborhood with the dogs and looked at Halloween decorations. I saw only one McCain sign which made me really very happy, well not the McCain sign, but the overwhelming amount of Obama signs. I have been really afraid about the election and especially Sarah Palin. Anyway, I got home and was totally exhausted and I wanted to make something really fast. I took out Dreena’s Eat Drink and Be Vegan because it usually has some really fast recipes. I saw one for “Garlicky Broccoli Burritos” or something to that effect and decided I would use the basic concepts in a taco. I remembered from the Pasta De La California a few weeks ago that garlicky broccoli is so fantastic with guacamole and I had two avocados sitting on the windowsill that were just perfectly ripe.
I have family in Escondido California and they are lucky enough to have an avocado tree in their backyard so I decided to name these tacos after that part of California. I think an avocado tree would probably be the tree I want most to have in my backyard. Or an olive tree! Or a mango tree….
Here is what I used for the tacos, I am also going to give instructions for prep as you go:
1 can Spicy Refried Beans (you could also smash together beans from a can of black or pinto and a chopped jalapeno)
1 TBSP of oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 broccoli crowns, chopped
1 TBSP of Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP of Worchestershire
1/2 Cup of frozen corn
Guacamole con Alga Marina (based on Dreena recipe)
2 ripe medium avocados
Juice of 1 large lime
salt to taste
1 tsp of kelp powder (optional)
First, turn on the oven to 300. Seal your tortiallas in foil and put them in the oven to warm up. Empty the contents of the refried beans can into a pot and put on low. Stir occaionally throughout the process. Put oil in a seperate pan and warm it to medium heat. Meanwhile, chop the garlic and then add it to the pan. While the garlic is cooking chop the broccoli into florets. Add them to the pan along with the nama shoyu and worchestershire and frozen corn. Cover the whole lot and let cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. If broccoli is sticking or garlic is burning turn down the heat or add water to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, chop the avocados and put them in a bowl. Squeeze in the juice from half the lime. Add in a little bit of sea salt and the kelp powder if you are so inclined. By the time you have whipped the guac up (use either a fork, a potato masher, or an immersion blender) everything else will be done. Get your tortialls out and spread refried beans on the bottom. Top with the broccoli mixture and the Guacamole and ROCK OUT WITH YOUR GUAC OUT and enjoy!
In Texas it is hot in the summer. Maybe some of you haven’t ever even really experienced what “hot” can be. The warmest day in Portland is maybe 90 degrees when here in Austin 90 degrees means you wear long sleeves at night! This summer we finally got a grill off Craig’s List and could cook without heating up the whole house although it was still impossible to cook without sweating. Unfortunately, since I was in charge of cooking that meant I was not in charge of the fire which led to this.
I had lot of fun making Susan’s Ribz several different times
The smoked Tempeh from the Veganomicon & Creole Style Black Eyed Peas was really good. Using fresh black-eyed peas is so great. They are just so creamy and delectable.
Baked BBQ Tofu with sweet corn and collards
BBQ Black-Eyed Peas wrapped in Collard Greens
and a BBQ Seitan Sandwich from Whole Foods because sometimes it is really nice to go into a freezing cold grocery store and have some vegans cook for you!
We also eat a lot of Mexican inspired Dishes here in Austin. I made these tacos one night when I wanted something quick and easy
And I made Phish Tacos using the fish stick recipe from Vegan Lunch Box (a great recipe) and a Beet & Jicama slaw
And the delicious Pasta De La California with an heirloom tomato Serbain salad. Who would have thought that Avocado could literally be added to any dish and make it better.
Also another Southern style dish. I don’t know how they do it but the tofu at our co-op is so good that you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like it.
Southern Fried Tofu from Wheatsville Co-op with Black Eyed Peas
From this photo essay I have really learned that I need to get some different plates if I am going to be a food blogger! I can’t believe all the things I didn’t cook when I had the chance; I never once made Watermelon Gazpacho or Tomato Pie. I guess I will have to wait for next year. But now we get to move onto the most fun cooking of all HOLIDAY COOKIN!