Tag Archives: gluten free

Sagra – An Italian Dream come true for vegans and the gluten free in East Austin

Italian food seems to be universally loved. I did an informal poll in my office asking “do you like Italian food” and everyone said yes, and then looked at me with questioning eyes as if I was about to give them a piece of lasagna or something. Sorry y’all! Somehow getting vegan Italian food in Austin isn’t always that easy. If you go to a fancy place they often use eggs in the fresh pasta. Rarely do they have vegan specials or delicious vegan cheese. You’re lucky to get Daiya at a pizza place here. If you go to a shitty place – I’m looking at you Olive Garden- you can’t even order a salad. I guess it comes shipped in pre-made from god knows where.

There is one place, however, in Austin that does it right, not only does Sagra have a multiple course vegan menu but they also offer homemade cashew cheese and special meaty substitutes. When I went the other day I was also impressed that they were able to assure me, without asking, that the table bread was vegan and they could easily leave items on the side so my dining companions could have their precious cheese. And yes GFers, they can make any dish gluten free. We started with the polenta fries with fried brussels and chickpeas in a salsa roja. I was a bit worried with all the fried items that this dish would be a bit greasy or heavy but it wasn’t at all, the large portion was enormous for the three of us too. 

We also tried the Barbietolla which was roasted beets, fruit mostardo, truffle salt. This dish was very sweet but a really nice complement to the polenta dish and we all enjoyed it as well. 

My favorite dish of the night was undoubtedly my pizza. When I originally looked at the menu I thought I might try the Macaroni al Forno, (baked macaroni and cheese, cashew cheese, spinach, bread crumbs, truffle oil, spinach macaroni), but once I saw the pizza I knew I had to try it. 

If you know anything about me, you know that I love olives and Star Trek and the only thing that could have made this pizza better would have been if I was sharing it with Captain Picard. Or actually, if they hadn’t run out of cashew cheese. No matter! I didn’t miss the cheese in the least and they added pine nuts to compensate. The pizza is called the Maialina and comes with pesto sauce, walnuts, black olives. Interestingly, they chopped up the walnuts and olives together which gave the pizza a salty delicious meaty texture. From now on it’s going to be my go to home topping. I loved it! And the large was so big that I got to eat it for the next few days although obviously it was much better in the restaurant.

So Sagra is a big win for me, their cocktails were fantastic too and they have a nice happy hour special so when it cools down I think it might become my after work meet up spot. Let me know what you thought or think if you try it out! I’m curious about the rest of the menu.

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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.