Friday, September 23, 2011

my guest post


Top 10 Vegan Restaurants in Austin!

What comes to mind when you hear about Texas? Greedy republicans, oil industries, and humidity infused gigantic hair, probably. But my town is a bit different. Ahh, Austin. It’s a quirky wonderland of twenty-something hipsters with something (and nothing) to prove, baby boomer hippies who could recall Woodstock as if it were yesterday (and are happy to do so up request), and vegan hotspots that send you into a deep state of food coma-dom (speaking from past experience).

I’ve picked out the top 10 best vegan restaurants and cafes in the city. Big on flavor and even bigger in heart; these are “musts” for any visiting or resident vegan.

10. Vegan Yacht: How appropriate to start off with a food truck! Nestled in a food trailer park on the uber hip Eastside, Vegan Yacht is a great choice for vegans and omnivores alike. What to try: ‘Freeto’ burrito! Omg so good.

9. Sugar Tooth Bakery: Because even vegans have sugar cravings. What to try: Russian Caravan (almond cake).

8. The Parlor: Admittedly, on of the hardest parts about going vegan was giving up most all pizza. But the Parlor has brought my once favorite dish back to me! What to try: Build your own vegan pizza!

7. Wheatsville Food Coop: Okay, so this is actually a grocery store. But, I feel it absolutely must be on the list for it’s super awesome and relaxed community feel, and it’s top-notch deli in the back with really great vegan options. What to try: Vegan Saffron Pasta salad, Popcorn tofu. [Ed.: Speaking of THE AMAZING popcorn tofu, did you know that you don’t have to go all the way to Texas to get it?? That’s right, the recipe is available in this great vegan recipe zine that I just bought and that you can buy, too. Aren’t we all so lucky!? I wrote a little about it in my SF Weekly Week in Vegan column and now I will cut and paste that here because I’m the laziest. Since the entire state of Texas is on fire, that means the animals residents of Sunny Day Farms animal sanctuary in Le Coste, Texas are suffering. In response, awesome blogger Lazy Vegan Smurf and friends put together a great zine of delicious vegan recipes, with all proceeds going to Sunny Day Farms. I’ve been eating almost exclusively out of it for the past week and have gotten three compliments on my sweater today. Coincidence? Don’t answer that? Buy it so I don’t have to place a curse on your first-born.]

6. Beets Café: Self proclaimed “upscale raw-food dining experience”, without the pretension. What to try: ELT (eggplant, lettuce and tomato) sandwich

5. Gueros: Rumor has it that this taco bar is where Quentin Tarantino likes to dine when he’s in Austin, so obvi it needs to be on the list. And I suppose another reason is that they have a totally kick ass vegan menu. What to try: Soy Chorizo on a Corn Tortilla Chiquita.

4. Mr. Natural’s: A restaurant, bakery, juice bar and health food store all rolled into one. Here’s to efficiency! What to try: Tofu and Sunflower Seed Tamales

3. Mother’s Café & Garden: Just as the name suggests, the Mother’s experience basically feels like a gigantic hug from beginning to end. Comfort vegan food. Never leave hungry. Mmmm. What to try: Bueno Burger

2. G’Raj Mahal: A truly enchanting trailer park dining experience (yes, it IS possible), G’Rah Mahal is a charming Indian cuisine trailer that offers outstanding vegan options. What to try: Coconut Curry, Baingam Bartha. PS: It’s also BYOB if you’re feeling frisky.

1. Counter Culture: Yep, another food trailer. But it’d be unwise to underestimate the beauty in simplistic dining. This place is small but mighty, and bonus points for their creative vegan offerings. What to try: Philly Seitan Sandwich

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