Cool Events for a Hot Summer:

Upcoming Austin Vegan Events

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Austin Vegan Party Barge
Summer is in full swing, and everyone’s taking advantage of the warm weather. Austin vegans are planning up a storm, and with a dessert social, 4th of July cookout, party barge and more in the works, there’s something for everyone in this town. There are some great recurring events coming up, including the June Fruitluck (aka fruit potluck) at Barton Springs tomorrow (June 22nd), a newly created Crafty Night at Unity Vegan Kitchen on Thursday, June 26th, and an Austin Raw Food Diet potluck on Saturday, June 28th. In addition to these recurring events, we’ve quite a few special events on the calendar:

Sunday, June 22nd:

5pm to 7:30pm - NadaMoo!’s Whole ‘Lotta Dessert Social at NO VA Kitchen & Bar tomorrow is a not-to-be-missed fundraiser for the Whole Planet Foundation! It’s not mentioned on the event page, but the event organizers have assured me that this will in fact be an entirely vegan event with desserts, cocktails, and coffee provided by Skull & Cakebones, GoodPops, NadaMoo!, and Chameleon Cold Brew. So far I’ve heard there will be whoopie ice cream pies, pop-tails, and cold brew floats, plus Brad Sorenson from NO VA will be making a vegan dessert as well. For those hoping to watch USA in the World Cup, have no fear, the game will be playing at the bar. Tickets are $10, and you can purchase them in advance on Eventbrite or pay in cash at the door.

Raw Cheezecake at BeetsFriday, June 27th:

7pm to 10pm – Beets Cafe fans have known for a couple of months now that Austin’s one and only raw restaurant will be shutting its doors indefinitely. To celebrate the great run they had, they’re throwing a farewell celebration. There will be droves of Beets fans, music, and of course, the Beets crew is going to make some delicious raw treats! Let them know how much they meant to the Austin community, and send them off with a bang.

Sauced Vegan PizzaSaturday, June 28th:

All Day – It’s Vegan Pizza Day! This most glorious of holidays will be celebrated with pizza-themed specials at Capital City Bakery from 11am to 7pm. At 12pm the Austin Progressive Vegetarians are hosting a Vegan Pizza Day meetup at Sauced in the Highland Mall. For those looking to throw their own Vegan Pizza Day party, check out our extensive (and recently updated) Austin Vegan Pizza Guide!

9am to 4pm – Head on down to Seguin, TX for a chance to lend a helping hand at the SARA Sanctuary Volunteer Day and Picnic. Get out of the city, get your hands dirty for a good cause, and get animal kisses in return! Vegan food and drinks will be provided (beer & wine for the grown ups), but you’re also welcome to bring any vegan food you like. Their only requirement is that you be an animal lover.

BBQ Revolution Platter Friday, July 4th:

3pm – BBQ Revolution and the rest of the North Loop House & Yard vegan trailer gang will be hosting a 4th of July Cookout in conjunction with ATX Vegan Drinks! Every trailer in the lot is now entirely vegan (making this the first all-vegan food trailer lot in the world!), as Taco ‘Bout It recently switched their menu to be entirely vegan!  All the trailers will be coming up with patriotic specials, from veggie burgers at BBQ Revolution to vegan funnel cake and chick’n and waffles from Unity Vegan Kitchen. Rabbit Food Grocery will also be in attendance, dessert will be provided by Skull & Cakebones, there will be a raffle to raise funds for a local nonprofit, and to top it all off, there will be free beer!

4pm to 8pm – Counter Culture will also be hosting a 4th of July Party on the East Side, with summer classics including vegan corndogs, burgers, slaw, potato salad, strawberry shortcake and more. Enjoy your food while listening to all-American country, roots and rockabilly, and try your chances at the Happy Cow cookbook giveaway!

Brunch at Mr. NaturalSunday, July 6th:

10:30am to 2pm – Mr. Natural’s next monthly vegan brunch falls on the 4th of July weekend, and we cannot be more excited by their patriotic themed brunch! For $16 you get an endless buffet that will include corn dogs, mac and cheeze, fried chick’n, pancakes, chocolate cream pie, apple crisp and so much more! We think it’s really awesome that a vegetarian restaurant has taken on the task of creating a huge, entirely vegan brunch buffet, so we always look forward to these weekends. Expert tip for Mr. Natural brunch newbies – don’t skip out on the agave mustard! It’s a must on the country fried seitan, and whatever else you can think to put it on.

Sunday, August 31st:

12pm to 5pm – The Vegan Party Barge is back! The 5th Annual Vegan Party Barge is officially happening, and while it’s a little ways in the future, you should certainly start planning now (and buy your tickets ASAP, as they always sell out). This year the tickets are $40 (with a $5 discount for AV&VA Members), which includes entrance to the barge, pool noodles for lounging in the water, non-alcoholic drinks and a catered vegan lunch. The barge is BYOB, so pack a small cooler, and enjoy a beautiful day on Lake Travis with a bunch of awesome vegans!

Exciting New Options in South Austin

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Selection of dishes from Pulse Vegan, Austin's newest all-vegan trailer

Pulse Vegan – Austin’s Newest All-Vegan Trailer:
Pulse Vegan announced their soft opening over the weekend to their Kickstarter supporters as a way to get a first look at Austin’s newest all-vegan food trailer. Once we heard, we hightailed it on over there Saturday afternoon and managed to order almost everything on the menu. We devoured The Frenchy and The Philly sandwiches, the sides trio with The Mac, dill home fries, and Slow-Burn Slaw, and the Buffalo Basket. We all really enjoyed the food, with the sandwiches being a standout, and the au jus for the vegan French dip was a table favorite. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, beware that the Buffalo basket carries a kick that only the die-hard spicy food fan at our table could handle. I’m excited to come back again for the grand opening on June 7th, and try the few menu items we couldn’t manage to fit in the first time. As Pulse Vegan evolves over the next few weeks and months, I’m sure it will soon become a staple vegan hangout, and a refreshing new option for the South Austin vegan community.

The Pulse Vegan Trailer in the South First Food Court

Pulse Vegan's all-vegan menu

Pulse Vegan is parked in the The South First Food Court on S. 1st and Live Oak, just down the street from Bouldin Creek Cafe and next to Fair Bean Coffee. In the same lot, you’ll find other vegan-friendly food carts including Bananarchy and Candanosas Snowballs. If you’re looking to get dessert to go with your vegan smorgasbord from Pulse Vegan, head over to Bananarchy for chocolate dipped frozen bananas, or to Candanosa’s for fruit-filled snowballs. Both desserts were the perfect temperature for these hot Texas summer days.

Chocolate-dipped banana from Bananarchy

Mango snowball from Candanosas

Baton Creole’s New Locations:
Baton Creole has opened a second location in South Austin, and it’s a game changer. Located in Sweetwater, a bar and Blues/Country/Rock and Roll music venue on Stassney Lane just west of South 1st, the new location comes with a new menu, including mini jambalaya on a stick (only $3!), vegan crab cakes, and dirty rice. The jambalaya on a stick is still my favorite thing ever, and the crab cakes and dirty rice were also a hit. The jambalaya on a stick is fried in a communal fryer, but the crab cakes are pan fried and the dirty rice is not fried at all, so there is something for everyone at the new location.

Selection of food from Baton Creole

We had a chance to talk to the chef at the new location and he mentioned that he’s working on creating some new vegan specials, and that he’s always willing to whip something up for vegans, even if he’s out of the regular menu items – so if it’s not crazy busy, just ask at the bar to talk to him if you feel you need some extra help ordering. While we were there, he treated us to a Cajun vegetable salad that he’s working on (not pictured), that was incredibly flavorful and which we’re hoping will become a regular menu item. We’ve also heard that they’re working on putting together a vegan-friendly brunch and hope to have it ready around late July/early August. Considering how stellar everything else has been that’s come out of Baton Creole’s kitchen, I for one think this can’t happen soon enough.

Decor inside the Sweetwater barInterior of the Sweetwater bar

Sweetwater is surprisingly nice for being situated in a strip mall. The bar is stocked with quality liquor and beer, there is plentiful seating including a shaded outdoor area, and there are pool tables and a stage for live music. The bar opens at noon, but the kitchen hours can be a bit tricky to find. Currently, the kitchen is open from 5 pm to 2 am, 7 days a week. The only downside to the new location is that the new cook is not currently making the beignets vegan at Sweetwater (they are still vegan at the trailer), but we can always hope that will change. Whether you check out the new location down South, or head to the original trailer (now parked in the 6th St and Waller Food Court), you won’t regret it.

Vegan croissant and OJ from Thai FreshCroissants at Thai Fresh:
Thai Fresh recently announced that they are making vegan croissants again, and this time they’re available every single weekend – Friday through Sunday. The new croissants are a bit different from the ones they produced last year, and are everything I remember a croissant to be, crusty on the outside, with soft, flaky – even buttery layers inside. At $3.50, they are a steal, and for a little more you can order them with a side of vegan butter, house-made strawberry jam, and OJ. As a die-hard North Austinite, few things will compel me to cross the river, but these croissants are one of my new favorite weekend treats.

Site of Ramen Tatsu-ya's South Austin location New Locations for Local Favorites:
Restaurants are opening left and right in South Austin, and luckily a few of our vegan-friendly favorites are slated to open locations down south soon. Ramen Tatsuy-ya, who offers a crave-worthy vegan ramen, will be opening their second location on 1234 S. Lamar Boulevard, next to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar development. Via 313, the phenomenal Detroit style vegan-friendly pizza trailer, announced they will be opening a full restaurant and pub in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Austin in the late Winter/early Spring of 2015. They plan to expand their menu to include a few more styles of pizza not already found in Austin (that will hopefully be vegan-friendly as well). Juiceland, the local vegan-friendly juice chain, has been popping up all over town, with new locations in Westlake, Lakeway and a South Austin location in Oak Hill that even has a drive-through. Glad to know I’m never too far away from the quinoa ranchero salad of theirs I love so much.

Let me know if I’ve missed any exciting happenings in South Austin! It’s not my normal neck of the woods, but something tells me I’ll be spending more time down there now that there’s so much popping up. Also, keep your eyes out this week for a full Vegan News Bites post already in the works…

Vegan News Bites

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New Vegan Menu Items:

Fresh falafel from JuiceLand in Hyde Park- JuiceLand is not the kind of place I’d plan on finding my new favorite falafel in town, but that’s in fact where you’ll find a fresh, moist falafel that’s drenched in delicious tahini. It’s definitely not too oily or too dry, problems that can plague a lot of falafel joints. I think you could potentially fault it for not being authentic, with kale and carrots finding their way into the mix, and being cooked in avocado oil, but it all just works for me. It’s gluten free if you skip the pita and get it salad style. As of right now it’s made fresh to order during lunchtime, Monday through Friday, at the Hyde Park location. It’s decently priced at $6, plus you can grab a Facebook deal for 50% off right now.

Chipotle announced that for the first time in the company’s 20 year history it’s expanding its menu with a new vegan option. The Chipotle sofritas, shredded tofu with chilies and spices, is made from organic soybeans from Hodo Soy Beanery and produced out of a factory in Oakland, CA. So far it looks like the tofu is making its way slowly inwards from the coasts, with Texas not quite on the sofritas map yet. I called a few locations to see if they knew when it would land in Texas, and no one that I spoke to had an idea of the timeline, but it’s definitely something to look out for in the near future – and a great option to find when you’re traveling.

Vanilla Silk Almond Froyo at TCBY- TCBY has added a Silk vanilla almond Froyo to their selection of flavors. This is the second vegan flavor in their lineup, after they introduced a Silk chocolate almond froyo a few months back. The vanilla flavor was available at the UT location on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive when we went to check it out, and while we didn’t have high expectations, we were pleasantly surprised by the flavor and consistency. It’s fat free, and a true frozen yogurt with added live active cultures. It’s certainly nice to see that TCBY, a major national chain, is adding more vegan options, and it’s a great option for those looking for a treat near campus.

Brunch at The Vegan Nom- Vegan Brunch is blowing up in this town! Down south, The Vegan Nom has created a vegan brunch platter available every Saturday from 10am to 2pm. For $12, you get not only a platter stacked with classic brunch fare (french toast, potatoes, scramble, sausage and tempeh bacon), but a free mimosa from the Buzz Mill as well! Brunch at the Vegan Nom is a bit of a departure from their usual menu of Rockin’ Vegan Tacos, but it’s quickly becoming a new Saturday morning favorite.

Vegan Brunch at Mr. Natural- We’ve tried the Mr. Natural Brunch buffet twice now, and are definitely fans. Come hungry, as just trying a little bit of everything will fill you up (pictured is a little bit of everything from last Sunday’s brunch, minus the spinach puffs and tamale pie which came out a little later). Head on over to the east side, and check it out yourself on the first Sunday of the month at the Cesar Chavez location for $16.
New Menu Items at Taco 'Bout It- Up north we have some new menu items at Taco ‘Bout It, and their first vegan-friendly brunch this Sunday with free drinks! The new tacos include a vegan baja fry taco (aka fish taco), and a vegan beef taco, which compliment their two veggie heavy vegan tacos. For those looking for a little more food, try making any taco into a burrito for only $3 more (note: the burrito is really a giant taco). They also offer agave for their sopapillas (fried flour tortilla with cinnamon) to make them vegan, so you can finish off your meal with something sweet.

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It’s Official Y’all, Titaya’s is Back!

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Dan displays the new menu at Titaya's Thai

We can all breathe a sigh of relief now that Titaya’s Thai Cuisine has finally re-opened! It’s been over a year since the doors were shuttered, and the re-opening date had been moved back too many times to count, but the renovation construction had clearly picked up over the last few months, and now the doors are officially open for business. We hightailed it on over to the newly renovated space, along with a good chunk of Titaya’s other cult followers, and were lucky to get a table for lunch. We were surprised to find no line at 11am, but that quickly changed, and by the time we left around noon, there was the familiar line out the door.

Titaya's new signage

Titaya's updated seating and bar

The renovations have created a new entry with two doors (also good for line overflow), a new larger waiting area, a new fancy bar area, and most importantly, a much larger seating area. There were still a small selection of booths, but the table seating area seemed to have nearly doubled in size. We ordered a few dishes off the lunch menu, and then started to peruse the new dinner menu. The menu still denotes vegetarian items, and it also still mentions that all dishes ordered vegetarian will be made vegan (sans egg). The classic Thai favorites were all there from tom kha and pad thai, to pineapple fried rice and gang garee.

Titaya's fancy new bar and expanded seating

Titaya's New Menu

We tried the leafy roll (aka spring roll) appetizer, spinach dumpling appetizer and the pad see eiw with tofu lunch special, which came with a side salad. Everything was fresh, and delicious. It’s hard to compare any of the dishes with what we had come to know from the old Titaya’s, as we were there for literally their first lunch service. I’m sure things will change in the next few days and weeks, but we really enjoyed everything, and can’t wait to come back and work our way through the rest of the menu.

Spring Roll Appetizer

Spinach Dumpling Appetizer

Pad See Eiw with Tofu (no egg)The lines may be daunting, but it’s totally worth it. Let me know if you’ve tried the new menu, and what y’all think!

Titaya’s Thai Cuisine
5501 N Lamar Blvd Ste C101
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 458-1792
Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm,
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm – 10:00pm

Vegan News Bites

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Dan and I are finally back from our long holiday vacation, and couldn’t wait to dive in to all the new vegan options around Austin! We’ve been gone so long, this Vegan News Bites post got a little out of control, but we promise it’s chock-full of interesting Austin vegan news! We’ve spent the last week eating our way through town, and can’t wait to share what we’ve found:

New Vegan Menu Items:

- The much talked about all-vegan brunch buffet at Mr. Natural‘s Cesar Chavez location is starting this Sunday! For $16, or $8 for kids 10 & under, you get your fill of vegan quiche, vegan biscuits and gravy, waffles, tofu migas, tofu scramble and much more! Happening the first Sunday of every month, this could be the start of a very good thing. For this first roll-out of the brunch buffet, Mr. Natural has been generously offering up a bevy of coupons and free meals. Ross of Vegans Rock Austin has coupons that he’ll be handing out at the Vegan Riot event tonight at the North Loop Yard, Lazy Smurf has two free brunches that she’s offering up on her blog, and we at Red Hot Vegans have two free brunches of our own to giveaway! Enter our drawing by commenting below with what you’re most excited about eating on Sunday. Don’t forget to include your name and email, so we can contact you. We’ll randomly pick the winners on Saturday, and shoot you an email to let you know!

Tortilla Soup at Fountain of Health- Fountain of Health has been open for a little while now, and has been slowly gathering a devout following with their delicious vegan-friendly Mexican dishes. Located up north at 11800 N. Lamar, it’s one of the few vegetarian restaurants that far north. We couldn’t wait to try it once we got home, and were blown away by how good it was. The menu doesn’t list which items are vegan, but the staff was very helpful, and they had recently changed their non-vegan soy cheese to Daiya, so many dishes had a vegan cheese option. They also mentioned that there is a Facebook page in the works, so hopefully with an online presence, we can help spread the word even further about this amazing restaurant.

Lettuce wraps at Sauce N Spice- Sauce N Spice, an Indian/Chinese fusion restaurant has opened up next to Veggie Heaven on Guadalupe. We were curious to check it out, as the online menu mentioned that they have vegan options. We tried a few dishes, and all were delicious, including these lettuce wraps pictured. The menu did not label the vegan options, but the staff was very helpful and the receipt for our order came out with ‘vegan’ marked under the customizations. It’s definitely a good option to add to the arsenal for UT students and those who work in and around the UT campus.

Kolaches at Capital City Bakery- Capital City Bakery has finally opened their new storefront in an adorable little house on Cesar Chavez, with convenient parking behind the building. Inside, you’ll find cases filled to the brim with vegan cupcakes, cookies, and cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth – and now, for those who prefer a savory treat, they have kolaches as well! We stopped by to try the vegan ham/cheese, and the sausage/jalapeño/cheese kolaches last weekend, and as you can see by Dan’s face, he was a very happy camper.
Vegan Cherry Pie at Royer's Pie Haven- Royers Pie Haven, located in the old Toy Joy Cafe spot, has a delicious vegan cherry pie available by the slice. The pie is not labeled vegan in the store, but it is online, and we were also confidently told in person that it is indeed vegan. This cute little pie shop is a nice place to go if you’re in need of cherry pie, or if you’re looking for an omni-friendly hang out spot. They also have a full coffee menu, with soy milk available. The staff mentioned that their baker was always looking into more vegan and gluten-free pie recipes, so there could be more vegan pie options on our horizon.
Popcorn Tofu Burrito from Wheatsville- Wheatsvile Co-op South now has made-to-order burritos available at their deli counter, including popcorn tofu as a filling option! We hightailed it down south to try this new option out, and were so excited to learn that we could even stuff buffalo popcorn tofu with vegan blue cheese sauce into our burrito creation. We turned into burrito monsters when faced with all the filling choices, and ended up with a little bit of everything in ours. It did not disappoint. In a world filled with tacos, we’re so excited by this delicious vegan-friendly burrito option!
Curry Tempeh Wrap from Austin Java Tarrytown- Austin Java Tarrytown got off to a rocky start, but it looks like they’re trying hard to make better vegan options. Their updated menu features Hearty Vegan Tempeh in a few of the new dishes, so we decided to give it a whirl. The menu still needs some work, as there were a few things marked vegan that weren’t, but the staff was helpful to make sure that the food that ended up on our plate was indeed vegan. There is a new tempeh curry wrap (pictured), tempeh tacos, chipotle burrito, and even a vegan cupcake option. If you’re a fan of Mother’s Cafe or Kerbey Lane’s vegan options, then these should be up your alley. It’s certainly a great option for anyone who frequents the west side of town.

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Vegan News Bites:

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Dan and I have been traveling for the past few weeks (we’re in Chennai, India right now!), but whenever we have a chance to check the internet, we’ve been keeping up with all the exciting happenings in Austin right now. One big thing that happened for us is winning Best Local Vegan Blog in the Vegans Rock Austin 2013 Austin Veggie Awards! We truly appreciate everyone who voted for us, and also want to send out a big congrats to all the other winners – there’s so much amazing food in this town! We had some stiff competition in our category, and love that there are so many kick-ass bloggers in this town. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Lazy Smurf,  The Little Red JournalLizz DeliciousLone Star Plate and My Healthy Chef, I highly recommend that you do.

Veggie Awards 2013

Because we’re traveling, we’re not able to get pictures of all the new stuff going on, but here’s a list of some of the latest news:

Vegan-friendly Businesses:

- Capital City Bakery’s storefront on E. Cesar Chavez has been under construction for months, but is now soft open, and looks super adorable! Check it out now, and head on over to their grand opening party on January 5th!

- Candy Cart is a new mobile candy store in Austin – think food truck, but instead it’s a store. Offering organic, vegan, and all natural candies, treats, and snacks. You can find them parked at the South Shore Eatery next to the AMLI on Town Lake. Stop by and stock up on sour beans, veggie booty, dark chocolate and more.

- If you’re in the market for some vegan kimchi, keep an eye out for Oh Kimchi Austin. Stocked at Wheatsville, The Wet Whistle and In.gredients, and sold at local farmers markets, this local kimchi company has quite a few vegan options including cucumber, napa cabbage and daikon kimchi.

- I ran across a press release about Scott Tucker, an Austin vegan who plans to open an American-style (aka burgers, hot dogs, fries) vegan food truck in Austin soon, but other than that, the details were murky.  Anyone know more about this, and can fill us in?

- There’s a new baker in the Austin vegan scene: Kat Sisler, who goes by Craving Vegan. Head on over to her Facebook and Instagram account to see her tempting cupcake photos, or over to her blog CravingVegan.com for recipes and to place an order.

Toms Tabooley- Tom’s Tabooley announced on Facebook that they are going totally vegetarian starting January 1st! They’ll also be adding some breakfast items to the menu that will hopefully be vegan-friendly as well.

- Thrilled Cheese is a grilled cheese food truck in Austin that advertises vegan options on their menu. The truck is one of the few that actually moves around, and can generally be found at one of three North Austin locations.

- The Vegan Nom had officially planned to re-open on North Loop today, but it looks like something has delayed the trailer. Keep your eyes open for it though, as the official re-launch could be any day now. They have been sorely missed up north, and I’m sure all their regulars will breathe a sigh of relief once the north location is back up and running. Also in Vegan Nom news, they’ve switched their tempeh to Hearty Vegan Tempeh. Yay for local businesses supporting local products!

New Vegan Menu Items:

- The Hearty Vegan has really been keeping busy with the local food trailers, debuting their garbanzo bean tempeh at BBQ Revolution. This is a great option for those on gluten- and soy-free diets looking for the home-smoked taste of real Texas BBQ. If you’ve somehow been living in a rock for the past month and haven’t checked out BBQ Revolution yet, well, what are you waiting for?

- Ramen Tatsu-Ya has offered a vegan mazemen (brothless ramen) on their lunch menu for the past several weeks. The best part? It’s available all week long (except on Mondays, when they’re closed), so no need to wait until Sunday to get your vegan ramen fix. In other Tatsu-Ya news, the deep fried Brussels sprouts and tofu toppings on their Sunday special vegan ramen bowl are now fried in a new dedicated fryer that Ramen Tatsu-Ya added to their kitchen last month!

Michi Ramen – Vegan ramen is now also available at Michi Ramen. They’ve had a veggie option on the menu since opening their brick-and-mortar at the beginning of the year, and they’ve finally sorted out the vegan noodle situation, adding a fourth option to Austin’s growing vegan ramen scene. We gave the new vegan option at Michi Ramen a try last month, and loved it! The well-balanced shoyu broth is both flavorful and refreshing, and complements the noodles and toppings well.

- Some bad news: the VERTS patties are no longer vegan. The company received complaints about the new recipe, so they decided to revert back to the old one that contains eggs. This is incredibly disappointing, but if you’re still a VERTS fan, you can get a vegan kebap with the grilled veggies instead of the patties.

Other Vegan News:

- Jay-Z announced on his blog, Life and Times, that he and Beyonce will be trying a 22 day vegan pledge. The news made worldwide entertainment headlines, and it even seems like they’ve kept up with it, with pictures of vegan food a mainstay in Beyonce’s Instagram feed. A picture of vegan cupcakes with 346,000 likes!?! Whether they decide to stay vegan or not, that’s pretty neat. Al Gore has also reportedly gone vegan, following in the footsteps of President Clinton perhaps?

domaine carneros- If you’re looking for an affordable vegan sparkling wine for the holidays, Domaine Carneros is a great choice. It’s even marketed as vegan on the back label – and you can find it at Central Market (probably other places around town too), retailing for around $20 a bottle. French 75 New Years toast, anyone?

Dan and I are looking forward to returning to Austin in a few weeks, and checking all this fun new stuff out ourselves. In the meantime, if you’d like to follow us on our trip, check out my Instagram feed. Happy holidays and a fantastic new year from Red Hot Vegans!

Austin Vegan Cooking Classes

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The holidays always get me in the mood to cook up a storm. I stock up on flour, sugar and spices and go to town. So when I was invited to try out a gluten-free, vegan holiday cooking class from Kaylee, the amazing baker at Thrice Cafe/Thai Fresh, I jumped on it. I’d never baked with gluten-free flour before, but I’d certainly eaten enough of Kaylee’s delicious desserts to know that I’d like it. I was not disappointed. I won’t give away Kaylee’s secrets, but let’s just say that she’s got quite a few tricks up her sleeve, and I walked away with not only some amazing gluten-free recipes, but general vegan baking tips that I’ll use forever.

With one class under my belt, I started to look into what other classes I might find around town, and was surprised at how many there were in just the next few months. From Kaylee’s gluten-free vegan holiday baking class, to tempeh holiday appetizers and artisan vegan cheeses, Austin’s got your vegan cooking classes covered. Sharpen up those cooking skills before holiday potlucks, pickle some beets to give as gifts, or take a class just to treat yourself. With prices ranging from $5 to $79, there is something for everyone. Check out some of these upcoming classes at Thrice/Thai Fresh, Natural Epicurean, Whole Foods Market, and in.gredients:

Gluten-Free Vegan Cupcake

Gluten-Free Vegan Mint Chocolate Brownie

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Vegan News Bites:

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Vegan-friendly Businesses:

Tempeh plate from BBQ Revolution

- Austin’s Vegan BBQ has finally arrived! BBQ Revolution celebrated their grand opening last night with much success, selling out of food within an hour. This all-vegan BBQ trailer is the latest addition to the very vegan friendly North Loop neighborhood (parked next to Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery). BBQ Revolution offers BBQ sandwiches and BBQ plates featuring your choice of home-smoked tempeh, soy curls or seitan, with sides of mac and cheeze, potato salad, cole slaw and beans, plus pickles and bread (they have some gluten-free options to boot!). We’ve literally eaten there every day since they opened, and are happy to say that the whole menu is delicious! With specials in the works like fried green tomatoes, we’re so happy to welcome the newest addition to the Austin vegan food scene.

Conscious Cravings officially has a third location, with a storefront in the Dobie Mall Food Court on the University campus. Students now have access to the full menu of wraps, salads and fries.

Vegan Mochi on a stick from Frozen Rickshaw- Frozen Rickshaw, a small mochi ice cream trailer, has opened on W. 30th. Vegan options are available, including rotating flavors like strawberry, grapefruit and Thai basil. For those who are looking for hot dessert on these cold days, they are offering a Tong Sui special (traditional cantonese sweet soup made with taro, coconut milk and tapioca – which can be made vegan, and is delicious!). They close for the season on December 6th, so head on over there before it’s too late.

- The Soular Food Garden lot has closed, but East siders have nothing to fear, as Capital City Bakery just moved to Cesar Chavez, next to their future storefront, and The Vegan Yacht has moved to The Grackle.

Tough Cookie Bakery at The Triangle Farmer's MarketTough Cookie Bakery has been serving up amazing vegan sausage pretzel brats, sourdough bread and more at the SFC Market at the Triangle on Wednesdays, and at SFC East (MLK and Miriam) on Tuesdays.

- Happy Vegan Baker, an Austin farmer’s market staple, can now be found at Fresh Plus grocery stores around town. They will also be opening their first storefront soon, offering grab and go items such as their delicious mac and cheese!

- Me So Hungry has moved out of Cheer Up Charlie’s, and is currently focusing on catering events. There are a few vegan-friendly trailers that are vying to fill up the vacant spot, and I can’t wait to see who ends up moving in!

Trader Joe's first Austin locationTrader Joe‘s first Austin location is now open on Bee Cave Rd down south. The store has proved to be incredibly popular with lines that wrap around the whole store during peak hours, and high demand for products like the Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl has led them to keep limits on the number of jars you can purchase. Let’s hope the planned downtown and northwest stores open soon, so the fervor will die down, and we can all bathe in tubs of Speculoos.

- Fountain of Health, a Mexican vegetarian restaurant on N. Lamar between Braker & Palmer is now open. With many vegan-friendly menu items, this is a great new option for those up north.

- South Austinites have lots to be excited about, including the opening of Wheatsville’s second location on South Lamar. Wheatsville’s new location is very spacious, and includes a large indoor eating area, perfect to enjoy your popcorn tofu po’boys on those hot/cold days.

Better Bites Bakery opens a store-front- Better Bites Bakery has opened a store front down south at 11190 Circle Dr. Suite #350. This gluten-free, mostly vegan bakery has their line of baked goods all around town including Whole Foods, People’s Pharmacy and Taco Deli. As a gluten-loving vegan, I was happily surprised by their delicious gluten-free offerings of cake balls, scones and cupcakes. With a certified gluten-free kitchen, this is a great option to know about for the gluten-free friends in your life.

- The Vegan Nom has moved their trailer to Buzz Mill Coffee down south on Town Creek Drive, and plans to add some new menu items. Their North Loop location will get a new trailer, and should be reopening soon.

- Mister FruitCup has moved to Break Point at The Boardwalk on Lakeshore Blvd. This new location has ample parking and a view of downtown! If you haven’t tried Mister FruitCup yet, now’s the perfect time.

New Vegan Menu Items:

VERTS Kebap now offer a vegan option!

- VERTS Kebap invited us to try their new vegan patties, and to see how they were made behind the scenes, so we can attest that everything is indeed vegan (even cooked on a dedicated grill top). We also learned that you can get a half patty, half grilled mushroom combo, which is our new favorite way to customize our vegan kebap. Try it loaded up with veggies, and topping it with their vinaigrette sauce (currently the only vegan sauce). VERTS prides themselves on providing a light and tasty meal, with their filling vegan kebaps coming in under 500 calories. [ UPDATE: VERTS has reverted to the old non-vegan recipe for the patties. Try the grilled veggies instead, for a vegan kebap. ]

- Chipotle has reformulated their pinto bean recipe to be vegan now, which is pretty neat, as it’s served in over 1500 locations worldwide. Chipotle also announced that they are offering tofu sofritas as a filling option in select locations. Unfortunately, Austin is not on the list yet, but it’s an amazing sign of progress.

- The Dojo has launched a lunch service Tue-Fri with plentiful vegan options. You can go with the Teishoku set and pick a main entree (tofu steak or nasu scramble) and a side dish (gyoza or tomato croquette), that will also come with rice, salad and soup. Or you can build a salad set or a ramen set with your choice of side. It’s a perfect option for a quick work lunch.

Baton Creole's vegan beignets!- Baton Creole just keeps getting better and better. With delicious vegan jambalaya on a stick, rotating vegan specials, and now vegan beignets! Airy fried nuggets of dough covered in mountains of powdered sugar, these are the perfect warm dessert on a cold Austin night.

Other Vegan News:

- Sea Shepherd Tod Emko and vegan comic book artist Ethan Young, friends of Red Hot Vegans, are collaborating on an awesome new project: “A Piggy’s Tale“, an all-ages comic book series which follows the superhero adventures of a three-legged dog named Piggy and his feline sidekick, Simon. Their kickstarter campaign is ending on Wednesday, and they’re oh so close to being funded! Help them reach their fundraising goal, and you could get great rewards, including signed copies of issues #1 and #2, Piggy swag, and more!

- The Students Against Cruelty Towards Animals group at UT is starting up again. If you’re a UT student and want to get involved, head on over to their first meeting on Wednesday, Novemeber 20, in room 2.304 of the Moffet Molecular Biology Building.

Free Popcorn Day at Cornucopia!- Cornucopia Popcorn Creations already has tons of amazing deals on their vegan-friendly flavored popcorn, like half off on all tin refills and free kids’ bags with a Go Local card, but did you know they have a free popcorn day every month? This month, it’s Monday, November 25th: come by between 10am and 8pm and leave with a bag of free popcorn!

- Thanksgiving is coming, and Austin vegans have a lot to be thankful for! Lazy Smurf has put together an extensive Thanksgiving guide covering all the different vegan Thanksgiving specials and events around town, from Mr. Natural, Happy Vegan Baker, Wheatsville, and more!

- Speaking of Thanksgiving, Shiva Shakti’s 8th annual Trancegiving at Zilker Park will be on Saturday, November 30th. This annual event offers “plates full of goodness with a bowl of fresh beats”, with vegan Thanksgiving buffet, an extensive music lineup, and plenty of dancing in the great outdoors. The event is free, though donations to help cover costs are appreciated.

Austin Vegan Trick-or-Treat Guide 2013

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Download the 2013 Red Hot Vegans Halloween GuideHalloween spirit can be found everywhere – from candy-lined grocery store aisles to pumpkin-lined front porches – and we certainly wouldn’t want vegan kiddos (and adults too!) to be left out of the fun. We’ve put together a new list of vegan trick-or-treat hotspots for 2013 with 6 residences, and 6 businesses on our list offering vegan treats to kids in costume – it’s going to be a fun year!

For those still in need of candy for trick-or-treaters, head on over to Wheatsville Food Co-op and pick up Yummy Earth Lollipops or Endangered Species Brand Dark Chocolate squares. Or hit up this handy vegan candy guide from VegNews to find accidentally vegan friendly candy from major retailers like Airheads, Dum-Dums, Smarties and Sour Patch Kids. Or for those interested in some non-candy treat options, try glow sticks, mini card decks, yo-yos, temporary tattoos or mini play-doh containers! For some full size fun, grab some Go Max Go vegan candy bars, Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, small bars of Chocolove Chocolate Almond Sea Salt, Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda or vegan pumpkin pie by-the-slice, all available at Wheatsville during the holiday season.

Austin has no shortage of vegan Halloween events this year. If you’re looking for some spooky fun, check out:

- Counter Culture is hosting a BYO-Pumpkin Carving Contest tonight from 6:30pm to 9pm with lots of pumpkin specials on the menu, and a Halloween Fondue Party on Thursday from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

- Costumes are encouraged at this Friday’s ATX Vegan Drinks from 7pm to 9pm at Cheer Up Charlie’s, followed by a monster of a Halloween Bash in South Austin (RSVP on Vegans Rock Austin for the address).

Hope this hits all of your Halloween needs! If you’re handing out vegan candy this year, and not already on our list, feel free to leave your address in the comments below. Happy trick-or-treating!

[ UPDATE: Mister FruitCup will be moving to 2201 South Lakeshore Blvd. soon, but the move won't be happening until after Halloween. The trailer will still be at the original location at 415 Jessie Street during Halloween. The downloadable PDF of the guide has been updated to reflect the correct address. ]

Top 20 Austin Favorites:

The Lighter Side - Part 1 of 2

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Goodies from Juiceland
Red Hot Vegan Bloggers Daniel and Marie spent the month of September sampling, photographing, and writing about their Top 20 Austin Favorites – a list fairly heavy in oily, sugary, and calorie-dense foods. The foods included in their guide are all great, but I realized that list was a far cry from what my top 20 list would be, as I tend to go after foods that are lower in oil, are less calorie-dense, and don’t have faux meats. I was inspired to write my first ever blog post, to chronicle the lighter side of Austin’s vegan food scene. If you’re like me, you may find that you love some of these lighter, but equally delicious, options right here in Austin:

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