We interrupt our (not so) regularly scheduled 2014 Vegan MoFo theme posts, “Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition” for an overdue (and slightly indulgent) “Vegan News Bites”. Some of this might be old news to many of our readers, but there’s so much that happens in this town, that we hope everybody will have a chance to learn something new! Apologies in advance for the epically long post, but that’s what happens when you combine the incredibly active vegan scene we have here in Austin with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned procrastination.
- We’ll start off with the biggest and most exciting news for Austin vegans: Rabbit Food Grocery is moving into a brick-and-mortar location! Their kickstarter campaign just got 100% funded yesterday, but there’s still a little over two weeks left for you to back their campaign and help them move in. Kickstarter backers can look forward to scoring some awesome RFG swag, groceries delivered to your home, or even a chance at an all-you-can-grab vegan supermarket sweep! In the meantime, you can still order online, and as our readers, you can save 10% off your whole order for the entire month of September! Just enter coupon code “RedHotVegans” at checkout!
- Nice-N-Ful, an all-vegetarian soul food truck, is now open on the East Side on Rosewood at Angelina, right across the street from the Carver library branch. This adorable little schoolbus has a nice lot set up, with a canopy for shade, and relaxing music to enjoy with your food. We tried the soul rolls (fried egg rolls with several vegan flavors available), burgers, nuggets, and sandwiches, and loved it all!
- The Vegan Nom has moved back to their original location by the North Loop Food Store at North Loop and Avenue F. We’re so glad that the Rockin’ Vegan Tacos have come home to North Loop!
- Beets Café has closed its doors, but the owner, Chef Sylvia Heisey, is planning on opening up a new business called “Sylvia’s Kitchen & Desserts”. The Beets Café website has a form you can use to sign up for a newsletter for further news. In the meantime, former Beets Café executive chef Leon Gonzalez has joined a new raw food delivery service in Austin called Super Natural Food, which offers fresh raw vegan meals delivered to your home. Everything comes pre-packaged in reusable containers, perfect for anybody with a busy lifestyle who wants to eat raw on the go.
- We happened to be walking by Take Heart, a cute little boutique on the East side, when we saw their adorable store dog, Willa, and had to go in to say hi. We were happy to discover that they carry several products from natural vegan skincare company Herbivore Botanicals, including their toning elixir, lip butters, dead sea salts, and clay and charcoal bar soaps. We picked up the rose lip butter, which smells amazing, and charcoal soap, which we look forward to trying.
- At long last, Arlo’s has re-opened! The legendary Bac’n Cheeze Burger has returned to Cheer Up Charlies at their new location on Red River at 9th Street, where you can also find a new East Side King location. Since reopening, Arlo’s has made a few welcome changes, including extending to later hours and adding both french fries and tater tots (!!!) to their menu.
- We noticed a couple of new vegan products during a recent trip to the Mueller Farmer’s Market
- New World Gelato offers several flavors of Vegan sorbetto, including lemon, strawberry margarita, raspberry, chocolate, and red grapefruit. We were excited to try the chocolate, which was rich and surprisingly creamy, and the grapefruit, which was smooth and refreshing. We can’t wait to try more of their flavors on our next visit!
- La Gordi gourmet gorditas makes Vegan BBQ lentil gorditas. We enjoyed snacking on one while browsing the market.
- Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop has opened a new location on the East side, on Manor Road at Maple Ave. We were particularly excited that about this new location, as it is open late (until 11PM on Friday and Saturday), has plenty of seating, and serves booze to enjoy with your desserts (there are always a few vegan options available), making it a perfect after hours hangout spot. It was unfortunate that the bakery was filled with a strong smoke odor from the butcher shop next door, and we hope that they’ll be able clear up that issue.
- If you’ve been missing those flaky Aussie pies from Boomerang’s Pies since they closed up their retail location on 31st Street at Guadalupe, fret not, as they’ve moved to the Red McCombs Red Zone Food Court at the DKR Texas Memorial Stadium on campus! You can also still find them in the freezer section at Wheatsville and Whole Foods, though the vegan flavors are sometimes hard to come by.
- The Hightower is a new restaurant and bar on East 7th Street at Attayac (in the old Karibu Ethiopian spot). We wrote to them to ask what menu items were vegan or easily veganizable, and they replied:
“Happy to say that the tofu dish is vegan, as are the snow cones. The tomato salad(no chevre) chickpeas and the pickles can all be made vegan easily. The green beans and the brussels sprouts(the peanut butter has honey) can be made vegan but I would actually recommend against it since the items with honey are major flavor components.”We gave the smoked tofu entree and a few of the side dishes a try. The entree was garnished with olive paper, which we found fairly creative, and despite the counter-recommendation, we enjoyed the green beans just fine without the honey. The snow cones were frozen somewhat solid and a little tricky to eat, but apart from that, we think this is a fun place to check out, especially for a mixed vegan/omni crowd.
- Fast Folks Cyclery and Café is a new East Side bicycle shop on E Cesar Chavez at Waller, with a café that serves not just the usual coffee and tea, but a surprising number of vegan food options as well. You can grab ice cream from Sweet Ritual, tacos from The Vegan Nom, baked goods from Capital City Bakery, donuts from Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery, and popsicles from GoodPop (many GoodPop flavors are vegan). It’s so cool to be able to enjoy goodies from so many of our favorite vegan businesses all in one place! Their selection of bicycles and accessories is definitely worth checking out, too.
- JuJu Juice is a new juice bar located at the Cenote on E Cesar Chavez at Medina. We stopped by after checking out Fast Folks for some refreshing Aguas Frescas. With fresh young coconuts that you can drink straight out of, peanut butter that they roast and grind themselves, and local organic veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, there’s plenty to love about this place.
- Speaking of juice, there’s a new Juiceland location on Guadalupe at 29th, in the old Rio Rita building, a great spot for anybody around campus to get their juice on!
And Now for some Bad News
- The all-vegan North Loop House and Yard food truck lot is no more. All is not lost, as most of the businesses have moved to other parts of town: Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery is moving into Monkey Wrench Books a few blocks west on North Loop, BBQ Revolution is now parked behind Brass Ovaries on Manor at Airport, and Unity Vegan Kitchen has moved down to the South Austin Social lot on Jessie Street at Barton Springs Road, where they just celebrated the trailer’s first birthday! Sadly, Taco ‘Bout It will not be reopening.
- Fountain of Health (also known as Fuente de Salud), the all-vegetarian Mexican restaurant on North Lamar, closed their doors a few months ago. We hope it’s not the last we’ll hear from them, as we were pretty big fans for the brief time that they were open.
- More sad news for North Austinites: The Dojo abruptly closed its doors at the end of August. A few of the staff and menu items will be heading over to Tokyo Steakhouse in Round Rock, but no word yet on whether any of the many vegan options on The Dojo’s menu will be making it. We hope we’ll find something out soon – the Dojo is already very sorely missed.
- Food for Lovers announced in July that they were officially suspending all operations, after experiencing an increasing number of setbacks since temporarily suspending production at the end of 2013 to move into a new facility. It’s heartbreaking news from one of our favorite local vegan businesses. They are hoping to be able to come back in the future, and we certainly hope we’ll see (and taste!) their delicious vegan queso again.
New Vegan Menu Items
- Sugar Circus is now making vegan cheesecake, with weekly rotating flavors. We’ve tried it a few times, and love it – Marie might have become a little obsessed! It has a hard-to-find cheesecake flavor and texture that keeps us coming back for more. It frequently sells out, so we recommend calling ahead.
- Shhmaltz has a new Bob Dylan Po’ Boy sandwich featuring beer-battered artichoke hearts that we can’t wait to try. They’re only open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday, so it might be a while before we get a chance to taste it. If you were lucky enough to try this amazing looking sandwich, let us know how you liked it!
- Popular vegetarian spots Mr. Natural and Tom’s Tabooley are now both open for breakfast! Check out their new, earlier opening hours:
- Mr. Natural is open Monday-Saturday, starting at 8:00 for the East Cesar Chavez location, and 9:00 for the South Lamar location. Breakfast options at Mr. Natural include breakfast tacos, smoothies, and their famous tofu migas.
- Tom’s Tabooley is open seven days a week, serving breakfast wraps starting at 8:00
- VERTS Kebap has added a new vegan falafel option (prepared in a dedicated veg fryer) to their menu. We were super sad when they changed the veggie patty recipe to be non-vegan a while ago, so the new menu addition is a welcome one. The falafel is served on a grilled pita with your choice of veggies, and you can top it all off with their vegan vinaigrette dressing. Give it a try at your local VERTS location!
- Sagra has recently revamped their menu, and they’ve even published a newly updated vegan menu to make it easier to order vegan. Mostly, it’s stuff from their regular menu with substitutions such as their house-made vegan cheeses in place of non-vegan products. Make sure to check them out for happy hour, when all pizzas are half off! (And seriously, who could say no to half-off pizzas?)
- Speaking of pizza, there’s a new vegan pizza option up north at Mi Pizza at McNeil and Parmer. $7.99 gets you a personal-sized vegan pie ($6.99 if you go cheeseless) with as many veggie toppings as your heart desires, and after a contest a couple of weeks ago to determine what vegan proteins to add to their menu, they will soon be carrying seitan brisket from BBQ Revolution and Beyond Meat crumbles!
- TCBY keeps introducing new vegan flavors: the latest is Silk coconut froyo. We love it when huge national chains help make veganism more accessible by putting vegan options out there, and we look forward to seeing what they do next!
- Maoz now has vegan chicken-style shawarma and beef-style BBQ soy protein, which you can get in a pita, wrap, or salad bowl. These new protein options started out as a special, and proved so popular that Maoz will be extending the specials indefinitely. Check out our recent Maoz post in our Vegan MoFo “Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition” series to learn more about some of the other great existing vegan options at Maoz!
Other Vegan News
- Vegan bloggers from all over the world will be coming to Austin next year for the third ever Vida Vegan Con! This is the first time that the conference will be hosted in a city other than Portland, and we are so excited to welcome our fellow bloggers to this wonderful city. For any fellow bloggers who will be visiting Austin for the first time, make sure to check out our Austin vegan guides to help plan your trip!
- Miyoko Schinner, of Artisan Vegan Cheese fame, is starting up her own vegan cheese company! Those of you who have made or have been lucky enough to taste Miyoko’s cheeses will undoubtedly be just as ridiculously excited by this news as we were. As for all of you who haven’t, what are you waiting for? GO FORTH AND PREORDER.
- Birds Barbershop on E 6th Street at Medina will be displaying some awesome paintings by local vegan artist Matt Bennison throughout the month of September! Now you’ll have something pretty to look at while getting your next haircut, and who knows, maybe you’ll find the perfect piece to take home! (You can and should still check this show out even if you’re not planning to cut your hair this month!)
- Maximum Salad is a new vlog by Austin vegans Wes and Jessica. They’ve been doing a great job of capturing local vegan events such as Texas VegFest, the Fourth of July Party, and the Vegan Party Barge. We know that if they had been vlogging back before we moved to Austin, watching their videos would have helped us get more familiar with the Austin vegan scene! Subscribe to their YouTube channel to watch their latest updates, including their daily Vegan MoFo videos!
- Local vegan athlete Christy Morgan and the Vegan Ladies Who Lift team have launched a new quarterly online magazine, Definition: Strength and Training for Plant-Powered Ladies. You can subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your e-mail inbox for fitness tips and stories from plant-based female athletes.
- Friday September 19th, 7 PM: The September North Side Vegan Social will be at The Vegan Nom, celebrating their return to North Loop! Rabbit Food Grocery will be there with a popup shop, Bistro Vonish will be bringing their famous vegan kolaches, and SARA Sanctuary will be collecting donations of pet supplies.
- Saturday September 20th, 6 PM: The Austin Vegan & Vegetarian Association (formerly the Vegetarian Network of Austin) and Vegans Rock Austin will be co-hosting an End of Summer Cookout / Potluck / Pool Party. Bring a vegan dish (and your own dishes / utensils) over to Jester Club and get ready to celebrate the end of the summer right! BBQ Revolution will be sponsoring this event by bringing their famous vegan BBQ proteins, and you are welcome to bring veggies or proteins to throw on the grill as your dish if you like.
- Saturday September 27th, 4 PM: Austin’s biggest vegan potluck event, Gathering in the Park (formerly The Gathering of the Tribes) will be holding its Fall 2014 potluck at Pease Park in early celebration of World Vegetarian Day. There will be live music, fabulous raffle prizes, and speakers for everybody to enjoy, and of course, lots of vegan food.
- Sunday, September 28th, 9 AM: Head back to Pease Park for the 2014 Austin Walk for Farm Animals and raise some money to support the awesome work that Farm Sanctuary does for farm animals.
- Wednesday October 8th, 7:30 PM: If you weren’t able to make it to either of the first two screenings of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret here in Austin, or if you want to bring some friends to see it again, Counter Culture will be organizing a third screening at the Cinemark on I-35 just south of Slaughter. We caught the first screening last month, and loved it! Reserve your tickets before October 1st: this movie is a must-see for anybody who cares about protecting our planet, especially those who haven’t given much thought to the effects of animal agriculture on our environment.
- Sunday October 19th, 11 AM – 6 PM: Hike it on up to Dallas for the fifth annual Texas Veggie Fair at Reverchon Park! This event is always a blast, with food and non-food vendors, speakers, demos, and more! This event is also kid and dog friendly, so feel free to bring your little ones, two- and four-legged alike!
- Friday October 24th, 6 PM: ATX Vegan Drinks will be taking a break from their normal “first Friday” schedule to celebrate Oktoberfest at BBQ Revolution! This is going to be an awesome event, with vegan versions of traditional German foods (Smoked sausages! Beer brats! Sauerkraut! German potato salad! Spaetzle!), music, and of course, lots of beer! This month’s raffle will be benefiting Austin Pets Alive! There will also be a doggy costume contest, with fabulous prizes going to the human who brings the best-dressed pup!
- November 15: save the date for a fundraising event benefiting Animal Aid, an amazing street animal rescue group in Udaipur, India. We’ve written about Animal Aid before, but we really can’t say enough great things about this amazing organization that so deeply touched our hearts during a trip to India we took as part of our honeymoon in 2009. Like the Austin for Animal Aid India page on Facebook to get updates on this event as it develops!