Tagged: Austin Vegan

Vida Vegan Con Has Arrived:

Scavenger Hunt, Bazaar, After Parties, Oh My!

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Vida Vegan Con will have you jumping for joy! (and making stupid corny jokes)
Vida Vegan Con will have you jumping for joy! (and making stupid corny jokes)

At this point I hope you’ve heard of Vida Vegan Con, and are as excited as we are that the non-stop party that is VVC is almost upon us! Whether you hit up the Bazaar, the after-parties, or participate in the Scavenger Hunt – this week is gonna be a blast!

Events:

The conference itself is sold out, but there are still so many ways for locals to participate in festivities. Here’s a break-down of events that are happening this week:
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Vida Vegan Con is Coming to Austin!

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Vida Vegan Con III

Vida Vegan Con is coming to Austin in less than 3 months! That’s practically around the corner. What is Vida Vegan Con you ask? Why should I care about it? Well, if you’re a blogger, a vegan, a vendor, an Austinite, or anyone with a pulse really, you should be excited. Vida Vegan Con is a big all-vegan conference, chock-full of seminars and panels and general fun times. Up until now, Vida Vegan Con has been held in Portland, but this time around, it’s coming to our very own Austin! Vida Vegan Con is pretty much just a big party, full of everyone you’ve always heard about, but probably never met.

From bloggers Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw, Susan Voisin of Fat Free Vegan, Jackie Sobon of Vegan Yack Attack, Monique Koch of Brown Vegan, Whitney Lauritsen of Eco-Vegan Gal, and Ginny Messina of The Vegan RD to renowned vegan chefs Fran Costigan, Terry Hope Romero, Brian Patton, Bryant Terry, Miyoko Schinner and so many more, it seems like just about everyone is coming to town! The conference was originally set up as a vegan bloggers’ conference, but has since morphed into a vegan lifestyle conference with parenting panels, photography workshops, writing workshops, community organization panels, body positivity panels and more. It is a great conference for anyone curious about becoming more active in the vegan community, or just interested in meeting their vegan role models (there will be so many of them there!).

Hanging out with Howard Jacobson

The conference schedule has just been posted, and it’s jam-packed with interesting things to do. You’ve got the unofficial meet and greet on Thursday, the Vida Vegan Bazaar on Friday (open to the public), and classes and panels all day Sat into Sun (with vegan buffets to boot!), ending with the unofficial after party Sunday night (also open to the public). For those interested in attending the conference, which gets you everything mentioned above, plus a massive swag bag, tickets are $310 and can be purchased here.

If you can’t swing the full-ticket price, there is still a great way to get in on the action, and that is through the Vida Vegan Bazaar on Friday. The Bazaar takes place on Friday, May 29th from 1pm to 7pm at Marchesa Hall, and will feature live demos, vegan food samples, clothing vendors, nonprofits and more (Vendors!! – VVC is still booking vendors for the bazaar – so check out their vendor tips if you want to represent!). Tickets to the bazaar are only $15, and can be purchased here. In addition to the Bazaar, we’re teaming up with ATX Vegan Drinks to organize a badass closing party at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Like all Vegan Drinks events here in Austin, this one will be free and open to the public. Want to get more involved? You can also volunteer for the bazaar or conference.

Dan and I attended the last conference in Portland, and had one of the craziest, most fun weekends ever. We partied with our local Austin contingent (we were 10 strong!), we schmoozed with authors and chefs, we ate and drank until we couldn’t eat and drink any more, and then we crashed hard. One of the reasons we had so much fun was because we let loose, and had a blast taking ridiculous photos with friends. And who doesn’t love ridiculous photos?

Thinking about how much fun we had in Portland gave us the idea to team up with the VVC organizers to create a kick-ass photo-based scavenger hunt for VVC 2015! We’re mixing funny faced photos with local trivia and vegan vendors, to create the ultimate hunt to get the most out of your time at VVC. The scavenger hunt will kick off on Thursday at the unofficial meet and greet, and run through Sunday morning, with winners announced at the unofficial closing party. More details will be coming soon, check back in with us here to find out more!

The best part about living in Austin is that we don’t have to go anywhere to take advantage of all this conference has to offer! Whether you attend the conference or the bazaar, donate your time and volunteer, or party down with us at the closing party, I hope every Austin vegan will take part in making this conference one of the best.

Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition:

Tofu & Broccoli Salad from Bouldin Creek Cafe

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BouldinCreekSalad

Never in my life did I think I would wax poetic about a tofu and broccoli salad, but that’s what happens when you start diving into the world of great vegetable dishes this town has to offer – you find things you never expected to find. I think before this series started, we ordered a salad at Bouldin Creek Cafe, errr, once. Maybe? We figured if we were going to drive across the river (we’re die-hard northies), we’re going to get a Veggie Royale or a Renedict. When we placed our order for the Tofu & Broccoli Salad, we had low, looow expectations – I’ve never been happier to report that we were wrong. This salad has become our new go-to.

The Tofu & Broccoli Salad is loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, sunflower sprouts and seeds… you know, the standard salad fare. Where this salad really shines is in the crisp stir-fried broccoli and the firm sesame tofu – both flavored to perfection in a delicious savory marinade. The thing that seals the deal, and brings all the flavors together, is the ginger-miso dressing. Do not order this salad without that dressing! It’s imperative. We were so close to ordering it with just the garlic tahini dressing (because, tahini — yum!), when our table-mate and bestie Tenley, a Boulin Creek Cafe regular, saved the day and told us we needed the ginger-miso dressing. So we got both. The garlic tahini was no match for the ginger-miso. Tofu & Broccoli Salad + ginger-miso dressing = love at first bite!

BouldinCreekSandwichBouldinCreekRenedict

Before we stumbled upon the tofu and broccoli salad, Dan and I were dead set on featuring the Kool Summer Sammich at Bouldin. It was a very close runner-up to the salad. It’s basically a salad sandwich. A stellar salad sandwich. Made up of tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, sunflower sprouts, field greens, and shredded carrots piled high on grilled ciabatta with a chipotle-pecan pesto spread. It’s made complete with an order of tofu bac’n or hummus. Tenley (Hey, Tenley! Are you totally not embarrassed by all of these these shout-outs?!) also wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the hummus is legit, and that she loved her Kool Summer Sammich in large part because of the pesto spread – so now you know. Order that stat!

BouldinCreekInteriorBouldinCreekExterior

I’m happy we found a new favorite at Bouldin, and look forward to switching it up more often now. I honestly don’t think you can get a bad meal at Bouldin; I mean, c’mon, everybody knows Bouldin’s the bomb! So if you’re stuck in a rut like we were, ordering the same dish time and time again, maybe it’s time to try something new? Hopefully you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were.

Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (that’s us!), for whom vegetables are not an area of expertise. We scoured Austin to find veggie-ful options for those like us, who’d probably rather be eating corn dogs, but are also happy to eat a salad if it’s tasty and filling. When not eating our veggies, we hone our skills at finding great oily, sugary, calorie-dense vegan foods, so if you’re into that too, check out last year’s Top 20 series. Happy eating!

Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition:

Falafel Salad from Maoz

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Salad Box from Maoz

Love falafel? Who doesn’t? It’s a magical combination of chickpeas, veggies, herbs and spices all mixed up and fried into little balls. Maoz, an international chain of vegetarian falafel shops, has it down to a science. We’re lucky that Austin is one of the few US cities to have its own location, which opened up in The Triangle (Lamar and 46th) in early 2012. Grabbing a falafel in a pita is the standard go to, but we prefer grabbing a salad bowl. The bowl comes pre-filled with a little bit of lettuce and five falafel balls with plenty of room on top to spare for their rotating salad bar fixings: shredded carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, beets, fried broccoli, cucumber and tomato salad, chickpeas, tabouli, olives, pickles and more. There’s a cilantro sauce at the end that I love to slather all over my salad, and a green chili hot sauce that Dan prefers. To top it all off, we grab the squeeze bottle of tahini and go to town.

Salad Bar at MaozVegan Shawarma at Maoz

The best part about Maoz is that they take their vegan customers seriously. Almost everything in the restaurant is vegan, and they’re not afraid to label it so. They offer vegan soups, and even have a vegan rice pudding dessert. Almost everything on the salad bar is vegan, and everything is clearly labeled vegan if it is. The fryer is a dedicated vegan fryer, so pile on that fried broccoli – it’s so good! Maoz is also incredibly gluten-free friendly, making their falafel balls gluten-free, and labeling the salad bar with gluten-free labels. They’re also trying out a new option of a vegan shawarma and vegan BBQ. When we were there, they mentioned that the shawarma is a chik’n style protein fried with onions and peppers, and the BBQ is a beef style protein marinated in BBQ sauce. The BBQ style was temporarily unavailable, but the shawarma was delicious and can be added in a wrap or salad.

Maoz Austin located in The TriangleInterior of the Maoz location in Austin

We live nearby, so taking our food to-go is pretty standard, and we love that there are dedicated 10 min and 30 min parking spots right out front that are almost always available. If you plan to eat in, the sandwich is a steal at $6, as you get a little box for salad bar toppings that you can refill as many times as you like. If you get it to-go, they give you a slightly bigger salad container, so it’s still a good deal. If you’re grabbing a salad bowl, you can do like we do, and stuff it to the max and then head home and transfer it to a larger bowl for easy eating. This is one superb salad that will fill you up.

Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (that’s us!), for whom vegetables are not an area of expertise. We scoured Austin to find veggie-ful options for those like us, who’d probably rather be eating corn dogs, but are also happy to eat a salad if it’s tasty and filling. When not eating our veggies, we hone our skills at finding great oily, sugary, calorie-dense vegan foods, so if you’re into that too, check out last year’s Top 20 series. Happy eating!

Top 20 – Eat Yo’ Veggies Edition:

Quinoa Ranchero Salad from Juiceland

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Quinoa Ranchero and Smoothies from Juiceland

Juiceland, oh Juiceland, why are you so expensive*! I’d eat you for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could afford it. You make spinach juice taste good. You’re clearly working some sort of voodoo magic. When we’re looking to eat our veggies, we turn to you first. Your Quinoa Ranchero salad is a flavor explosion. Steamed quinoa tossed with corn, covered in a tangy ranchero sauce, and topped with cilantro and massaged spinach. It’s bold, and limey (as in, full of lime flavor – totally unrelated to the wonderful British people). We sometimes cheat on you with the Feast in the Middle East, the Double Rainbow Quinoa Salad and the Kale Salad, but we always come back to you in the end. You pair so well with a Peachy Green smoothie – which tastes more peachy than green, but looks more green than peachy, or an Applelily juice – the lovechild of an apple and cold-pressed green juice. Both are our go-to drinks when we want the benefits of downing our greens, without it tasting like we took a nosedive into a patch of grass.

Assorted salads, smoothies and a Mannawich from JuicelandOriginator and Peachy Green Smoothies from Juiceland

When we’re not looking to break the bank, we make sure to check out your daily specials board. Get a medium size Originator for $5.95? Yes, please! I’m drinking protein powder and spirulina, and yet all I taste is peanut butter & jelly. When we’re looking for something sweeter, we grab a Mannawich – which, both baffles and intrigues me. Who came up with the idea to put cinnamon date paste mixed with cacao and goji berries between two slices of manna bread? It’s like a cake sandwich. I have a love/hate relationship with this bizarre concoction that keeps me coming back for more.

Mannawich from JuicelandJuiceland on Burnet

Juiceland, it’s so swell that you’re doing well. I swear I blink, and another location opens up around town. I can find you at Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, North Burnet, Hyde Park (shoutout to Sweet Ritual!), Oak Hill, E. Cesar Chavez, Lakeway, Westlake, 29th & Guadalupe, and now I even hear you have a location in Brooklyn (NYC, not some new nickname for the East side)! Three cheers for world juice domination!

*I kid! I know why your delicious food is expensive. It’s because it’s full of expensive sh*t. And I’ll happily pay, because what’s the alternative? I get my own juicer dirty, and have to clean it? I don’t think so.

Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (that’s us!), for whom vegetables are not an area of expertise. We scoured Austin to find veggie-ful options for those like us, who’d probably rather be eating corn dogs, but are also happy to eat a salad if it’s tasty and filling. When not eating our veggies, we hone our skills at finding great oily, sugary, calorie-dense vegan foods, so if you’re into that too, check out last year’s Top 20 series. Happy eating!

Eating Vegan at Alamo Drafthouse:

New and Improved 2014 Guide

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Alamo Drafthouse Logo

It has been over two years since we originally posted our “Eating Vegan at Alamo Drafthouse” guide, and it was in desperate need of being updated. Our seriously outdated post was still getting hits every week, due in no small part to new Alamo Drafthouse locations opening up left and right around the country, so we felt really bad that our guide wasn’t particularly helpful to anyone in its current state. Our previous contact at Alamo had moved on, and we were having trouble finding anyone willing to answer our emails… that was until we found Zane!

Through some slightly creepy Facebook stalking, we found the vegan behind the scenes – the one who helped create the new vegan menu at Alamo Drafthouse Village, the one who helped bring Alamo tofu to the 21st Century*, and as it turns out, the previously anonymous vegan staffer behind our original Alamo post as well! We are so lucky that he was able to take some time out of his busy schedule helping reopen the newly renovated South Lamar location to give us a hand in updating our list (and just in time for the sold-out Cowspiracy screening tomorrow night!). He’s let us in on some really exciting info including that the burger buns are vegan again (woot!), there’s dedicated veg fryers at most Alamo locations, and drumroll please… soyrizo is now on the menu (as an option for the black bean dip)! What!?! Now I just have to figure out what I want to put it on. We’re excited to share this list of the current vegan and veganizable menu items that you can find at Alamo Drafthouse locations around town:

Appetizers:

  • Chips & Salsa
  • Chips & Black Bean Dip (sub soyrizo, no sour cream, no cotija)
  • Garlic Hummus
  • Bottomless Popcorn (for our behind the scenes popcorn sleuthing, check out our original Alamo Drafthouse post, and in case you’re curious – the ‘real butter’ topping you can add is indeed real butter – so just don’t add that)
  • Baked Pretzel (no queso, sub dijon mustard for honey mustard)
  • Veggie & Fruit Plate
  • French Fries** (with ketchup)

Burgers and Sandwiches:

Note: The buns are vegan (no longer egg washed), and locations in Austin currently serve Goodseed as their veggie burger option (which is vegan & gluten-free). The gluten-free buns have egg, but you can always get the burger in a lettuce wrap (also an option for those who just prefer lettuce – you weirdos). You can get any of these with tofu as your protein too. We realize that ordering a “Prosciutto & Goat Cheese” burger with no prosciutto or goat cheese sounds pretty silly: each burger comes with many toppings besides the ones called out in its name; check the descriptions in the menu for more details.

  • Royale with Cheese (no bacon, no cheddar, no mayo)
  • Spicy Blue Cheese (no blue cheese, no mayo)
  • Kalamata Olive Tapenade (no mayo)
  • Mushroom & White Cheddar (no cheddar)
  • Prosciutto & Goat Cheese (no prosciutto or goat cheese)
  • Avocado & Pesto (no pesto)
  • Hatch Green Chile (no queso)

Salads and Wraps:

Note: These options are available as either a salad or a wrap. You can pick tofu as your protein, or leave them plain. The only non-vegan dressings are the lemon basil vinaigrette (see below) and the Caesar.

  • Caesar (no dressing, no parmesan)
  • Mexican (no cotija)
  • Greek (no feta, and request no pesto in the dressing: the lemon basil vinaigrette is pesto mixed with lemon vinaigrette)
  • Beets & Goat Cheese (no goat cheese)
  • Chopped (no mozzarella, no pesto)
  • Asian
  • Groot’s Root Vegetable (this is a temporary special, so it might not be available by the time you read this)
  • Side Salad

Pizza:

Note: Some of these pizzas come with multiple types of cheese, so you may want to make it clear that you mean “no cheese of any kind”, and not just “no mozzarella”. The gluten-free pizza crust unfortunately has eggs.

  • Roasted Red Pepper & Feta (no cheese)
  • Prosciutto & Spinach (no cheese, no prosciutto)
  • Mushroom & Caramelized Onion (no cheese)
  • The Godfather (no cheese, no pepperoni)
  • Asparagus (no cheese, no bacon)
  • Brussels Sprout (no cheese, no bacon)
  • Artichoke (no cheese)

Candy:

  • Sour Patch Kids

* Alamo Drafthouse recently changed the procedure for its tofu. It’s now marinated and grilled as opposed to just being dropped in a fryer right out of the box. The marinade features chipotles, ginger, lime juice, cilantro, and other deliciousness. This new procedure, and the marinade recipe are all because of Zane! Woot for vegans helping to make change!

** In Austin, Alamo Drafthouse has dedicated veggie fryers at all locations except the Village.

Vegan Menu at Alamo Drafthouse Village

In addition to all the options listed above, the Alamo Drafthouse Village location rolled out a small vegan menu with spiced tofu tacos (try them with soyrizo!), cherry tomato & avocado bruschetta and oatmeal cherry cookies (plus samosas that were unfortunately nixed). These items are currently only available at the Village location (on Anderson), but we’re hoping that if they are popular, other Alamo locations might get the message.

This list is specific to the Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin (and not all menu items will be available at all locations), but all Alamo Drafthouse locations maintain a set menu, so while you should always double check to make sure that another kitchen doesn’t do things a little differently, this list is a great starting point.

Now that we feel confident in our connection at Alamo, we’ve gone ahead and made this list an official Red Hot Vegans “Guide” – which means that we are going to do our best to keep it up to date. So, in the future, head on over to the guides section to see our latest edition of “Eating Vegan at Alamo Drafthouse.”

Vegan News Bites

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Mock Meat Bonanza

New Grocery Products:
– Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan has been spotted at Wheatsville Coop! Some of you may remember my post about this product published over a year ago, begging for this product to hit shelves, and now it has! There’s a bevy of fakin’ bacon products out there from coconut bacon, to grain bacon, to tempeh bacon, but no one has made a commercial seitan bacon until now. I can’t wait to make BLTs and benedicts with it!
Beyond Meat is finally here as well! Technically, it’s been here for a few weeks, so you’ve probably seen it on the shelves at stores around town, but I know that both Rabbit Food Grocery and Wheatsville definitely have it in stock!
Sophie’s Kitchen’s lineup of vegan seafood products just keeps getting bigger and bigger! I spotted coconut shrimp and fish sticks at Wheatsville the other day, right alongside their vegan crab cakes, fish filets, calamari and prawns. Is there a seafood product they can’t make out of konjac?

Vegan Cake Balls at Sugar Circus!New Menu Items:
– Have you had a chance to check out the adorable little East side bakery Sugar Circus yet? Well if you haven’t, this is the perfect excuse: vegan cake balls! These little moist marvels come in three vegan flavors: double chocolate, vanilla chocolate and cookie dough. Eat one or eat a dozen, it’s up to you!
– My favorite local tempeh company and my favorite local Indonesian restaurant have teamed up to bring you tons of tasty tempeh creations! Head on over to Java Noodles on E Oltorf, and add organic tempeh from The Hearty Vegan to any dish!

Vegan Ramen at Daruma RamenRestaurant News:
– We’ve got not one, but two vegan ramen options up in this town! I reviewed the ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya last week, so I thought I should stop by Daruma Ramen to compare. The two ramens couldn’t have been more different. From what I can gather from people who know more about ramen than I do, Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s vegan ramen is a more traditional take, while Daruma Ramen tries to do something a little different with a sweet potato broth and salad toppings. If you have a chance to check out both, let me know what you think.
– The Daily Juice in Hyde Park is now a Juiceland, and while I’m super sad that they got rid of all the awesome menu items like the nachos, I’m super happy with the new items in the salad case. I hope I see more food options from them in the future, cuz sometimes it’s nice to grab a  meal to go with my ice cream.
– You may have seen them at Texas VegFest, but did you know that Unity Vegan Kitchen is planning on opening up a vegan food trailer sometime this summer? After trying their vegan cannoli at VegFest, I for one, am very excited to see what they plan on bringing to the Austin vegan scene.

World Wide Vegan Bake SaleUpcoming Events:
– Free this Saturday, April 20th? Why not head on over to the annual Gathering of the Tribes at Pease Park? It’s a large vegan potluck that gathers a good chunk of the different Austin veg groups together in one place. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet some new friends!
– The 2013 World Wide Vegan Bake Sale in Austin is going to be held on Sunday, April 28th at not one, but two locations! Sign up to bake something here, then head over to MonkeyWrench Books or Counter Culture to drop off your goods. The money raised will go towards helping the animals at Sunny Day Farms!
ATX Vegan Drinks goes south of the border next month with a special “Drinko de Mayo” event at the Vegan Nom on Friday, May 3rd! Come join us for piñata smashing, food specials, music, and BYOB fun.

forAnima Vegan Marketplace

New Websites:

- ForAnima.com is a new all-vegan online marketplace. With food, beauty, clothing and home goods all in one place, you can conveniently browse for new and exciting vegan products. They have a blog, recipe, service directory and community section of their website too, so you get a little bit of everything, all from one site.

- Vegan Food is Everywhere is an interesting new food mapping website that shows, in a very visual way, that in fact, vegan food is everywhere. The Austin section is lacking, though, so if you have some free time, get on there and let the world know how much awesome food we offer!