Tagged: Bananarchy

Kickstarter Spotlight

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Since the inception of Kickstarter, vegan entrepreneurs have used this crowd-funding platform to help kick off hundreds of ventures. With the right rewards, it can be a fun and engaging way to help grow our awesome vegan community. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite projects right now that need a little bit more support to make sure they get funded:

Driftwood Magazine

4 Days to go – Driftwood Magazine

A vegan travel and culture magazine that is truly targeted at the vegan community is such a refreshing idea. Driftwood magazine is for those of us who are already vegan, and want to see and hear about real travel experiences, and learn some of the best places to go from the locals. From the modern layout, to the gorgeous photos, the creators of this magazine clearly know what they’re doing. Magazines like this take serious effort, and for good reason, usually come with a serious price tag. Luckily, if you’re on a budget, they’ve been able to get the cost down to just $30 for a year’s subscription of the digital edition. It’s a steal for the quality of content you’ll receive.

Our Favorite Reward:

Pledge $30 or more – One-year digital subscription + a print edition of Issue #1…and a Driftwood temporary tattoo! Look hardcore while paging through our first issue. Four quarterly issues will be sent to your inbox.”

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Top 20 – Eat Yo’ (Fruit &) Veggies Edition:

Frozen Banana from Bananarchy

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Bananarchy!

Eating a plain banana can be pretty boring, but freeze it, and douse it in chocolate and nuts – and we’re sold! It’s a simple but powerful transformation that the banana artists at Bananarchy have mastered. Fans of Arrested Development (a hit TV show, for those of you who have been living under a rock), will be happy to find that this banana stand is peppered with references from the show. While it’s no visit to Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand on Balboa Island, you won’t be disappointed at Bananarchy, the revolutionary dessert trailer in South Austin.

Whole banana, dipped in vegan chocolate, with nuts and coconut from BananarchyHalf banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie special from Bananarchy

Ordering your banana is a simple, three-step process: first, decide whether you want half a banana or a whole one; next, pick whether you want it dipped once or twice (in vegan chocolate for us vegans); and finally, take your pick of toppings. The nuts, oreos, coconut, and cinnamon toppings are all vegan, and are labeled as such on the menu board. Bananarchy also runs specials that are sometimes vegan-friendly as well. On our most recent visit, we tried the vegan-friendly chocolate peanut butter pie special: a banana dipped in chocolate, rolled in graham crackers and nuts, and topped with organic peanut butter and chocolate drizzle. Yum!

Vegan G.O.B. from Bananarchy.A friendly Bananarchist

If you’re in the mood for a ton of food, try to finish off the biggest, baddest banana on the menu – The GOB. Pronounced Jobe, this massive, two-banana monstrosity is something the likes of which G.O.B. himself would order: double-dipped, with extra nuts, and with two sticks to support it all. Beyond Arrested Development references, you’ll also notice that Bananarchy has a few other funky little quirks up its sleeve. For example, the stick that supports your banana and gives you a handle to grab onto is also a spoon, which is very convenient for picking up any pieces of chocolate that fall off as you’re eating. Look closely, and you’ll see that the friendly bananarchists inside the trailer always proudly wear a spoon strapped to their heads.

Bananarchy Trailer at the South First Food CourtSouth First Food Court in South Austin

Bananarchy takes their frozen bananas pretty seriously, sourcing them from socially responsible suppliers like Turbana and EARTH University. You can find these yummy frozen desserts at the South First Food Court at South First and Live Oak – right next to Pulse Vegan. Bananarchy is open seasonally (typically closing at the end of October and reopening early March), and also closes whenever it’s not banana weather outside. So be sure to check social media before heading over, and remember: there’s always money in the banana stand.

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!

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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For the Love of Food Trailers

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[ Editor’s note: Food trailers open up, close down, or move locations fairly regularly. This post has been moved to the guides section, which we periodically update as things change, so go to the Red Hot Vegans Guide to Austin Vegetarian and Vegan Food Trailers for the most up-to-date listing. ]

Having spent the majority of my life in Pennsylvania, the concept of food trailers was foreign to me until I moved to Austin 2 years ago. Since then, I have grown to love food trailers for two reasons: 1) they offer aspiring business owners a goal more easily obtained than opening up a brick and mortar and 2) the low overhead cost of trailers keeps food prices affordable for patrons.

Although there has been an explosion of food trailers nationally in recent years, this type of business structure has a few unique requirements to ensure success. Agreeable weather, high population density, and a culture in favor of local business are needed to bring patrons to trailer windows. And Austin has all three to offer.

According to an article on KXAN, the City of Austin has over 1,600 mobile food establishments, but the exact number of trailers is unknown. AustinFoodCarts.com and FoodTrailersAustin.com profile several hundred trailers and their whereabouts in Austin.

Living in such a vegan-friendly town, many food trailers offer vegan and vegetarian fare, even if there’s only one option. While the gesture is much appreciated, today’s post is dedicated to those food trailers that are purely vegan or vegetarian.

Guide to Vegan and Vegetarian Food Trailers in Austin

North Austin

  • Portabello Burger and Veganized Mac and Cheeze from Good to GoGood to Go: This veggie burger joint is the newest all-vegetarian trailer in town. Located in the North Anderson Trailer Yard (NATY), Good to Go offers 5 types of burger patties with lots of different topping options including veganaise, Daiya cheese, hummus and soyrizo chili. Try a veganized mac and cheeze or a frito pie on the side.
  • Vegan Jalisco from The Vegan NomThe Vegan Nom: Austin’s first all-vegan taco trailer. Having opened only 6 months ago, the Vegan Nom has already carved quite a name for itself in the Austin vegan scene. I once heard someone proclaim, “What angel blessed us with the Vegan Nom?” I’m in total agreement. With homemade salsas and killer ingredient combinations, the Vegan Nom is not to be missed. I recommend starting with the Rockin Vegan Migas Taco.

HydePark/ University

  • Cinnamon Rolls from Capital City BakeryCapital City Bakery: This all-vegan bakery is one of the best/worst things that has ever happened to vegans in Austin. Go and try one of everything: cupcakes, mini pies, cinnamon rolls, whoopie pies, cookies, cookie sandwiches, brownies, cake slices, and mini bundt cakes!
  • Moses Falafel Trailer in the Longhorn Food CourtMoses Falafel: My fiance, who grew up in the middle east, has declared Moses Falafel to have the best falafel in town. And I agree. If you want to eat a falafel pita like a real Israeli, don’t order a side of fries. Rather, ask for your fries in your pita.

East Austin

  • Bac'n Cheezeburger from Arlo'sArlo’s: The bac’n cheeze burger at Arlo’s is hailed as one of the best veggie burgers not only in town, but possibly ever. Yes, it’s that good. Once you’ve sampled this delicious treat, try out one of the 7 other menu options Arlo’s has to offer–they are good, too!
  • Veganized Reuben from SchmaltzSchmaltz: Jewish deli style food options? Yes, please! Take a recommendation from Yelp and order the Seitan Pastrami Reuben. Just hold the swiss to make it vegan.
  • Breakfast Sandwich from The Vegan YachtVegan Yacht: One of the oldest vegan trailers in Austin, the Vegan Yacht serves up sandwiches, wraps and “freeto” pie in East Austin. As for what to try, just follow the website’s instructions: “Close your eyes, point, then order. It will be tasty.”

South Austin

  • The Gob from BananarchyBananarchy: I recently watched all three seasons of Arrested Development (thanks to Carrie) and therefore am in love with all of the fun TV show references on Banarachy’s menu. Try the Gob dipped in vegan chocolate. Don’t forget, there’s money in the banana stand.  
  • Vegan Fruitcup Trio from Mister FruitCupMister FruitCup: Looking for a healthy dessert? Head over to Mister FruitCup. Their varieties of fruit salads include herbs, chilies, nuts, vegan whipped cream and waffle crumbles. Check out Marie’s recent post on Mister FruitCup for more info.
  • Vegan Dosa from Nomad DosaNomad Dosa: This Airstream offers amazing, freshly made dosas (kind of like a crepe) filled with delicious Indian curries. Definitely try the mango lassi–it’s vegan!

Multiple Locations

  • Chimichurri Seitan Wrap and Hibiscus Tea from Conscious Cravings Conscious Cravings (University and South Austin): Hot wraps, cold salads, freshly made juices, and rosemary baked fries. Everything on the Conscious Cravings menu can be made vegan. My personal favorite: the pan-seared tofu.

 

So, what’s your favorite all-vegan or vegetarian food trailer?