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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 SpiceSauce 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 BakeryCapital 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 HavenRoyers 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 WheatsvilleWheatsvile 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 TarrytownAustin 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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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 RickshawFrozen 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 location– Trader 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-frontBetter 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.