Tagged: Mister FruitCup

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

Cacao Cup from Mister FruitCup

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Traditional Mexican and Cacao Cup from Mister FruitCup

We’re taking a departure from the veggies for a moment to highlight another food group that we tend to neglect – fruit! Fruit, glorious fruit! Fruit is of course delicious, but how often do you actually go to town on an array of fruit?* Fruit all too often gets relegated to boring snack status: the squished grapes or banana haphazardly stuffed into your lunch sack, or the sad browning fruit salad sitting uneaten at a potluck. I’ve always considered fruit a quick snack, maybe a lazy dessert, but never something to put much effort into, that was until Mister FruitCup showed up on the Austin scene. These fruit cups are a huge departure from the cocktail cups of your childhood. They’re cups piled high with a wide variety of ripe fruit, covered in sauces and spices and then covered in toppings including nuts, coconut and lime. They’re the LeBron James** of fruit cups.

Tropical and Thai cups from Mister FruitCupTop view of vegan cups from Mister FruitCup

Since the Mister FruitCup trailer first opened up over two years ago, the menu has changed a bit. They’re currently located in the University Co-op Food Court, at San Antonio and W. 23rd, and cater to the hungry UT student population. A few of our past favorite vegan-friendly fruit cups have disappeared from the menu, but Mister FruitCup’s commitment to their vegan customers has not. They currently mark the fruit cups which are vegan or can be made vegan with modifications (agave for honey as an example), and are in the process of putting together a separate vegan menu. The flavors also change with the seasons, and our current favorite is the Cacao cup, comprised of mango, banana, orange, kiwi, cacao nibs, agave and fresh lime juice. The lime and agave elevate the flavors of the fruit perfectly, and the cacao nibs add a nice crunch to balance the cup out.

Mister FruitCup TrailerUniversity Co-op Food Court

If you’re looking for something a little less sweet, we recommend the traditional Mexican cup with its unique combination of flavors including watermelon, pineapple, cucumber and jicama topped with spices and coconut. For a nice breakfast, they have an “Energy” cup with fruit, granola and yogurt (vegan yogurt available). The Thai cup is another interesting flavor departure, with fruits such as watermelon, banana and mango, topped with peanuts and fresh herbs including basil, mint and cilantro, and served with chopsticks for a fun twist.

Because it is a food truck with limited resources, and because the ripening of fruit can be finicky, not all fruit cups are available at all times. The menu is so wide and varied, though, that there are always a few vegan fruit cups to choose from. The cups range in price from $4.50 to $6.50 depending on size, and all come with a generous portion of fresh fruit. And while the University Co-op location is clearly a great spot for students and UT employees alike, it’s also pretty convenient for those of us who drive by the area frequently, as there’s free parking (with validation) in the large parking garage directly across San Antonio Street from the trailer lot. So, whether you’re looking for an energizing snack, a light meal, or a yummy dessert, if you’re on or near campus, you should definitely look to Mister FrutiCup!

* Don’t answer that. I realize I’m probably alone in my delayed discovery of how amazing fruit can be.
** I know I wrote it, but I don’t actually know what that means. Basketball, right?

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!

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?

Vegan Week in Review

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- Counter Culture is offering fondue on the last Wednesday of every month. Fondue was one of the few things that I didn’t try before I went vegan, so when a friend invited me to join her for this event, I jumped at the chance. It was a fun and tasty experience. I’m told by the daughter of a Wisconsonite that the cheese fondue is very similar to the fondue she remembers as a child. The next fondue night will be Wednesday, August 29th.

- In other cheese news, the Japanese delicacy tofu misozuke, is now available for purchase online from California based company Rau Om. This miso-cured tofu, which is aged for up to six months, is described as having a sharp brie like taste and butter like texture – I’m sold!

- Austin is bursting with vegan baked goods! Sugar Circus has opened its doors in East Austin, with amazing vegan baked goods from the baker behind Sugar Tooth Bakery. As if that wasn’t enough great news, Mr. Natural is finally in the process of switching over 50% of their honey sweetened baked goods to agave sweetened. More vegan goodies for everyone!

- In honor of the “Meatless Monday” campaign, Maoz is offering 10% off a salad meal deal, or 10% off a catering order on Mondays! Just because we vegans go meatless everyday, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take advantage of this sweet deal. Just print out the coupon, and head over to our local Maoz, located in the Triangle. While you’re there, be sure to check out their vegan rice pudding!

- Community Cooking is introducing a series of cooking classes focused on vegan dishes made with simple ingredients that are cheap and easy to prepare. The class meets the last Saturday of each month at 3:30pm in the 21st Street Co-op kitchen (707 W. 21st Street, Austin TX). The next class will be on Saturday, August 25th and will focus on snacks: kale chips, avocado spinach dip, and green goddess smoothies. If you have any questions, menu suggestions, or would like to RSVP, please email Rachel at [email protected]

- Lastly, my own personal PSA: Get thee to a vegan or vegan friendly food trailer! Food trailers can suffer in the hot summer months as people are reluctant to brave the heat. But brave it, you must! Places like Vegan NomWasota and Mister Fruitcup will even let you call your order in ahead so that you don’t have to wait in the heat. Eat now so that they’ll still be here in the cooler winter months.

Vegan Week in Review

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- The wait is over – in.gredients is now open, everyday from 8 am to 10 pm! Grab your reusable containers and head on down to 2610 Manor Road. First stop, weigh and label your containers. Second stop, shop & fill your containers. Third stop, select a charity you wish to benefit & weigh again (less container weight). You’re on your way knowing you’re eliminating package related waste, while supporting local businesses and farmers!

- Haven’t tried Biscuits and Groovy yet? Now is the perfect time to check it out. According to their Facebook page, they’ve extended their hours to 7 am – 5 pm on  weekdays (though actual hours may vary – see comments below). Biscuits and gravy not your thing? Try the “build-your-own” burrito from their lengthy list of awesome vegan ingredients such as tofu scramble, vegan sausage, and daiya cheese – at $4, it’s a steal.

- Kristen, owner/baker of Capital City Bakery, is celebrating her 26th birthday with a celebration benefiting homeless pets in Austin!  Stop by the shop at 1901 Rio Grande on August 16th (5 pm – 8 pm), where she’ll be donating 10% of her sales (and tips) to support Austin Pets Alive. Help Kristen meet her goal of $500 – and don’t forget to wish her a Happy Birthday!

- The annual Rally Against Ringling Brothers will be on Wednesday, August 22nd from 6 – 7:30 pm. Join Action for Animals for a legal, peaceful rally at the Erwin Center to protest Ringling Brothers Circus continued abuse of their animals.

- There’s an exciting new all-vegan menu up at Mister FruitCup featuring soy yogurt and vegan whipped cream! We hope you had a chance to use the Red Hot Vegans 20% discount last month – the discount continues this month – just mention Vegans Rock Austin.

- Save the day and shop away on Saturday, August 11th. On this one day, a bunch of vegan businesses are pulling together to donate 10% of sales to a 100 mile bike ride that hopes to raise $20,000 for 3 animal sanctuaries. All you have to do is shop with one of the businesses (either in person, or online) on August 11th, and part of your purchase will go to the fundraiser. Participating retailers are too numerous to mention, but are listed on the Sanctuary Century 10% Fundraiser Day Facebook page. This ride benefits: Out To Pasture SanctuaryHope Animal Sanctuary, and Chimp Sanctuary Northwest!

- There’s a new vegan burger option in town! Thanks to Lone Star Plate, we’ve learned that Flattop Burger (at Manor and Chicon) has vegan buns and Goodseed Organic hemp burger patties. Goodseed burgers are popping up all over town, which is a great thing, because these patties are super delicious and full of great ingredients!

 

Grown Up Fruit Cup

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One of our awesome readers suggested that we check out Mister FruitCup – so we did just that. (Thank you, and keep those suggestions coming!) Initially, I was skeptical that anything called a fruit cup could be amazing, but I was so glad to be proven wrong.

Mister FruitCup’s menu is full of fresh and inventive creations, with add-ins and sauces that elevate a fruit cup into a full-blown meal. They have options like seeds and nuts, fresh herbs and original sauces, and some vegan friendly substitutions, like agave and a vegan whipped cream! We tried a Sez Ah U Sesame and a Rainbow Cup (sans sprinkles). The first cup came with watermelon, honeydew, basil, jalapeño, lime, sesame seed and sea salt. The second cup came with pineapple, watermelon, bananas, strawberries and whipped cream. Both were intensely flavorful, with one a bit more savory, the other sweet, and perfect as dessert. They are great for families, after a jog at Lady Bird Lake, or as a snack or dessert on a hot summer day. Their menu changes seasonally, and they’re always looking for suggestions, so let them know what you’d like to see.

Because they love their vegan customers, Mister FruitCup is offering 20% off for our readers during the month of July – just mention that you saw them on Red Hot Vegans!

Their trailer is located at 415 Jessie St, in a new food truck lot tucked behind Thom’s Market on Barton Springs Road. It’s in the same lot as Ice Cream Social (vegan friendly sorbets)! They’re open Wednesday through Sunday, and there is limited street parking available.

Note: For our journalistic integrity (we haz it!), we want to mention that we got our fruit cups for free (blogging is awesome), but we totally would have paid for them, and can’t wait to go back!