Tagged: Mr. Natural

Vegan News Bites

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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.

Vegan-friendly Businesses

Rabbit Food Grocery is moving to a brick and mortar!

  • 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!
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Cool Events for a Hot Summer:

Upcoming Austin Vegan Events

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Austin Vegan Party Barge
Summer is in full swing, and everyone’s taking advantage of the warm weather. Austin vegans are planning up a storm, and with a dessert social, 4th of July cookout, party barge and more in the works, there’s something for everyone in this town. There are some great recurring events coming up, including the June Fruitluck (aka fruit potluck) at Barton Springs tomorrow (June 22nd), a newly created Crafty Night at Unity Vegan Kitchen on Thursday, June 26th, and an Austin Raw Food Diet potluck on Saturday, June 28th. In addition to these recurring events, we’ve quite a few special events on the calendar:

Sunday, June 22nd:

5pm to 7:30pm – NadaMoo!’s Whole ‘Lotta Dessert Social at NO VA Kitchen & Bar tomorrow is a not-to-be-missed fundraiser for the Whole Planet Foundation! It’s not mentioned on the event page, but the event organizers have assured me that this will in fact be an entirely vegan event with desserts, cocktails, and coffee provided by Skull & Cakebones, GoodPops, NadaMoo!, and Chameleon Cold Brew. So far I’ve heard there will be whoopie ice cream pies, pop-tails, and cold brew floats, plus Brad Sorenson from NO VA will be making a vegan dessert as well. For those hoping to watch USA in the World Cup, have no fear, the game will be playing at the bar. Tickets are $10, and you can purchase them in advance on Eventbrite or pay in cash at the door.

Raw Cheezecake at BeetsFriday, June 27th:

7pm to 10pm – Beets Cafe fans have known for a couple of months now that Austin’s one and only raw restaurant will be shutting its doors indefinitely. To celebrate the great run they had, they’re throwing a farewell celebration. There will be droves of Beets fans, music, and of course, the Beets crew is going to make some delicious raw treats! Let them know how much they meant to the Austin community, and send them off with a bang.

Sauced Vegan PizzaSaturday, June 28th:

All Day – It’s Vegan Pizza Day! This most glorious of holidays will be celebrated with pizza-themed specials at Capital City Bakery from 11am to 7pm. At 12pm the Austin Progressive Vegetarians are hosting a Vegan Pizza Day meetup at Sauced in the Highland Mall. For those looking to throw their own Vegan Pizza Day party, check out our extensive (and recently updated) Austin Vegan Pizza Guide!

9am to 4pm – Head on down to Seguin, TX for a chance to lend a helping hand at the SARA Sanctuary Volunteer Day and Picnic. Get out of the city, get your hands dirty for a good cause, and get animal kisses in return! Vegan food and drinks will be provided (beer & wine for the grown ups), but you’re also welcome to bring any vegan food you like. Their only requirement is that you be an animal lover.

BBQ Revolution Platter Friday, July 4th:

3pm – BBQ Revolution and the rest of the North Loop House & Yard vegan trailer gang will be hosting a 4th of July Cookout in conjunction with ATX Vegan Drinks! Every trailer in the lot is now entirely vegan (making this the first all-vegan food trailer lot in the world!), as Taco ‘Bout It recently switched their menu to be entirely vegan!  All the trailers will be coming up with patriotic specials, from veggie burgers at BBQ Revolution to vegan funnel cake and chick’n and waffles from Unity Vegan Kitchen. Rabbit Food Grocery will also be in attendance, dessert will be provided by Skull & Cakebones, there will be a raffle to raise funds for a local nonprofit, and to top it all off, there will be free beer!

4pm to 8pm – Counter Culture will also be hosting a 4th of July Party on the East Side, with summer classics including vegan corndogs, burgers, slaw, potato salad, strawberry shortcake and more. Enjoy your food while listening to all-American country, roots and rockabilly, and try your chances at the Happy Cow cookbook giveaway!

Brunch at Mr. NaturalSunday, July 6th:

10:30am to 2pm – Mr. Natural’s next monthly vegan brunch falls on the 4th of July weekend, and we cannot be more excited by their patriotic themed brunch! For $16 you get an endless buffet that will include corn dogs, mac and cheeze, fried chick’n, pancakes, chocolate cream pie, apple crisp and so much more! We think it’s really awesome that a vegetarian restaurant has taken on the task of creating a huge, entirely vegan brunch buffet, so we always look forward to these weekends. Expert tip for Mr. Natural brunch newbies – don’t skip out on the agave mustard! It’s a must on the country fried seitan, and whatever else you can think to put it on.

Sunday, August 31st:

12pm to 5pm – The Vegan Party Barge is back! The 5th Annual Vegan Party Barge is officially happening, and while it’s a little ways in the future, you should certainly start planning now (and buy your tickets ASAP, as they always sell out). This year the tickets are $40 (with a $5 discount for AV&VA Members), which includes entrance to the barge, pool noodles for lounging in the water, non-alcoholic drinks and a catered vegan lunch. The barge is BYOB, so pack a small cooler, and enjoy a beautiful day on Lake Travis with a bunch of awesome vegans!

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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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 Spice- Sauce 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 Bakery- Capital 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 Haven- Royers 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 Wheatsville- Wheatsvile 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 Tarrytown- Austin 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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Top 20 Austin Favorites:

The Lighter Side - Part 1 of 2

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Goodies from Juiceland
Red Hot Vegan Bloggers Daniel and Marie spent the month of September sampling, photographing, and writing about their Top 20 Austin Favorites – a list fairly heavy in oily, sugary, and calorie-dense foods. The foods included in their guide are all great, but I realized that list was a far cry from what my top 20 list would be, as I tend to go after foods that are lower in oil, are less calorie-dense, and don’t have faux meats. I was inspired to write my first ever blog post, to chronicle the lighter side of Austin’s vegan food scene. If you’re like me, you may find that you love some of these lighter, but equally delicious, options right here in Austin:

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Vegan News Bites

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Kaki-Age from The DojoVegan Ramen from The Dojo

Restaurant News:
– I noticed that a new Japanese restaurant in town called The Dojo mentioned they were working on a vegan ramen on their Facebook page, but when a friend emailed me pictures of the menu from their soft opening, I was shocked. 12 menu items were clearly marked with a vegan icon. Vegan ramen was just the beginning: edamame, pickled vegetables, seaweed salad, sunomono, spinach salad, tofu caprese, tomato croquettes, kaki-age, tofu steak, veggie gyoza and even homemade coconut ice cream were all marked vegan! The Dojo is Austin’s first izakaya, a kind of Japanese bar where food is meant to be enjoyed at a slower pace while ordering drinks and hanging out. Their tentative hours are 5pm to 2am, so this could potentially become one of the few late-night vegan options up north. I’m excited to see that another Austin restaurant has put so much thought into their vegan offerings, and can’t wait to check it out myself. (Above photos taken by awesome vegan food finder Aaron Reiser!)
Red Rabbit Coop Bakery Truck in North Loop- Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery has opened their first location in a trailer on 53rd St near Airport. Currently serving donuts from 7am to 1pm (or till sold out), this trailer is a welcome addition to the North Loop neighborhood! It’s the perfect morning stop on the way to work… maybe even grab a few extra for your co-workers who will be undoubtably impressed by these stellar vegan donuts.
The Vegan Nom, everyone’s favorite North Loop taco trailer, announced plans to open a second trailer sometime soon. When, where, and with what menu is still a mystery that I hope we will know the answers to soon!

New Menu Items:
Vegan Pizza from Sauced in the Highland Mall- Sauced, in the Highland Mall Food Court, tried out vegan pizza on their menu for the first time last weekend, and it was such a huge success that they’re doing it again this weekend. If this is something you’d like to see as a permanent menu item, make sure to go out there and show your support! With a crispy thin crust and two faux-meat options, I was really happy with the newest addition to the vegan pizza scene. I know I’ll be spending more time in the Highland Mall with pizza options like theirs around.
Mr. Natural is rolling out a new menu soon. They put out a Facebook teaser with a photo of a monster vegan Texas burger with fakin’ bacon, daiya, BBQ, jalapeños and more. If the new burger is any indication of what’s to come, I for one am looking forward to trying their new menu.
Jambalaya on a Stick from Baton Creole- Baton Creole, an adorable pink trailer on E 6th St, has been cranking out new and exciting vegan options lately. There is a vegan jambalaya on a stick on their regular menu, and a rotating vegan special once a month that will coincide with ATX Vegan Drinks on the first Friday of the month. Last month’s vegan special was a “crab” cake, with okra creole over rice on the side. I’ve also heard that there may be a partnership between Capital City Bakery and Baton Creole, with the possibility of vegan beignets in our future. Everything Baton Creole has made so far has blown my mind, so I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Build-Your-Own Sundae Bar from Sweet RitualEvents:
ATX Vegan Drinks will be at Sweet Ritual this Friday with a build-your-own sundae bar, donuts from Red Rabbit Bakery and cookie dough from Celeste’s Best! It will be a BYOB event, so grab some drinks to bring, or take advantage of Juiceland’s large selection of non-alcoholic juices, smoothies and kombucha!
Counter Culture has posted an exciting Soul Food and Music event on Wed, July 24th. With food specials including fried seitan & gravy, BBQ tempeh, mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes, creamed greens, deep south slaw, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and more, I can’t wait to try them all while listening to southern soul music.
– CityBoy Cuisine will be starting a new event called Bistro Vonish, which will be a vegan fine dining supper club. These vegan multi-course dinners are hopefully the lead up to Chef Craig Vanis opening a brick-and-mortar vegan fine dining establishment, which is one thing that would certainly be a welcome addition to the Austin vegan scene.

Vegan Week in Review

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- Raw, gluten-free, fruitarian? Austin’s got your back. Blenders and Bowls, a new açaí smoothie and bowl cafe has opened up shop downtown. They offer both gluten-free and vegan options. Wild Wood Bake House, an entirely gluten-free bakery and cafe has reopened across the street from Wheatsville. They offer a selection of vegan baked goods, sandwiches and hot entrees. For our fruit loving friends, Daily Juice‘s downtown location is now open, as well as the new JuiceLand on North Burnet. Go forth and get your juice on!

- Brand new bakery Sunshine Sisters Vegan Bakery will be offering their goodies at the Bouldin Brunch Sales Event this Saturday from 8am to 2pm. The wait to get a table for brunch at Bouldin Creek Cafe is notoriously long, but luckily you now have a new way to kill the time – shopping! Head on over tomorrow morning and grab a delicious vegan baked good and browse the stalls of local vendors while you wait for your table. Vegan baked goods, brunch and shopping – it’s a win win win situation.

- In case you missed the multiple Facebook posts… Mr. Natural has announced that they now have vegan tiramisu! It’s so exciting, it just had to be called out one more time.

- Those of you familiar with Green Island Catering‘s Party Barge will be excited to hear that they have introduced a whole line-up of cruises, including a sunset bat watching cruise and a Valentine’s Day cruise! The next cruise will be on Friday, October 12th, with a 4-course vegan dinner. Make sure you get your tickets early, so you don’t miss the boat (pun intended).

- Amazing coconut-based vegan caramels are now available at Wheatsville Coop! JJ’s Sweets Cocomels are in stock in original, sea salt, vanilla and java flavors. Priced at a reasonable $3.99 for the pocket packs, you might just have to try them all!

- Get your Sheese fix before it’s too late! The US distributor for Sheese has decided to stop importing it for now. Rabbit Food Grocery has stocked up, but after they’re sold out, that’s it. No more delicious dairy-free sharp cheddar or blue cheese – oh no!

- ATX Vegan Drinks will be hosting its first ever Ice Cream Party TONIGHT! It’s going to be a monster of a party, with $5 build-your-own sundaes from Sweet Ritual, $1 sample-sized donuts from Red Rabbit Bakery and free cookie dough samples from Celeste’s Best. It’s BYOB, so grab some beer, a bottle of wine, or stash some liquor in your bag to “enhance” your sundae (Thanks Cassandra for the idea!). Be there or be square!

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.

The Last Couple of Weeks in Review

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It’s been forever and a day since we’ve put together a Week in Review post, so some of this might be old news – but heck – life happens, so here’s what’s been going on in Austin:

- Mr. Natural’s Vegan Ice Cream Happy Hour is back! From 3-6pm everyday in June, you can enjoy 2-for-1 vegan soft serve cones. There are only 8 more days left to enjoy this – so get on it!

- Austin’s scheduled for its very own Walk for Farm Animals fundraiser for Farm Sanctuary. It’s going to be at Pease Park on October 27th, but you can start raising money for this awesome cause now. Create a team, or do it solo – there’s no wrong way to raise money for farm animals! It’s an incredibly popular event all over the country, and I’m so happy to be able to join in, right here in Austin!

- Red Hot Vegans participated in a vegan food swap hosted by The Verdant Life. The box we sent was featured on St. Pete Vegan Food Swap. They totally dug the Food for Lovers queso we sent them – no surprise there!

- There will be two new Daily Juice locations opening up soon! One location is planned for Westlake and one for downtown. I happened upon the downtown location the other day, and now I’m super psyched for them to finally open their doors. I’m hoping for an expanded vegan food menu like the Hyde Park location – with awesome nachos and the like.

- Ice Cream Social, an adorable little ice cream trailer, has a bunch of different vegan options, the most interesting of which is avocado sorbet! Unfortunately, none of their topping options are vegan, but they’ve got plenty of other stuff like rotating sorbets and popsicles to cool down with on a hot day.

- Have you checked out The Vegan Nom lately? They practically have something new each week, like queso and cookies (great for dunking), and a vegan migas taco that is insane! I eat there way more often than I should admit to. Word to the wise: if you’re not into spicy food, just ask for it mild. Almost everything they make can be mildified – I should know, I’m the biggest spicy food baby around.

- Austin has its very own vegan nut cheese company called Nutty Cow. Who knew? Products haven’t hit the shelves yet, but I’m looking forward to trying them out, once they do.

- Vegan Pizza Day 2012 is coming up on Saturday, June 30th! We’re working on putting together an awesome party with Capital City Bakery! Stay tuned for party details and a rad Austin vegan pizza blog post.

 

Vegan Week in Review

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- Gathering of the Tribes was a great success. The raffle was epic, with over $500 worth of prizes. Dan won an adorable “Kale is my Power-Plant” t-shirt made by local vegan t-shirt designer Jeff Zick. Jealous? You should be – but don’t worry, you can purchase your own through Rabbit Food Grocery!

- Mr. Natural‘s first vegan-friendly Sunday brunch starts today! Brunch will be served from 10am-3pm, only at their South Lamar location.

- As a California transplant, I’m pretty familiar with all things Trader Joe’s, so I was really stoked to learn that they plan on opening up an Austin location by 2013! Most Trader Joe’s locations have a decent selection of vegan yogurts, non-dairy milks, mock-meats, and yummy frozen items – all at incredibly affordable prices. It seems like they get more vegan friendly each year, so who knows what they’ll carry by 2013? I look forward to finding out.

- When the story about cochineal extract in Starbucks frappuccinos first broke about a month ago, I assumed it would be contained to a couple of vegan bloggers getting the word out to warn people – but it turns out no one wants crushed up bugs in their food. What a surprise. Starbucks has announced that it will phase out the bug-laced beverages, and replace them with ones colored by lycopene (a tomato extract) within a couple of months.

- Sweet relief – Arlo’s is open again! They’re finally settled into their new location at Cheer Up Charlie’s, just in time for the next ATX Vegan Drinks, planned for Friday, May 4th. It’s going to be awesome, with a pop-up shop from Rabbit Food Grocery and baked goods from Capital City Bakery. You can also grab food from Arlo’s, Me So HungryFire & SoulVia 313 PizzaCOOLHAUS and more. Make sure to RSVP!