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.
- 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!
The Harvey Pekar Reuben from Shhmaltz is one mean sandwich. Starting from the inside out, the finely chopped fresh cabbage lends a satisfying crunch to every bite, nicely complementing its neighbors: a rich vegan chipotle Russian dressing slathered on top, and a homemade seitan pastrami folded in layers forming the base of the Reuben. The pastrami is really something: sliced paper thin with just the right amount of seasoning, it’s everything you could hope for in a deli sandwich. Last, and certainly not least, the fresh grilled marbled rye bread completes the picture, making this sandwich an instant classic that you’ll want to enjoy again and again.
For us, the Reuben is the shining star in Shhmaltz’s menu of sandwiches (all of them named after famous writers and artists), but there are plenty of other great options, like the Helen Frankenthaler Falafel wrap, which uniquely features falafel balls that are grilled instead of deep-fried. The potato salad is a great addition to any sandwich – the tender potatoes drowning in creamy vegan dill mayo. Mostly everything at Shhmaltz is made from scratch: from the pastrami, to the pickles, even the kombucha is home brewed, which should give you an idea for the level of dedication that goes into everything on their menu.
Once you get over the hilarious (and intentional) irony that an all-vegetarian food trailer is called “Schmaltz“, look for them tucked behind Farewell Books on East Cesar Chavez at San Marcos Street. The trailer is not visible from Cesar Chavez, so watch out for the sidewalk sign that says “DELI”, which ought to point you in the right direction. Once you’re there, place your order, then sit down at one of the bright blue picnic benches and nosh on the traditional offerings with an Austin twist from this little Jewish delicatessen on wheels.
Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel, and does not necessarily reflect the views of all Red Hot Vegans bloggers. If you’re not a fan of oily, sugary, calorie-dense food, then this series is probably not for you. For everyone else, enjoy!
[ 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
- Good 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.
- The 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.
- Capital 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: 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.
- Arlo’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!
- Schmaltz: 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.
- Vegan 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.”
- Bananarchy: 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.
- Mister 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.
- Nomad 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!
- 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?
This week has been particularly full of announcements and openings! It’s an exciting time to be a vegan in Austin:
- Red Rabbit Bakery’s cinnamon-cardamon rolls, apple fritters, raspberry filled donuts, and cinnamon sugar donut holes are now available at Wheatsville Food Co-op!!! If you’ve had a chance to try these items at HOPE Farmer’s Market, then I bet you are just as stoked as I am to be able to get your hands on them at Wheatsville.
- Sagra, a vegan-friendly Italian restaurant, tweeted this week that they now have vegan homemade pistachio “cheese.” I’ve been looking for an excuse to try them out, and this sounds like the perfect opportunity – now I just have to wait till graduation week is over to be able to get a table.
- The old Counter Culture trailer found a new home on Cesar Chavez and San Marcos as the new all-vegetarian food cart Schmaltz. Their menu includes falafel and an awesome rueben (vegan if ordered without the cheese), and they offer a cute little grassy seating area tucked behind Domy Books, an adorable bookstore and art space.
- On Monday, May 21st, Moses Falafel will become the newest addition in the Longhorn Food Court (Downtown: 610 W. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd & Rio Grande Street). This makes the Longhorn Food Court the most vegan-friendly trailer lot in Austin, with Moses joining the likes of Conscious Cravings and the brand spankin’ new Capital City Bakery trailer (don’t forget about their Grand Opening Party tonight!)
- Speaking of grand openings, after a successful soft opening, Counter Culture has announced their Grand Opening Party will be on Wednesday, May 30th at 6pm. Check out the Facebook invite, and come join the fun!
- On June 3rd, Sweet Ritual will be at Secret Society’s Summer Frolic! serving up hand-cranked earl grey ice cream with lavender waffle cones. Earl grey ice cream, people! EARL GREY!! My life is complete. That is all.