Tagged: Thai Fresh

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…

Austin Vegan Cooking Classes

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The holidays always get me in the mood to cook up a storm. I stock up on flour, sugar and spices and go to town. So when I was invited to try out a gluten-free, vegan holiday cooking class from Kaylee, the amazing baker at Thrice Cafe/Thai Fresh, I jumped on it. I’d never baked with gluten-free flour before, but I’d certainly eaten enough of Kaylee’s delicious desserts to know that I’d like it. I was not disappointed. I won’t give away Kaylee’s secrets, but let’s just say that she’s got quite a few tricks up her sleeve, and I walked away with not only some amazing gluten-free recipes, but general vegan baking tips that I’ll use forever.

With one class under my belt, I started to look into what other classes I might find around town, and was surprised at how many there were in just the next few months. From Kaylee’s gluten-free vegan holiday baking class, to tempeh holiday appetizers and artisan vegan cheeses, Austin’s got your vegan cooking classes covered. Sharpen up those cooking skills before holiday potlucks, pickle some beets to give as gifts, or take a class just to treat yourself. With prices ranging from $5 to $79, there is something for everyone. Check out some of these upcoming classes at Thrice/Thai Fresh, Natural Epicurean, Whole Foods Market, and in.gredients:

Gluten-Free Vegan Cupcake

Gluten-Free Vegan Mint Chocolate Brownie

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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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Top 20 Austin Favorites:

Thai Tea Ice Cream over Sticky Rice from Thai Fresh

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Thai tea ice cream over hot sticky rice from Thai Fresh.

What’s better than vegan Thai tea ice cream? Thai tea ice cream melting over hot coconut sticky rice! Its rich coconut flavors melding with the bold flavors of Thai tea – the creamy, cold ice cream contrasting with the hot, chewy rice. This ice cream is more than just a summer staple: it’s the perfect year-round indulgence.

This incredible combination can be found at Thai Fresh, the coffee bar/Thai restaurant tucked away on Mary Street. I love the whole coffee shop/restaurant, but the ice cream and desserts blow me away. The ice cream case is entirely vegan, and with distinctive rotating flavors such as ginger lemongrass, Thai basil, sweet potato pecan and salty tamarind, you’re likely to want to try them all. The dessert case always has something fun going on, from vegan cookies and cakes, to pies, parfaits and ice cream sandwiches – for a few lucky months this summer, their amazing baker was even cranking out vegan croissants and pain au chocolat.

Vegan grasshopper pie and a latte from Thai Fresh.Vegan Croissants from Thai Fresh

Thai Fresh on Mary StreetIf you’re confused by the Thai restaurant/coffee shop combo, you’re not alone. This pairing is uniquely set up, with two spaces, and two focuses, yet with one counter from which you order. It’s unusual, but once you get used to the idea of ordering Thai food from a coffee shop, it all falls into place. Head there in the morning for a latte and parfait, in the afternoon for a full vegan-friendly Thai meal, or in the evening for some wine, dessert and live music. Vegetarian Thai cooking classes (that are vegan-friendly) are also offered regularly, and there is even a small Thai market with those hard to find ingredients, for when you want to re-create the flavors at home.

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!

Vegan Week in Review

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- As if Thai Fresh weren’t already awesome enough (with their vegan baked goods, and vegan-friendly Thai menu), they’ve upped their game and gone and made all of their ice cream vegan! Get your butt over to Thai Fresh and check out their case of hard packed ice cream with crazy awesome flavors like Thai iced tea, fig, corn and sweet potato. You can even try them in an ice cream sandwich!

- There is one week left to vote for the 2012 Veggie Awards from VegNews! Support all your favorite vegan businesses and products by giving them your vote! A lot of local favorites are on there like Counter Culture, Celeste’s Best, NadaMoo and Food For Lovers Queso. You can also vote for Austin as your favorite veg-friendly city!

- Brand new vegetarian food cart Good To Go just opened up in the NATY trailer park on Anderson Lane. They offer quesadillas, frito pies, patty melts and four different veggie burger options (including the Goodseed patty!) with toppings such as Daiya cheese and Soyrizo chili. They are so brand new, that their menu is still a work in progress… meaning that if more vegan options are requested by customers (like vegan mayo and pesto), it might just happen!

- It’s already time to pull out your 2013 calendar: Texas VegFest has announced that next year’s festival will be held on Saturday, April 6th, 2013! Don’t forget to save the date for Austin’s biggest vegan event of the year.

- Greens, Beans, and Grains, the latest food station to open up at the Whole Foods downtown, is now serving up some super tasty and wholesome vegan-friendly food (just stay away from the meat, and you’re good to go). The options are mostly what you would expect to see at a salad bar, but they also have some more complex offerings, like pesto and chili. You can pick an item off their menu, or create your own. If you want to most bang for your buck, create your own, and choose the baked potato as a base. At $5.99, it’s a steal!

- Counter Culture will be hosting a benefit for Austin Pets Alive! on Saturday, September 22nd, from 4pm to 9pm. The event will feature live music, with a portion of the sales going directly to Austin Pets Alive. Free music, good food and raising money for a good cause – I’m in!

- Awesome vegan catering company Green Island Catering is now offering ready-to-go meals at Daily Juice in Hyde Park (45th/Duval) and The Wet Whistle (MLK/Chicon). Stop by today and pick up a rustic pesto lasagna, fajitas or stacked enchilada – they’re all superb!