Tagged: Vegan Ramen

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…

Vegan News Bites:

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Dan and I have been traveling for the past few weeks (we’re in Chennai, India right now!), but whenever we have a chance to check the internet, we’ve been keeping up with all the exciting happenings in Austin right now. One big thing that happened for us is winning Best Local Vegan Blog in the Vegans Rock Austin 2013 Austin Veggie Awards! We truly appreciate everyone who voted for us, and also want to send out a big congrats to all the other winners – there’s so much amazing food in this town! We had some stiff competition in our category, and love that there are so many kick-ass bloggers in this town. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Lazy Smurf,  The Little Red JournalLizz DeliciousLone Star Plate and My Healthy Chef, I highly recommend that you do.

Veggie Awards 2013

Because we’re traveling, we’re not able to get pictures of all the new stuff going on, but here’s a list of some of the latest news:

Vegan-friendly Businesses:

- Capital City Bakery’s storefront on E. Cesar Chavez has been under construction for months, but is now soft open, and looks super adorable! Check it out now, and head on over to their grand opening party on January 5th!

- Candy Cart is a new mobile candy store in Austin – think food truck, but instead it’s a store. Offering organic, vegan, and all natural candies, treats, and snacks. You can find them parked at the South Shore Eatery next to the AMLI on Town Lake. Stop by and stock up on sour beans, veggie booty, dark chocolate and more.

- If you’re in the market for some vegan kimchi, keep an eye out for Oh Kimchi Austin. Stocked at Wheatsville, The Wet Whistle and In.gredients, and sold at local farmers markets, this local kimchi company has quite a few vegan options including cucumber, napa cabbage and daikon kimchi.

- I ran across a press release about Scott Tucker, an Austin vegan who plans to open an American-style (aka burgers, hot dogs, fries) vegan food truck in Austin soon, but other than that, the details were murky.  Anyone know more about this, and can fill us in?

- There’s a new baker in the Austin vegan scene: Kat Sisler, who goes by Craving Vegan. Head on over to her Facebook and Instagram account to see her tempting cupcake photos, or over to her blog CravingVegan.com for recipes and to place an order.

Toms Tabooley- Tom’s Tabooley announced on Facebook that they are going totally vegetarian starting January 1st! They’ll also be adding some breakfast items to the menu that will hopefully be vegan-friendly as well.

- Thrilled Cheese is a grilled cheese food truck in Austin that advertises vegan options on their menu. The truck is one of the few that actually moves around, and can generally be found at one of three North Austin locations.

- The Vegan Nom had officially planned to re-open on North Loop today, but it looks like something has delayed the trailer. Keep your eyes open for it though, as the official re-launch could be any day now. They have been sorely missed up north, and I’m sure all their regulars will breathe a sigh of relief once the north location is back up and running. Also in Vegan Nom news, they’ve switched their tempeh to Hearty Vegan Tempeh. Yay for local businesses supporting local products!

New Vegan Menu Items:

- The Hearty Vegan has really been keeping busy with the local food trailers, debuting their garbanzo bean tempeh at BBQ Revolution. This is a great option for those on gluten- and soy-free diets looking for the home-smoked taste of real Texas BBQ. If you’ve somehow been living in a rock for the past month and haven’t checked out BBQ Revolution yet, well, what are you waiting for?

- Ramen Tatsu-Ya has offered a vegan mazemen (brothless ramen) on their lunch menu for the past several weeks. The best part? It’s available all week long (except on Mondays, when they’re closed), so no need to wait until Sunday to get your vegan ramen fix. In other Tatsu-Ya news, the deep fried Brussels sprouts and tofu toppings on their Sunday special vegan ramen bowl are now fried in a new dedicated fryer that Ramen Tatsu-Ya added to their kitchen last month!

Michi Ramen – Vegan ramen is now also available at Michi Ramen. They’ve had a veggie option on the menu since opening their brick-and-mortar at the beginning of the year, and they’ve finally sorted out the vegan noodle situation, adding a fourth option to Austin’s growing vegan ramen scene. We gave the new vegan option at Michi Ramen a try last month, and loved it! The well-balanced shoyu broth is both flavorful and refreshing, and complements the noodles and toppings well.

- Some bad news: the VERTS patties are no longer vegan. The company received complaints about the new recipe, so they decided to revert back to the old one that contains eggs. This is incredibly disappointing, but if you’re still a VERTS fan, you can get a vegan kebap with the grilled veggies instead of the patties.

Other Vegan News:

- Jay-Z announced on his blog, Life and Times, that he and Beyonce will be trying a 22 day vegan pledge. The news made worldwide entertainment headlines, and it even seems like they’ve kept up with it, with pictures of vegan food a mainstay in Beyonce’s Instagram feed. A picture of vegan cupcakes with 346,000 likes!?! Whether they decide to stay vegan or not, that’s pretty neat. Al Gore has also reportedly gone vegan, following in the footsteps of President Clinton perhaps?

domaine carneros- If you’re looking for an affordable vegan sparkling wine for the holidays, Domaine Carneros is a great choice. It’s even marketed as vegan on the back label – and you can find it at Central Market (probably other places around town too), retailing for around $20 a bottle. French 75 New Years toast, anyone?

Dan and I are looking forward to returning to Austin in a few weeks, and checking all this fun new stuff out ourselves. In the meantime, if you’d like to follow us on our trip, check out my Instagram feed. Happy holidays and a fantastic new year from Red Hot Vegans!

Top 20 Austin Favorites:

Vegan Ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya

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Vegan Ramen with oolong tea, side salad, and extra garlic at Ramen Tatsu-Ya.

The folks at Ramen Tatsu-Ya are obsessed with bringing you the perfect bowl of ramen, and their dedication shows through. The vegan ramen special starts with a complex soy based broth, filled with perfectly cooked noodles and topped with fried tofu and Brussels sprouts*, bamboo, wood ear mushrooms, corn, spinach, and shaved red pepper, which all contribute to the intricate mosaic of textures, flavors, and colors.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya has two locations (one north, one south), and both are strictly dine-in only – the only way to ensure that your soup and noodles get delivered at precisely the correct temperature and texture. Anybody who’s passed by during business hours has probably noticed the line of hungry customers wrapping around the corner, waiting to get in. While the line may look daunting, Ramen Tatsu-Ya has the process so streamlined that the wait to get in the door is rarely longer than 30 minutes. Ramen Tatsu-Ya only makes the vegan broth and noodles for dinner on Sundays, so be sure to check what day of the week it is before you head over to get your ramen fix. If you can’t make it for Sunday dinner, come any time during the week for lunch and try the brothless vegan ramen. It’s a good idea to come hungry, as the generous portions will leave even the most ravenous of eaters with a full belly.

Ross and I dig into bowls of hot ramen.Lines commonly stretch around the corner at Ramen Tatsu-Ya.

The vegan ramen bowl is the only vegan entree offered for dinner, but you can customize it if you like: a few of the extra toppings are vegan (we highly recommend the fresh garlic, which comes to your table with a fun garlic press), as well as some of the “bombs” (scoops of sauce paste to mix into your broth). However you choose to enjoy your bowl, the experience is sure to make you want to come back week after week, until you too rename Sunday to “Ramen Day”.

* The tofu and Brussels sprouts are deep-fried in a communal fryer.

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 News Bites

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Mock Meat Bonanza

New Grocery Products:
– Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan has been spotted at Wheatsville Coop! Some of you may remember my post about this product published over a year ago, begging for this product to hit shelves, and now it has! There’s a bevy of fakin’ bacon products out there from coconut bacon, to grain bacon, to tempeh bacon, but no one has made a commercial seitan bacon until now. I can’t wait to make BLTs and benedicts with it!
Beyond Meat is finally here as well! Technically, it’s been here for a few weeks, so you’ve probably seen it on the shelves at stores around town, but I know that both Rabbit Food Grocery and Wheatsville definitely have it in stock!
Sophie’s Kitchen’s lineup of vegan seafood products just keeps getting bigger and bigger! I spotted coconut shrimp and fish sticks at Wheatsville the other day, right alongside their vegan crab cakes, fish filets, calamari and prawns. Is there a seafood product they can’t make out of konjac?

Vegan Cake Balls at Sugar Circus!New Menu Items:
– Have you had a chance to check out the adorable little East side bakery Sugar Circus yet? Well if you haven’t, this is the perfect excuse: vegan cake balls! These little moist marvels come in three vegan flavors: double chocolate, vanilla chocolate and cookie dough. Eat one or eat a dozen, it’s up to you!
– My favorite local tempeh company and my favorite local Indonesian restaurant have teamed up to bring you tons of tasty tempeh creations! Head on over to Java Noodles on E Oltorf, and add organic tempeh from The Hearty Vegan to any dish!

Vegan Ramen at Daruma RamenRestaurant News:
– We’ve got not one, but two vegan ramen options up in this town! I reviewed the ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya last week, so I thought I should stop by Daruma Ramen to compare. The two ramens couldn’t have been more different. From what I can gather from people who know more about ramen than I do, Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s vegan ramen is a more traditional take, while Daruma Ramen tries to do something a little different with a sweet potato broth and salad toppings. If you have a chance to check out both, let me know what you think.
– The Daily Juice in Hyde Park is now a Juiceland, and while I’m super sad that they got rid of all the awesome menu items like the nachos, I’m super happy with the new items in the salad case. I hope I see more food options from them in the future, cuz sometimes it’s nice to grab a  meal to go with my ice cream.
– You may have seen them at Texas VegFest, but did you know that Unity Vegan Kitchen is planning on opening up a vegan food trailer sometime this summer? After trying their vegan cannoli at VegFest, I for one, am very excited to see what they plan on bringing to the Austin vegan scene.

World Wide Vegan Bake SaleUpcoming Events:
– Free this Saturday, April 20th? Why not head on over to the annual Gathering of the Tribes at Pease Park? It’s a large vegan potluck that gathers a good chunk of the different Austin veg groups together in one place. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet some new friends!
– The 2013 World Wide Vegan Bake Sale in Austin is going to be held on Sunday, April 28th at not one, but two locations! Sign up to bake something here, then head over to MonkeyWrench Books or Counter Culture to drop off your goods. The money raised will go towards helping the animals at Sunny Day Farms!
ATX Vegan Drinks goes south of the border next month with a special “Drinko de Mayo” event at the Vegan Nom on Friday, May 3rd! Come join us for piñata smashing, food specials, music, and BYOB fun.

forAnima Vegan Marketplace

New Websites:

- ForAnima.com is a new all-vegan online marketplace. With food, beauty, clothing and home goods all in one place, you can conveniently browse for new and exciting vegan products. They have a blog, recipe, service directory and community section of their website too, so you get a little bit of everything, all from one site.

- Vegan Food is Everywhere is an interesting new food mapping website that shows, in a very visual way, that in fact, vegan food is everywhere. The Austin section is lacking, though, so if you have some free time, get on there and let the world know how much awesome food we offer!

Vegan Adventures at Ramen Tatsu-Ya!

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Vegan Ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Ramen must be the new it-food, because it’s all I’ve been hearing about lately. Luckily, vegans are not being left out of this growing food trend. Austin’s got not one, but two vegan ramen options in town!

Line to get in the door at Ramen Tatsu-Ya

The first vegan ramen we decided to get our hands on was at Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Only available on Sundays, and sold out within hours of opening, the vegan ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya was phenomenal. The ramen consisted of a soy-based vegan broth, shredded red pepper, spinach, tofu, brussels sprouts, corn, menma (pickled bamboo shoots), woodear mushrooms and of course noodles! The line outside was daunting, but we were so glad we braved the half hour long wait, just to get inside this little ramen shop.

Modern Decor at Ramen Tatsu-YaOnce inside this adorable and modern restaurant, we were ushered down the line to order our drinks first. There was a bevy of imported drink options including green tea, unique sodas, and japanese beers (Barnivore tells me that both Sapporo and Asahi are vegan friendly)! With drinks in hand, we made our way to the cashier, who helpfully informed us that the vegan items on the menu include the edamame, the veggie ramen, and the cocopioca (a coconut tapioca dessert). A vegan appetizer, entree, and dessert option! We were sold.
 
 

Menu Board at Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Once our orders were placed, we were given a number and assigned a table. A short while later, our steaming bowls of ramen arrived. We tucked into our delicious food, and quickly realized why people take their ramen so seriously. The broth was the perfect temperature, the vegetables were still crisp, and the noodles were al-dente.  I finally understood why they don’t offer take-out – the noodles would go soggy. It all started to make sense as to why people were willing to stand in a long line, not begrudingly, but with an air of excitement, like we were waiting for a ride at Disneyland. I happily became a ramen convert.

Cocopioca Dessert with Strawberries

Ross and Dan dig into their vegan ramen

 

For those looking to experience Ramen Tatsu-Ya themselves, take a moment to become acquainted with Ramen protocol (taken from the Ramen Tatsu-Ya online menu), then go forth and enjoy!

Ramen Guide from Tatsu-Ya

Update 4/15/13: We headed back to Ramen Tatsu-Ya yesterday, to get our hands on some more delicious ramen, and learned that the salad is vegan (though it may contain non-vegan sugar), and that if you’re even remotely a garlic fan, you should order the extra garlic option. It’s a ton of garlic (enough for two or three people) that comes in a little box with its own garlic press, and it’s the perfect addition to an already amazing bowl of ramen. We also were able to confirm with Ramen Tatsu-Ya that the ramen noodles are indeed vegan, though they did mention that the Brussels sprouts and tofu were fried in a communal frier, so while they did not taste of any animal products, if the idea of that bothers you, feel free to order the ramen sans those two toppings.