Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shoreline Grill

We had a coupon for this place and Shannon's boss took us here.  Same thing both times, the mofo gnocchi.  First off, vegan gnocchi helllo, second, the veggies and light seasoning were really good.  We also shared the seared tofu and it was delicious.  Very simple, not overly spiced, on a bed of fresh veggies lined with a parsnip puree for fanciness.  They do not have a good beer selection :(  It is nice that their vegetarian selection is so incredibly cheaper than the meat selection, and that they have a whole separate menu to showcase this.  The second round of gnocchi had wild mushrooms instead of corn and it was really good.  They also have a bunch of other tasty sounding food.  Get the fresh berries with cacao nibs on top for a yummy, healthy dessert while the non-vegan fatso's eat that stupid lemon curd thing.  That was not resentment. 


Seared tofu topped with sundried tomato relish

Gnocchi with fresh veggies

Dr. Wok, Get Sum

We just moved from Austin to Cardiff, CA.  On our way out we had to use up all our groupons, the last one was for the road.. Dr. Wok.  Yummmm.  You have to drive waaaay out to hick town (not really) to get this stuff, almost 20 minutes from downtown.  Totally worth it for a bunch of vegan food you never get to eat.  We had the tofu soup that was yumalicious, so good one of our cats clawed his way into it without us noticing and ate some.. then we ate it anyways :)  The freaking red bean bananas were not fresh when we ate them so the texture was extra mushy but soooo good.  They are like that kind of dessert that is so sugary it doesn't even taste overly sweet, it just revs your body like you downed 5 red bulls in one sitting.  General Tso's tofu, nothing special considering we've had some of the best but still good.  Vegetables in garlic sauce, weird, not so good.  Important to note is that none of this was fresh, it was eaten at a rest stop in New Mexico so that is many hours of driving before eating.  The guy is really nice and the teeny shop is almost homey, we'd go back if we still lived there, drive and all.


We also had some more Get Sum Dim Sum on the way out and it was delicious.  We had the mouth watering tofu, the mouth watering, melt in your mouth, nom-nom-alicious sesame balls, the bok choy, the chinese broccoli which were good but a bit too salty with the veggie fish sauce and the bao which was regular old good.

Still Recommended

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Green Vegetarian Cuisine - San Antonio

Almost everything we have been missing in an Austin restaurant is embodied in this little place.  We went to San Antonio for the 4th of July weekend since it's our first one without family :(  It was so much fun, Riverwalk is very cool, the Alamo is kind of lame (in the summer only is what we were told) and even the buildings are so old and reminded us of Tampa.  So we ate at Green 3 times in order to give it a quality test.  That being said it is expensive, not more expensive than it's worth though.  The first time we ordered to go because we were really lost and weren't going to make it before they closed at 9pm.  We got the neatball sub, the mushroom stroganoff and some buffalo fingers with poblano ranch and chipotle mayo.  We really liked how they called most things by a regular name but it was implied vegan if there was no # next to the name, like the aioli's and such.  The stroganoff was ordered against the suggestion of the server on the phone and she was right, it was good but not great, just a creamy pasta.  The neatball sub was so amazingly delicious it was almost unbelievable.  Each bite was a consistently delicious Italian meatball covered in marinara and cheese on a toasty hoagie.  The wings were also delicious and it was a huge order, there were more than 10 wings and the poblano ranch just made them so authentic and tasty.  We were shorted the garden salad that comes with the pasta and they just guessed that the side we wanted was kale salad, which is the last thing we would ever order but wow was it amazing.  We came so close to buying the zine from them so we could get the kale salad recipe, alas we kinda supported them enough for one weekend.  The super nice server that helped us felt bad that we weren't able to get the points for our expensive order so she gave us free cupcakes, cookies and cream and peanut butter chocolate.  They were pretty good but we are no longer sweets fiends and aren't really into cupcakes, especially super sweet kinda stale ones.  The next day we went for lunch and excitedly ordered the chicken fried steak and the po' boy with poblano ranch.  We got the chili cheese fries for an appetizer, man were they good.  It is a black bean chili and home made fries, they are generous with the chili and the daiya and it's so fresh and hot the daiya actually melts.  The chicken fried steak was pretty good and we both agreed it would fool any meat eater at a Denny's, the mashed potatoes had too much spice to pair with the gravy, the gravy was great and of course, so was the kale salad.  The po' boy was very disappointing, there was some intense deliberation over this option and it was really just a huge piece of bread with fried, unseasoned tofu, and a few veggie scraps.  The coconut cilantro rice made it even worse because it was not coconutty and it was pretty dried out so it just brought down the whole meal.  With loads of poblano ranch it tasted like a yummy poblano ranch sandwich but that's not how it should be, consuming all those calories and all.  The place was really busy and the server was not all that patient and seemed pretty upset that we wouldn't just order something and leave already so this just kept adding until we thought the night before was surely a fluke and it wasn't as great as we thought.  Luckily we got some exercise in walking the Riverwalk for hours and worked up enough of an appetite for dinner.. at Green :)  We decided to go with our gut and get the darn meatball sub again because we know its good and this time it will be fresh.  We also got the 4th of July special which was supposed to be a chili cheese hotdog although the hotdog had no chili or cheese, just purple stuff that may have been cabbage.  Nevertheless, it was delicious, the bun was fluffy and the hotdog was cooked to perfection.  The special came with a side of chili cheese fries and beet potato salad, both were so tasty, very authentic.  The meat ball sub was better than we remembered, such perfect spices, texture, taste, yum.  The kale salad did not get old, for reals, so good.  Also, very commendable, we had read something about them being kosher but had not really known/cared what it meant.  We brought our own beers in and mixed it with our lemonade in their cups, they checked our beers and they were not kosher so they said the cups would be destroyed!  We felt so bad but they said it's no big deal just make sure we give them all of the contaminated items, we kinda felt like they probably threw our whole set in the burners lol.  That is cool of them though, people who are strictly kosher should appreciate it because we would appreciate vegan restaurants not putting meat on their dishes right?  Well, needless to say we will be back the next time we are in San Antonio, although next time we are going to order of the healthy menu because it sounded good, they have their own garden, and we have been fatties all weekend!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Molcas Mexican Restaurant

Finally, good Mexican!  It has been so long.  We had 2 Molcas deals about to expire so we had to stuff them in this week.  At first it sucked because we have to drive all the way to Anderson Lane and you can't use them on Fridays and at first glance they don't seem extremely vegan friendly, even with the vegetarian menu.  Then you walk in and the atmosphere is almost as bad as yelpers suggest with dirty floors and barren walls.  They are currently under construction in one of the dining rooms though so maybe they will look better afterwards.  If you sit in a corner table and/or a table by the window the look of the place is not all that significant.  They have pleasant hispanic music playing and TV's in one of the rooms.  Most importantly, they have really good food.  We feel like there are some places in town that get horrible reviews maybe just because the meat is bad but the veggies are awesome.  On Wednesdays they have a special on the fajitas for 2, so we got that and some guacamole.  The guacamole was a little over salted but still pretty good, the complimentary chips and salsa were also really good and when you mixed the two the saltiness evened out.  The fajitas were awesome, we each got our own little plate of black beans, white rice, pico de gallo, lettuce and guacamole.  We got 8-10 corn tortillas and a medley of veggies.  There were mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, yellow and green squash, broccoli, and supposed asparagus, not sure about that.  Each vegetable was obviously freshly cut and cooked, it even came out sizzling, not like some places where it seems like the veggies are frozen.  The rice and beans are really good too, it is white rice cooked to perfection and black beans with a little spice.  Today we went for lunch and got the chile rellenos, veggie tacos, and a fried avocado taco.  As expected, the veggie tacos were like the fajitas but in 2 tortillas and with lettuce, very good and filling.  Plus we got a side of mole sauce and a side of pipian sauce and they were delicious individually and mixed.  The mole sauce is the delicious, creamy sauce we would expect, just slightly subordinate to Miguel's mom's mole sauce.  We had never tried pipian sauce but it sounded good and it was, a blend of cinnamon and lime flavors with pumpkin seeds.  The fried avocado taco was way better than torchy's and was actually more filling than it sounded, be sure to ask for no cheese or cream.  The meal of the hour was the mushroom and spinach chile relleno, mmm.  The texture was reminiscent of chicken parmesan with the mix of breading and salsa but the taste was out of this world.  First off it's huge, it is plentifully stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions and smothered with a complimentary salsa.  We felt like these are the types of places where the groupon was a good idea because we never would have tried it otherwise but we will definitely be back.  One thing Florida didn't have was good Mexican and now we have found it!  It is really rare to order something vegan in a Mexican restaurant and not feel like it would be way better with the cheese but this food didn't taste like it should have been made any other way.


Biscuits and Groovy - after groupons

We bought 3 groupons for Biscuits and Groovy when it came out because the first time we were pretty impressed with at least one of our orders.  Now we have used all three and it is safe to say that their biscuits and gravy are not that great.  The people working there are really nice and they did try, but no.  We ordered the Johnny Hash, the Gloria Gaynor, the Donna Summer and the burrito.  We usually had the problem of the biscuits being undercooked, to the point of being doughy and one time eating a bit of flour.  We always had the problem of the cheese not being melted, even when we said we were in no hurry and could wait as long as it took for the cheese to melt, ps they were using Veggie Shreds instead of Daiya today, not sure if that's permanent.  We usually had the problem of not enough gravy and sometimes not enough ingredients, just a small strip down the middle.  We often had the problem of missing ingredients, they would charge us the $9 for the Gloria Gaynor but leave off the tofu scramble, the second cheese, the bacon and the chives.. well then you don't even quite have the $7 Village biscuit.  Then they would tell us you have to specify that you still want them to put the vegan version on rather than just taking the meat version off, but today we specified each thing and they looked at us like we're crazy and still no second cheese.  The first time we specified that we want the biscuits extra cooked they actually made them brown and they were perfect, today when we asked we just got the regular undercooked kind.  We did actually get a decent amount of gravy today though, enough where you could actually taste the bootlegger ale.  Now, for the only reason we may ever be back, the burrito!  You still run into the same problem of them just leaving off ingredients, maybe they think you won't notice?  It is darn good though.  It is a reasonable $4 for any ingredient you want, wrapped in a tortilla.  We ordered every vegan ingredient on the menu except jam both times but the first time one of the ingredients they left off was the soyrizo so it was a different flavor.  The first one was more like the biscuits but with way less carbs and the cheese was able to melt completely, plus we didn't add salsa.  The second one we did add salsa to kick it up but didn't realize what the soyrizo would add so it was spicy a very yummy.  They had obviously left out the gravy and a bunch of other stuff because with 10 ingredients it was still skinny, but it was more of a mexican breakfast burrito and the first one was American?  Either way it was good and you feel like you are actually getting what you want for a smaller price than the most popular items.  So we may be back, especially since we have some %50 off coupons from Scoutmob and they are adding some new items soon.

Still Recommended

Orlando Restaurants

This was a side not from the Counter Culture post but too long so now it gets it's own post: we have grown a greater appreciation for Orlando because while their options were scant, they were delicious.  They have a coffee shop called the Drunken Monkey where they make an amazing philly cheesesteak with firm, chopped seitan,  loads of peppers and onions and nayonaise is mixed with the cheese to more accurately mock the real thing.  We had one vegan brunch place, Ethos, but it had everything, think snack bar from before, then subtract the meat.  Vegan biscuits and gravy, rotating flavored pancakes, sausage, canadian bacon, tofu scramble, unlimited coffee refills with all the organic fixins, etc.  It was packed every Sunday but it was always worth the wait.  Then we had the vegan hot dog dude (probably homeless) in a broken down hot dog cart in downtown, Neveah, they were the freaking best hot dogs even the meat eaters had ever had.  We would travel to the city especially to eat these puppies, he would keep the ingredients hot so the cheese was already melted and he just poured it on, generously.  He wasn't official so he had no hours or a specific location (or twitter) but just showed up downtown around 10pm most nights and you hoped he would be there after your long drive.  The chinese was insanely better and you could get great tofu at any chinese restaurant in any strip mall on every corner.  We had this one chinese restaurant, Garden Cafe, where the vegan chef had traveled all over the world and studied under different chefs and learned how to make everything vegan.  They warn you when you sit down that's it's all vegetarian because apparently some people didn't even know it wasn't meat and they don't have a special name for each meat they are immitating.  They have many types of vegan fish, vegan lamb, vegan chickens, vegan oysters.  He would use a different type of homemade "meat" depending on the dish, so the almond chicken would have wheat meat and the sweet and sour chicken would have a tofu blend, the oysters were made of mushrooms, whatever suited the flavors.  Then there was the "vegan lady" as we called her, although her trailer was called Food For Smile.  It was an Indian food trailer that was only open for lunch.  Trailers don't work the same way in Florida though because you have to have a home base or main restaurant for sanitary purposes.  So each day she would make a different meal and that was what you had, no choices.  She would come up with a menu for the week and post it on facebook so that you at least got some advance notice, plus she would add whether it was gluten or nut free.  For $6 you got a main dish, a side item, a halwa for dessert and a homemade chutney.  Oh how we took it all for granted.
As a side note, since this is off topic anyway.  We are at 60 posts since this blog was started!  That represents more than 60 restaurants because while there is this post and some repeats, we don't even remember to post some, and some include more than one restaurant and the first post has more than 20, hey zues.  We really are making our way through Austin, perhaps underestimating how many restaurants this place actually holds.  Imagine how many thousands that represents in eating out, nevermind, bad thoughts.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Counter Culture

It's pretty sad to admit but we really just don't like Austin's favorite vegan trailer all that much.  It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's missing that special something.  We had not given this place a legitimate shot yet since we only ever came here for special events so today we did and even paid full price.  We got the philly seitan and it was alright but pretty disappointing.  Compared to the one we could get in Orlando or for that matter make at home, was unimpressive.  The seitan seemed to be an implementation of the most basic seitan recipe on the web, the cashew cheese just added to the mushiness of the seitan and didn't add anything good to the flavor.  The onions and peppers were barely there, skinny, and burnt.  The bread was pretty but really didn't do much to enhance the flavor.  Overall, the effort was there but it all needs some refining to make it worth the money.  On a lighter note, we also got the fourth of July tart and it was delicious.  It was a tasty, coconutty, chewy disk topped with cashew creme, blueberries and strawberries.  We will continue to try to like this place but no promises, perhaps the other desserts will prove more appealing than the entrees.