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.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blue Dahlia Bistro

Yes, this is another "why on earth have we not been here yet?!" moment.  So our $10 off coupon expires today so we went for happy hour yesterday, they have a really good happy hour.  We got the vegan plate for 2 which included a heaping pile of grainy tabbouleh, a big scoop of hummus, a ramekin of sun dried tomatoes, a ramekin of olives, 2 slices of baguette, 2 slices of cranberry raisin bread and 2 slices of olive bread all atop mesclun greens.  It was much larger than we expected  and very filling.  Plus we got a bottle of merlot for $10 which was nothing special but not bad at all.  Out of pure curiosity, not hunger, we ordered one of their $4 happy hour sandwiches, the brie with walnuts and apricot preserves, sub tofu for brie.  It was pretty bland since they just put a raw slab of tofu but we definitely appreciated how nothing in the meal tasted overly sweet or salty so a couple shakes of black pepper and a dip in the delicious red wine vinegar and it was all good.  We can't wait to go back and try their vegan ravioli!  They have vegan pesto, vegan bread, vegan dessert and they are very knowledgeable about the vegan substitution secrets.  It doesn't seem like the atmosphere could be all that great from the front since it's on a boring, semi-busy road and the inside is like a coffee shop but the back patio is completely fenced in and has a fountain and garden and they even have a noise machine making birdy and bug noises which really does set the mood.  The misters and fans made it feel perfect outside.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We took a staycation at the Omni downtown for Shannon's birthday and our monthiversary combined.  We chose the omni because of the roof top pool but will likely be back for the mofo breakfast.  Although it's not included so maybe we can just eat there and stay at our own house..  Anyway, at first glance the breakfast seems expensive since the continental breakfast is $11 and it's $16 if you want everything.  Of course the extra $5 is for the breakfast meats, eggs, french toast, special omelet maker, steel cut oats and potatoes.  So we asked if we could just pay for the continental breakfast and still have potatoes and oatmeal and our anonymous server obliged.  The potatoes were so good and there was a choice of quartered new potatoes or hashbrowns, both cooked with peppers and onions.  Plus they had 3 homemade salsas and we snuck some of the omelet toppings into our potatoes so we had spinach and jalapenos too.  If you think about what a regular restaurant charges for a side of potatoes, and most of them aren't as good or all you can eat, you really start to appreciate the value.  Then the so called continental breakfast turned out to be this amazing array of healthy, fresh and delicious foods that we most definitely squeezed $11 out of.  This section included 3 types of Kashi cereal, every other cereal in the mini boxes, soymilk, 6 types of fancy jellies, almond butter, cashew butter, home made french baguette, sourdough, wheat, and a seedy wheat.  They had 6 different fresh fruits all separated into their own display, including raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, honey dew, cantaloupe, and pineapple.  Then they had dried apricots, cranberries and yellow raisins and to top it all off they had gluten free cereal, granola, english muffins, rolls and bread.  Keep in mind this is just the vegan stuff, not including the goat butter and other vegetarian delights, oh and also remember this is all you can eat!  We usually get our money's worth at buffets and we succeeded here eating so many fresh berries and plates full of taters.  It was really so good and goes along with the ultra courteous staff you would usually find at a nice hotel so it was that much better.  They told us that since everything is cooked in house they will accommodate any vegan to the best of their abilities but they are able to do this even more so at lunch and dinner.  So we will be back, especially since has a certificate for their dinner.  Also, the next time we are wondering where to go for a big, amazing brunch, we have our answer.


Austin Java

This is probably the first vegan version of Austin Java since the last time wasn't all that impressive.  We realized that in Vero Beach, where we're from, if a restaurant isn't really really good you will probably still go to it just because there are only a few choices.  In Austin, there are so many choices that if you don't stand out in taste or quality then you go to the back burner, behind 50 other restaurants.  So that is what happened to Austin Java.  We actually only went there at someone else's request.  We ordered the steel cut oats with fresh fruit and that new Honduras coffee that has blown up their twitter feed.  Their coffee is probably the biggest disappointment since it's a coffee place, but it's really just because the workers don't refresh the coffee often enough.  We like to test all of the different types before choosing and 2 of the samples were cold, although the Honduras did end up being the best.  They also had soy milk, always a plus.  The steel cut oats took a while to make but were pleasantly surprising.  The fresh fruit is a delicious and generous mix of strawberries and blueberries.  A ramekin of brown sugar and one of raisins is included as well as a slice of wheat toast and some jelly and butter.  We didn't even eat the toast because it was so filling so no word on whether vegan butter was even an option.  It was quite good and really impressed our guest.  We also noticed all of the vegan options on the menu now that we were looking.

Still Recommended


We went here during lunch today so we could catch them during their 3 hour window of openness.  We joined the line of many wrapping around the little trailer.  Even Chi'lantro was there and this place had the longest line.  The hummus of the day was tomato basil although it pretty much tasted like hummus, fresh hummus, we went for the spinach artichoke hummus but they had none :(  Anyway, to be healthy and all, we ordered the Turkish salad with one falafel ball and extra hummus rather than tzatziki and spicy sauce that has only "a little bit of dairy."  The salad was described as having romaine lettuce but was littered with arugula and other lettuci.  The falafel was pretty good although, don't listen to people telling you it's the best they've ever had because it just sets your expectations too high.  The jalapeno hummus was good and the flavor was apparent.  Mixed with the veggies, the hummus made the salad really good and with an occasional bite of falafel there were a lot of yums.  The olives were unusually yummy, maybe because the last 10 times we've had kalamata olives was via Panera..  Overall, we probably won't be back.  It is sad when you pay more for a vegan salad than an 8 inch gyro and it may very well be the non-vegan sauces that are taking this place up a notch in others eyes.  Also, for the picky vegan, it doesn't seem like it's possible that there is no contact with the meat unless the workers are careful, which they may be.  For the gluten free vegans, they have Zucchini Tuesdays where they offer gluten free zucchini fries for $4-$5, you get less than 10.


That's right, an actual picture!  The Turkish Salad at Kebabalicious.

Thai Passion - Downtown

Just a quick note.  The coconut mango rice is bigger and better at this location.  The dishes are a bit more salty but so delicious.  This time we had the Panang Curry and the Gang Jeudwoonsen soup.  Both were really good and the curry tasted similar to the last curry but with different vegetables.  We added pea pods, carrots, bell peppers and a few others but only ended up getting a few a piece so not really worth it.  The Chang beer was pretty good and went well with the food. 
Still Recommended

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Second Bar + Kitchen

Yes we are now snobby upscale people.  As it turns out, all of this wanting for some good vegan food in Austin can be answered for the right price.  The staff at Second Bar + Kitchen was given a few days advance notice and a list of likes/dislikes and they used their time wisely.  This meal was stupendous.  Unfortunately their special was a beef tartare so the truffle fries weren't technically vegan but at least they said so.  The corn gazpacho was just OK, it was like a pico de gallo turned soup and was slightly oversalted.  The entree consisted of a vegan "steak" made of beets, grilled tomtatoes, mushrooms and a sweet and spicy sauce that was a little sticky so that it all held together, wow.  The side "salad" was a grilled and sauteed brussel sprout medley, the leaves were torn so that it was in a pile and the distinct and delectable flavors were toasted almonds and pureed apple.  The icing on the cake was the side of black truffled grits.  Wow, wow, wow.  This was heaven.  The chef came out to ask how it turned out and everyone seemed to care whether or not the vegan food was up to par.  Oh how it was.  The vegan dessert was an arrangement of sliced Texas grapefruits covered in poprocks with 2 scoops of grapefruit sorbet balancing on top.  The poprocks actually crackled the whole time and they added a really important sweetness that mellowed out any sour that would come from the juicy grapefuit.  The sorbet was good but it was not as notable as the rest.  Of course this is said with a certain snobbery that develops when one is spoiled with amazing food.  Oh boy will we be back, perhaps going out to eat once a week and paying top dollar for amazing food is better than going out more frequently but settling for less.  Time to go play polo and starch the knickers then, cheers.


La Condesa

Yesterday was Shannon's birthday, just a short time after the La Condesa groupon so we called the day before and headed on over.  The atmosphere is very clean, comfortable and chic.  It was more casual than we were expecting but still a classy place.  Just as Shannon was saying how much she hated arugula, out came the vegan platter.. littered with arugula.  We had fried corn masa, topped with creamed sweet corn, tomatoes, onions, green beans and arugula.  An arugula salad that was described as similar to one offered on their regular menu with toasted pumpkin seeds, a bit of couscous, fresh peaches and oranges, and a delicious lemon dressing.  Grilled eggplant (the only thing Shannon hates more than arugula) atop sliced peaches, mint and cooked lemons.  Then a delightful pile of grilled asparagus topped with shaved jicama, mango and chile powder.  Let us just say, this was all outrageously good.  Any thought of hating arugula was out the window because this was the best arugula ever, it perfectly added to the fresh, sweet lemon flavor and the ripe and juicy peaches, this was by far Miguel's favorite.  The way the arugula added to the fried masa was another feat because it had no dressing at all but the apparent pepper flavor paired with the slightly pickled onions and crispy corn flavor like magic.  Another trick they performed last night was the eggplant, we have never liked eggplant after giving it many chances but out of left field this was Shannon's favorite (tied with the masa).  It acted like tofu by soaking up the grilled flavor but with a new texture that was tough but so smooth.  The asparagus couldn't even compete with these titans of flavor so it was just a great side dish, plain and simple.  We called ahead of time to ensure Shannon got a birthday dessert and boy howdy did she, that's fancy talk for "it was really good."  Anyway, we each got a small glass of 3 scoops of the best sorbet ever.  2 scoops of dark chocolate and 1 scoop of coconut, yum.  As if we weren't already on cloud nine at this point, we get the bill and we have $6 left to spend before using up our $50 groupon.  We go with the $6 guacamole with chipotle and toasted almonds.  When you frequent as many restaurants as we do you come to expect some dishes to taste pretty much the same no matter where you go, guacamole being one of them.  Thank you La Condesa for throwing that out the window with this almost tex mex inspired, after dinner appetizer.  The avocados were perfect to the normal standards but the spicy, smoky flavor of the chipotle sauce and the added smoke and crunch of the almonds just sent this guac over the edge.  It was literally finger licking good, fortunately we took this to go so we were licking our fingers in the comfort of our own home!  Overall, this was a culinary experience not to be missed by vegan or meat eater.  That being said, we would have to limit this type of dining to a yearly, or perhaps a semi-annual event.  The cheapest cocktail was $8 and the cocktails we wanted were $12, and it just kept going up from there.  The wine was moderately priced, we managed to get a bottle of red wine for $28 which is not bad and it tasted great.  One of their "things" is their tequila selection but the prices were too high to even look at the menu.  Each vegan plank was $18 and was too light to share.  We have seen other vegans get tofu on their planks though so perhaps it could be possible with a hearty request.  It may also be worth mentioning that their coffee smelled delicious and almost compelled us to order it but we had bellies full of wine and couldn't possibly pour more liquid on top.    


Friday, June 17, 2011

Satay, Thai Passion, Bananarchy

So this is quite a trio, it made for a delicious weekend. 


We had Bananarchy coupons that were about to expire so we went twice in a row.  It sucks to be forced to have dessert but it was pretty darn good so we won't complain.  OK so there is some complaining, but not much.  So first off the hype of this place wasn't quite met so it was a bit disappointing in that sense.  It is just a normal banana, covered in sugary chocolate and there is nothing above average from there.  We agreed that we prefer our frozen bananas to be a little more squishy on the inside but that is probably hard to keep up with in a trailer.  Also, we prefer simpler bananas and these were a bit over the top.  You couldn't even taste the banana because of the mound of chocolate it was covered in and because we had to spend $10 for our coupon we had to pile toppings on top of that.  Now for the good stuff, you get that really nice sugar buzz afterwards and no bad taste so they must use good quality ingredients.  The GOB is delicious, we added coffee to it and it counteracts that sugary chocolate perfectly.  They sort of messed up the order so we apparently got more toppings than most and man was it good.  The salty peanuts counteract the sweetness as well.  Then we had the custom order of oreos, peanuts, and coconut but they accidentally added cinnamon.  The cinnamon ruined it but we had already said it was OK so oh well.  If you are like us and don't like your sweets overly sweet, don't add anything sweet to your banana.  Then the Joe Banana with coconut instead of toffee since it's not vegan.  This banana was really good, the crunchy coffee with the cinnamon, yum.  You could not taste the coconut and there was a lot of chocolate.  Overall, they were fun to eat and in the future we would probably get the half and keep it simple for more enjoyment :)


Thai Passion

Oops this is going backwards from the title but let's just say we're saving the best for last ;)  So we were in the mood for "chinese" food, which with our lack of experience in the Asian world means all Asian food so we dug through the groupons and picked Thai Passion.  Of course we are sauntering along through the 100 degree whether and got half way to 6th Street before Shannon checked the address and saw the coupon was only good at the South IH-35 location, grr.  So we sweat our way back home and get in the car because you can't stop us now.  We really have never legitimately eaten Thai food before, one time in Orlando we ate at Royal Thai and the flavors were so sour and gross we wrote it off.  Well Thai Passion rekindled the faith.  Hey-zues.  We started the meal off with rice balls and fried tofu, yum and yum.  For our entrees we got a bowl of Tom Yum and the Tofu Mus Mun curry, insert singing angels.  The Tom Yum was a little weird, the sour was literal sour but once we got used to it it was all good from there.  The Mus Mun curry was outstanding, everything we love from curry but not too thick and stuffed with the perfect vegetables.  We also got a thai tea with coconut milk and it was the best one we've ever had, even though it was only like number 3, trust us, very good.  Then it was dessert time and Miguel was apprehensive about ordering rice for dessert but he had no choice because Shannon ordered the sticky coconut rice with mango before he could object.  We were in heaven at this point.  Who would have thought that hot rice with fruit could be good?  Well it's more than good, this meal was just an overall taste sensation.  We will most definitely back, next time to the much closer downtown location but hey the Southern one was near a lot of shopping so that was fun.



So you may be wondering how it could get better after that glowing review.  Well it just can so there.  Apparently Thai food is just out of this world and we've been missing out.  What really caused us to enjoy Satay so thoroughly was a combination of atmosphere, service and food pairings!  We were greeted inside by 2 very friendly looking women, one being the hostess.  We asked if we could sit outside and they said of course, they would prefer if we did since they have a garden out there.  So we sat down and our server came and she just about ruined the beginning for us.  She was not very knowledgeable, very insincere and seemed slow.  We were starving so we ordered the Miang Khum for an appetizer, it was extremely light, as in a few spinach leaves with some toppings, but it was really good.  We had just about decided on what to order when the owner, Foo, came out and offered her help.  We told her what we were thinking about and she steered us in the right direction, even suggesting added vegetables and an extra pepper, to really refine the taste.  Apparently, her and her family are all vegans so we felt safe ordering with her.  One of her specialties is her ability to pair food with wine so before she left we got a suggestion.  She suggested a pinot noir that was the best we've had on it's own, but paired with the food made magic.  Miguel ordered one of "Foo's Recommendations" the Laksa Noodle Soup which was amazing.  The perfect curry with vermicelli, tofu, veggies and soupy, definitely Miguel's favorite combination of food.  Shannon ordered the Bataan Delight with an extra chili to add heat.  It was delicious on it's own but the wine really ignited the flavor for this entree, it was really amazing.  Then we finished off the meal with some black, sticky coconut rice and it was really good.  They have more vegan desserts that we will try next time, including a black silk pie, yum.  We talked some more with Foo when she came out to ask how it was, she told us of her travels in Paris and through France and how her world was opened up when she learned what wine could do for food.  Well, we agree and we are glad it happened!  The best thing about Foo's role in all this is she really limited how much time we had to spend ordering from and talking to our server so that was nice and the hostess even came out to check that everything was great so we really felt welcome.  Overall, it was a perfect night and we eat here every night if didn't limit the use to once a month, ha!  Satay has been added to the list of the few restaurants in Austin we would go to daily if we were rich :)


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Snack Bar - Last time

Since the credit card was maxed out for the weekend the options were limited to available groupons and gift certificates.  We had really wanted to try the ricemilk french toast with ice cream last time so the Snack Bar it was.  This is the last time we will visit the Snack Bar.  We have been there 3-4 times and each time we have a different server and each time it is a bad experience.  The server is always spacey and forgetful and not all that helpful.  This time the server suggested the lavender scone and brought out a cranberry scone that may or may not have had lavender but if she said it had cranberries, it would have been a different story.  Once again they don't ask about customization so out came french toast with ice cream on Italian bread.. with sesame seeds.  Weird.  Then even though we had originally ordered the crepes and the ice cream on the french toast, she could swear she heard we wanted ice cream on the scone?  You may be wondering what is so bad about all these little things?  Well first of all it is way too expensive to be having to deal with things we don't want, next it is increasingly annoying to get this kind of service consistently.  Lastly, after watching the server dance outside for 10 minutes, forgetting drink refills, menu requests, etc. she promptly returned with the bill and said "I don't want to rush you but can you cash out now because I need to get to my next job?" yea it happens, but then she proceeded to wait to grab the receipt with the tip on it so she could leave.  It just felt very rude and it seemed like if she would have dropped the receipt off before leaving to dance it would have taken the rush out of paying out.  Overall, the end of the Snack Bar run.  They have vegan food, some of it's good, but we won't be doling anymore cash out to them.

The Woodland

In an attempt to try a new Austin restaurant we went to the restaurant we have been hearing about, hearing that it has a tree inside, but hearing none the less.  Well before you get too excited about the tree, it's fake.  Lame.  Anyway, things started off a little rocky because the place was dead, the tree was fake, they had half price bottles of wine but were out of the first 2 bottles we ordered.. Then we ordered the french white wine and it was soo good it made everything seem brighter.  The menu was diverse and interesting and had everything our group was craving.  Grits for the deprived Californian, chicken for the anti-fish person, pot pie for the Southerner and veganizeable food yay.  So the vegan dish of the night was a stuffed tomato filled with orzo, spinach, mushrooms and fresh basil.  It was accompanied by a side of tarragon jus which sent it over the edge.  The tomato was perfectly cooked so that you could cut into it and eat it in bites with the stuffing.  The wine also paired well with this savory dish.  Then the trickers pretended the top of the keylime pie was vegan and just before setting it on the table remembered it has gelatin :P  All of their crust has butter in it so they have nothing for the vegans.  They did send a request to start some vegan pies though so let's cross our fingers.  Overall we will be back, the food was gourmet delicious and literally everyone of us cleaned our plates.  We were a difficult bunch that customized everything and they didn't get anything wrong.  Best of all even though the tomato usually comes with cheeses stuffed in, it was not missing any flavor without the cheese and it was still really filling.  Overall, we will definitely be back and of course as is often the case, we are kicking ourselves for not trying this before!  Note: they also have a vegan, house made burger.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Zandunga Bistro

Happy Anniversary to us!  We are celebrating our 2 year anniversary, although it is a bit early.. Shannon is going to France for our anniversary so we have to celebrate a week ahead :(/:)  So we decided on Zandunga Bistro because, for one, the owner said we could have a free guava agave margarita.  For two, the vegan entrees sounded mouth watering.  It was a little sketchy at first because the last time we went (for 50 cent margaritas) the service was hardly friendly and the drinks were teeny, then when Shannon called to make reservations the woman was pretentious and borderline rude.  Regardless, we went during happy hour and got half off our guacamole appetizer, which came with delicious pickled onions, orange and lime slices, mangoes, tomatoes and jalapenos.  Chips and salsa are complimentary so that always wins us over too.  After our huge guac appetizer we order the Vegetable Mixiote and the vegan Aguacate Relleno.  Mostly just because we wanted to try them both because geez was the guacamole filling.  The mixiote was a mix of gourmet veggies with an exceedingly gourmet sauce dotted beside the banana leaves that held the veggies.  The mixiote also came with a salad, consisting of the most delicate of greens and topped with pickled onions and cherry tomato slices.  The vegan version of the Aguacate Relleno was a dream come true as far as getting to try a stuffed avocado.  The white rice was a much better version of the kind we make at home and the black bean puree was a perfect compliment.  The avocados were thick and ripe but a little overkill after the guacamole, so get one or the other.. can't decide which one!  They were stuffed with corn and what looked like the house salsa.  We were hoping for the mushrooms and sweet peppers the meat eaters got, and maybe we got them, but it didn't seem so.  Still a great dish, very filling and tasty.  The drinks that accompanied this fine meal included our complimentary guava agave margarita, which Miguel loved and ordered again, and the frozen Mojito.  The frozen mojito is better than it sounds because it is delicious and the mint sprigs are still apparent in the taste and the texture.  Our server came and offered us dessert and we cried a little after she told us there were no vegan options but we were overwhelmingly surprised when she came back and told us to expect a special treat for dessert.  She brought us out an amazingly delicious mango, strawberry ravioli with coconut creme, topped with mexican coconut.  It consists of two, square mango slices sandwiching chopped strawberries, topped with basil and sprinkled with coconut.  It was both visually appealing and palate pleasing, and amazingly we remembered to take a picture before devouring it!  We sat outside, which was nice until the sun was in our eyes but after 7pm (end of happy hour) the sun went down and the atmosphere ignited.  The hole-y tables outside were inconvenient because when the salsa drips it is right in your lap, so be a proper diner and put the napkin in your lap.  Overall it was a great experience, great food, great service and free stuff, which always keeps us coming back.  We will be back!


Mango-strawberry ravioli topped with basil and mexican coconut with coconut creme on the sides

Monday, April 25, 2011

Maggiano's, Gypsy Lounge, Copa Bar and Grill

Yes, it was an expensive weekend, but it was our 7 year 4 month dating monthiversary or 1 year 11 month wedding monthiversary.  Plus it was Easter, which turned out to be the most expensive day ever.  

Copa Bar and Grill
So for our monthiversary we decided to use a groupon to Copa Bar and Grill.  The dinner menu did not seem that veg friendly, but the lunch one did so we figured they could accommodate.  While they can accommodate they do not offer items from the lunch menu at dinner.  So we had to make something up.  Well we made up the most stupendous dish you could imagine.  Our initial reaction was, how sad this place is empty on a Saturday night.  Then we got out free chips and salsa and they were not good, then we ordered guacamole and it consisted of a few small scoops on a bed of iceberg lettuce.  It tasted old and flavorless and so we were a little worried.  The drinks were OK to start off with but really expensive.  We tried paradise, pisco smash, and a long island, blech.  The fact that we were the only people in the restaurant was pretty awkward since everyone took turns checking up on us every 5 minutes.  Then magic happened.  Miguel ordered the best drink on the face of the Earth, the Spicy Manguito.  It was soooo good, it has fresh mint, a lot of limes, mango rum and mango juice with a spicy/sweet rim.  Then dinner came out and more magic ensued.  We ordered the veggie mole enchiladas, which are not on the menu but we just asked for them with rice and beans and got it.  Even better, they did not charge us $13 for the chicken enchiladas and just subtract the chicken, they actually brought down the price to less than $9.  Anyway, they were stuffed with sauteed spinach and the corn tortillas were thick and durable and so delectable.  The sauce was perfect and even the vegetable filled rice was amazing.  We were so happy with our meal we almost got another.  Overall, we will be back not only because we have more groupons but because we thoroughly enjoyed the food and would even put it up there with some of the "bests" in Austin, best latin food.  They seemed to be Brazilian or something.  Next time we will have mods though and order just the spicy manguito and 2 entrees, yum!


Gypsy Lounge

This was our first Easter without our families so we were a little lost.  Shannon did a google search to find out what Austin vegan's do on Easter and the only thing that came up was a Sunday brunch at the Gypsy Lounge.  It was called biscuits and beer, so obviously we thought it was perfect.  It was cash only, and $8 bought you 2 vegan biscuits, a vegan sausage patty, loads of vegan gravy, all you can squeeze strawberry preserves and a lone star tall boy.  It was an amazing Easter morning, even if we did have to wait until 11AM to eat.  The biscuits were fluffy and delicious, they tasted like kfc biscuits but were double the size.  Shannon got some bloody mary mix and made a Michelada out of the lone star which was delish.  Then we had some poinsettia's, champagne and cranberry to top off the perfect morning.  We will definitely be doing this again soon, the cook, Kitty, was so nice, she even gave us more biscuits when we left.



After the perfect brunch we went to meet up with Shannon's aunt and uncle at Maggiano's for an Easter lunch.  The place is gorgeous, the decor is intricate and authentic.  The service was great, very upscale.  The choices for vegans were pretty limited and confusing and this does not seem to be a place that "gets it."  Miguel ordered spaghetti with vegetables, they don't have a vegetable medley so you have to choose which veggies you want and they will charge you a couple dollars per vegetable.  Shannon tried to order the same thing with white wine sauce, but the server came back and said it had butter in it.  So then she switched to stuffed mushrooms and here is where the server went south.  He decided, forget what you want to order, the  executive chef decided he will prepare a delicious meal.  We assumed he would be making some form of the stuffed mushrooms Shannon had ordered but he did not.  He literally made the exact same thing Miguel ordered but without any sauce.  It was just dry noodles with a few veggies.. what?  Obviously that was already an option but not an appealing one, hence we did not order it, so he decides he will "make us something special" and this is it?  The best (worst) part is he still charged us for each individual vegetable even though we didn't order it.  So even though the base price for spaghetti included meat they would not replace the meat with veggies, we just paid for both.  It was insane, 2 plates of spaghetti ended up being $40 and they were not even good.  Come on, dry noodles and vegetables? we could make that at home.  It was not a good lunch.. very disappointing.  Will definitely not be back.

Not recommended

Friday, April 22, 2011

Garrido's - Restaurant Week, Sagra - reopening

So restaurant week just ended, we are probably some of the rarer vegans that still bother socializing with the meat eaters.  Not really, but we do still participate in their events and force them to accommodate.  We chose Garrido's as our victim since they already had a vegetarian friendly spread, calling ahead to confirm substitution options.  Our meal actually seemed to turn out better than the meat eaters.  The guacamole was pretty good, the rice is not vegan but the server knew this and served up 2 sides of beans instead.  She even remembered to hold the cheese on everything.  The enchiladas were really good, stuffed with really fresh veggie spears and topped with a vegan tomato sauce.  Even the complimentary chips and salsa were good, the chips were a bit stale but no one seemed to notice.  Then out came dessert, Shannon prepared as her favorite dish was served to our company (creme brulee, with mangoes!).  The server brought us some frites (fries) for our dessert so we would not be left out.  The fries were really good, the creme brulee was small and not the traditional kind that comes in a ceramic dish but rather a plop of custard.  Overall the vegan selection is pretty good, the staff is knowledgeable, and the outside patio is amazing.. you would think you were in a jungle rather than the city.  All of this for the price fixe of $12, yay.


We have always loved Sagra but since becoming vegan it was getting a little hard.  A couple weeks ago Sagra had a fire and were closed for a bit but just reopened on Wednesday.  We are both on the e-mail list so we got an invitation to free celebratory champagne, we're in!  If you ever find yourself going to Sagra, please sit outside!  The back patio has the best atmosphere and your server is the bartender, both of which are the best servers ever.  So we sat and had some free champagne and delicious, home made (and vegan) bread with white bean spread.  As though Sagra wasn't awesome enough, they now have a Vegetarian menu, and Vegan menu, AND a Gluten Free menu!  We like to think we had some influence on that since we would send the servers into the back 5 times before ordering a meal, but for whatever reason they should be applauded.  The owner even brings you the vegan menu on her nifty IPad.  So we ordered a pizza with all of the vegetables and added truffle oil, mmmm it was good.  Plus it was happy hour so the pizzas were half price.  We left full and happy since our glass of champagne became 6 glasses and our bread basket became plural and our bill stayed at half a pizza.  We will definitely go back to Sagra again, and more often, not only because it is better spelled out which of their hand made delicacies we can indulge but because they really are friendly and willingly to make you whatever you want to the best of their ability. 

Still Recommended

Home Slice - The original

So this is our first time going to the real live Home Slice, not More, not to go.  Better, but still boo.  We ordered a cheeseless pizza with artichoke hearts, broccoli, spinach, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms.  It was really good and flavorful due to the garlic, needed onions.  Something about the crust, it's just not helping.  They were being very vegan unfriendly because we ordered 2 salads, one with no cheese.  They brought both out with cheese.  Then they brought out the "vegan" pizza covered in cheese.  So an hour after getting there we finally got some darn pizza.  The meat eaters at the table liked the vegetarian version of the pizza but thought it was a little soggy.  The vegan version was not as soggy but it's definitely the crusts fault this pizza isn't amazing.  They also topped the salads with garlic knots which are not vegan friendly, then when they brought out another cheeseless salad they threw one on there too, ?.  They did make up for it by presenting us with some complimentary VEGAN dessert, italian ice.  The vegan pizza turned out to be about $26 though, so we are still firm in our decision not to return to Home Slice unless someone else is paying for it.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Freddie's Place

Freddie's Place sent us a $15 gift certificate in the mail so we biked on over for Sunday dinner.  Our previous reservations were soothed when we saw the nice patio with a lively atmosphere.  We expected it to be cheap and dirty.. probably because of their signs' mention of chicken and waffles.  We were also pleasantly surprised to have so many veg options to choose from.  They have a veggie burger and a portabella burger and they also use the portabellas in a sandwich and a version of fried chicken called Texatarian Portabellas.  We did not notice the texatarian entree until afterward so no word on whether it's vegan or not.  Miguel ordered the veggie burger with avocados, sprouts, hummus and hot wing sauce with a side of fries.  It was delicious, the wing sauce made it hard to taste anything else but it seemed like a good veggie burger.  It comes on a wheat bun and the fries are freshly cut and fried before coming out.  Shannon ordered the portabella burger with beans, guacamole and salsa with a side of sweet potato fries.  Originally she ordered it with tortillas, assuming they were corn, but got flour and as it turns out they are not even vegetarian.. so back to the wheat bun.  The portabella burger was also good, a little punier than the veggie burger but since we halved them both we got enough to eat and the flavors balanced each other out.  The fries were both so good we couldn't decide which was better, the sweet potatoes were good in all the ways you want them to be and the regular fries were the same quality but delicious for different reasons.  We snuck a peek at someones order of onion rings and woa is it huge and delicious looking.  By the end of the meal we were happy with everything and then the bill came.  Thankfully we had our gift certificate but man was that place expensive.  We hate when servers are dishonest and/or sneaky about the prices and as it turns out that's the kind we got.  Miguel specifically asked whether fries come with the burger and he said "yea you want fries, which kind?"  Which we didn't think much of until we saw there was an extra charge and almost double that charge for the sweet potato version.  We also weren't familiar with the process of ordering "fred's favorites" burgers, which suggest a topping combination to put on your burger.  Well the burger comes with cheese and the combo Miguel tried to mimic added more cheese and although we ordered no cheese we were charged for it twice and still charged additionally for other toppings.  These were good burgers but we could have eaten at the Driskill for the price 2 burgers and fries cost us!  We may be back because of the deals they have on other days and times, making it more reasonably priced.  Definitely a place to go when it's 100 degrees outside ($1.50 Margaritas).


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hickory Street, Guero's - again, The Oasis, Kerbey Lane - vegan queso, Enoteca, Cafe Medici, Kick Butt Coffee, Jo's, Salt Lick BBQ/Wheatsville Coop, Papa John's

It has been a busy two weeks, with 14 full days of non stop company.  We will do this in bulk format since there was so much eating out.  It has actually been a pretty mediocre 2 weeks of food, the food scene kept amazing our guests with it's quantity, then disappointing with the quality.  Here goes,

Hickory Street
First on the list of disappointments is Hickory Street.  We have tried to go here a couple of times are were met with rude workers telling us, without words, that the restaurant is closing early.  When we finally made it inside with Shannon's family it was pretty lame.  It looked like a crappy pizza buffet place.  The buffets are nowhere near as good as they sound.  Shannon's dad couldn't even eat the soup because it was so gross.  The best things of the night, luckily, was the black bean burger and the vegan wrap.  The olive tapenade on the wrap was delicious and the hummus and veggies were complimentary but scarce.  The server said the wrap came with a salad topped with corn salsa so Shannon did not order fries but the "salad" ended up being 3 spinach leaves and some corn kernels on top.  However when she complained the server heard and brought a bigger salad.  Miguel thought the black bean burger was a little sweet for his liking but the fries and chips were definitely favorites.  Sadly, the rest of the family even complained about the ice cream tasting funny.  Perhaps the cheap prices make more sense now?  Sit outside and don't order a bar and it should be fine, not good.

UPDATE:  We went there again to use our other groupon, we sat outside, which was nice.  It took us 2 hours to get 3 appetizers, some drinks, and the bill.  The service was so slow.  We won't be back.. not that good.

Less Recommendish

Just a note, they still did not have vegan queso.  They claim there is not enough interest for them to order more and we wonder how you gauge interest in something we can't even order because it's always sold out.  The guacamole was still old tasting so maybe that's just how it is?  The Chalupas ala Celeste are amazing, renewing our hope in Guero's just enough to try it again.

Still Recommended

The Oasis
We came here as a touristy activity, to watch the sunset and because we had a groupon.  We had to sit inside because of the crowd but the view was really nice outside.  The chips and salsa were great but we were starving so that could be the reason.  Miguel was the only person who liked his food, he ordered the veggie burger.  It was a black bean burger that was for some reason reminiscent of good quality taco bell.  Shannon ordered the soup because it was supposed to be vegan but when it came out light green with white streaks of sour cream on top, she sent it back.  The french fries were bad.  We won't be back, we will head over to Billy's Brew and Que or Soleil for our next touristy visit to this location.

Not Recommended

Kerbey Lane

Just a quick note, the vegan queso is delicious here!  We may have agreed it's better than any we've tried before, even the non-vegans were fooled.  It was more cheesy than any other and came with salsa, so it was a pretty big small.  The vegan pumpkin pancakes are still the bomb.  The veggie burger was not all that great.

Still Recommended


We had been hearing great things about this place so when our party wanted Italian we knew right where to point them.  This place is great for everyone because they have vegan pasta, gluten free pasta, and a huge selection of vegetarian dishes.  The atmosphere was great inside and out and the bar was full of the good stuff.  Miguel ordered the avocado panini and it was not very good, likely because the cheese added something important to the flavor.  Shannon ordered the funghi tagliatelle but with vegan noodles.  They were able to add in the truffle flavor without the creme so that was nice.  However the pasta was lacking in a lot of flavor, there was too much olive oil and not enough garlic or other spices.  It was also a tiny portion, not enough to share.  All the non vegans ordered dishes from vegetarian to gluten free to meaty and loved it.  The ravioli and the vegetarian version of the funghi pasta were reported to be the best.  The french fries were amazingly good and the ketchup was homemade and wonderful.  We may be back if this group wants to go again but probably not on our own.


Cafe Medici

The coffee here is horrible.  The bakery selection is meek and the hours are not convenient.  This is the Guadalupe location so maybe that's why?  Won't be back, although they should get credit for carrying vegan cookies.

Not Recommended

Kick Butt Coffee

The coffee here was OK, not the best as seems to be a trend in Austin.  The atmosphere was really cool and they also had vegan cookies.  They seemed to have veg friendly options.



This was the SoCo location, once again OK coffee.  We went twice and got an iced latte one time and hot coffee the next, both times we got the vegan chocolate chip muffin.  For some reason it didn't seem all that great but all the non vegans that tried it said they were surprised it was so good.  They apparently expected vegan food to be gross..  We want to try the bbq seitan sandwich here but the coffee never lures us in.


Salt Lick BBQ / Wheatsville Coop

Yea this sounds weird but Shannon's work had a function at Salt Lick so we brought in Wheatsville to supplement.  Make sense?  OK.  First off, Salt Lick is not as bad as it has been made out to be.  They have vegetarian and vegan options upon request and they are actually really good.  The vegan option was a vegetable creole on rice, mm.  They accidently have vegan margarine and even the coleslaw and potato salad were made without mayo.  Although the potato salad had bbq sauce in it, which contains anchovies.  We brought along a popcorn tofu platter from the Wheatsville Coop, some dolmas from Tom's, some organic vegan bbq sauce, and 2 premade fruit trays.  It was all just OK.  The popcorn tofu impressed all the non vegans but both times we have tried it now, it tastes like a refrigerator.  The strawberries and blueberries tasted dirty and old.  The melon was great, the bbq sauce tasted funny.  The dolmas were weird, they were sweet and had cinnamon, the other vegetarians liked them though.  Obviously Salt Lick can't be recommended but the Coop is full of other vegan things to try so we;ll be back.


Papa John's

We had read that Papa John's was vegan when ordered without cheese so when Shannon's work ordered it for lunch she was excited.  They even have the option of ordering a non-cheese pizza from the website.  We ordered light sauce, and all the veggies and fruits except olives and banana peppers.  The pizza was actually surprisingly good.  The office ordered 2 this time since the last time a vegan pizza was ordered the non vegans ate it all.  It would have been the case this time too since all the non-vegans agreed the vegan pizza was the best.  The combination of so many veggies really made up for the lack of sauce.  Good enough to eat again, if it's ordered by someone else.. but it's still a chain.
UPDATE: The office ordered vegan pizza again today and there were cheese sprinkles all over one pizza and we found ham on a couple slices of both pizzas!

Less Recommended

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Piranha Sushi

We went here for Miguels brothers' birthday and it was not good.  The server was annoying, it took him 3 visits to refill our drinks and he was not very knowledgeable.  They had 2 veggie rolls on the menu that sounded good but were not.  The meat eaters with us got huge rolls that filled a long plate, the veggie rolls were 4 pieces sliced too thin to pick up or dip in soy sauce.  Then the end pieces were so big you couldn't fit it in your mouth.  They tasted like salad because of the big piece of lettuce in the roll.  Really, it was just sad what they figured we would settle for.  The edamame was pretty good, a little too salty.  By the end of the meal, Miguels brother wouldn't finish his roll because he hated it, then he sulked. 
We went over to Cedar Door and had some delicious mexican martinis and chips and salsa and we were treated right over there.

Not Recommended


We have heard a lot of negative things about this place, mostly from Chipotle lovers.  Even as Chipotle lovers, we can't hate, this place is great.  They have 2 different kinds of rice, a huge array of veggie additions.  A lot of salsa choices and even grilled jalapenos and grilled limes.  Best of all, everything but the meat is vegan!  The bbq sauce is pretty good, and they have Diet Dr. Pepper.  Overall if we ever go for fast food again we will likely go here.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Clay Pit - Dinner

Shannon's boss was in town, so we ate well.  We had not been to the Clay Pit at dinner time before but lunch was so good we knew we wouldn't be disappointed.  We started off with the Pakoras, recommended by our server, but none of us are into fried stuff so it wasn't that great.  It was essentially the Indian version of tempura.  Then we ordered some wheat roti and a couple curries and dinner was on.  Miguel ordered the Aloo and Shannon ordered the Goan Curry with vegetables, both were great but Shannon's was better!  It was creamy and delicious just the way we like it.  The rice was perfect, as always.  The Roti was delicious, it tasted like our homemade crepes, but thinner. 

Still Recommended (Even more so)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Miguel's brother was in town over the weekend and it was his birthday.  He has been vegetarian for 6 months and did not even know veggie hot dogs existed!  We went to Iggi's for round one of hotdogs, and on his birthday we went to Frank.  This is a nice, swanky place, an overall great atmosphere.  There was live music that brought you back to the 50's from the sound to the clothing.  However, Miguel's brother did not appreciate that since he likes screamo.. only.  As for the menu, they charge 25 cents extra if you want a veggie dog and $1 extra if you want vegetarian chili, why?  Whatever, we were going to do it anyway but then Shannon asked which of the 4 buns were vegan and got a very bad answer.  First off, the server said "we have gluten free buns!," well that's great but I am a vegan so how does this help?  Then she says "you could just order your hot dog without a bun."  These things are only annoying because if it were her that were eating the hot dog she would probably not find a bunless hot dog very appealing either, but since we are vegans we eat weird stuff.  She checked in the back and confirmed that none of their bun choices are vegan.  So we ordered the nacho waffle fries with beans, pico and jalapenos.  Miguel's brother really liked his vegetarian hot dogs, so much so that he was convinced there is no such thing as a veggie dog and the restaurant must be lying.  Our other friend liked his meaty hot dog and we were impressed with the creme soda as well.  The beans on the waffle fries were dried up and bland, the pico was just raw tomatoes and raw onions, really the whole nacho addition detracted from the fries.  The fries were pretty good actually, very filling.  She screwed up and brought us a small, so we got a second small free, so a small is enough to fill one person.  As weird as it sounds, the ketchup was amazing.  It somehow tasted like better quality than any ketchup we have tried before but the server said it was nothing special.  We also tried, and loved, the dublin Dr. Pepper bbq sauce, mm.  Overall we will not go back there.. to pay over $4 for a slab of fake meat, or for french fries.  Although if we ended up here because of someone in our party, we won't mind eating more ketchup with some fries on top.

Not Recommended

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Iggi's Texatarian.. again!

We have company in town and one of guests is a vegetarian (yay).  We really want to make sure he gets a taste of what he's missing in his vegetarian unfriendly town.  We showed him wassup with the Dog n Ducks burger, but he's had may veggie burgers before (he did admit it was the best he'd ever had).  He had El Mercado and it was nothing special, that was sort of an accident since we thought they had drink specials.  Then he tried his first bite of vegan chorizo (he's mexicano) in his Whole Foods breakfast taco.  Of course he has been telling us how stupid we are being vegans.. because it's "so hard."  He has been craving a hot dog because for some reason they don't have vegan hot dogs where he shops and his mom makes the unvegan ones too often..  So we take him to Iggi's!  He ordered the rodeo hotdog which includes all of the ingredients they have, he loved it!  We told him about 3/4 of the way through that it was all vegan, even the mayo, cheese and queso and he didn't believe us.  We had the hot wings and man were they amazing!  Better than you would think because maybe you were picturing tiny, fake meat drenched in sauce?  Nope.  These are huge, tender chunks of seitan.  Perfectly breaded and fried, then coated with the most delicious wing sauce ever.  Shannon did not even like chicken wings before going veg and she was amazed.  The sauce had just the right amount of vinegar and the creamy ranch dressing met it half way and toned it down to perfection.  Not only did our vegetarian friend love them and was convinced they were real meat, our non-vegetarian friend also loved them.  He ordered the sweet mushroom sandwich from the asian place next door, no oohs or aahs were reported.  We love Iggi's although the blonde woman who serves the food up seems consistently indifferent and bored. 


Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Screaming Goat

This place had such a cool name and even an appealing sign, so yes marketing work and we checked it out.  They having amazing specials, very good for the budget, not so good for the foodie :(  They have a vegetarian menu, but it is a little iffy as to what is/isn't vegan.  We went on buy one get one free burrito day (Wednesday).  The burrito's were very plain, the rice was dry, the beans were scarce.  Then when we asked for some salsa it kicked the burritos up a notch or two.  The red sauce is soo good, it instantly made the burrito taste good.  By the end of the meal we were not full and although $8 is not that much for a beer and 2 burritos, it likely won't qualify as a cheap dinner again.  We had to go home and eat more so did we really save money?  Still, the burritos were not recommended, the flautas were so perhaps we'll be back to try some other stuff.  $2 for a beer is somewhat cheap.  Also, we found the atmosphere to be very quaint and homey, just the way we like it.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dog and Duck

Saturday was spring cleaning day, which included a lot of bleach to clean the grout.  Thus, we needed out of the house by the end of the day.. before our brains melted.  It was a beautiful day, just before sunset so what better atmosphere with which to enjoy the outdoors than The Dog and Duck?  The answer is none by the way.  We have technically quit drinking but Miguel can't resist a pecan porter or black IPA from time to time, that's not called alcoholism though, right?  So we enjoyed a pecan porter and some chips and salsa whilst perusing the menu trying to figure out what would still taste as good now that we are vegans.  Really, we already knew what we were getting.  The crispy, tender, melt in your mouth delicious, homemade spicy black bean burger.  We haven't tried all the vegan options but you just can't beat the burger.  The Dog and Duck seems to be a pub opened by a chef, he just couldn't decide so he decided to open a place that has good beer and good food.  Thank you to him.  We ordered the pineapple mango burger, veganified and were surprised to find that you don't miss the cheese in this burger.  It was swiss cheese, one of the less flavorful, but even the texture wasn't missed.  These cooks have major mods back there, the bun was perfectly crispy but also so soft, the patty was cooked to perfection and the sauce was spot on, there was even the perfect amount of basil.  Their bun is comparable to the wrap at Concious Cravings, crispy and toasy, but how do they do that?  Overall, it was a great night of eating.  We were afraid we were going to stop liking the Dog and Duck after one of their female bartenders ruined our experience 3 times in a row, one of which was with out of town guests and that's not cool.  The bartenders this night were nice and attentive and happy to help us out with our "strange affliction" (veganess).  Yay DnD we will be back!

Still Recommended.

Guero's - Vegan menu

Today was another work-related birthday celebration.. location: Guero's!  We have been wanting to go since we heard about their vegan menu and their decision to carry food for lover's vegan queso!  The excitement was short lived as we were told they were out of queso :((  So we ordered guacamole too, but alas, it was old and blah tasting.  Off to a bad start, but there was still the vast menu of vegan food yet to explore.  It seems vegan chorizo is their vegan meat option and everything else was some sort of rearrangement of veggies and/or beans.. but hey, that's mexican food.  We opted for the entree with the largest array of ingredients, the Vegan Tacos, soy pastor with charra beans.  Their next boo boo, which may  not go over as well with seasoned vegans, they brought out rice instead of potatoes.  This is after chasing the server around making sure she got the order right since she didn't ask about any of the accompaniments.  Apparently none of us are well versed at eating at a taco bar because the biggest complaint from the taco orderers was that all you get is meat and a tortilla.  All of that soyrizo with just a couple dried up pineapples and a shell was a bit overwhelming.  The dried up, over cooked potato chunks were not helping, so with the addition of lime, beans, salsa, the mini salad the lime sits on and some pickled onions.. it finally tasted pretty good.  Someone told us this is because you are supposed to go to the bar and fill your taco with ingredients?  This is the third time we have gone to Guero's and it's always been OK, except for the delicious don margarita (which is sometimes off) and the amazing queso (vegan and non).  We may be back but serious reconsiderations are going on regarding the out of town guests pouring in next month.. what if they are out of queso again?!

Still Recommended

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Driskill - 1886 Cafe and Bakery

This probably should have mentioned earlier, since we went here on Valentines Day!  Oh well, here it is now.  The Driskill is very intimidating at first look.  In fact, we almost left because some friends of ours coming from out of town felt uncomfortable.  They wanted steak but they are used to the Outback and Chili's of Vero Beach and couldn't understand why we didn't have any here!  We love to disappoint, truth is when you think of a good steak house in Austin there isn't a casual one.  So before leaving we checked out the menu and they saw the steak was only $17, they were confused but happy and we went on in.  This is not really a vegan friendly place, it's the type of place where you have to take the cheese out to make it vegan and all the desserts have egg, but it is vegetarian friendly.  That said, the vegan version of their Fusilli Pasta is awesome!  The only subtraction is goat cheese and it still has a lot of flavor.  We also got the Black Bean Hummus and made a believer out of our "meat and potatoes, hold the potatoes friend".  Miguel and I did not think the hummus was all that great but hey someone did.  Our other friend got the stuffed vegetarian mushroom and she really liked it, it is stuffed with cheese so no report on that.  They have a bottomless garden salad that is stuffed with veggies and sounds really good, but the pasta was so good there were no regrets.  The alcohol menu seems to be where they get you with the prices but they do have non-alcoholic beer so yay.  Overall a great experience and we would definitely bring more out of towners here again.


Conan's Pizza

For our monthiversary dinner we went with a more Miguel-themed place, Conan's!  It is decorated in awesome 80's drawings of Conan the barbarian and other greats.  The atmosphere is very casual and homey, we especially loved the TV in the side room.  Yay we finally got to watch the tele and what was on?  Well the life of Charlie Sheen of course!  Anyway, back to the pizza.  So the reason we went to Conan's is because we heard they have Daiya cheese, and whole wheat, deep dish crust.  Something we haven't had since Uno Chicago Grill in Orlando, which yes it's a chain but it's the best spinoccoli ever.  So we ordered the Veggie Supreme pizza with Daiya and only half olives for Miguel.  It was really great, for Austin pizza.  Austin does not seem to have pizza down yet but Conan's is the best so far.  The sauce was very hearty and seemed homemade, the crust was thick and delicious, and the cheese veggie's were generously piled on.  The only complaint, from Miguel, was that the crust got soggy quickly from the saucy sauce and since the crust was crispy enough to begin with he had issues.  We saved our last slices to toast at home though and they were great so just ask for extra toasty if that's how you like it.  Also, Conan's is only doing Daiya as a trial run and it appears that vegan cheese only succeeds in the University area.  They are thinking about taking it away from the Northern location menu!  If you live in the Northern Austin area go get some Daiya cheese pizza ASAP!  Here is a chance to encourage a restaurant to go and stay vegan.  We are thinking about hosting a vegan pizza party here in the near future to help support.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bouldin Creek Cafe

Since the discovery of the Lazy Smurf blog, our restaurant craze has reignited.  There are apparently all of these vegan friendly places in town that just take a little searching to find.  One of her strong recommendations was the tofu scramble at Bouldin Creek.  So today, on our monthiversary, we had an early breakfast out.  It opens at 7AM so we had to wait outside until it opened, I guess not everybody is such an early riser..  This seemed to be true for our server.  She looked like she had just woken up and even commented on how it was too early in the morning for so many questions.  Despite how early it was, the coffee was somehow old.  We are talking sour, burnt, and old.  Thankfully before we could stomach our first cup she started making some fresh coffee which was 100% better.  Although they cannot really lose points here, they use unfiltered tap water, which tastes disgusting in Austin.  Now the menu is very vegan friendly, noting that almost anything can be made vegan and there are even a few vegan "meats" to choose from.  At the coffee bar there were some vegan desserts, cookies, cupcakes and a creme filled cookie sandwich.  It was really easy to incorporate the tofu scramble since almost everything comes with it, so Shannon got the sweet potato pecan tamale with a side of facon (fake bacon).  Miguel got the tofu migas with a side of their homemade soy chorizo and a potato hash cake.  Shannon was much more impressed with this array of food.  Although we both agreed the facon, soyrizo and potato hash cake were not worth the extra money, the migas and tamales were outrageously good.  Apparently the cook decided to make the migas a different way, using fresh tortillas rather than chips, it was great.  Miguel thought the soyrizo was too sweet, the bacon was just a piece of tofu and the tofu scramble was salty.  Shannon thought the tamales were sweet and delectable and the migas and tofu scramble were almost creamy from the coating of nutritional yeast and spices.  The tortillas were just the plain store bought kind.  In case you are wondering why the tofu scramble could be considered the best in town, it is because of the unconventional preparation.  The tofu is crumbled, then coated, heavily, in a mixture of nutritional yeast and spices until a lot of the moisture is soaked up.  Miguel did not like the lack of moisture.  Overall, although we had differing takes on this place, we probably won't be back.  The bad service left a bad taste in Miguel's mouth which unfortunately started before he even took one bite of food.  The server started out sleepy, served us horrible coffee which she didn't refill until our food arrived, then went on to talk about us to her co-workers, and topped it off by calling Miguel "hun" (his favorite name next to "chief" lol).  The final draw was the $25 bill, that is an extremely expensive breakfast for 2 people, even with additions.  The horrible coffee turned out to be $2.50, which is pretty steep.  At this point Bouldin Creek will be recommended but it seems an explanation is in order.  If something is "recommended" it is because it has vegan options and the food is not horrible, for a better gauge of how enjoyable your visit might be refer to whether or not we will be back and why.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Onion

We got a free coupon in the mail for a large, 3-topping pizza at the Onion.  We walked on over after work to claim this alleged pizza and were not disappointed.  First off, this place looks really cool.  The whole vibe reminded us of underground, ninja turtles style.  The people working there were nice and they are very accommodating for vegans.  It came as a pleasant surprise when the woman taking our order offered us an extra free topping.. since we weren't getting cheese and all.  This is a refreshing change from some other places in town who charge for substitutions.  The tomatoes looked thick and juicy so we added them on in place of the cheese.  The pizza was great, the crust was bread like and the sauce was almost spicy.  We added our own spinach,  daiya and "parm" at home to compliment the artichoke, pineapple, tomato, jalapeno pizza that was ordered.  Overall, it was a great pizza, definitely a cool hang out, and a laid back spot for vegan pizza orderers (finally).


Biscuits and Groovy

We had been craving some biscuits and gravy and Shannon had heard about this vegan friendly trailer so finally the urge forced into the line last Sunday morning.  Shannon got the classic plate of vegan biscuits and groovy, which were very good.  The gravy was creamy and delicious and the portion size was huge, very filling.  Miguel got the ultimate platter, with every vegan meat and cheese he could fit on his biscuits.  They were to die for!  We both agreed Miguel's were the best, the bacon even tasted scarily like real bacon.  We will be back again for sure.  The poor guy running the trailer, alone, for the morning was swamped (omelet guy didn't show) and shorting himself.  He was giving everybody discounts to make up for the wait time since he had to make and take 20 orders on his own.  They have french press coffee but we opted for some coffee from the shop around the corner so we wouldn't have to bother him.  The outdoor seating and atmosphere are great but we were annoyed by the high school kids who started smoking at the end of our meal.. ruining the last delectable bite!  What is with all the smoking around trailers?  People are eating!  Anyway, anything but the wamellette and french toast can be veganized, they have a lot of hearty replacement options. 

Recommended X 10

Concious Cravings

It was inevitable, this veggie trailer stationed 2 blocks from our house, boasting amazing veggie food, we had to try it someday.  Saturday was the day.  Miguel had been fighting this place for weeks because the wrap is not so appealing to a hungry vegan.  All our doubts were shattered as soon as we bit into the delectable black bean slider wrap.  MMM!!  It had an indian spicy flavor, it was creamy from the black beans and it even had daiya cheese.  We ordered a side of baked rosemary fries and they just made the whole thing better.  Wow, yum, etc.  We are kicking ourselves for not trying this earlier but of course now we are happy to have found it.  We will be back everyday forever (exaggeration).  Another great note, we shared the wrap and the fries and were stuffed so after our Go Local card discount we paid less than $7 for a hearty, delicious meal.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Leaf, Perla's and Coat and Thai

Some coworkers were in town so a lot of eating out was warranted.  For lunch we had Leaf, for dinner we had Perla's and for lunch the next day we had Coat & Thai.
First off, leaf is very vegetarian friendly.  Not only because they have salads, but even the veggie ones are delicious.  As for vegan, the options are more limited but just as delicious!  The Strawberry Fields salad is to die for.  It is like foraging through a delicious forest.  It includes strawberries, candied pecans, sunflower seeds, red onions and baby spinach.  Even without the dressing it is heaven.  Avocados were added topping off the texture.
The asian chicken salad without the chicken, avocados added, was amazing.   Crunchy, and sweet, it hits the spot when your in the mood for sesame sauce.
The greenbelt, add avocados.  Originally this seemed like an amazing salad but after the Strawberry Fields blew it away.. it can only be described as good.

After a filling lunch at leaf, Perla's is the perfect place to nibble on some vegan snacks.  We shared a sampling of sides and a salad.  Miguel was craving the iceberg salad so we ordered the salad without meat and had them use an iceberg wedge instead of the spring mix.  It had mint, almonds and radishes.  One thing of note, Perla's serves tiny dishes.  Even the meat eaters we ate with had tiny lumps of fish on their plate, although they claimed to be full afterward.  The best side, as agreed upon by everyone at the table, was by far the brussel sprouts.  They have a lemony flavor with some spiciness thrown in.  Basted in olive oil, they require no modifications to be vegan.  The asparagus was pretty good but could not compare to the brussel sprouts.  This is probably because they normally come covered in hollandaise sauce.  The spinach was really good, with fried garlic on top.  The second best side was the hand cut french fries.  It seems weird that any french fry would be that much more delicious than the last, but these are some gourmet, nicely textured french fries.  The cocktails seem very interesting but are not as tasty as they sound.  The Pimms Cup tasted like pure alcohol, the dry martini tasted like rubbing alcohol, the Peace N' Quiet tasted like alcohol but had a nice after taste.  The non-vegans ordered dessert and it was grueling to watch.  They said the pear bread pudding was the best they'd had, and the pistachio macroon looking things made us envious.  A quick note on the rest of the restaurant, the atmosphere is great, the server was nice but got things wrong a lot.  He seemingly forgot to write down Miguel's entire order and forgot to bring Shannon's drink at all.  In case it matters, he also snuck a peak at the tip while he was taking our plates, it was not very subtle sneaking.. some may consider this rude.

Coat & Thai
We went here for a light lunch and a light lunch it was indeed.  The chicken cashew (with tofu instead of chicken) was not great, still good.  It seemed too easy to make at home and it relied too much on soy sauce for flavor.  The rice was good, well cooked and moist.  There was a very small portion but the cashews and veggie's seemed fresh.  We may go back to try the curry but only maybe.  They did have a lot of vegan options since you could replace any meat with tofu.

Overall, all are recommended for light eaters.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dog Almighty

Now this was a great groupon, vegan hotdogs?  Heck yes.  So we have $10 to spend at Dog Almighty and although everything seems so cheap it was easier than we thought to go over this.  First items of note, they have Pecan Porter and Maine Root Beer on draft.. and Lone Star, but who cares?  Also, the have Diet Dr. Pepper!  Scoring points.  They have 2 types of vegan hotdogs you can get, the regular one and the beer brat, more points.  They also have veggie chili, yay.  The only thing they are missing is vegan cheese, but they are trying right?  They are trying to cater to vegetarians, not vegans.. that's OK.  So Miguel ordered a Hyde Park dog (chili and mustard) with a beer brat, he fell in love.  Shannon ordered a Slacker Dog, which includes any and all toppings you want (she got chili, horseradish, onions, and jalapenos), with a regular dog.  This was a waste since it costs about a dollar more and the extras were not pricey enough.. whatever the hot dog was delicious.  We both agreed that the beer brat was much better than the regular dog.  In order to tip the scale we got chili fries which were good and ddp's for both of us, why?  Anyway, it was a great meal.  The only downsides were the lack of vegan things (like the cupcakes) and the location.  It seems like a place with so much potential and the atmosphere could be greatly improved by being in the city so that sitting outside doesn't include a spacious view of a parking lot.  Overall, great place for vegans and carnivores alike, we will be back.