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.