Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eating My Way Through Austin, Texas

In my last post I mentioned that I was taking a much anticipated vacation to a place full of music and vegan eats.  In case you didn't guess, that enchanting place was Austin, Texas.  Austin has been on the top of my vacation list for years.  I must admit, though, that I was having so much fun that I didn't take many photos.  And those that I did remember to take were snapped with my phone instead of my camera, so I apologize for the quality.

Know this: Austin is overflowing with vegan eats.  I made a long list of places to try and didn't even come close to getting to all of them.  Guess that means another visit soon.  We did take part in the Austin breakfast taco craze more than once.  Tacos are everywhere and most places have a vegan and gluten-free version.  I can't remember the name of some of the smaller places we visited, but the flagship Whole Foods store in Austin has a taco bar where you can build your own creation.  They offer rice, quinoa, beans, veggie chorizo, and a variety of veggies, hot sauces, and condiments.  We had our first and last breakfasts here.  Whole Foods also has a juice/smoothie bar and a raw food bar.  Healthy convenience while traveling = YAY!

While Austin offers plenty of healthy vegan food it also has an equal amount of vegan fast-food junk-food.  Of course I indulged in all of it.  Like Portland, Austin has an abundance of food carts.  Actually, way more than Portland!  Most with vegan options and a lot with gluten-free options as well.  

This Freeto Pie came from the Vegan Yacht food cart.  I was a little bummed that this was the only menu item they offered while we were in town.  I'm guessing this was due to the truck's location in the heart of Chaos In Tejas (the music event we were in town for) and the hundreds of vegans they were serving every day.  Still, it was really good!  Hearty chili with corn chips, avocado, and daiya cheese.  Next time I'm in town I'll be trying the Garden Chalupa and Mock Chick'n Tacos, both gluten-free.

Austin has a lot of juice.  I drank green juice, sometimes twice a day, all five days I was there.  The one pictured above is from Snap Kitchen.  Snap is a take-out store.  Everything is individually packaged in coolers and labeled according to diet (vegan, gluten free, paleo, etc.).  They have breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, juices, and snacks.  I didn't take photos, but we had quinoa-banana pudding, raw raspberry cheesecake, tabbouleh (not gluten free), and babaghanouj.  All delicious, fresh, and healthy.

Now for more vegan junk food. These are the equivalent of an avocado corn dog!  Seriously, chunks of avo deep fried in corn meal batter served with mustard for dipping.  (Sorry about the crappy late night phone pic)

This is the basket before we tore into the deep fried avo, with sweet potato fries on the side.  The avo balls were not gluten free.  I had a bite anyway.  I totally paid for it, but I really wanted to taste them, and it was worth it.  I have a serious thing for sweet potatoes, and the fries here were fantastic.  This late night snack was from the Fire and Soul food cart. 

Nomad Dosa is a vegan friendly gluten-free Indian food cart.  It was quite a ways from our hotel, but I was lucky enough to find it on one of my long-walk exploration days.  

I had a soft dosa with a spiced potato filling, cilantro and coconut sauce on the side, and coconut water.  This was one of my favorite Austin meals.  The fermented dosa was light and chewy and tangy and perfect.  I wanted to try all of the fillings and toppings and sauces.  Next time Nomad Dosa, next time.  

The filling matched my dress.  This is pretty much the only picture I have of myself from this trip.  And does it even count?  My leg just happened to be near the dosa.  Talk about forgetting to take photos.

I saved the best for last.  Sweet Ritual is a vegan ice cream parlor tucked inside Daily Juice Cafe.  I had pretty much been obsessing about visiting this place for weeks before the trip.  I started calling our Austin trip my vegan-ice-cream-vacation because all I could think about was soft serve from Sweet Ritual.  It did not disappoint.  Both Sweet Ritual and Daily Juice Cafe are amazing and ended up being my most favorite place in Austin.  If I were a local I would be a regular here.  I'm sad that I only have one picture, but I was seriously distracted by the awesome food, juice, ice cream, good company, and a sweet dog named Ash. 

The ice cream flavor of the week was earl gray.  I took mine straight up in a gluten free cake cone.  My bf had the awesomeness pictured above: chick-o-stick waffle cone, earl gray soft serve, peanut butter drizzle.  It was soooo good!  Too good for words.  Just go to Austin and go to Sweet Ritual.  Now. 

From the Daily Juice counter we had a raw taco and a juice.  The raw taco was a daily special and ended up being giant and tasty.  It was a dehydrated shell (red peppers and nuts maybe?) full of greens and taco nut-meat.  The juice was the Depth Charge: coconut juice, cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, romaine.  I went crazy over this combo and plan on recreating it at home.  I really wish we had  Daily Juice in Portland. Maybe I should quit nursing and open a franchise location?  Or just move to Austin and find a place within walking distance to Daily Juice/Sweet Ritual?  

This was the view of downtown from our hotel room.  It was hard to say goodbye to Austin.  The city is fun, the people are friendly, the sun shines, and there's vegan food galore.  We're looking forward to visiting again soon!

**Delicious foods not photographed include:  many green juices from various places, breakfast tacos and late night tacos, my first Korean meal (YUM), miso soups, sweet potato noodles with a variety of mushrooms and tofu and spicy sauce, one creamy soy latte, kombucha on tap at the bars, and a lot of coconut water!  


  1. wow! those are some delicious eats! especially those avocado poppers and the ice cream....YUM!!! thanks for sharing!!

  2. Austin is bursting with great vegan, gluten free food! Tonight I'm making tacos because I miss it so much already :)

  3. I thought the fried avo was such a great idea. And they were a treat to eat! The ice cream stole the show.

  4. Oh my gosh, avocado corn dog. What a freaking jackpot. Everything looks wonderful. my friend lived down there for a while and loved the scene. He definitely told me many stories about breakfast tacos!
    So glad you had a great time. Hope you make it back soon.

  5. Meeee too! I fell head over heels in love with the place. The avo corn dog helped. I didn't write about it, but the music situation down there is so great. I went to bars that had outdoor spaces (like backyards almost) where the bands played. Good music on warm nights stole my heart.

  6. that is the one place in texas i want to actually visit. first trip gluten-free? you did well! when are they gonna make a GF waffle cone, dang that looks good.

  7. Yes, I really hope they're working on that waffle cone! And yes, my first gluten free trip went really well. Austin feels a lot like Portland, but warmer and happier. My diagnosis for the happy people is adequate levels of vitamin D :)

  8. What an amazing vacation filled with yummy eats! I don't even know where to begin! OK that's a lie, I'm going to begin with the avocado corn dogs! OMG that sounds so amazing! Whoever came up with that one is a genius!

    The burrito and frito pie look yummy too and that's great that you had juice every day! I'm so with you, I'm a sucker for a good sweet potato. The ice cream sounds so good too! That's really cool that you found so many gluten free vegan options too :) I'm a bit jealous haha!

    So glad you had a nice vacation!

  9. Thanks! It was a food lover's vacation for sure! And I love that there was the option to be a total health nut or go on a total junk food binge and manage to eat vegan and gluten-free. Austin is a fun city :)

  10. RichardLAndersonJune 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

  11. RichardLAndersonJune 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

  12. Next time you are in Austin check out .. helps you find gluten-free and vegetarian (or vegan) places in Austin and in other cities. Glad you enjoyed our yummy food here! :)

  13. Jodi Getting RawJune 15, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    Oh My goodness! This post made me so hungry my stomach is rumbling! Looks like yuo had a great food trip. Now, I have to go get some food! ;-)

  14. Thanks for stopping by Jodi! Austin makes happy bellies.