Texas State Veggie Fair

Vegan corn dog and fried pickles. Photo by lonestarlibrarian. Licensed under creative commons

The second annual Texas State Veggie Fair was a smashing success. I wasn’t able to go myself, but rave reviews have been trickling back to me. About the biggest complaint I’ve heard is too many people because it was too successful. That’s the best kind of problem, isn’t it? Just check out those fried corndogs and fried pickles (fried pickles!). How could anyone be unhappy with that.

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make the Fair a success! You can bet I’ll be there next year.

Vegan in Texas: Denton and Marshall

I’ve been slowly working on a vegan guide to Denton, similar to the one I did for Arlington, and finishing was today’s blog task. I was looking for more information about Fuzzy’s Tacos when I came upon a vegan guide to Denton written by someone from Denton. That wasn’t there a few weeks ago when I started! I’ve never been so happy to have someone scoop me. A guide written by someone actually living and eating in Denton is much better than anything I could have come up with.

If you’re looking at colleges and you’re vegan, I highly recommend you add University of North Texas to your short list. The vegan scene is growing so fast in Denton. In just the short past they’ve gotten a vegan store, a vegan coop, a vegan dining hall at UNT that made national headlines, and now there’s a guide to eating vegan in Denton. I hope this is only the beginning of a strong vegan community in Denton.

***

Another smallish-town in Texas is embracing a vegan lifestyle, too. While the scene in Denton is driven by a core of young people in and just out of college, the vegan community in Marshall is the result of the recent Get Healthy, Marshall initiative, led by the Esselstyns and some other folks. The whole town has banded together to improve their health. Restaurants are adding healthy vegan options to their menus and the library has a set of healthy vegan cookbooks now. For a town of about 20,000 people, five or six restaurants with good vegan options is a huge deal. Beyond restaurants, the group is also hosting movies, grocery store tours, and cooking classes. The Get Healthy, Marshall website is a great resource for anyone in the area.

Vegan Bowl of Red

Bowl of Red. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The weather finally cooled off here in Texas, and, like a well-trained cook, I immediately started thinking about fall weather food. For me, that means food cooked in a soup pot—especially chili. I’ve been dreaming about a new recipe for the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off, and tonight I tried it out.

I’m still firmly in the no-beans chili camp, but I wanted to try something other than bulgur this year. I’ve considered seitan before, but it’s cost prohibitive. In order to make sure that everything is vegan, you have to do all the cooking at the cook-off. That means, if you want to use seitan, you either make it there (and there’s not really enough time for that) or you buy a lot of pre-made seitan. And five gallons of seitan adds up.

But a recipe in Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food gave me hope. Alicia’s recipe for Wait-for-You Stew cooks the seitan right in the stew. Cheap and time efficient. I started with her measurements for gluten and liquid, and then changed everything else. It came out pretty well. The texture is perfect, and the broth was just right. But I need to work on the seasoning in the seitan a little.

Come by the Chili Cook-off in November to try out the final version!

Meet a Vegan Texan: Sergio

Here’s the second post in our Meet a Vegan Texan series. Sergio hails from DFW, and he has a pretty positive attitude about being vegan in Cow Town. I want to steal his awesome friend and a plate of veganchiladas, too.

First name and city/region: Sergio, hailing from Dallas/Fort Worth

Why are you vegan? I went vegan mainly for ethical and environmental reasons. I’ve almost always had some kind of pet (the most at once was two dogs, three guinea pigs, and a betta!) and always treated them like members of my family. As far as dogs go, I always adopt from either a shelter or a rescue association. It’s safe to say I really care for our four-legged and finned friends. And I’m a green nut as well. I’m constantly picking through the trash at my work’s break room for discarded bottles and try to walk wherever I can so it just made sense that I follow a diet that in more in line with those beliefs.

How long have you been vegan? I went vegan at some point in April 2008. I don’t remember exactly when because it was kind of a spur of the moment type thing. I was mulling going vegetarian (I went veg for a couple of years before) again and then up and decided to go straight vegan.

What’s it like to be vegan where you live? I get a lot of weird looks. A lot of people ask if it’s some type of diet or religious thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I couldn’t live without cheese!” I’m lucky in that I’ve got a handful of all-vegan restaurants in the area but comparing here and a place like Austin is night and day. I went to a wedding in Austin recently and my father-in-law went to a pizza place and told them he needed a vegan pizza and they knew exactly what to make. I got a pizza here the other day and ordered it without cheese and when I picked it out, the employee commented how that was unusual. I mean, when you live near a city that’s nicknamed “Cow Town,” everyone sort of expects everyone else to eat meat.

What’s your favorite resource for finding vegan food? Your favorite vegan restaurant dish? I go to vegweb.com a lot but I usually get my recipes from a good friend who has been vegan for nearly a decade now. He’s a much better cook than me so I usually just poach from him. As far as favorite dish, it’d have to be either the Mitch Tofu from Spiral Diner or the now discontinued Blazin’ Noodles with tofu and veggies from Pei Wei.

What’s your favorite vegan Texan food? Well, this is technically Tex-Mex I guess but I make the dopest veganchiladas. I made them from scratch one day using a recipe I found online as a loose guide and they ended up incredible. My friend who is a staunch meat-eater had them and texted me the next day and said, “Man, I could really go for some of your hippie enchiladas.”

Do you have a secret vegan weapon? Laser vision? Kale? A larabar in your pocket? I would have to say nutritional yeast. It adds so much to a wide variety of recipes, I couldn’t imagine having a kitchen with a supply of that delicious yellow powder.

If you could only choose one, would it be tofu, tempeh, seitan, or beans? Oh, man, that’s tough. Seitan is out simply because I don’t eat a lot of it to begin with. Then tempeh even though there is an excellent tempeh/Frank’s Red Hot sandwich recipe I found online that is an amazing picnic food. I’m trying to cut back on the tofu to limit my soy intake but man, I have gotten good at cooking it. But I couldn’t live without beans. Black beans are so versatile. Plus I could still eat burritos which are definitely my favorite food.

What advice do you have for people in your area about being vegan? The best advice I ever got about being vegan was from the aforementioned friend. I was a few months into it and I was craving something meaty I’m sure and called him for support. He said, “Don’t think about what you can’t eat. Think about all the awesome stuff you CAN eat.” Sage advice, really. DFW-specifically, there is Spiral Diner and Loving Hut plus a ton of awesome Thai restaurants. A little bit of legwork goes a long way in figuring out where you can eat. Of course, if you’re all thumbs in the kitchen like me, a cooking class would be a good move.

If you’d like to answer the Meet a Vegan Texan questionnaire, send me an email at lonestarplate (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thai Veggie Pie at Boomerang’s Pies

Thai veggie pie at Boomerang's Pies. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The other day I was grabbing a link to the menu for Boomerang’s Pies for my post on vegan menus when I noticed they have a new vegan pie. What is with people making new vegan things in Austin and not telling me? I lost no time going to Boomerang’s to try it out.

If you remember, awhile back Boomerang made one of their pies, the Curry Veggie pie, vegan. Truthfully, I wasn’t real fond of the curry flavor, so I haven’t been back very often. So I was excited to try something they described as baby corn, water chestnuts, and carrots in peanut sauce. I am all over peanut sauce.

Inside shot. Check out the flakiness! The black sprinkle on top is pepper, not poppyseeds. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The vegan crust is still good. That was the best part of the curry veggie pie, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s flaky, crispy, rich but not greasy, and not-at-all soggy from the filling. The veggie filling is mushy, which is how it’s supposed to be. There’s a bit of crunch from the water chestnuts though. And the peanut sauce is very, very faint. I’m not sure I would have noticed it, if I hadn’t been looking for it. It could use more peanut butter and maybe even some coconut milk, though that might push the pie beyond a reasonable level of richness. Fortunately, the pie is served with a spicy-sweet Thai dipping sauce, similar to what you’d get with fried spring rolls. As I’ve said before, a spicy sauce is all it takes to make me happy. The dipping sauce, the crust, and the novelty of a vegan hand pie really push this over the edge.

The one caveat is that they don’t make the Thai veggie pie every day. It’s on their online menu, but they haven’t added to the permanent menu in the store yet. The curry veggie pie should always be available. (For some reason it’s not marked as vegan on their online menu, but I asked, and it still is.) But if you want to try the Thai veggie pie specifically, you should call ahead and make sure it’s available.

Once again, thanks Boomerang’s for adding vegan items to your menu and for marking them as vegan.

Sunny Days in Texas, Animal-Endorsed

All month long, Lazy Smurf is trying out the recipes in Sunny Days in Texas, the fundraising zine for Sunny Day Farms. The zine is helping out all the animals at Sunny Day, who are struggling because of Texas’s long, dry summer.

So far, Lazy Smurf is liking all the recipes, but to find out the real scoop let’s ask the experts.

Millie was pleased to hear about the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad recipe. In her best used-car salescat manner, she says, “Four paws up!”

After thoroughly sniffing to check for stray bugs or treats, Desmond reluctantly approves. “Maybe you’ll be more lucky,” he says with a sigh.

Baby says, “Buy the zine. Or else!”

Milo says, “When it comes to greens well I’m a fiend. I like my kale with nutritional yeast.”

Dinger likes the zine, especially all the bits his mom drops on the floor while she’s cooking from it. “Twenty minute rule!”

Willow likes the zine, but she thinks Dinger gets more than his fair share of the floor food. “Ever since Mom got the locking fridge, it just hasn’t been the same around here.”

Trixie does NOT like the zine. “Did you know there are onions and garlic in half of those recipes? What kind of zine to ‘help the animals’ is it, if kitties can’t even eat the food?”

Sky says, “Of course, the zine is great. But do you see how empty my bowl is right now?Won’t someone please think of the kitties and make me a bowl of King Ranch Casserole? Minus the icky onions, please!”

We received more photos than I could fit into one post. For more photos of animals with Sunny Days in Texas, check out this thread at the PPK. And if you’ve taken a photo of your animal friend with the zine, leave a link in the comments. If you still haven’t bought a copy of Sunny Days for your cat or dog, there are links on the right of the page to both color and b&w versions. And remember, all the profits go directly to Sunny Day Farms.

Recipe: Texas Toast

Texas toast. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

When we started gathering recipes for Sunny Days in Texas, my first thought was Texas toast. It’s an important part of Texas cuisine, and not something you can find easily outside Texas. But that was the problem. I’m not sure you can make Texas toast outside of Texas and the surrounding states.

Texas toast is made with inch-thick slices of white bread (the uber-processed kind). The bread is buttered on one side and then broiled or griddled on both sides. It doesn’t have cheese (that’s cheesy bread). It doesn’t have garlic or herbs (that’s garlic bread). Just thick buttery bread, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect for mopping up extra barbecue sauce or country gravy.

The problem is I don’t think you can find the right kind of bread in most of the country. And I really don’t think you can find the right kind of vegan bread. And there isn’t a good substitute.

So here’s the recipe that wasn’t included in the zine. I make it with Butterkrust bread, which, ironically, is vegan. Even the l. cysteine and glycerides. I said there’s no substitute, but if you can’t find store bought Texas toast bread, find a loaf of unsliced sandwich bread and cut it thick. It’s not quite right, but it’s close enough.

Texas Toast

inch-thick white bread
vegan butter, room temperature
kosher salt

Turn on the broiler and broil each slice of bread on one side until golden, maybe two to three minutes. Next, butter the other side of the bread thickly. Keep buttering until you’re embarrassed by how much butter you’ve used. Make sure the butter gets all the way to the edges of the bread, this isn’t the time for sloppiness. Sprinkle with salt. Broil the buttered side until golden. Watch closely so the bread doesn’t burn. Seriously, keep the oven door open and your eyes on the bread. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t pet the kitties. Just watch.

Eat Texas toast with barbecue or chicken-fried foods or use it to make fancy greasy sandwiches.

Ecorazzi Vegan Restaurant Week

Ecorazzi, the green lifestyle website, is sponsoring a vegan, vegetarian, and sustainable restaurant week all across the U.S. In Dallas, you can get 50% off a second entree at Veggie Garden. Here in Austin, Ecorazzi partnered with Vegans Rock Austin for two discounts. The first is a free blueberry lemonade at Conscious Cravings when you order a wrap. The second is $1 off an order of $8 or more. These deals last from now until October 19. This is a great excuse to take your non-vegan friends and family out for a great vegan meal. To view the full list of deals, see the Ecorazzi restaurant week site.

The Vegan Menu

The new vegan menu at Guero's Taco Bar. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

I’ve been talking a lot lately about vegan menus. Guero’s recently incorporated their secret vegan menu into their regular menu, and I rejoiced. Galaxy Cafe recently made a vegan menu that you can only get if you ask for it, and I rejoiced. And Kerbey Lane has a vegan menu that’s really a cheat sheet for ordering off the regular menu, and I complained. So what’s the difference between all of these, and why does it matter?

It matters for two reasons. As a vegan and really as a consumer in general, I want to know what I’m ordering. And at a restaurant, where the food prep goes on behind closed doors, and in an atmosphere where rumors fly about what chefs do to vegan food orders, there’s a degree of trust involved when ordering food. The more information offered up front in a clear manner, the more confident I can be when I order food. And the more likely I am to show up at a restaurant in the first place or recommend it to someone else.

The other reason it matters is because I’m vegan for the animals. I want other people to go vegan and stay vegan. And that’s much easier to do when your environment and culture supports a vegan lifestyle. For someone new to veganism, I’d much rather recommend a restaurant that has a menu with easy-to-understand vegan options rather than giving them a cheat sheet (“order with no cheese and skip the rice—it has butter”). And for those of us already vegan, it’s much easier to navigate social situations with friends, family, and colleagues when you don’t have to draw attention to yourself by asking the waiter a million questions.

So what makes a good vegan menu? The best vegan menus are incorporated into the regular menu. Either as a separate section, like Guero’s new menu, as a comment at the bottom of the page, like the menu at Titayas, or indicated with a symbol, like the menu at Clay Pit, where vegan items are marked with a green V. These menus are easy to understand and automatically given to everyone at the restaurant.

The next best is a separate vegan menu that you have to ask for, like the menu at Galaxy Cafe. Having to ask for a special menu can be awkward. It also means you have to know that the special menu exists. Just glancing at Galaxy Cafe’s regular menu, it doesn’t look like a very vegan-friendly place.

Third best, is a cheat sheet like the one at Kerbey Lane. Not only do you have to ask for it, but you also need the regular menu to interpret it since there aren’t full descriptions of the items on the vegan “menu”. This means awkwardly flipping between the two menus.

The least helpful (but still greatly appreciated) vegan menu is one that only exists online, like the one at East Side Cafe. I really appreciate having the information, but I don’t eat with my computer. Last time I ate there for a work lunch, I literally made myself a cheat sheet on an index card. Awkward, but less awkward than asking a million questions.

So, who offers vegan menus or marks vegan items here in Austin?*

Black Sheep Lodge
Black Star Coop**
Blue Dahlia Bistro
Boomerang Pies
Brick Oven on 35 (not to be confused with Brick Oven)
Chez Zee
Clay Pit (pdf)
Cornucopia (not online)
East Side Cafe
Elevation Burger
Galaxy Cafe (not online)
Get Sum Dim Sum
G’raj Mahal
Guero’s Taco Bar
Hut’s Hamburgers
Hyde Park Bar & Grill (not online)
Kerbey Lane
Kona Grill
Masala Wok
New India
Noodles and Company
North by Northwest
The Parlor
Sagra
Snack Bar
Steeping Room
Tarka
Terra Burger
Titaya’s Thai (not online)

*I’m certain this list isn’t complete, because it’s from my memory.

**I almost left this one off. They mark items as vegan, but they don’t indicate that the aioli or ranch need to be left off to make it vegan. It’s almost worse than not marking the menu at all.

Austin: Weekend Brunch

Raised waffles from Vegan Brunch. And something you can't get at a restaurant in Austin. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Brunch is a sacred tradition in my house. Every Sunday, as soon as we can pry ourselves out of the comfort of the sheets, my husband and I grab a stack of crossword puzzles and head out for brunch.

For me, the perfect brunch entails a lot of things. Something special to drink (whether that’s a mug of coffee, a pot of tea, or a Mexican Martini), the option of both breakfast and lunch foods, and a relaxing atmosphere. I don’t want restaurant staff eyeing my seat before I’ve finished my crossword, after all.

So here are my favorite places to grab a vegan brunch around Austin, and what I like about them. And one or two Austin favorites that don’t appeal to me but deserve a mention.

Bouldin Creek This coffee house-turned-restaurant is one of my favorites. Their noochy tofu scramble is legendary, and practically the whole menu can be vegan. The wait can be a bit long, but that’s just more crossword time. Get tofu scramble and tofu bacon tacos or the El Tipico if you’re feeling like breakfast food or the Wanna BLT or the Veggie Royale if you want lunch food. And wash it all back with a Tokyo Fog—green tea steeped in (soy) milk.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse This East-side coffeehouse matches Austin’s low-key style. This is the place to go if you’ve had a late night and are still wearing last night’s mascara. Get a breakfast taco with soyrizzo (two z’s!), potatoes, and avocado. The potatoes are crunchy shoe string potatoes sticks, like a from-scratch version of the stuff in the can. And if that doesn’t sound wonderful to you, you weren’t out late enough last night! Balance out the fried potatoes with a Blueberry Blast all-fruit smoothie. Or go the other direction and grab a piece of vegan carrot cake from the dessert display.

Curra’s I don’t go here often enough, and I don’t know why. There’s some confusion about what is and isn’t vegan here (flour tortillas and rice in particular), but there are a few things they offer you can’t get many places. Namely, vegan tamales and veggie chorizo and nopalito tacos. Stick to those, and only order rice if you feel like asking about chicken stock and butter.

Elsi’s Part of the charm of Elsi’s is there usually isn’t a wait. And there’s usually a smiling baby at every table. (True, that’s not a bonus for everyone, but I like me some smiling babies.) Admittedly, the menu here doesn’t look too exciting. But that’s OK, you’re not ordering from the menu. On the breakfast side, get a plate of black beans, veggie chorizo, and avocado slices and ask for some tortillas. Or if you’re too lazy to assemble your own breakfast tacos, you can just order a breakfast taco, I suppose. But be sure to get the veggie chorizo. The restaurant makes it with chunks of jalapeno, and it’s the best in town. For lunchy food, get a taco salad sub veggie chorizo for meat, black beans for refried, and leave off the cheese and sour cream. I know it’s a lot of subs, but believe me, it’s worth it. For a drink, try their Salvadoran coffee.

Guero’s If I didn’t sell you on the smiling babies and off-the-menu ordering at Elsi’s, try out Guero’s, where they have an all-vegan menu. Breakfast tacos are always a good choice (noticing a theme here?), but Chalupas a la Celeste are also popular. Or be a heathen and just fill up on chips and vegan queso. (It’s Food-for-Lovers, and for some reason, it didn’t make it onto their online menu, but it’s on the printed menu.)

Kerbey Lane Vegans in Austin are split on Kerbey Lane (which probably just shows we’re spoiled for choices). Their tofu scramble is spotty and the service is spottier (a waitress once plopped a plate in front of me, screamed “Bam!” like Emeril, and ran away before I could say, “hey, this isn’t my food!”). But, they have vegan pancakes. 24 hours a day. At five locations. They also have a vegan breakfast platter. And a vegan menu, which kind of sucks because it’s more like a cheat sheet to ordering off the regular menu than an actual menu and half the time you have to ask for a regular menu to look at because the staff haven’t ever glanced at the vegan menu. Did I mention the service? There’s also a seasonal menu which almost always has a good vegan option or two. It’s the pancakes and the dream of accidentally ordering something amazing off the seasonal menu that bring me back to Kerbey. For breakfast, get the vegan platter of course. I don’t mind the bad scramble so much, mostly because I cover mine in chipotle sauce. For lunch, the Green Green Enchiladas stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and artichokes and covered in verde sauce. Or not. It looks like those aren’t on the menu anymore. I hope the new SoLa Enchiladas are good. Kerbey, this is why we have such a complicated relationship.

Mother’s Cafe & Garden If my relationship with Kerbey is problematic, my relationship with Mother’s is nonexistant. I just don’t like the food (except the chocolate peanut butter pie, I’ll eat chocolate peanut butter pie anytime). I’ve been five or six times, and suffered through bland marinara masquerading as salsa and pretty boring food. But they have vegan pancakes (that, in my opinion, taste like dust), so they deserve a mention. The cashew-tamari salad dressing and the Bueno burger are popular, though neither wowed me.

Snack Bar It’s getting to be a theme here, but I’m not really crazy about Snack Bar. My first visit was great. Until I went back and found out half the food we ordered wasn’t really vegan. And had to chase down my waiter to get things like silverware. And got a tablespoon of coffee grounds in my coffee. And couldn’t complain to the manager because there was a line of people trying to complain. They also change their menu constantly, and it seems like each time they drop vegan items and make the portions smaller. In fact, looking at Lazy Smurf’s post, the only thing we ordered that’s still on the menu is the potato leek hashcake (now called Tomago Yoko) and that had eggs in it (and now has shrimp, too). That said, there’s vegan French toast, and I’ve been told the Bloody Maru is great.

Tea pot at Steeping Room. Photo by bookgrl. Licensed under creative commons

Steeping Room Finally we’re back into the realm of restaurants I actually love. The Steeping Room is a teahouse. So, perfect for tea-lovers and people who like to eat with their pinkie crooked. Also perfect for vegans because they have a ton of options, and they’re well-marked on the menu. First of all, there are a million and one teas. And you can get rice, soy, or almond milk for your tea. I love their tofu scramble, which is diametrically opposite of Bouldin Creek’s. It’s made with pressed tofu, red peppers, onions, and mushrooms and tastes just a bit like toasted sesame oil. They also have great French toast, and you can even get a tea service with a little pot of tea, VEGAN SCONES, jam, soysage, potatoes, and vegan cookies. In fact, there are so many vegan options on the menu I haven’t tried half of them yet.

Trudy’s Let’s be honest here. Trudy’s has some decent vegan options, but the real reason people come here is for the Mexican Martinis. For those of you outside Austin, a Mexican Martini is more or less a double margarita on the rocks with a dash of olive brine served in a shaker and garnished with lots of olives. Trudy’s limits customers to only two. And I think that limitation is part of the drink’s mystique. The food is an afterthought. The beans (except the borroacho) and rice are vegan and are marked that way on the menu. The black beans are a bit spicy, which is nice. And the spinach and mushroom mix (ask for them to saute it in oil) for tacos or enchiladas is pretty good, too. Remember to ask for no cheese even if it’s not advertised since they sprinkle it liberally over everything.

Vegan biscuits and gravy, tofu scramble, and veggie sausage from the Wheatsville hotbar

Wheatsville The atmosphere isn’t quite as nice as the other places on this list since it’s a coop. You’ll likely eat your food on the patio at a picnic table. But that said, their brunch bar on the weekend usually has amazing vegan biscuits and decent vegan country gravy. You’ll also usually encounter tofu scramble and veggie sausage. Not in the mood for biscuits and gravy? Grab a vegan donut or a breakfast taco. And for your drink, the gingerade seems to be popular, though I always end up with a cup of coffee and a smile since they provide soy creamer at the coffee counter free of charge.

Sinfull kolache

Whole Foods Though Whole Foods is ubiquitous and the only chain on my list, it’s still a big part of the Austin vegan scene because they really do cater to us. For brunch, you have your choice of vegan donuts (they’ve recently reformulated them, and they’re great now), breakfast tacos, and a huge variety of food from their hot bar and deli counters. There’s also a raw/vegan food bar where the food tends to be a bit healthier. There are also lots of baked goods hanging around, including mini blueberry muffins. If you’re super lucky, you might find kolaches from Sinfull bakery, though they tend to be frozen. Not to worry, though, there’s a microwave at each seating area. For a drink, grab a hot chocolate from the coffee bar.

These are the places with the most options, but I do hit up a few other places for variety. Here’s a quick rundown.

Austin Java There’s really only one good vegan item on the menu, but it’s a hearty salad with noodles and peanut sauce, and sometimes I’m in the mood for a salad (ask for no bread). [Looks like they added veggie chorizo recently, so that may expand the options here a bit.]

Kickbutt Coffee In a hurry? Get a coffee to go and a bean and potato breakfast taco made by Elsi’s.

Magnolia Cafe This is a beloved Austin institution, but frankly their vegan options suck. But if you’re with people who insist on going here, get a giant baked potato loaded with every vegetable on the menu and cover it in chipotle sauce, and then glare at the waiter when he asks “how did you eat the whole thing?”

Thunderbird Coffee For something sweet, get a soy latte and a chocolate cupcake masquerading as a muffin. Or tone it down a bit with a grilled pbj.

And two places that I can’t do justice to but deserve a mention. Casa de Luz has a brunch, but I’ve never been and haven’t heard too much about it. I think there are pancakes? With a sign stating “these are not a healthy food”? [Casa stopped serving brunch recently.] Mr. Natural supposedly has great migas, but they’re closed on Sunday, so I’ve never tried it. Commenters, want to fill me in?

And finally a plea.

Won’t somebody please make vegan waffles in Austin? [Did I mention we're spoiled here?]

UPDATE: Lazy Smurf has written a rebuttal to my brunch post. Check out quicker and more southerly options here.