June Hyden Park Supper Club

Hyden Park Supper Club menu by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

I missed the first Hyden Park Supper Club, but Lazy Smurf’s recap and photos convinced me I needed to make it to the second come hell or high water. Or alluring VegFests in other cities. Thankfully, it hasn’t rained in a long time and the next big Texas Veg*n festival isn’t for a few months.

This is the second Hyden Park Supper Club, which Chef Elizabeth created to showcase real sustainable food. Or, leaves-to-roots cuisine, as she’s calling it. The meal was served in a Hyde Park yard decorated with twinkle lights, candles, and pleasant company. An array of jelly jar water glasses were placed carefully around the tables. But my eye was focused on the menu.

Tomato Tartar with Basil Oil and a Mochi Crisp. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The first course was this gorgeous tomato appetizer with a mochi crisp on the side. I’ve never seen such vibrant tomatoes. [Looking at the Hyden Park tumblr, it looks like they were dyed with beet juice!] I’ve never had mochi before, and I’m still not sure what I think of it.

Watermelon Gazpacho with Lime Ice by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

But I forgot about the first course the minute the second course arrived. I’m not really a fan of gazpacho (don’t tell my mother!), so I wasn’t very excited for this course. But this was nothing like tomato gazpacho. Cool watermelon–not too sweet–with little bites of red onion. The ice floating in the middle was lime juice, like a dollop of sorbet. I loved every sip of it.

Main course at Hyde Park Supper Club by mollyjade. My husband thinks the plating looks a bit like a fish. Licensed under creative commons

The main course floored me. I started to worry about having enough room for dessert.  Starting at the top is barbecued tempeh ribs. There was none of the bitterness or crumbliness that tempeh can have, just a sweetness and a firm bite. Then a dill potato salad, which reminded me of the potato salad at Loving Hut in Arlington, which is a good thing. The turnips in the salad made it slightly sweet. Beside that, pickled watermelon radishes, which were surprisingly sour.

And then the cole slaw. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. Cole slaw is usually a boring afterthought at a barbecue. But this one had some surprising ingredients besides the usual cabbage. Green apple and what I *think* was thinly sliced seedless cucumber. It was chewy and almost rubbery, in a good way. In the corn husk was steamed corn bread, which was the only thing I didn’t really care for. Which left me with just enough room for dessert.

Peach crisp with pecan ice cream by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

And I was really glad I had room left for dessert. The ramekins came out warm and the ice cream cold. The peaches in the crisp were just boozey enough from the whiskey. And the ice cream wasn’t coconutty or icy, but mild and creamy enough for the taste of pecans to come through.

After the meal, other Texas VegFest organizers and I had a chance to talk with Texas State Veggie Fair organizers Jamey and Christy. Now I’m even more excited for both events. I tried to convince Jamey and Christy that the Veggie Fair needs an Earth Balance sculpture. Check out Christy’s description of the meal and the rest of her trip to Austin at her blog, The Blissful Chef.

A big thank you to Chef Elizabeth for creating such a wonderful meal and dining experience.

SXSW Is for Vegans

This is a great year to be vegan at Austin’s South by Southwest. For those of you who know as little about music as I do, South by Southwest is a huge music festival. Huge. Hundreds of bands from all across the world will be in Austin from March 15 through March 20. And thousands of industry people and fans. Over the years, the festival has grown to include films, media presentations, and panels. For the week of the festival, Austin is dominated by all things music, film, and technology.

One of this year’s panels will feature Lone Star Plate’s own Lazy Smurf talking about vegan activism through blogging. She’ll be joined by Laura Beck from Vegansaurus. They’ll discuss how to spread the vegan message and create community through blogging. Monday, March 14, 3:30 PM, Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.
The South by Southwest fun spills over into numerous outside events, including a Compassion Over Killing table with Vegetarian Starter Guides and Easy Vegan Recipe booklets at a to be announced music venue. What goes with vegan pamphlets better than vegan baked goods? The table will also feature a vegan bake sale. COK is still looking for volunteer bakers and people to table. Information about signing up can be found on COK’s website here. Saturday, March 19, noon to 6 PM. Venue TBA.
And finally, Lazy Smurf has the scoop on all the best places to get vegan eats near South by Southwest in her updated vegan guide to SXSW. Breakfast tacos (an Austin institution), food carts, Tex-Mex, late night dining, and the best grab-and-go options.

Austin Vegan Trailer Appreciation Weekend!

On Saturday Counter Culture (aka the best trailer in Austin) is having a huge celebration for their one year anniversary! Sue will be cookin up a bunch of vegan corndogs and sundaes along with the usual menu. This weeks special, by the way, is Philly Quesadillas, Chipotle Quinoa and Raw Cherry Chili Brownies! They are going to have bands playing from 4-8 AND Monkey Wrench books next door is going to have all their animal rights books and vegan cookbooks on sale, may I recommend Viva Vegan if you haven’t picked it up yet.

Vegan Trailers: Reading labels so you don’t have to.

Fête Accompli – the best way to eat your vegetables downtown

If you haven’t checked out Fête Accompli for lunch downtown, I suggest you get your act together and head over there as soon as possible. I am so glad that I caught on to this place. Never again will I put up with the crowds and spend the household budget of people in “developing” nations at the Whole Foods salad bar when I am craving vegetables but feeling indecisive in west downtown. This place is a vegetable lovers dream come true. Fête Accompli is right on 12th street one block east of Lamar by the Thundercloud. They really have something for everyone, the owner’s mother is a dietician so she has a lot of knowledge about creating food for people with special dietary needs, not just vegans. But the vegan selection is incredible! The place is pretty tiny and mostly serves portions for take out and they do catering. They also have a couple tables and chairs inside and outside. When you first walk in you are greeted by a large deli case and a menu that has soups and sandwiches and usually a friendly person as well. There is also delicious fresh baked vegan bread. The deli case is filled with different kinds of salads. The first time I went the whole top level had different vegan items to choose from, maybe 7 in all. There are also different dessert items and lots of stuff packaged to go in the coolers on the side.

I think this would be a terrific place to stop in and get food for a meeting or to pick up dinner for the evening while you stop for lunch. Everyone who works there is really friendly and they all seem to be knowledgeable about what is and isn’t vegan (although watch out for honey). What I usually do is get the box lunch. For nine dollars you get to choose four items and you get a cookie. It is a lot of food. Last Friday I got a cranberry and wild rice salad, a freaking delicious Kale tahini salad, some roasted cauliflower that was some of the best cauliflower I can remember and a creamy noodle salad. Everything had so much flavor and texture that I was kind of overwhelmed. These people know there vegetables. I can’t even really compare it to other salad bars because the flavors are just on another level.

The best part, if you are vegan, they will give you a chocolate peanut butter truffle since the cookie in the special has animal products. There aren’t many places that would give you an extra because of your restriction and that is why Fête Accompli has become one of my favorite lunch destinations in town. I mean chocolate + peanut butter = happiness for me even when it is only so-so. These truffles at Fête make me feel transcendent for hours after eating them.

What can I say, I love food and Fete Accompli does it exactly right for me.