New Vegan Food Carts in Texas

Did you know today is World Vegan Day? There are events happening all around the world. I thought I’d celebrate by gushing over the vegan food cart renaissance in Texas. These carts are all about to open or opened recently.

Arlo’s will be located on 6th Street in Austin and will keep bar hours. So now you have a new spot to grab some food before taking the bus home after a night of carousing. Fittingly, the menu is full of classic bar food like burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, and chips. (My secret wish is for chili cheese fries.) Arlo’s is no slouch. They’re making their own burgers, seitan bacon, and hot dogs. I’m more likely to stay home and read a book than carouse in a bar, but I can’t wait to try out this food.

Eat At Zombies will be operating in the Greater Fort Worth area. They hope to open by November. The head zombie gave me a sneak peek at their menu, which is full of comfort fusion food like a Buffalo Joe (sloppy joe meets buffalo wings), Seoul Survivor (bulgogi sandwich with sriracha-ginger mayo), Hanoi Polloi (a bahn-mi-style tofu sandwich), and The Panther (chipotle barbecued tempeh with caramelized onions, cole slaw, and chipotle ranch).

Asian Lettuce Wraps. Photo from Good Karma Kitchen's Facebook page. Licensed under creative commons.

Good Karma Kitchen This truck isn’t 100% vegan, but it is 100% vegetarian and gluten-free and very vegan-friendly. They’re opening very soon in Fort Worth, and the menu will include foods inspired by places around the world. Check out their Facebook page for a sampling of the items on their menu.

Jackalope The owners of this cart spent years working in others’ restaurants and dreamed of opening their own vegan business. Jackalope was a huge hit at the Texas State Veggie Fair. The menu promises to be traditional sandwiches with a gourmet vegan twist. The truck will wander around DFW. Keep track of their location by Twitter or Facebook.

Cinnamon ice cream with butterscotch sauce. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Kat’s Ice Cream This adorable orange truck was opened by a family member of Thai Fresh in South Austin. The ice creams range from traditional flavors like vanilla to more adventurous flavors like Hibiscus and Ghost Pepper. Ice creams are made with a variety of plant milks. Choose coconut for a really creamy ice cream or soy or rice for something lighter. You can also choose from a variety of toppings, from chocolate chips to sticky rice!

Tempeh Jerk Sandwich from Green Seed Vegan. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

And a quick shout of love to our established trailers, Counter Culture, Conscious Cravings, Vegan Yacht, and Green Seed Vegan. Thanks for leading the way!

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 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.

DFW: The Happy Poet

There’s an adorable-sounding movie called The Happy Poet that premiered at the most recent SXSW. The movie is a comedy about an idealistic young man who wants to open an organic mostly-vegetarian food cart in Austin, Texas, and the struggles he goes through trying to open his business.

It’s playing briefly at a few theaters in DFW, including The Texas Theater, where Spiral Diner will be selling food in the lobby before the movie this Saturday and Sunday.

Two New Texas Veg Groups

There are two new groups forming this summer for veg-interested people in Texas. The first is a social meet-up group for San Angelo vegetarian and vegan folks. It’s just forming, so this is an opportunity to have a big voice in shaping the group.

The second, Animal Rights and Rescue of North Texas, is a group focused on providing immediate care for animals in need in North Texas, both wild and domesticated. North Texan blogger Veganacious is one of the founders. Veganacious was inspired to create the group both because of increasing animal need due to the economy and also because of the bitter irony that most animal protection groups have activities that feature meat. (I had no idea Veganacious was Texan!) There’s an abolitionist bent to the group, but they say all people interested in helping animals are welcome. ARRNT has a meetup group and Facebook page.

Both of these groups have been added to our Veg Groups pages. As always, I’d love to hear about any new or existing veg groups in Texas. Drop me a line at lonestarplate (at) gmail (dot) com.

Dr. Neil Barnard’s Texas Book Tour

I mentioned in the post about the Texas-themed PCRM menu that Dr. Neal Barnard would be touring Texas this summer. The dates were just released, and Dr. Barnard will be visiting lovely San Antonio, Austin, Southlake (DFW), and Houston, at the end of June and beginning of July. The San Antonio date requires preregistration, but all the others are first come, first serve.

Between the book tour, Texas-themed recipes, and PCRM’s recent call for people in DFW willing to give veganism a try, it looks like Dr. Barnard and PCRM have their eyes on Texas. It will be interesting to see what comes of that.

San Antonio, June 28, at Central Library
Austin, June 29, at North Lamar Whole Foods
Southlake (Dallas), June 30, at Southlake library
Houston, July 1, at Memorial Hermann Memorial* City Medical Center

More details here.

*What’s with the double Memorial, Houston?