Austin: New Vegan Breakfast Options

Red Rabbit donuts

Red Rabbit Bakery coffee donuts

There are two great new vegan breakfast options in North Central Austin. Red Rabbit Bakery opened a food cart at 53rd (aka North Loop) and Martin Ave, just down the street from the Vegan Nom taco cart. The Red Rabbit cart serves their signature donuts, as well as the harder-to-find filled donuts, fritters, muffins, and donut holes. Coffee is available with either soy or almond milk. Red Rabbit shares the lot with just-opened Taco ‘Bout It and the soon-to-reopen Yoko Ono Miyaki. The Red Rabbit cart is open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM until they sell out (or 1 PM).

Maoz Austin breakfast menu

Maoz Austin breakfast menu

Nearby at the Triangle, Maoz just released a new breakfast menu. Vegan options include a pita with tofu scramble, sauteed onion, and tempeh bacon or a play on a BLT, a pita with tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, and vegenaise. Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 11 PM.

Rabbit Food Grocery Products to Try Right Now

It’s so much fun having a vegan grocery store in Austin. I love trying new vegan products and finding ones I’ll use over and over again. With that in mind, here are my favorite vegan products available from Rabbit Food Grocery. If you  haven’t tried them yet, get to it!

Edwards and Sons Bouillon Cubes. These are my favorite bouillon for cooking with. The cubes are light on salt, so I can use them to make gravies and other dishes with concentrated flavors without overdoing the salt. Each cube makes two cups broth, but can easily be cut in half with kitchen scissors to make just one cup. For a quick snack between meals, make a cup of Not Chick’n broth and add a dash of ginger powder.

Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce. This is a great tomato sauce for those nights when I don’t have the time or inclination to make my own (read: Monday nights when I have Texas VegFest meetings). It’s definitely more expensive than a $2 jar of Classico, but the taste is so much better. I also think it stretches a bit farther since I don’t feel the need to drench my pasta with sauce when I know that sauce has flavorful cashew cream.

Match Vegan Ground Meats. Again, these are a bit pricier than Gimme Lean or similar, but the taste and texture is better, too. This is by far the most realistic vegan ground meat I’ve tried so far, and it can easily be molded into meatballs or burgers. Most often, we use the Italian sausage to make lasagna.

Dr. McDougall soups. I’m really particular about soup. It’s probably my favorite food group. At any given time, you can peek into my desk drawer and find either Dr. McDougall tomato-red pepper soup or Pacific Cashew Carrot Ginger soup. They’re  a lifesaver when I need a snack between meals or when my lunch plans fall through.

Go Picnic meals. These are the answer to “what the hell am I going to eat on the airplane?” Unless you’re traveling through Houston. Then the answer is vegan pizza from ZPizza in terminal C. There are a few varieties of these, but there’s a special place in my heart for the hummus one because it’s high protein and low carb, a diabetic’s favorite combination. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with hummus and chocolate.

***

As usual, this post was not solicited by Rabbit Food Grocery or any of the products mentioned above. I paid for everything myself. However, I consider Rabbit Food to be friends, and they’re pretty awesome. But that’s my own opinion.

SXSW, Vegan Style

It’s SXSW time, and thousands of people are descending on Austin for music, film, and as many free drinks as they can find. Have you been reading national articles about the Austin food scene and are wondering, is it all BBQ and barbacoa? What’s a vegan to do? It’s okay. We’ve got you.

To start with, Lazy Smurf’s Guide to Life has an excellent SXSW guide as well as a list of late night vegan eats. The late night post is part of Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance City Guide series. The series has a number of vegan and vegetarian guides, so check that out, too.

If you’re here for music, be sure to go to Brooklyn Vegan’s annual show on March 13. This year there will be free vegan tacos by Pink Avocado and vegan nachos made by Food for Lovers queso. I don’t really understand music, but I know Brooklyn Vegan’s a big deal. The event is free but you should RSVP here.

On March 15, Counter Culture, an all-vegan Austin restaurant, is hosting a free SXSW day show. Food sales for the show will benefit Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary located outside of San Antonio. The owner of Counter Culture is also a DJ, so the show should be good.

Update. See the comments below for more vegan-friendly free food.

Easter Chocolates for a Cause

The Good Egg by Rescue Chocolate

I may not celebrate Easter myself, but I’ve still got you covered. Rescue Chocolate, a nonprofit chocolatier, is making vegan chocolate Easter bunnies and vegan chocolate eggs. That’s right, a chocolate egg filled with vegan cream just like those ones near every cash register this time of year.

One of the best things about Rescue Chocolate is that all of their profits go to animal rescue organizations.  And Rescue Chocolates are available through Rabbit Food Grocery. So think about it. You get to eat sweet sweet candy, help animals, support a local businesses, and all under the guise of religion. Now that’s a sweet deal!

The Magic of Soy Curls

Carolina soy curls with salad and potatoes. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Have you heard of soy curls? Wheatsville Coop just started carrying them (I’m taking all the credit for this since I requested them. So what if 20 other people did, too?) If you haven’t used soy curls before and you live within driving distance of Wheatsville Coop in Austin or Ann’s Health Food and Market in Dallas or Waxahachie, buy some ASAP. Otherwise, they can be bought from the Butler Soy Curl website. If you go in with a group of friends so you can split the shipping, they can be very cheap.

So what are soy curls? They’re similar to textured vegetable protein (TVP), except they’re better in every way. To start with, TVP is made from defatted soy flour. When oil is extracted from soy beans, what’s left is a flour made up of the protein and carbohydrate of the soybeans. This is just formed into TVP shape. Soy curls are made from whole soy beans, so you’re getting a less processed product.

Also, TVP has a beany taste. Often this can be covered up with strong flavors (or maybe some people like that taste?). I think soyrizo made from TVP is pretty delicious, but any recipe less flavorful tastes off to me. Soy curls, on the other hand, don’t have any beany taste. That means they can handle more delicate flavors.

And finally, TVP chunks look like dog food. Don’t tell me you have noticed! Soy curls look like food meant for humans.

But really the best part about them (and this is mostly true for TVP, too) is how versatile and easy to use they are. Just rehydrate with vegetable broth or something similar, and you can use them in just about any type of cuisine.

I realize this all sounds like an infomercial, but well, I love soy curls like Vince loves his nuts. So, if you pick up your phones now, you’ll also receive these free ideas about how to use your shiny new soy curls.

Barbecue soy curl sandwich. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

  • Add a few handfuls of soy curls to a saucepan. I usually go for one or two handfuls per person. Cover 1/2 way with your favorite barbecue sauce and the rest of the way with water. Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then serve with cole slaw on a sandwich. The whole meal can easily be made in half an hour.
  • Rehydrate soy curls in your favorite broth for about five minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can (you can reuse the broth in soup). Saute in oil with fajita seasonings, then serve with tortillas and all the fixings.
  • Rehydrate soy curls in your favorite broth for about five minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Chop, and then use in your favorite chicken salad recipe.
  • You’ll notice that soy curls might crumble in the package a bit, but don’t fret about it. Toss any leftover bits at the bottom on the package into a pot of soup with carrots, celery, and noodles and you’ll have super easy chick’n noodle soup.
  • Check out Vegan Diner and Vegan Brunch for recipes that use soy curls. The smokey soy curls in Vegan Diner are vaguely reminiscent of barbecue or bacon and totally delicious. And the Courico Tacos in Vegan Brunch are indescribable.