News Bites from around Vegan Texas

Counter Culture's new Cesar Chavez space

Take a sneak peek at the photos of Counter Culture’s new space in East Austin. There’s so much to work with there.

My friends Crystal and Chris at Food for Lovers have teamed up with vegan crafters to make some unique holiday gifts. I’m not a holiday person, but I never turn down queso.

Dallas Vegan has a review of the Fort Worth Food Park. A year ago, DFW didn’t really have much of a food truck scene to speak of. Now there’s an entire area of vegan-friendly spots.

A possible new location near Llano for Sunny Day Farms

Sunny Day Farms is moving to a location closer to Austin! Don’t worry San Antonio, they’ll still be close to you, too. Brooke is looking at a location in Blanco. This will make it easier for the farm to reach people in both Austin and San Antonio. Sunny Day will need tons of help to relocate all the animals, both physically and monetarily.

The latest rumor is that Sweet Ritual will be opening in January. Crossing my fingers for ice cream in the new year.

Houston can look forward to some new vegan grub in 2012. Ripe Cuisine will be selling vegan food at Urban Harvest Farmers Markets early next year. Ripe Cuisine has been tweeting about Green Chili Burgers, Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Cream Frosting, and a mushroom French dip. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

And dessert for last! After years of hard work, Celeste of Celeste’s Best is selling ready-to-bake (or eat with a spoon, no judgement!) vegan cookie dough at Wheatsville Coop. Right now there’s traditional chocolate chip, but Celeste is planning to branch out into other flavors and other stores in the future.

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!

Texas Go Vegan Week

Vegan Society of Peace in Houston has a neat program. They’re challenging Texans to go vegan the first week in October. And to encourage people to try out veganism, they’re offering a coupon for a discount at many Houston vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. So far, the couple is valid at Pepper Tree, Loving Hut, Pat Greer’s Raw Vegan Kitchen, Radical Eats, Sinfull Bakery, and The Vegan Cafe, but more locations may be added in the future. This is a good reason to dare your friends and family to try vegan food.

Vegan-Friendly Vending Machines at U Houston

2bU vending machine

It’s not quite an all-vegan cafeteria, but University of Houston has contracted with Canteen Vending to install a vending machine with healthy, special-diet-friendly foods in the library.  Users can browse the nutrition information on a screen before making a purchase, which I love. That way you’re not stuck guessing whether the pretzels have whey as the last ingredient or not. The foods included in the vending machines are free from preservatives, transfats, and artificial ingredients (whatever that means), and meet at least one of these criteria: vegan, gluten-free, kosher, organic, locally produced, or all natural (again, whatever that means). Check out some of the products that might be included here. I’d love a vending machine where I could get a Steaz and a bag of roasted edamame. Brands included in the vending machines were also selected partially based on their commitment to social causes, which is a nice bonus.This is one vending machine you can feel good buying a snack from.

Houston Brunch Update

Remember I mentioned a bunch of new brunch options in Houston recently. Remember? Well, it looks like one of them turned out to be even more amazing than I expected. Check out this Houston Culture Map write-up of the first Radical Eats brunch buffet. Tamales, chiles rellenos, fried okra. And, bonus, it’s all gluten-free. The next brunch is this Sunday starting at 11 AM.

Brunch in Houston

Vegan pancakes and coffee at Seward Cafe in Minneapolis. I just got back from Minneapolis where it was so hard to choose from all the vegan brunch options. Photo by Transguyjay. Licensed under creative commons

Things are looking up for vegan brunch in Houston. Before, the only choices were Field of Green or Whole Foods, and Whole Foods doesn’t really offer a “brunch experience”. But the number of brunch options has doubled recently.

Radical Eats will be serving a Sunday brunch buffet, complete with mimosa, starting August 14. Brunch will be $11 and is served from 11AM to 7PM. Perfect for lie-a-beds.

Green Seed Vegan is getting in on brunch service as well. They just announced their brunch cryptically on Facebook and Twitter: “two words: vegan brunch“. Having tasted their wonderful sandwiches, I can only imagine it’ll be great. No word yet when brunch will be served.

Field of Green is a pescetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options, and they’re open for brunch on Sunday from 11AM to 3PM. I haven’t had their brunch yet, and they don’t say much about it online. Anyone ever been?

I’m throwing Whole Foods in here, too. You can get a nice vegan latte and some baked goods from Sinfull bakery, which makes a pretty nice brunch. But it’s lacking that atmosphere that encourages you to sit back and tackle the Sunday crossword.

Radical Eats: Brick and Mortar Now

Amid all the fuss about Vegeria opening in San Antonio, Radical Eats quietly opened its doors in Houston. Radical Eats has been selling vegan tamales at farmers markets and coffee shops for a while now, but now they have settled into their own brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Radical Eats wants to fill everyone up with delicious vegetable-heavy food. And I think their new restaurant menu will be a great start. Besides the usual beans and rice you can get just about anywhere in Texas (not knocking beans and rice), they have a torta, baked chile relleno, a variety of tamales, and some house specialties like corn pudding with rajas (poblano strips) and avocado tart with avocado, cashew cheese, mango, pecans, tomatoes, and season vegetables. I’m also looking forward to the Brown Betty on the dessert menu, an old-fashioned dessert that I haven’t tried yet.

Congratulations on this new step, Radical Eats!

VegFest Houston This Saturday!

Flier for first VegFest Houston from Vegan Society of PEACE

My car is packed and I’m ready to drive to Houston for VegFest Houston! If you’re anywhere near Houston, you should join me. This is Houston’s first VegFest, thrown by Vegan Society of PEACE. Besides featuring a ton of local veg businesses, musicians, and health speakers, the event is in honor of Shirley Wilkes-Johnson, a wonderful vegan advocate who died this year. VegFest Houston runs Saturday, June 11, from 10 AM to 4 PM at Pecore Hall in St. Stephens, 1805 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 77098.

I’m looking forward to some Wayfare cheese and to finally trying some food from all the great new Houston vegan eateries, like Green Seed Vegan, Sinfull Bakery, and Radical Eats. A full list of vendors, speakers, and musicians can be found on the Society of PEACE’s website.
I’m especially interested since I’m one of the people helping to plan Texas VegFest in Austin. I hope I get lots of great ideas and inspiration. And of course, I want to meet all of you! If you see me, come introduce yourself. I look like this:

Molly at Texas Vegetarian Chili Cookoff. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

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?