Mystic Java Cafe and a Smoothie

For some reason, Mystic Java Cafe doesn’t get much love in Austin. Formerly Jeanie’s Java and located in Great Outdoors Nursery in South Congress, the cafe has a good-sized vegan menu along with smoothies, coffee drinks, and beer. (Mimosas coming soon!)

Vegan items at Mystic Java Cafe. Source: mollyjade

The last time I was there, I noticed a smoothie called the Peanut Butta Cup o’ Joe and decided that it was something I needed to make at home. It’s become my daily breakfast.

Coffee peanut butter banana smoothie.

Coffee Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana
4 ounces cold brew coffee concentrate (or equivalent to 1 cup coffee)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

The first few of these I had ended up being Coffee-peanut butter-banana-salmonella smoothies. Make sure your peanut butter isn’t on the recall list!

For anyone else watching carbs, this has 35g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 14g protein. If you like your smoothies on the sweeter side, you might want to add agave nectar or chocolate syrup to yours.

Dallas: Donuts and Asking for What You Want

There are vegan donuts available in Dallas.

QUESTION: When did that happen, and why didn’t anyone tell me?!

ANSWER: Years and years ago, and because you never asked.

Jennifer of Dallas Mom’s Blog has been frequenting Donut Palace in Dallas for five years. Recently, one of her kids was diagnosed with an egg allergy. Like many people who have out-of-the-ordinary food requests, Jennifer avoided asking about the donuts at her family’s weekly donut trip. I can imagine what she went through. If you ask, you’re likely to get an answer you don’t want to hear. As long as you put off asking, the donuts could be safe to eat.

Finally Jennifer faced the inevitable, asked about the donuts, and got a huge surprise.  Not only were the donuts egg-free, but they’re also dairy-free and peanut-free, as well. The proprietor avoids using those ingredients because those allergies are so common, yet he never thought to advertise his donuts as being anything special.

Moral of the story? Even though it’s a bit embarrassing or intimidating or you dread hearing the “wrong” answer, go ahead and ask. Otherwise, you risk being donut-less for no reason at all.

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Thanks to Jamey of Dallas Vegan for sharing the Dallas Mom’s Blog post.

Rumor Mill: New Restaurants

Source: Tarrytown Facebook page

A few new vegan-friendly restaurants are slated to open in Texas this Fall. Austin Java is opening a new all-vegetarian location in Tarrytown, Austin. The coffee shop is in the strip mall owned by Jeanne Daniels, whose efforts to keep the shopping center cruelty free have received a large amount of press and vitriolic criticism. The coffee shop will serve dairy and eggs, but not meat. Austin Java’s current menu is only moderately vegan friendly, including hummus, veggie chorizo tacos, and a Thai noodle salad. Hopefully this new location will have a few more vegan options (I’m crossing my fingers for pancakes.)

Source: bookgrl

The Steeping Room, another vegan-friendly spot in Austin will be opening a new location on Lamar where Get Sum Dim Sum used to be located. (No news yet on a new location for Get Sum Dim Sum, but they’re still serving dim sum at Satay occasionally.) Steeping Room is a tea shop that serves breakfast, sandwiches, and salads. They have vegan scones, french toast, tofu scramble, and a number of other clearly-marked vegan items. Since the original location is in the Domain, this new location will have better parking and be more appealing to anyone who gets itchy just thinking about the lifestyle the Domain represents.

Macadamia nut cheese. Source: The Green Ingredient Eatery

And finally, I received news recently that El Paso would be getting its first all-vegetarian restaurant, the Green Ingredient Eatery. [Note: what’s with all the veg restaurants with green in their names?] Unfortunately, it looks like that’s an exaggeration. After corresponding with the restaurant owners, I found that they will be serving chicken and fish. Their focus is on healthy food, with a large amount of “raw food dishes, vegan and vegetarian.” Oh well. I’m still hopeful about that macadamia nut cheese on their Facebook page. Even if it’s not vegetarian, veg folks in El Paso will enjoy having more easily accessible vegetarian and vegan options.

As always, if you have a tip about a new vegan-friendly restaurant in Texas, you can let me know at lonestarplate (at) gmail (dot) com.

Dallas: Sunset at the Granada

On a recent trip to DFW, I checked out Sunset at the Granada with some family. If you’ve been looking for a good date night or special-but-not-extremely-fancy restaurant, Sunset at the Granada is for you. There are great vegan options, and, it’s hard to emphasize this enough, they are clearly marked. “Vegan” is all over that menu. Not only vegan, but “ANDI” (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) and “Dr. Furhman,” too. So this is also a good option for anyone following an Eat to Live, Engine 2, Dr. Esselstyn et al. diet. And they even have vegan desserts from Hail Merry. Prices are a bit on the higher side, especially if you order several courses, but the meals justify the price.

Source: Sunset at the Granada

We started with the Mediterranean Plate (ask for it without the feta to make it vegan). It comes with olives, hummus, roasted garlic, tabouleh, and pita. As you can see from the photo, there’s not much parsley in the tabouleh, which I was thrilled with since parsley tastes like grass. The pita was pillowy, almost weirdly so, but in general, this was a standard Mediterranean sampler. Other vegan appetizers include stuffed avocado with endives and chili.

Source: Sunset at the Granada

My sister-in-law ordered the ANDI salad, which has a kale base with candied pecans and dried fruit. The texture was surprisingly spongy. I usually think of kale as chewy and a bit rough, but this was very light. It’s honestly not something I’d usually order, but I’m glad it’s on the menu. All of the salads can be made vegan by request.

Source: Sunset at the Granada

For the main course I had Chilled Buckwheat Soba Noodles. It came with more pita and a basic salad with raspberry vinaigrette. The noodles were tossed with a slightly sweet peanut sauce and shredded vegetables. I loved this. I packed half of it to take home so I could save room for dessert, but 10:30 predictably found me standing in front of the fridge with a fork shoveling in the last of the noodles. Other vegan options include a quinoa and black bean dish and an Indian-inspired chickpea dish. Wraps and flatbreads can also be made vegan with a substitution of avocado for any cheese.

Imagine this without the ice cream on top. Source: Sunset at the Granada

If you’ve been vegan for long, then I don’t have to tell you how thrilling it is to have choices for dessert at a mainstream restaurant. And neither of the choices was berry sorbet! Both vegan choices are based on Hail Merry products and are both vegan and gluten-free. We chose the Chocolate Tartlet with strawberries and strawberry sauce. The tartlet was creamy on the inside and very rich. The other option is a medley of Hail Merry macaroons. If you won’t be anywhere near Dallas anytime soon, you can order Hail Merry desserts through their website.

Sunset at the Granada also has an extensive beer and cocktail menu. I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the menu on future trips to Dallas.

Will Travel for Vegan Food in Texas

Neener neener people who joke that you can’t be vegan in Texas!

“According to HappyCow.net, a veg restaurant resource website, New York City has the greatest number of all-vegan restaurants in the world. While NYC remains the forerunner in this category, through my multistep research plan to find vegan food in each state, I’ve come to learn that Texas houses more than 50 vegan, and an even greater number of vegan-friendly restaurants. Particularly in Houston and Austin where there is a combined 30-plus vegan restaurants. I’ve never been to Texas so I am looking forward to explore this surprising and growing vegan hub,” said [Kristin] Lajeunesse. (emphasis mine) [Source] 

Lone Star Plate was started in 2009 by a group of Texans who wanted to show that, yes, you can be vegan in Texas. Does this mean it’s time for the blog to retire?

You can follow Kristin Lajeunesse’s travels through Texas and beyond at her website.

Breakfast at Radical Eats

Vegan Tex-Mex favorite Radical Eats is going to serve breakfast. They’ll be offering breakfast tamales, cinnamon rolls, and locally roasted coffee. Breakfast service will begin August 14 beginning at 7:30 AM.

All this makes me wonder, is the breakfast tamale Houston’s answer to the breakfast taco? Or have I been sleeping through breakfast while everyone else gobbles up tofu migas tamales? Tamale experts, what’s the story here?

Goodseed Burgers

When Flat Top Burger Shop opened up earlier this year, I was excited. They advertised a vegan burger, and I could walk there from work. Heaven. They even got things right with the bun, which was the ironically named Butterkrust brand. But before I could even type up a post about their burger, they switched to a non-vegan veggie burger.

Former vegan burger at Flat Top Burger Shop (no longer available). Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The folks at Flat Top told me the burgers weren’t sturdy enough; they kept falling apart. I couldn’t really disagree with that. But they said they really wanted to serve a vegan burger and would keep looking for one. I wrote off Flat Top thinking this was the usual brush off.

I’m happy to say I was wrong. Flat Top is now carrying Goodseed Burgers!

You might remember Goodseed Organic, the trailer which opened in Austin in 2009, but closed not too long after. One of their most popular items was their hemp burger. Owners Oliver and Erin recreated their business to package their hemp burgers and sell them to local restaurants and through grocery stores.

Goodseed burger at Flat Top Burger Shop. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The burger I had at Flat Top was good. Still a tiny bit crumbly, but I got 90% of the way through it before that was an issue. The burger is visibly grain-based but still manages to look like a burger. Flat Top offers a Vegan burger (two patties) or a Jr. Vegan burger (one patty).  The Jr. is more than enough for me. They also have tasty fries made in a dedicated frier. Be aware that Flat Top’s “all they way” dressing includes mayo, so ask for yours without.

You can also find Goodseed burgers served at Daily Juice (gluten-free bun is not vegan), Snack Bar, Red’s Porch*, Javelina Bar*, All Star Burger*, People’s RX*, Violet Crown*, Strange Brew*, and The Vegan Yacht. Or purchase them for yourself at Wheatsville,  Hyde Park Market, Greenling, or Thom’s Market.

*I have no idea if the bun at these places is vegan.

Vegan Tex-Mex in DFW

Vegan enchiladas in the Metroplex. Photo by tofutti break. Licensed under creative commons

The folks at Dallas Vegan have been putting a lot of work into their website lately. They’ve added several new food guides, including this list of vegan Tex-Mex options in DFW. The list tells you the vegan status of beans, tortillas, rice, and sauces at restaurants. With that info, you can create just about any vegan Tex-Mex restaurant dish. The info is crowd sourced, so be sure to let Dallas Vegan know about your favorite Tex-Mex spot in the Metroplex.

Vegan Pizza in Texas

Cartoon by Matthew Diffee

So I get this cartoon. Really. Texas is a wasteland of BBQ and chicken fried steak. Except it isn’t, exactly. Don’t get me wrong. You can drive along miles and miles of highway seeing signs advertising brisket and chicken fried chicken, and Texas isn’t exactly known for its fresh produce or vegetarian cuisine. But this cartoon always makes me a little wistful, because people who think like this are missing out on some great vegan pizza.

Here in Austin you can find vegan New York-style, deep dish, Detroit-style, Italian wood oven-baked, and French bread pizzas, among the many many options. That’s a lot of vegan pizza.

So partly in honor of this cartoon and partly in honor of the fact that “vegan pizza in _____” is always one of my top search terms, here are links to vegan pizzas around Texas.

Austin, by Red Hot Vegans
Dallas-Fort Worth, by Dallas Vegan
Houston by Vegan Houston
San Antonio: Fraolo’s Art of Pizza and ZPizza via San Antonio Vegans

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I have a few favorite vegan pizzas in Austin that didn’t make the Red Hot Vegans list. The Spicy Vegan at Brick Oven on 35th (not to be confused with Brick Oven) for some reason doesn’t get much love. Maybe because there’s no cheese on the pizza. But there’s chipotle pesto, which I think is even better. FYI you can also get the chipotle pesto on pasta (ask for no cream).

Sagra also makes some great vegan pizzas, and recently they started making pistachio cheese for their vegan pies. The pizzas are Italian-style, not the Italian-American pizzas which are the norm in the U.S., which means you get more creative vegetable toppings including arugula, truffle oil, and asparagus. Their menu changes seasonally.