The 22ndLonestar Vegetarian Chili Cook-off is this coming Sunday, November 7, at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas, from 11:30 AM to 5 PM. Chili artists and vegetarian organizations from around Texas will converge to mix up their secret blends of spice, beans, and grains. Despite the name, all chilis are vegan, certified by the vegan police.
There will also be music, booths, and celebrity judges. Come out to sample all the chilis and vote for your favorite one!
Adults $8, seniors and college students $5, children 6-12 years old $4, children 5 and under free.
Before I was vegan the lure of free food enticed me at every turn. In my line of work there are always a lot of events with free food and I always helped myself to whatever looked best. Mostly it is really nice to be vegan and have an iron clad excuse to not eat a bunch of junk food but every now and then it is a little sad to pass up on homemade cookies or holiday party food. My inner need for free food is so strong that on a dark and stormy night we drove all the way from South Austin to Round Rock, a northern suburb of Austin, to try a newer restaurant Promise Pizza. Full Disclosure, it was an Austin blogger event so all of my food was free. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try another vegan friendly restaurant that promised organic and locally sourced vegetables and daiya cheese.
We got there a little late and everyone was eating. I was so happy that the tiny place was so bright and warm and it was filled with people. The staff was really friendly. There was one vegan pizza out there already but they made a special pizza with no peppers (I don’t like them on pizza!) just for me.
My only quibble with the pizza was that it didn’t have enough olives but that is my personal obsession and a normal person would be quite happy with the “sane” amount of olives on the pizza, they were good olives too. Red onions, Portabello mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil were all present on the pizza along with the vegan cheese and red sauce. The crust was good and all the toppings seemed right on. The cheese wasn’t all I had hoped but I am pretty used to that now with vegan dairy food. It was really fun to watch all the other food bloggers poke at the vegan cheese but it seemed like for the most part they liked it enough. The owner talked for a while about how hard they are trying to source everything locally. They make the dough at the shop and he promised me that everything was truly vegan and that there is no chance of cross contamination. When they do the vegan and gluten free crusts they use separate cutting boards and even run them through the oven separately. It was really nice to hear someone being so thoughtful of people with special requests. Everything at the place was organic and they even had soda sans high fructose corn syrup. The rest of the table was raving about the pepperoni pizza and the owner said he was working on finding a vegan sausage that he liked as much as the meat version so that he could start offering that as well and they also had vegan gluten fee cookies.
All in all it was shocking (to me) that such a place exists in Round Rock. I think vegans are going to be really happy to have a place that they can go where someone really understands how important it is to know where our food comes from. It gives me hope that places like this are popping up more and more around the country. He said that people in town were nervous to try the pizza because it was organic and they didn’t think that hippie shit would taste as good (my words not his) so they would go to the Dunkin Donuts next door and ask them what they thought of the pizza! That reminded me of my home town where every local business failed because people preferred to go to chains because they were deemed more trustworthy. What a world. I think these types of people are going to be pleasantly surprised by how much better something local and organic is than Pizza Hut.