Mexican Hot Dog

I finally got my hands on Fieldroast frankfurters, and I knew I wanted to do something special with them. These aren’t ordinary veggie dogs, and, frankly, they’re a bit expensive (between $5-6 for 6 hot dogs).

Mexican hotdog by mollyjade. The frankfurters aren’t quite this dark. The lighting was off in this photo. Licensed under creative commons

Hence, the Mexican hot dog. I got the idea from Mo (a Texan!) at Mo Betta Vegan. Be sure to check out her Mexican hot dog, which is much more elaborate than mine. Mine had a Rudi’s organic hot dog bun slathered with Vegenaise, a grilled frankfurter, and then soyrizo, pickled jalapenos, and mustard. I was completely against the idea of mayo on a hot dog before this, but I think I’m sold on it now. I know this would only be better with grilled onions and pico. I’ve seen some versions with ketchup, too, but I think mayo, ketchup, and mustard is a bit too much for me.

If you haven’t tried Fieldroast’s new frankfurters yet, make it a priority while it’s still grilling weather. (Just kidding, it’s never gonna get cold again in Texas.) I tried them both grilled and microwaved, and they were good both ways. Seriously, veggie meat that tastes good microwaved is miraculous.

The texture is pretty similar to Fieldroast sausages, which isn’t very hot doglike. But I think that’s a good idea. Most veggie dogs come off as plasticky, and this is nothing like plastic. It tastes good and it smells like a hot dog. Enough so that it creeped me out just a bit. This is a hot dog I’d gladly serve to someone who thinks vegan food is weird and fake because there’s nothing weird or fake about it. The world needed a great veg hot dog, and I think we have it now. Fieldroast, how about pepperoni next?

Fieldroast is doing a series of hot dogs from around the country on their blog to launch the new frankfurters. So far they’ve done a Seattle dog (where they’re located) and a chili dog.

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!

Austin: Another Blind Cafe

SecondLife image by THEMA.FELIX. Licensed under creative commons

The Austin Blind Cafe will be hosting another night of dinner and entertainment in the dark at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church August 18-20. The meal will be both gluten-free and vegan (including dessert, which will be chocolate). You can read a description of the last Austin Blind Cafe by Dustin Kirkland here. The meal is on the expensive side, but it’s for a good cause. Discounts available for students and on an as needed basis.

This really sounds like a unique (if repeating) event. I’ve never heard of anything else like it.

Vote for Your Favorite Vegan Cart

Green Seed Vegan in Houston. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Meatless Monday is holding a contest to find America’s favorite vegan or vegetarian food cart. Right now they’re accepting nominations for food carts or trucks. On August 8, they’ll set up a poll with the top ten most nominated carts so we can vote for America’s favorite.

There are carts I’ve loved in other states, and a few that I’m dying to try, but I don’t have to leave Texas to get some great vegan mobile cuisine. I won’t tell you who to nominate, but here are all the completely vegetarian carts that Texas has to offer.

Conscious Cravings, Austin, TX
Counter Culture, Austin, TX
Green Seed Vegan, Houston, TX
Iggi’s Texatarian, Austin, TX
Vegan Yacht, Austin, TX

Did I forget anyone? You don’t have to vote for a vegetarian or vegan cart. The cart just has to serve at least one meatless entree. Read the full rules at the bottom of the nomination page.

Edit. Sadly, Iggi’s Texatarian is closing after a year in business.

Iggi’s Texatarian: First Anniversary

Flier for Iggi’s Texatarian’s one year anniversary party

Lots of vegan food cart anniversaries lately! Iggi’s Texatarian is celebrating their first anniversary this Saturday with bands, DJs, hula hooping, a raffle, and a slip and slide. The key to fun times in Texas this time of year is water!

Music by Spells, Coma in Algiers, The Nouns, Grand Child, Leg Sweeper, BLACKIE, and The Bang Bang Theodores. As always, there will be great food from Iggi’s and alcoholic drinks and kombucha on tap from Cheer Up Charlie’s.

Iggi’s was one of the Austin businesses featured earlier this year on the Cooking Channel’s special about vegan food culture, The Veg Edge. You can see their interview towards the end of this clip. They’re also home to one of my favorite dishes in Austin.

Vegeria Menu Now Up!

Just a quick note to say that Vegeria have posted their menu. They’re still slated to open in August.

Highlights include posole, broccoli queso, and a huge variety of tamales. They’ll have two or three kinds of tamales each day, but check out the great combinations:

Traditional veggie, sweet potato ginger chipotle, soyrizo and frijoles, veggie mole, vegan cheese and jalapeno, black bean and vegan cheese, pumpkin spice, pumpkin curry, vegan cream cheese and jalpeno, vegan cream cheese and spinach, broccoli and vegan queso, and corn and poblano.

New Vegan Offering at Starbucks

Starbucks just introduced bento boxes to their stores across the country, and it turns out one of them is vegan!* The sesame noodle bento box comes with noodles, veggies, tofu, pickled cucumbers, sesame peanuts, and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert. I haven’t tried it yet, but from the description they got things right. This is the kind of meal I’d be happy to eat on a road trip. Grains, beans, nuts, veggies, and a little something fun to end the meal on. Good job, Starbucks!

About a year ago, Starbucks changed the way they made their Frappuccinos so you could easily get them vegan style. (Order a regular drink with soy milk. Avoid the skinny versions which contains milk powder.) With this, bagels, oatmeal, and Liz Lovely cookies, Starbucks is showing how easy it is to provide vegan options that everyone will enjoy.

From what I can find, these Texas cities have Starbucks locations: Abilene, Allen, Amarillo, Arlington, Bastrop, Beaumont, Bedford, Benbrook, Boerne, Brenham, Brownsville, Bryan, Burleson, Cedar Park, College Station, Colleyville, The Colony, Conroe, Cypress, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Euless, Fairview, Fort Hood, Fort Worth, Frisco, Gainesville, Garland, Georgetown, Granbury, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Haltom City, Harlingen, Hillsboro, Houston, Humble, Huntsville, Hurst, Irving, Katy, Kerrville, Killeen, Lakeway, Laredo, Leander, Lewisville, Longview, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mansfield, Magnolia, Marble Fallas, McAllen, McKinney, Mercedes, Mesquite, Midland, Mission, Montgomery, Murphy, Nacogdoches, North Richland Hills, Odessa, Pflugerville, Plano, Port Arthur, Richardson, Rockwall, Rosenberg, Round Rock, Rowlett, San Angelo, San Antonio, Sherman, Spring, Stephenville, Sugar Land, Temple, Texarkana, Tomball, Tyler, Waco, Watauga, Weatherford, Weslaco, Wichita Falls, Willis, The Woodlands, Wylie.

Not every location will have this (and some of these are in grocery stores or Targets), but it just goes to show that small changes at big corporations can make a huge difference. I love small, veg-friendly businesses (keep your eyes open for reviews of Texas vegan products from a new Lone Star Plate contributor), but not everyone has a Bouldin Creek or Spiral Diner nearby, and it’s great to have more options when traveling in unfamiliar places, too.

*Thanks to a post on DallasVegan’s Facebook page!

Denton Vegan Coop

Denton Vegan Coop at the Denton Community Market. Photo from the group’s Facebook page

Traditionally, colleges are a great place to be vegan. And I think that definitely holds true for University of North Texas in Denton. Besides being home to Texas’s only all-vegan store, Vegan Freak, Denton is also home to the Denton Vegan Cooperative.
The Denton Vegan Coop is a group of six people who bake at the Jupiter House Europa and sells their goods at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays, where they share a booth with Peace Kitchen, another vegan group. Typically they have nachos, ice cream, breads, muffins, and cookies. Since some of those can be hard to find at the average grocery store, I’m sure this is a huge boon to area vegans and people with milk or egg allergies. They also have a special each week, and this Saturday’s special is biscuits and gravy, a Texas specialty. Other specials have included donuts, spring rolls, and kraut rolls. I don’t know what a kraut roll is exactly, but I want one!
Denton Vegan Coop also sell their goods at both Jupiter House Coffee locations. I’m crossing my fingers that Denton changes their laws to allow food carts, because a Denton Vegan Coop food cart would be a great addition to the UNT campus.

June Hyden Park Supper Club

Hyden Park Supper Club menu by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

I missed the first Hyden Park Supper Club, but Lazy Smurf’s recap and photos convinced me I needed to make it to the second come hell or high water. Or alluring VegFests in other cities. Thankfully, it hasn’t rained in a long time and the next big Texas Veg*n festival isn’t for a few months.

This is the second Hyden Park Supper Club, which Chef Elizabeth created to showcase real sustainable food. Or, leaves-to-roots cuisine, as she’s calling it. The meal was served in a Hyde Park yard decorated with twinkle lights, candles, and pleasant company. An array of jelly jar water glasses were placed carefully around the tables. But my eye was focused on the menu.

Tomato Tartar with Basil Oil and a Mochi Crisp. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The first course was this gorgeous tomato appetizer with a mochi crisp on the side. I’ve never seen such vibrant tomatoes. [Looking at the Hyden Park tumblr, it looks like they were dyed with beet juice!] I’ve never had mochi before, and I’m still not sure what I think of it.

Watermelon Gazpacho with Lime Ice by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

But I forgot about the first course the minute the second course arrived. I’m not really a fan of gazpacho (don’t tell my mother!), so I wasn’t very excited for this course. But this was nothing like tomato gazpacho. Cool watermelon–not too sweet–with little bites of red onion. The ice floating in the middle was lime juice, like a dollop of sorbet. I loved every sip of it.

Main course at Hyde Park Supper Club by mollyjade. My husband thinks the plating looks a bit like a fish. Licensed under creative commons

The main course floored me. I started to worry about having enough room for dessert.  Starting at the top is barbecued tempeh ribs. There was none of the bitterness or crumbliness that tempeh can have, just a sweetness and a firm bite. Then a dill potato salad, which reminded me of the potato salad at Loving Hut in Arlington, which is a good thing. The turnips in the salad made it slightly sweet. Beside that, pickled watermelon radishes, which were surprisingly sour.

And then the cole slaw. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. Cole slaw is usually a boring afterthought at a barbecue. But this one had some surprising ingredients besides the usual cabbage. Green apple and what I *think* was thinly sliced seedless cucumber. It was chewy and almost rubbery, in a good way. In the corn husk was steamed corn bread, which was the only thing I didn’t really care for. Which left me with just enough room for dessert.

Peach crisp with pecan ice cream by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

And I was really glad I had room left for dessert. The ramekins came out warm and the ice cream cold. The peaches in the crisp were just boozey enough from the whiskey. And the ice cream wasn’t coconutty or icy, but mild and creamy enough for the taste of pecans to come through.

After the meal, other Texas VegFest organizers and I had a chance to talk with Texas State Veggie Fair organizers Jamey and Christy. Now I’m even more excited for both events. I tried to convince Jamey and Christy that the Veggie Fair needs an Earth Balance sculpture. Check out Christy’s description of the meal and the rest of her trip to Austin at her blog, The Blissful Chef.

A big thank you to Chef Elizabeth for creating such a wonderful meal and dining experience.

Survey: Why Veg?

A new study from folks at Texas A & M looked at the reasons why people become vegetarian or vegan. They polled people at VegFests in fourteen states and found out . . . that there is no one reason why people stop eating animal products. It’s going to take all kinds of people to build a vegan world.

Because everyone loves a survey, I’ve added a survey to Lone Star Plate asking why you initially stopped eating animal products. And I’m being mean and only letting you pick one answer. In my experience, once a person is veg for a few years, there is no longer one main reason why they don’t eat animal products. But what was the biggest influence on your decision to ditch animal products in the beginning?