January 18, 2010

austin hotspots

January 18, 2010 - .  

i’m back in austin and thought i’d do a little bonus post about some of my favorite vegan hotspots here.  i don’t eat out very often here, and in the 3 months i’ve lived here i’ve been to a bunch of places that are great for vegans, which i want to mention since i probably won’t make it back to all of these places soon.  also handy as a guide for where we can go when you all come visit me.  here’s a list of where all i’ve been so far:


  • casa de luz. vegan, macrobiotic, organic, and all-you-can-eat.  the menu changes at every meal, including weekend brunch, so you don’t know what you’re going to have until you get there, but you can look at past menus on the website to get an idea, and it’s always good.  this is my favorite restaurant in austin.
  • mr. natural. tex-mex, cafeteria-style, mostly vegan including a case full of delicious-looking desserts.
  • mother’s. really nice atmosphere and good food; about half the menu is vegan. i had a great bbq tofu sandwich.
  • el chile and el chilito. right around the corner from me in cherrywood, el chilito is a taco stand with good vegetarian burritos (you don’t even have to ask for no cheese or sour cream because those actually cost extra) and great salsa.  el chile is its sister sit-down tex-mex restaurant where i had veggie enchiladas in red sauce, hold the cheese.  good place to take parents!
  • kerbey lane cafe. open 24 hours; ask what the vegan pancake of the day is. i had the blueberry and they were great.
  • cheer up charlie’s. just converted from trailer to restaurant. i’ve actually only had their raw chocolates, but the lunch menu looks great and supposedly they have a vegan barbecue/dance party every saturday at midnight.
  • counterculture. trailer with picnic tables. i enjoyed the bbq jackfruit sandwich, but they were out of several other things from their small menu, so that was kind of disappointing. go early.
  • clay pit. pretty good indian food, none of the curries are made with ghee. i didn’t ask specifically about the naan, but it didn’t come all slathered in butter, which made me feel okay about eating it.
  • titaya’s thai cuisine. not the best thai food i’ve ever had, but they had vegan items specified in the menu, asked if i wanted eggs in my pad thai (fortunately, since i had forgotten to specificy), and offered brown or white rice with the curries.
  • aster’s ethiopian restaurant. there are a couple others in austin and i have yet to compare, but aster’s is pretty good and has a reasonable lunch buffet.
  • veggie heaven. this place seems to get great reviews, but i was honestly a little disappointed.  i had a stir fry which i felt i could have made myself. i think the thing people rave about it some deep-fried, saucy, soy protein thing that sounded reminiscent of the taste of nirvana at the mandarin in oberlin, which brings back some bad memories of lying on the couch with a tummy ache after an uncontrollable gorge..

grocery stores:

  • fiesta. interesting produce, great world cuisine sections, adequate bulk section, best prices.
  • whole foods. the flagship store is in austin. vegan everything, lots of it made in-store.
  • central market. like a smaller whole foods; excellent bulk section.
  • wheatsville co-op. i actually haven’t been here yet! but i’ve gotta go try the popcorn tofu po’ boy from their deli, i’ve heard it’s great.


  • hey cupcake. cupcake trailer with at least one kind of vegan cupcake everyday. i had the vegan banana walnut, which was great although i had been hoping for something chocolate-y. you gotta take what you can get.
  • daily juice. excellent juice, assorted vegan snacks. i think there’s one location with actual food.
  • green cart. no longer a trailer, now a catering company which provides 3 kinds of vegan wraps (and 1 vegetarian wrap) to coffee shops and grocery stores around austin. i’ve had green cart wraps at bennu.


  1. marcy's comment:

    banana nut? isn’t that a muffin? did it have frosting?

    also, your reference to taste of nirvana made me smile and then frown and hold my stomach protectively. i went off that shit junior year


  2. emily's comment:

    YOU ATE IT TOO!!!!!!!! (remember? when we picked you up at the airport with cupcake in hand, like good friends always should?)


  3. marcy's comment:

    oh yeah!! that was awesome! and i remember that we definitively stated that it was indeed a cupcake, but i can’t remember why


  4. emily's comment:

    i think because it had frosting and was fluffy, NOT substantial. if it had been made with spelt flour, less baking powder, and not had frosting- definitely a muffin. ..right?


  5. marcy's comment:

    oh right, because cupcakes POUR and muffins GLOP


  6. emily's comment:

    SO TRUE! that’s the definitive answer. now i am going to write this, so that if someone googles it they will be directed toward this page with the definitive answer: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CUPCAKE AND A MUFFIN? DEFINITIVE ANSWER HERE!


  7. marcy's comment:

    yes, let’s use this as a way to get EVEN MORE people to read our blorg


  8. stacey's comment:

    taste of nirvana…so gross, but so good. we should have a vegan oberlin reunion and stuff ourselves on this nutritious food


  9. emily's comment:

    yeah! it has been at least three years, i think i’m almost ready to taste nirvana again..


  10. stacey's comment:

    It does take that long to recover. Austin sounds pretty great for a vegan.


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