Vegging Out: Austin, Texas
Garden Stir-Fry from Mother’s Café and Garden in Austin, Texas
PHOTO: Cameron Alexander
Texas may be known for its livestock, oil, and cowboys, but the capital of the Lone Star state offers a bevy of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, innovative restauranteurs, and veg-inspired dishes that’ll leave you speechless. Vegan Faux Butterfinger shakes? Yeehaw!
Conscious Cravings Austin’s Conscious Cravings food trailer serves up what owner Rishi Dhir calls, “gourmet dishes in a fast food format.” Their two hottest wraps are the Spicy Chickpea and the Chimmichuri Seitan (homemade). The menu offers a mixture of South American, Mexican, and American influences with a healthy dose of Indian spices. Traveling on a shoestring? You’ll be happy to note that this eatery’s prices are super reasonable. Check their website for locations.
Toy Joy toy store and café Manager Lizzy Newsome describes walking into Toy Joy as entering a “well curated museum of weird, strange, and wonderful toys.” Take your toy tour while sipping on the Faux Vegan Butterfinger shake, which uses organic chocolate syrup and local candy company Atkinson’s Chick-o-Sticks to create frosty-sweet bliss. There are countless other vegan ice cream treats to chose from, in addition to their coffee creations and bubble tea. Toy Joy has been delighting Austin residents and tourists for 25 years, but the café was launched in 2008 in all its mini-Tokyo glory. (You’ll be surrounded by Japanese toys while satisfying your sweet tooth!)
Mother’s Café and Garden Mother’s Café and Garden has been operating plant-strong for over 30 years. The restaurant offers a casual atmosphere, complete with a fishpond and a plethora of plant life. The Bueno Burger is a must-try—filled with bulgur wheat, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and a variety of vegetables, then topped with Daiya vegan cheese and guacamole, and served on a homemade organic wheat bun. Food allergy sufferers can rest easy here, since Mother’s is happy to accommodate any dietary needs, from gluten-free to nut-free requests.
Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse and Café Before you even walk in the door, the murals covering this restaurant’s exterior clue you in on its artisan ambiance. The café’s mission is summed up best in their own words: “Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse was born out of both the desire to build community and to preserve the character of an artsy and laid back college town in the midst of growth and development.” Don’t leave Austin without trying their famous El Tipico Plate: two eggs (or tofu!) scrambled or organic red and black beans, a homemade potato hash cake, chopped local tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa and warm tortillas (whole wheat, flour, or corn). And, they have board games to boot!
Mr. Natural This place has it all: fresh juices and smoothies, authentic Mexican food, and a top-notch bakery. Plus they’re open on the holidays (sign up for their Thanksgiving meal before they sell out)! If you have room for dessert after finishing up the delectable Albondigas (three soy meat-balls cooked in a spicy chipotle sauce and served with two corn tortillas), you must try their legendary Tres Leches cake. Top off your Mr. Natural experience by joining one of their yoga or meditation classes. This veg hot spot is a one-stop shop for feeding both your mind and body.
Corinne Bowen is a freelance journalist and copywriter living in Baltimore with her husband and daughter. She blogs about her adventures in writing, veggies, marriage, and motherhood at CorinneBowen.com.