Just because you eat a meat-free diet doesn’t mean you’re limited to purely salads and cheese pizza while here in Austin for SXSW 2012. Despite that we like our BBQ and beer, Austin is a very veg-friendly and health-conscious city, so you will be able to find veg-friendly options on most menus around the city. Nonetheless, here are my picks for locally-owned raw, vegan, and vegetarian eating establishments in the central Austin, TX area:
Beets Living Foods Cafe - 1611 W 5th St Austin, TX 78703 (512) 477-2338
The perfect venue to close a business deal or to meet up over really rockin’ and beautifully presented raw, vegan, and organic food. Good for dinner. See my recent post about Beets Living Foods Cafe.
Casa De Luz- 1701 Toomey Rd Austin, TX 78704 (512) 476-2535
This macrobiotic garden escape offers plant-based, 100% organic, vegan, vegetarian, alkalizing, nutrient-rich meals that are meant to improve your health. See my recent post about Casa De Luz.
The Vegan Yacht – 1001 E 6th St Austin, TX 78702 (512) 619-7989
This vegan food trailer serves a variety of choices from the organic tempeh chili and mock chick’n sammie to tarzen raw wraps and seitan quesadilla.
Arlo’s – 1500 E 6th St Austin, TX 78702 (512) 628-0608
Just because you’re a veg doesn’t mean you don’t like to indulge on tacos, hot dogs, and burgers. Here you will find variety of the meatless kind.
JuiceLand – 1625 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704 (512) 480-9501
Head over to JuiceLand for a hearty replacement meal or to replenish with a vitamin-packed smoothie after a late night out.
Bouldin Creek Coffee House & Cafe – 1900 S 1st St Austin, TX 78704 (512) 416-1601
Great little funky South Austin spot serving breakfast, tacos, salads, and sammiches .. yes, you read that right.
Wheatsville Food Coop – 3101 Guadalupe St Austin, TX 78705 (512) 478-2667
Try the famous popcorn tofu with tamari dipping sauce. Their deli serves sandwiches, tempeh chili and super inventive, always tasty salads and sides.
Contigo, owned by native Texans Ben Edgerton and Andrew Wiseheart is modeled after Contigo Ranch in South Texas. I’d been dying to try this place and after many failed attempts to make it happen I was beyond excited when my friend won the 5 course dinner with wine pairing from Austin Tidbits. The concept is simple, according to the website: “Since we can’t have everyone down to the ranch, we wanted to do our best to bring the ranch to them.” And bring it they did. I opted for the vegetarian option this magical evening my taste buds were left singing.
1st Course: Root Vegetable Soup Wine Pairing: Castillo Perelada, Cava, Brut Reserva, DOC Cava, Spain
2nd Course: Three Beet Salad with arugula, caraway and parmesan Wine Pairing: 2009 Casa Morande, Chardonnay, Reserva, Casablanca Valley, Chile
3rd Course: Potato Gnocchi with Johnson Backyard Garden “Morning Harvest” Wine Pairing: 2007 Bodegas Benegas, Sangiovese, “Finca Libertad”, Mendoza, Argentina
4th Course: Roasted Cauliflower, toasted almonds, smoked greens, salsa verde Wine Pairing: 2008 Bodegas Benegas, Syrah, “Finca Libertad”, Mendoza, Argentina
5th Course: Stacked Chocolate Cake with coffee creme Wine Pairing: Mendoza Vineyards, Gran Reserva, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
Location: East MLK
2027 Anchor Lane Austin, TX 78723
512 614 – 2260
Reality. Walking through the grocery store I spot a woman pushing a cart visibly absent of any fruit or vegetables, but instead brimming with soda cans, frozen entrees, and processed snack foods, her kids are perched on either side of the cart hitching a ride, and I think to myself, “doesn’t that Mom know how bad that food is for her family’s health and what a poor example she is setting for her children!?” So quick to judge, at the time I was oblivious to the high cost of fresh produce versus other less healthy options such as a frozen pizza that offers more bang for your buck. Sadly there are people unable to afford fresh fruit and vegetables or those who live in areas with little to no access to fresh produce – locations termed food deserts. I buy organic, local food because it is not only important that I feed my family the best quality food available, but it is also my way of protecting the environment and ensuring I support the local economy. I recognize, however, that living in Austin, Texas gives me access to dozens of natural grocery stores, farmers markets, and even farm to doorstep delivery services available at my convenience. Just like I believe everyone deserves to be happy, I also believe everyone deserves to have access to nutritious fruit and vegetables.
Small Steps in the Right Direction. The Obama administration announced a $400 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to under-served urban and rural communities. Organizations such as the Veggie Mobile take matters into their own hands to make available produce at wholesale prices to under-served communities. Sow Much Good, a non-profit organic farming initiative “provides organic foods at no cost to marginalized populations and creates opportunities for individuals to take part in the development of local, sustainable food source creation”. Many Austin area farmers markets accept food stamps and WIC-FMNP to purchase eligible products at local farmers markets year around, when available.
Everyone Can Help. In Austin, I came across this post on the Lily Farm’s Farmhouse Delivery Facebook community page. It is encouraging to witness first-hand, in my own backyard, someone showing compassion to a fellow community member in need. With Earth Day around the corner on April 22, I encourage you to share your bounty with someone in need. If you are fortunate enough to have fresh vegetables in your own backyard, consider giving as a gift in honor of Earth Day. If you are uncertain as to where to find someone in need, places like Caritas of Austin food programs rely heavily on food donations from the community. Volunteer at Mobile Loaves & Fishes on the harvest crew or produce washing and bunching team. This Earth Day I pledge to share my very modest harvest! You?
In addition to….
Staying healthier, encouraging sustainability practices in the world, saving animals from really sad conditions, conserving diminishing resources, preserving nature, decreasing unfavorable and damaging environmental effects, and more!