March 29, 2012

Wheatsville Co-op

I ate so many wonderful things in Austin, but I'd have to say my favorite was from the Wheatsville Co-op. They have all kinds of vegan prepared foods and so many flavors of tofu.

Southern Fried Tofu, Mongolian BBQ Tofu, Red Curry Tofu,  Popcorn Tofu, Buffalo Popcorn Tofu.
They even make a Popcorn Tofu Po'boy. It's filled with lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, red onions, tomatoes, sprouts, jalapenos and a cashew tamari dressing. It was absolutely divine...a must eat. And I love that they're using tofu, as opposed to processed faux meats. It made the fried aspect feel a little healthier :)
They also have all kinds of vegan baked goods - Carrot Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Blueberry Lemon Cake, Brownies, and four different types of donuts. Their bakery case is 75% vegan, making the non-vegan selections the minority.
Truly a gem, it was one of my favorite spots in the city.

March 28, 2012

Wheatberry + Black Lentil Chili

I have a really great recipe to share today...Wheatberry and Black Lentil Chili from Ely's To Go (my parents' restaurant).
 Photo courtesy of Jim Pugh (my dad!)

Wheatberry and Black Lentil Chili

-      4 cups cooked hard winter wheatberry
-      1 box cooked lentils ( 17.6 oz) (Trader Joe’s sells a great version)
-      1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes ( 1lb 12 oz)
-      1 small jar roasted red peppers (Trader Joe’s sells a great version)
-      ½ cup Chili 3000 ( Penzeys Spices)
-      2 Tablespoons ground coriander
-      1 Tablespoon Indian ground cumin
-      2/3  cup diced onion
-      2/3  cup diced bell pepper
-      2/3  cup diced celery
-      2/3  cup diced carrot
-      3 Tablespoons vegetarian bouillon
-      1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
-      1 Tablespoon brown sugar
-      1 Tablespoon dry oregano

In large saucepan, add 2 Tablespoons light olive oil.
Saute the onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper with the vegetarian seasoning, soy sauce and brown sugar.
Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano and ground coriander.
Cook until the mixture is caramelized and fragrant.
Add the cooked wheatberry and lentils.
Add water, allowing about an inch above the level of grain mixture.
Add the fire roasted tomatoes.
Allow the chili to simmer for an hour or an hour and a half.
Add water, if necessary, for desired consistency.
Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.

This chili tastes best when served with vegan sour cream and chives. You can also spoon on top of a savory waffle for a bit more substance.

March 26, 2012

Vegan Yacht

There are so many food trucks in Austin. In particular, the East Side Drive-In houses a handful of trucks, with one being completely vegan.
You can enjoy your eats in their courtyard or take them to go and explore the east side neighborhood. (Don't miss Domy Books!)
Vegan Yacht offers all kinds of amazing vegan options, from sandwiches to wraps to chalupas.
To drink, they offer Amy & Brian's Coconut Juice, which is the perfect refreshment on a hot Texas day.
For SXSW, they offered a limited menu of Freeto Burritos and Freeto Pies. I went for the latter, a mixture of beans, corn, onions, peppers, corn chips and fresh avocado. Perfect for lunch, dinner or a late night snack!
Their hours vary, so make sure to check their website and/or Twitter.

March 22, 2012

Chi'lantro BBQ

It poured rain for 3 straight days in Austin, but I still ventured out to one of their many food trucks. Chi'lantro BBQ merges Korean and Mexican cuisines creating something very unique. They offer tacos, burritos, rice bowls and kimchi fries. 
I ordered their Tofu Tacos, double-layered corn tortillas filled with tofu, soy vinaigrette Korean salad, cilantro, onion and Chi'Lantro salsa. They were amazing. The marinated tofu, paired with the crisp lettuce and salsa on top of crazy good tortillas, was the perfect flavor combination.
If you happen to be in Austin, check their schedule for truck locations. You can also follow them on Twitter for updates.

March 21, 2012

Snack Bar

Snack Bar is another great restaurant in south Austin. The SoCo neighborhood is full of al fresco restaurants, shops and open air markets. It's a great spot for exploring.
Snack Bar offers local, organic ingredients with all kinds of vegetarian and vegan options. On the menu, you'll find a guide to tell you if an item is vegan or can be prepared vegan. They also have this feature for gluten free items.
I chose their Saigon Sub, with house seitan, nuóc châm aioli, pickled daikon, carrot
& green onion, moonlight bolillo (made vegan of course). Great textures and the perfect blend of flavors.
Don't you think it would be so easy for restaurants to offer a vegan alternative to most of their meat dishes, by just subbing seitan, tofu, tempeh or faux meats? I'm seeing more and more restaurants doing exactly this, but I'm hoping the number increases tenfold in the very near future. 

March 19, 2012

Torchy's Tacos

I recently spent some time in Austin, TX and fell in love. It was my first trip there and I was blown away by the endless vegan/vegetarian options, especially at non-veg restaurants. I have so many amazing places to share in the coming weeks. 

I was told by numerous people that I had to try Torchy's Tacos. They have several locations in Austin, Dallas and Houston. I happened to visit Torchy's Trailer Park in south Austin.
They have a great outdoor seating area, perfect for Austin weather.
If you can't seem to find it, follow the lights.
They have a vegetarian Fried Avocado Taco that people go crazy over. I had heard that it can be made vegan by omitting the beans (cheese) and the poblano sauce (dairy). However, when I arrived they informed me that the fried avocados are not vegan either. They were so nice that they made me a custom taco that was 100% vegan. Sauteed seasoned potatoes, poblano peppers, salsa verde and guacamole. Incredible. You could easily have this taco for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I apologize for the picture was extremely dark!

My trip to Austin would not have been the same without The Lazy Smurf's many Austin guides. They were SO helpful in planning my trip. If you want a complete guide to the city, check out his website here.

March 16, 2012

Organic Avenue

I've long been a fan of Organic Avenue and they've recently opened a location on the Upper West Side. It's bright, airy and filled with gorgeous juices.

Along with juices, they also sell amazing salads, soups, wraps and some delicious desserts like butterscotch mousse and chocolate macaroons.

Two weeks ago, I was in need of a good breakfast and went straight for the Green Monkey Smoothie. It's full of Kale, Banana, Coconut Water, OA Greens Powder and Lucuma Powder. I woke up groggy and feeling sluggish...I finished my smoothie and felt amazing.
Organic Avenue also offers five outstanding L.O.V.E. (Live. Organic. Vegan. Experience.) cleanses full of raw foods and juices. And they deliver!

March 14, 2012

Rickshaw Dumpling Bar . Take II

Two weeks ago, my husband and I made a quick trip to New York. We were staying at The Ace Hotel, so for dinner we walked a few blocks to Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. I've featured Rickshaw before, but it's worth another look.

The vegetarian dumpling is filled with seasoned and pureed edamame in a whole wheat wrapper. You can get them in a soup or with a salad. I normally go for a salad, but this time I decided to go for the Miso Noodle Soup (the only vegetarian soup). It's topped with seaweed, green onions and bean sprouts. It makes for a lovely casual and quick dinner.
You can also follow the Rickshaw truck on Twitter and get your dumplings to go.
P.S. If you do take yours to go, I recommend a salad. The whole wheat wrapper can break down quickly in the soup.

March 8, 2012


I'm in Austin for a few days and I'm so excited for all of the amazing food! Tonight I'll be researching and choosing which spots are must-eats. Let me know if you have any recommendations! 

See you next week!


There are some great restaurants in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, especially on Randolph Street. Jaipur is one such restaurant. 

On a recent trip there, my husband and I started with a crispy flatbread or cracker, if you will, with a cilantro dipping sauce. So much better than a bread basket!
Followed by a Samosa with seasoned potatoes and peas (I adore samosas!).
And ended with the Mix Tandoori Vegetables with cauliflower, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and fresh herbs. The vegetables were so flavorful with the perfect amount of char.
I simply love Indian food, it's uber-easy to eat vegetarian!

March 6, 2012


This summer I came across a very unique ice creamerie in Chicago called iCream.
You choose your base - regular, light, soy or organic. Then you choose your flavor(s) and topping(s). Flavors range from almond to burnt sugar to curry to root beer. And their toppings include fresh fruit, granola, nuts and candy. I decided to try blackberry and burnt sugar with graham cracker pieces. If you need help choosing, you can get all kinds of inspiration from their favorites section.

Once you make your selections, they mix everything together (the base is in liquid form)  and pour it into a Kitchen Aid mixer. Soon after, the entire area is flooded with clouds of white vapor.
The end result was really quite good - I love the burnt sugar flavor.