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Roadtrip Post 2: Day 4 Counter Culture & Easy Tiger – Austin, TX

Published December 12, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Day 4 of our road trip was the day before Thanksgiving. We were happy we were getting to spend the entire day in Austin, because we were now going to spend actual Thanksgiving day driving through the rest of Texas, instead of LA as we had originally planned. So I sought out what I thought would be a sure thing, so we could go pig out properly in one of Austin’s fully vegan establishments.

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And that sure thing was Counter Culture. Originally, I had hoped to eat there the night before, but by the time we got into town and checked in at the hotel, it ended up being far too late, so we hit the bricks to seek it out the next day for lunch! The weather was super nice out, so we sat outside.

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We got there during happy hour, and started out with a couple of really tasty local brews from Hops & Grain: A sustainable brewery in Austin. They had two selections which just so happened to fit our beer palettes perfectly.

An ALT-ERATIONa blended base of German Pilsner malt with hefty portions of Munich, Vienna and just a touch of de-bittered black malt, for Thomas.

And a PALE DOGan American Pale Ale. A blend of Vienna and Caramel malts with a sweetness of grapefruit and tropical fruit, for me. $4 each.

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We ordered a SPICY BAKED ARTICHOKE DIP – Creamy baked artichokes with a touch of jalapeño, accompanied by a selection of bread, $7 which you can also get Gluten free for an extra $2. Really delicious, and so much bread. We ate all of it.

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We also ordered a GARBANZO “TUNA” SALAD to split, since we were really hungry and had trouble deciding on our entrees. A scoop of garbanzo salad centered on a bed of mixed greens, tomatoes & thin red onions with vinaigrette dressing, Gluten-Free, $7. I ordered it over kale, though!

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I ordered the LENTIL LOAF – Herbed lentils & vegetables topped with house-made ketchup and served with a side of tahini mustard sauce, Gluten-Free, $12. I ordered it with GARLICKY GREENS and PAC MAN kale salad. Look at those little carrots cut to look like pac man! So cute. I really can’t pass up a lentil loaf if I see one. This one tasted really good, but the texture could have been better. It was kind of dry on the outside and dense on the inside. We figured it might have been because it was gluten free. The tahini mustard was terrific on the garlicky greens, and well, more kale for me. I was happy and stuffed. Didn’t get quite through the loaf.

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The same way that I’m a sucker for a lentil loaf, Thomas is a sucker for vegan pulled pork. He got the JACKFRUIT BBQ sandwich. Shredded jackfruit covered in organic chipotle bbq sauce, topped with onions & pickles. (There’s a GF option for this too.) $8. It got a superior rating from him of being “Really Good”. I tasted it too. It was. 🙂 He got it with a side of cornbread which wasn’t sweet enough for either of us. There are two kinds of cornbread in the world, and we are of the cakey, sweet cornbread loving school. This is from the other one. Still, it’s cornbread. It’s still good.

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Before leaving, we packed up two Thanksgiving sandwiches for our day of driving ahead. I really wish we had packed up some of the pumpkin cheesecake too, but Thomas is allergic to cashews (we think) so I decided against it.

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Later that night, we headed back out down 6th street to enjoy our last night in Austin, and decided to check out Easy Tiger, a Bake Shop and Beer Garden. They have a lot of good beer on tap, and it’s a really cool location. The store front on the street level just looks like a counter for a bakery. If you go down stairs, there’s a full bar and restaurant area including shelves of board games, a huge out door area that includes covered tables, and also a wide open area that has several ping pong tables.

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When I asked the waitress about their Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA (my fave!), because it said (Randall) next to it, and she told me what the Randall was. (The brown wine bottle looking thing in the pic below with the Dog Fish Head sticker on it!)

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It’s one of only 4 in existence, and it’s a device Dog Fish Head came up with to run beer through it to give it extra hoppy taste. I decided to give it a try…  Honestly, the taste wasn’t much different, but it did make the beer kind of warm! Their other beers were nice and cold, though!

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I was still full, but Thomas was a bit hungry, so he ordered the Vegetarian version of their house made sausages. It’s actually vegan and consists of Beets, Lentils, Brown Rice, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Herbs, and Smoke, and comes served with Sautéed Pickled Peppers. You can get just the link $5, or on a pretzel bun for $7, but the pretzel bun isn’t vegan.

Okay, it’s way better than it looks! After trying it, I ended up ordering a link for myself. Extremely tasty! As we left I asked if any of the breads were vegan in the bakery upstairs, and the girl told me the only one they had at the moment was the 9 grain bread, so we took a loaf to go for the road. (Literally!)

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the details of the rest of our trip!

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Roadtrip post 1: Day 3 Magnolia Cafe – Austin, Texas

Published December 11, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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So my road trip pictures begin with Day 3 (Tuesday before Thanksgiving), due to my phone smashing to its death in New Orleans, but I’ll give you the run down on days 1 and 2. It was mostly just driving. We decided to only travel up to Winter Haven on the Sunday we began, in order to give us a better jump on getting to NOLA the next day at a reasonable time, and also so that we could do one more quick visit with Thomas’ mom and sis.

We only spent the night in New Orleans. Our car was so weighed down with stuff that it was scraping against the bumpy roads of the city, so we made a quick exit the next morning, but we decided to take an extra day in Austin since we were getting in late, and it has such an awesome reputation.

We stayed close to the fantastic 6th street bars, and took a long walk down to Cheer up Charlie’s (I like the Willy Wonka reference, but everyone knows to fast forward that song in the movie, right?), where they have 2! vegan food trailers (One was Arlo’s) parked on the premises. Unfortunately for us, they had just closed when we got there (contrary to what it said on happy cow!) So we had a beer and hung out for a little while. Now it was getting late and we were very much in need of a 24 hour diner of some sort. We overheard mixed reviews about heading to Magnolia Cafe from a nearby table, and decided to just go with that. The cab ride was kinda pricey, but at least he agreed to come back out there to pick us up, as there weren’t any cabs patrolling that neighborhood at that hour.

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Guess what? Magnolia Cafe is not vegan friendly! But if you read the happycow reviews, it kinda says it all there. Our waiter had no idea what vegan meant at all, so I was kinda bummed I had to do this awkward waltz of food interrogation (I hate to be that person), in Austin of all places! But I did get fed, and that was the most important thing at that moment. However, he was proud to tell us that their [not vegan] pancakes were featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, so there’s that. Also, the table cloth was pretty darn cute.

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Thomas is vegetarian, so had a much easier go of it. He did not get the pancakes either. Also, flamingos.

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So I got some hummus tacos with sprouts, avocado, and tomato served with salsa. He said the tortillas didn’t have lard. I believed him. I was happy to have food in my tummy. And hey, it was fresh!

If you need late night food, maybe you should try The Vegan Yacht. I had debated that one too, but didn’t want to get fooled again in case they weren’t actually open until 2am on a Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Sounds pretty yum, and their motto is “SAFE, HEALTHY, FRESH VEGAN DISHES THAT ANYONE CAN ENJOY. CLOSE YOUR EYES, POINT, THEN ORDER. IT WILL BE TASTY.” Sounds good to me.

Also check out one of Vegan Lazy Smurf’s food guides for Austin for more info if you’re traveling there. Very extensive research! 😀

Stay tuned for the rest of our road trip posts. Though I may continue to slip in some concise current updates too!

xoxo,

Ty

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