My Austin adventure continues with this post that could easily have been called The Tale of Too Many Tacos…
One night a bunch of us ventured to Arlo’s food truck for dinner, which is stationed next to the vegan bar, Cheer-Up Charlie’s.
Arlo’s focuses on vegan comfort foods like their renowned bac’n cheeseburger, tacos, and fries. The night we were there, they had a special – two chick’n tacos for $8. We placed our orders and waited. Once the food was ready, Kristy and Chris went to the window to get theirs.
What they didn’t realize was that the special was actually for 2 baskets of tacos. So for $8, you got 4 tacos. Between the two of them, they ended up with 8 tacos. Plus, they’d ordered tater tots and chips and salsa for the table. We were all having a good laugh at the absurdity of the situation, while I was helping to carry their plethora of tacos to a nearby picnic table.
Then my order was up. I’d ordered the special, and David had placed his own order for street tacos and sweet potato fries. And before you could say hot sauce, there were 14 tacos to share between 4 people. Jess and Sarah were already seated with the very sizable burgers they’d ordered, and so they were no help where the taco avalanche was concerned.
I wish I could say that after our drinks we managed to finish all of those tacos, but alas, poor taco, we failed you this time. That said, I enjoyed every bite of the house made seitan, pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce. When in Austin, it rains tacos. Best. Rain. Ever.
As I mentioned, Arlo’s is adjacent to Cheer-Up Charlie’s, a vegan bar with awesome drink specials. The atmosphere is tiki hut meets 70’s dive bar.
All of the cocktails are listed in the picture above. (If you look closely, you can also spy some chick in a gray dress taking the picture.) They ventured outside of the ordinary gin and tonic and cranberry vodka to include things like elderflower, rosewater, kombucha, and coconut milk.
I ordered the Rosie Cheek with vodka, watermelon, rosewater, and raspberry. David had the Gin Wilder made with gin, grapefruit, lemon, and elderflower. They both went down easy – not too sweet, not too strong, just a good balance all around.
One of the best things I ate in Austin was at Sweet Ritual, a vegan ice cream shop. They have 16 different flavors of handmade, dairy-free ice cream with little tiny spoons and the option to sample before you buy.
I ended up picking a peanut butter cup ice cream cone. I don’t remember the last time I’d had an ice cream cone. It had probably been 10 years. (I usually opt for ice cream in a cup or bowl.) It filled me with nostalgia. The ice cream tasted of rich peanut butter with the occasional dotting of chocolate. It was gotta-stop-talking good. All I could think about was that ice cream.
Rabbit Food Grocery
Whenever we travel, I love visiting all-vegan stores. (I’ve been to Nooch, Artichoke Red, Viva La Vegan, Vaute, Moo Shoes, Ethique Nouveau, Herbivore Clothing and Food Fight.) So there was no way I was going to miss Rabbit Food Grocery.
Although grocery is in the name, there’s so much more than just food stuff. There are purses, shirts, wallets, pottery from my favorite potter, wall hangings, cards, jewelry, and more. And then of course, there are plenty of vegan specialty food items.
The space is small, but well put together, stocked with lots of otherwise hard to find items, and inviting. (Jojo and Amey made a video of their shopping spree there. If you have a chance to check it out, it’s really fun, and it gives you a good feeling of the place.)
And of course, no vegan road trip is complete without multiple grocery store visits. I visited the flagship location of Whole Foods in Austin, and their local food co-op, Wheatsville.
They had a bounty of vegan specialty items, and the much-talked-about popcorn tofu. It comes in both traditional and buffalo flavors. We picked some up for the road, and I only wish we’d gotten more of it. The tofu has great chew and bite and loads of flavor. The buffalo was my favorite, but I wouldn’t kick either one of my plate.
Last but not least, while we were in Austin, Kristy was doing a talk at Book People promoting her cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan. I’ve raved about Kristy’s book in the past, and I was excited to hear her talk about it in person. Kristy is one of my dearest friends and an amazing talent. She talked about her journey from cheese monger to ethical vegan and shared some chewy cookies that are featured in the book. There was a moderator asking questions, and at the end there was a Q&A with the audience. Kristy did a beautiful job fielding questions and covering sensitive topics with honesty and care.
By the way, Book People is a multi-level bookstore and one of those places where a person could easily linger for hours. If I’d had more time, I was hoping to go back and spend some more time just scouring the aisles and checking out their vegan cookbook section.
For my final Austin post, I’ll talk about the last Vida Vegan Con. (Boo hoo!)