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VSG investigates: Austin, TX is a popular vegan friendly destination. So let's take a look at Austin's Vegan Restaurants, Food Trucks, Bakeries and more.

Austin, Texas… named #1 vegan city by PETA, America’s fastest growing city, rated 11th Fittest City in America by The American College of Sports Medicine and #1 fittest city in Texas in their latest American Fitness Index (May 2013).

So after learning about all the wonderful things that Austin has to offer I just had to check it out!

Vegan Restaurants, Food Trucks and Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Austin, TX

I learned that according to GrubHub Inc that Austin took the #6 spot of the ten most vegetarian-friendly cities in the United States, behind Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, Houston and Dallas. And let’s not forget, Austin is the home of Whole Foods Markets, which opened their first store in 1980 with a staff of only 19 people and now is of one the biggest natural foods chain in the USA.

Mother's Cafe and Garden, Austin, TX

My plans included visiting most vegan restaurants and food trucks plus the beautiful natural parks. So day 1 started with a visit to Mother’s Café and Garden, 4215 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751 | (512) 451-3994 | motherscafeaustin.com

I had heard of the vegan lasagna and chocolate cake, and was totally ready to try!

The location was beautiful and inviting. I met the owner that day and she was so friendly as well. She told me about the restaurant’s devastating fire years ago and about the re-model. They now have a cute indoors garden and waterfall, and they are opened 7 days a week.

I tried one of their sandwiches and the pina colada smoothie (pineapple-coconut juice and banana) and loved them. For the dessert I tried the famous chocolate cake and I must say: It's now my new favorite chocolate cake!

I told the owner how chocolate cake is my favorite dessert and therefore had tried many to date, but hers was the best! :) She explained how they beat the batter in increments, for several minutes at a time, to make the cake extra soft. And I must add, I don’t even like cake frosting and always take it out... but the deep richness of the chocolate frosting and creamy textures were amazing!

Vegan Food Trucks

The next day I attended the “Austin Vegan Riot”, a gathering a foods trucks which included vegan foods by BBQ Revolution, Red Rabbit Bakery, and Taco ‘Bout It. Initially I was very excited to attend this event but I had a couple disappointments…

I decided to try a vegan BBQ dish. They were having a busy night and the food was taking a long time to be served.

Meanwhile I was surprised to see the cupcake truck with zero costumers. So I went to grab one to support them, and to my surprise they were completely sold out of every single item! I guess I should have known... never underestimate the power of dessert! lol It looks like everyone ordered cupcakes before dinner. So unfortunately I couldn't try them. Here are a couple pics below:

Whole Foods, Austin, TX

I love Whole Foods Market and it’s in fact my favorite market. So visiting their stores was on the top of my list.

Whole Foods Market
525 N Lamar Blvd. (between W 5th & 6th), Austin, TX 78703

There I grabbed something quick from the food bar and a green smoothie.

Loved the plant wall above the escalator! While at the beautiful downtown location, I was impressed by the high foot traffic and I decided to ask one of the workers about the number of visitors per day… she indicated 80 to 100 thousand. Wow!

To my surprise, Whole Foods had just opened doors to a beautiful new location that week and decided to visit it the next day.

The new Whole Foods store opened January 15th 2014 and is located at 11920 Domain Dr. Austin, TX, 78758. I was impressed not only by the size and beauty of the new store but also all by all the new variety of offerings.

Loved the new Ramen Menu, tried it and it was pretty good for Whole Foods if you know what I mean, since sometimes the foods at the bar are not so flavorful, but the Ramen Noodles with veggies, sprouts and tofu were awesome!

I visited 3 Whole Foods stores. One was closed for renovations. And the downtown store replaced the original mothership store as I was told, which was across the street from it.

Mr. Natural

Located at 1901 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX | (512) 477-5228 | http://www.mrnatural-austin.com

I visited Mr. Natural during their first Vegan Brunch Buffet, first Sundays of every month, 11-3pm $16. The menu seemed heavily inspired by Mexican cuisine.

Desserts included vegan cupcakes, cakes and fruits.

Casa de Luz, Austin, TX

Next day I headed to Casa de Luz at 1701 Toomey Rd, Austin, TX 78704 | (512) 476-2535 | casadeluz.org/austin

They offer a self-serve food bar and prepare fresh vegan desserts daily which can be purchased separately. Beautiful place and a relaxing atmosphere! Lunch starts at $12, which includes soup, salad and an entree.

It was while at Casa de Luz that I finally began realizing that a big part of the vegan cuisine in Austin was inspired by Mexican cuisine. So tortillas, tacos, beans and burritos were very popular.

There were no shortage and delicious vegan treats to try. There were Pies, Cookies and Puddings, including a Creamy Coconut Pudding, a Strawberry Orange Coconut Pudding, a Carob-Pudding with Coconut Cream and more.

Town Lake: An awesome oasis in the middle of downtown!

This place was freaking awesome. I read the city spent many thousands cleaning the park, waters and re-modeling to create what we see now. And they did an amazing job! The energy of everyone walking, running, bike riding or even canoeing was contagious: A variety of activities to be enjoyed! I can totally see how everyone falls in love with Town Lake. It's easy! The energy, activities, beauty, and even parking, are plentiful everywhere. A wonderful place the whole family can enjoy any day of the week.

MT Supermarket

I love asian dishes, so just had to stop by MT Supermarket at 10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753 | (512) 454-4804 | mtsupermarket.com

Asian dishes are easily made vegan as you know, and asian markets are always full of amazing choices. While there I searched for unique items and was happy to try a vegan friendly Taro Root ice-cream, super awesome! And grabed some natural coconut water (without added sugars) as well.

TC Noodle House

Next door, on the same mall, was TC Noodle House, 10901 N Lamar Blvd #203, Austin, TX 78753 | (512) 873-8235

The tofu eggplant dish is always a favorite of mine and definitely one of the best I've tried in a while. The food was very good, and service was fast. I loved it so much I went back a couple days later to try a couple more dishes. ;)

Rios Brazilian Cafe

Next I headed to Rios, a Brazilian restaurant in Austin which surprisingly had a vegan menu, 408 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702 | (512) 828-6617 | www.riosofaustin.com

Now, since I’m from Brazil I naturally assumed the owners and staff spoke Portuguese, so at first I was disappointed and slightly confused since this was not the case. The menu offered the following vegan options:

Aipim Frito | Açai na Tigela | Estrogonofe de Frango

I ordered all 3 to try. The fried Aipim tasted pretty good. My first impression of the Estrogonofe was also good. It was creative since the chef replaced the traditional fries for Aipim fries, and replaced the dairy and meat with coconut cream and tofu instead. However, I would have liked a few more tofu squares as the dish was mainly rice and fries. Next the Acai Bowl was really liquidly, not as I expected, but still tasty.

Veggie Heaven

Let me start by saying that the locals did warn me! Another vegan I met called this place a total dump and online reviews were not very good either. But hey, I was in town and decided to try it anyways.

Veggie Heaven, 1914 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705 | (512) 457-1013 | veggieheavenaustin.com

Well, unfortunately they were right! :/ Portion sizes were ok, but the vegetable fried rice was mostly rice, and the eggplant tofu (usually I favorite of mine) wasn't the best. I also had to keep my eyes focused on the food and not look around, as the place was more than just a greasy spoon. So I just wanted to eat quickly and 10 minutes later I was out.

Last Vegan Chocolate Cake Bite :)

It was time to leave town, but not until I could grab my last bite of my favorite vegan chocolate cake!

Took 3 tries but I didn't give up: Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve

Before heading to the airport I had a couple hours to spare and just had to give it a final try.

Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX | (512) 264-2740 | 9 to 6pm / $10 per car

Here is the story. On my first visit the weather was so cold it was unbearable to walk outside being that I am from Brazil. On my second try the gates were locked due to the cold weather. Finally, on my third try, after paying and parking and wearing 3 layers of clothing and still very very cold, I was able to walk to the lake. I was the only visitor at the park, guess not the best time of the year to visit anyways, but was totally worth the effort.

Absolutely beautiful! The waterfall and nature were mind-blowing. Would love to come back one day and enjoy the warm waters and trails. Loved it!

Overall Austin was awesome. :) Loved the people, the restaurants, the nature, everything. Wished I had experienced the live music scene and wish some days were not so cold as they were. I'm still curious about a lot more and there is lot more to see, so hey, might have to come back for more. There were so many wonderful restaurants I didn't get to try.

Thanks everyone for the hospitality! Great city, great people!

PS: If you've read The VSG you know that it's almost impossible to eat really healthy while eating out. Like we talk about in the book, this trip was one of those cases where I used up my monthly "restaurant food quota" in a few days. It was back to green smoothies and home cooked meals when back from the trip. lol

 

Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant or food truck in Austin? Be sure to share with us below...

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