Posts Tagged ‘vida vegan con’

Dining out in Austin, TX Part 1

Philly Seitan Cheesesteak and Pac Man Salad #vegan

Counter Culture

At the end of May to the very beginning of June I was in Austin, Tx attending the third and final Vida Vegan Con. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last two. I wish VVC would happen again. Its been a great way to get myself out of NJ for a couple of days but I understand what an undertaking it is for the 3 lovely ladies who organize everything. 

I’ve never been to Texas and I’ve heard so many good things about Austin that I couldn’t wait to go. I wanted to eat all the food!  

We arrived in Austin around 10 am on a Thursday. After checking into our hotel room we decided to go to Counter Culture for our first meal. Everything on the menu sounded so good! Eventually I settled on the Philly Seitan Cheesesteak with a Pac Mac Kale Salad on the side. It took me a bit to realize the carrots were purposely cut into little pac man shapes! The meal was delicious and it left me wanting to come back and try something else..which we eventually did.


Right down the road from Counter Culture is the famed vegan bakery Capital City Bakery! I couldn’t wait to see this place! I’ve been following the owner Kristen Davenport on various social media outlets for quite some times now…before she even started the bakery as a food truck. It was so nice to see someone’s dream realized and in such a cute space. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the cuteness only the one dark photo above. The space isn’t dark at all! I was so tired from being up at 4 am for our flight that I just didn’t think to take more pictures. I ended up buying a brownie to bring back to the hotel. It was one of the best brownies I’ve ever had from a bakery! 

We ended up back at the hotel and had a quick nap and rest before heading out to the unofficial official meet and greet at The Buzzmill. I’ll blame jet lag or maybe it was just the incredible Texas heat but I somehow didn’t take a single picture! I felt like I was melting it was so hot. I assure you that the vegan eggrolls I ate for dinner, at the Golden Spike Rail Cart, which is in the backyard of The Buzzmill, were amazing and worth sitting in the sun for! 


Mother’s Cafe

I’ll admit now that this was my least favorite meal during my entire trip. The company and conversation was lovely and I truly enjoyed myself. I just could have done without this meal. It wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t memorable. I ordered the Spicy Tempeh Enchilada’s. For me..more needed to be done to the tempeh for my liking. I did however really like their Spicy Cashew Chipotle Sauce that topped the Enchilada’s and their black beans were good too. What I liked about Mother’s Cafe is how easy they make it to veganize almost anything on their menu and I would go back and try something else if I ever find myself in Austin again. 

Part 2 of Dining Out in Austin, Tx will feature my new all time favorite restaurant anywhere in the world: Bouldin Creek Cafe! I might have eaten there 3 times while in Austin. :) 


Its a new year!

Need to work on my caramel sauce but I can't wait to try this cake! #vegan #cake #vegandesserts

Vanilla Coconut Cake with Caramel Sauce 

The New Year is already 3 weeks in and moving fast. I alway’s hope for a quiet January but that never seems to happen. Its been busy but a lot of fun. That seems to be my theme for 2015:  


So far this year I’ve:

~ created a new cake recipe. It was so good! (pictured above)
~ actually created a few new recipes.
~ been invited to not 1 but 2 Food Swaps! Vegan food swaps at that!
~ had a lovely date with my 7 year old daughter in NYC to see Wicked on Broadway. That     was so much fun! If you live in the NYC area follow Kids Free on Broadway. Its such a great deal to see a Broadway show.
~ joined a Win to Lose program at my gym (YMCA). I’m there almost every day now and am already seeing results on the scale. Its very exciting and I feel great. 

Fun things that are coming up this year:

~ Vida Vegan Con in Austin, TX! I cannot wait! I’ll be traveling with my friend Dianne from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen again. The last VVC, in Portland, OR was so much fun. 
~ 2 family vacations planned. Our usual Ocean Grove trip and a possible trip to the Outer Banks with my parents and sister. 
~ my sister surprised me yesterday with tickets to see the cast of Bob’s Burgers live in NYC this March. I was freaking out. I don’t usually get excited about tv shows but that show is just my favorite thing ever. 
~ in 2 weeks I’ll be seeing Isa Chandra Moskowitz live and on stage at City Winery in NYC with my husband and Dianne and her husband eating a delicious Isa meal while she shares stories with the audience. 

That’s it’s for now, I think. I have a few other exciting things in the works. 

My New Year blogging resolution is as alway’s to start blogging more. I never seem to stick with it though :) Both of my kids are in school 5 days a week now so maybe this is the year I stick with it! Bloggers with young kids…how do you do it?? 

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2015! Let me know if any of you are heading to VVC in Austin at the end of May!



Vida Vegan Con Food Day 4

Breakfast Bowl at #vvc2013 #vegan #pdx

VVC Breakfast

Vida Vegan Con started bright and early Sunday morning with a breakfast sponsored by Attune Foods. Much like the build a bowl lunch the day before we all lined up and filled our bowls with great foods. I chose a Bob’s Red Mill GF hot cereal, roasted potatoes with peppers and onions, coconut chia pudding (my first time having a chia pudding!), corn flakes, nooch, hemp hearts, dried mango, strawberries and a smear of peanut butter. I wish I could have breakfast options like this everyday!

Lunch! #vvc2013

The Sandwich Board

Lunch at the conference was a make your own sandwich buffet sponsored by Nasoya. I made my self a raw lettuce wrap and a regular sandwich. The raw lettuce wrap had walnut meat, nooch, hemp hearts and a forgotten dressing. The sandwich had mustard herb tofu, Utpon’s Naturals Bacon Seitan, Nayonaise, grilled summer veggies and salad greens.

After a few more classes in the afternoon VVC2013 was officially over! I was sad and exhausted and believe it or not, after eating all the conference food, hungry.

I love this place!

Sizzle Pie

For our last meal in Portland, myself, Dianne and Jenn from the blogs Vegbooks & Starflower Vegan walked over to Sizzle Pie for some pizza.

Sizzle Pie!!! #vegan #pdx

We ordered a large pizza with spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, pesto and tofu ricotta. It was a great pizza and I loved the crust. I can’t wait to visit Sizzle Pie some day in the future and try more of their pizza’s. They have so many vegan options.

Eating vegan in Portland, as expected, was incredibly easy. Most of the cafe’s/restaurants I went to weren’t fully vegan and they all had a very large selection of vegan dishes. There were also so many restaurants I wanted to try but didn’t get a chance to. We had hoped to go to Portobello on Sunday night but unfortunately found out they were closed Sunday nights. I also wish I had a chance to eat at Blossoming Lotus and some of the many food carts Portland has to offer like Native Bowl owned by Julie Hasson and her husband  and also Homegrown Smoker. Next time Portland! Next time!

Vida Vegan Con Food Day 3

Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase. #vvc2013 #vegan #pdx

Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase

Day 2 of Vida Vegan Con started off with the promise of a Breakfast Showcase featuring a bunch of different local restaurants, bakeries, etc. This was the conference meal I was most excited about! We made sure we got there early and lined at Portobella Vegan Trattoria’s table first. I am not sure what exactly they served. It involved potatoes, peas, edible flowers, a radish slice and a sauce. Whatever it was it didn’t disappoint!  Next I hit the A.N.D. Cafe table for a meatloaf benedict that was out of this world. I then headed over to Back to Eden and picked up a Smoked Tempeh Mozzarella Fig Scone, simply amazing.  Near Back to Eden was Diving Pie where I tried a few samples of their raw and whole foods pies. A bagel from Blackheart Bagels and a green juice from Portland Juice Press finished my first round of the showcase. After I sat at my table some of my table mates were raving about a  Broccoli Cheddar and Smoked Tempeh Quiche from Back to Eden so I paid them a visit for the second time to pick one up. I’m glad I did because it was my favorite of all the foods I tried at the showcase.

My one disappointment was that I didn’t get to sample Sizzle Pie’s breakfast pizza or the sliders offered up from White Owl Social Club. The line for them was so incredibly long!

Lunch at #vvc2013 #vegan

Portland-Style Build-a-Bowl

Lunch on Saturday was Build a Bowl meal. I loaded my bowl with greens, quinoa, Upton’s Naturals chorizo, tofu, beans, raw walnut meat, Teese, Nacheez, salsa, a super garlicky condiment that the organizers actually got up on stage to announce that it wasn’t a dressing and not to pour it all over your bowl unless you wanted to smell like garlic for days! I had to try it just because of the “warning” and it was so good that it was worth the garlic breath. Thankfully I had some gum to chew afterwards.

All Hail Kale w. Blackened Vegan Chicken at Veggie Girl w. @diannewenz #vvc2013 #vegan #pdx

All Hail Kale w. Blackened Vegan Chicken

After the conference on Saturday was the Galarama and Silent Auction for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. We had some time kill between events so Dianne and I took our free entree gift card for Veggie Grill out of our swag bags and headed there for dinner. Feeling like we needed some greens, even though I loaded up on mesclun at lunch, we each got a salad. I had tried the All Hail Kale salad at the Veggie Grill reception the night before and loved it so I ordered it here and the lovely man behind the counter recommended I add the vegan chicken. I’m happy I did. It was one of the best restaurant salads i’ve ever ordered. I can’t wait for Veggie Grill to open some East Coast restaurants.

Vegan cheese plate! #vvc2013 #vegan


I think the best thing that has ever been served at any event I’ve ever been to happened at the Galarama. Miyoko Schinner, who wrote the book Artisan Vegan Cheese, made a ton of her artisan cheeses and put together these really amazing cheese trays. VEGAN CHEESE TRAYS! I don’t think anything can ever beat that. Every cheese I tried was my favorite. Thank you Miyoko. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Brownie Sundae! #vvc2013 #vegan #galarama

Ice Cream Sundae Bar

After eating too much of Miyoko’s cheese I headed over to the So Delicious Sundae Spectacular. It featured brownies from Capital City Bakery. Full disclosure..I ate one of the brownies san’s sundae while I was headed over to the Cheese Trays. I then ate another when I made my own sundae. There was everything you could ever want to put on a sundae there. Marshmallows, nuts, whipped cream, sprinkles..etc…

I’m pretty sure this day was one of the best food days of my life.

Vida Vegan Con Food Day 2

Breakfast #vvc2013

Junior’s Cafe

The first day of VVC didn’t really start until 11:30. Dianne and I made breakfast plans with our local friend Julie so we headed to the museum bright and early at 9 am to register and pick up our giant swag bag. After stashing it back at the hotel Julie drove us to Junior’s cafe for breakfast. Junior’s isn’t a vegan only food restaurant but they have a lot of vegan options.

French Toast at Juniors.

French Toast 

I ordered the vegan french toast mainly because I’ve never ordered vegan french toast before in a restaurant! It was really good. It had subtle hints of orange in it which is how I make it at home. Dianne and Julie each ordered a different tofu scramble. They were beautiful looking scrambles! You can see photo’s of them on Dianne’s post about what she ate in portland on VeggieGirl.

An hour before the classes started the Exhibitor’s Hall opened for a New Product Spotlight. We definitely wanted to check that out so we headed back to the Portland Art Museum to officially start Day 1 of VVC!

Soy Latte at Sweet Pea. #vvc2013

one of the best soy latte’s I’ve ever had

After an amazing first day of classes Julie again picked us up to head over to some post first day events at the Vegan Mini Mall. Things were pretty crazy there and it was packed with people so Julie and I headed into a somewhat quiet Sweetpea Bakery for a Latte while Dianne and our friend Jen were braving the crowds at Food Fight. I was starving and was wishing I didn’t eat a sweet breakfast that morning, although it was worth it. We knew that Hungry Tiger Too was a few blocks away from the Vegan Mini Mall so we headed there before everyone else did.

Seitan's Cheesesteak at Hungry Tiger Too! #vvc2013 #vegan #pdx

Seitan’s Cheesesteak

Hungry Tiger Too, like Juniors, isn’t a vegan only restaurant. What’s unique about this place though is one side of the menu is omni and when you flip it over it’s the same omni menu just vegan. It’s great and I would love it if NJ restaurants would do the same!

After coming to the conclusion that the cheese sauce on the seitan cheesteak was homemade I jumped at the chance to order it! I’ve talked about it before but I dislike most processed vegan store bought cheeses and I hate when restaurants use them. So this was exciting for me! The cheesesteak was also delicious. I ate more then I should have but when will I be able to order something like this again?!

The food on our 2nd day in Portland was amazing and I knew what was in store for us our 3rd day in Portland…namely a Breakfast Showcase featuring some of Portland’s best restaurants and bakeries! All of that in my next post!

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