Austin, Texas is a vegan food mecca! The real problem here is choosing which amazing vegan food to eat when you’re just passing through!
I left my heart in Austin, Texas! I know the song says San Francisco but Austin is a great American city that is not only the progressive, college and music town state capital, it’s also super health conscious, green and mega vegan friendly.
A Texas city like no other, Austin is home to the headquarters and first Whole Foods Market, The University of Texas Longhorns, IBM, Google, Facebook, and Apple as well as being the live music capital of the world. In addition to all of the creative goings-on, Austin is buzzing with youth. There are tons of hip neighborhoods that combine living and quaint coffee shops, gourmet restaurants and cool bars tucked in all boroughs of the city. Located on the Colorado River, Austinites enjoy their city–and their health–by biking the river trail, kayaking or even swimming in their city center natural spring.
As one would imagine, a city so vibrant with life and things to do, there is no shortage of incredible places to dine!
Park Lane Guest House
I’ll start with one of my most favorite places in the world: Park Lane Guest House. An eco-friendly, vegetarian bed and breakfast, this oasis in the city is a must for any Austin traveler. Nestled in the beautiful Travis Heights neighborhood and 2 blocks from the super cool South Congress strip, Park Lane is prime for sightseeing as well as relaxing.
Basically built from the ground up by owner and “hotelier” Shakti, Park Lane Guest House is a veritable garden of Eden. The bed and breakfast boasts 3 private cottages and 1 single room. Eco-friendly is an understatement as not only is each room cleaned with chemical free cleaners, even the mattresses are organic! Each has its own unique style and amenities but all get to enjoy the grounds complete with crystal clear pool and waterfall; gardens rich with flowers, herbs and vegetables; and even a chicken coop with happy chickens!
Each morning Shakti wakes you with the aroma of her gourmet, organic vegetarian and vegan breakfasts, all made from scratch and featuring herbs and veggies from the gardens. Sit and enjoy a delicious breakfast on your private patio by the wind chimes and waterfall, leaving all of your cares behind. Just make sure that you book in advance and make sure you stay a few days to soak in the beauty and relaxation. Indulge in fine local, organic coffee in the morning, sleep like royalty at night and leave feeling refreshed at Park Lane!
I crave Italian quite a bit so I had to try Asti in Hyde Park. Yet another cool ‘hood with tons of dining options for its residents, Asti is not your usual Italian joint. It’s decor is hip and chic and its menu is fresh and innovative.
Sure, if you are really in the mood for pizza, pasta or espresso, they have you covered, but if you’re looking for the rest of the flavors of Italy, this is your place. Accommodating a vegan diet is no problem for them – the chef is more than happy to wow you with his vegetable skills. Beautiful risottos, lightly braised veggies, outstanding bruschettas and bean dips, and don’t forget about their vast array of vegan-friendly sorbets. For top-notch food that is light, healthy, and beyond tasty don’t forget to put Asti on your list of must eats!
A cooperative market that not only allows its employees and members to benefit from deals, gatherings, and even be on the board, Wheastville also showcases a great variety of co-op products as well. Since 1976, the market as stayed ahead of the needs of its ever growing healthy and eco-friendly community by anticipating its every need. From outdoor rainwater receptacles to irrigate your gardens to encouraging folks to bring in their own containers for deli foods, the market has implemented many wonderful programs that help their customers, owners, community and the earth.
The deli has a kick-ass popcorn tofu po’ boy along with killer kale salads, veggie juices and shakes, an insanely awesome bakery complete with vegan donuts and more. The store lets you know on its pricing labels how far each product has traveled so you can gauge the carbon footprint, and they maintain a produce board letting you know how many items are in fact organic as well as local. Come in for lunch, grab some cool specialty products and feel good about your contribution to the Earth at Wheatsville ; )
Beets Cafe is the first of its kind in Austin and is doing a terrific job! The food is not only aesthetically pleasing but it’s hearty and fantastic. Plus the vibe is bright, modern and cool, exactly what Austin needs for its intro to living foods. With creative sandwiches, salads, noodle dishes and decadent desserts, Beets will be a tough act to follow for future raw eateries. They’re best known for their beet burger, Asian noodle salad and crazy good mint chocolate chip cheesecake (yes, I ate ALL 3). Come hungry because this raw foodery will fill you up like nobody’s business!
Texas heat is famous, so ice creameries are a smart investment, and Sweet Ritual corners the market on making the smart choice of opening an all vegan ice cream parlor! Located inside the Daily Juice Bar in Hyde Park, Sweet Ritual is sheer heaven.
With handmade vegan soft serve, an endless list of extraordinary vegan toppings and made-from-scratch vegan waffle cones, you have to break your diet for one of the sweet concoctions. No matter what your sugary poison, they have you covered. They make shakes, sundaes, cups and cones in all shapes and sizes. Indulge and enjoy. I give thee permission!
Ok, I’m not done so stay tuned for more vegan Austin awesomness coming soon!!
Update: You can check out part two of my vegan Austin adventures here!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by woods at night