Sunday, November 7, 2010

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Dog Almighty, Austin, TX

Dog Almighty
3005 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 912 - 1105
Hours: M-S: 11-10, Sun: 12-9

I went to Dog Almighty on South Lamar with an omnivorous friend, and found out that the other two locations had closed. However, upon talking with the manager/owner, I decided that it was worth the drive from North Austin. She found out that I was vegan, and immediately set about answering questions that I hadn't even asked yet (I imagine she's had them from other vegans before). Just about everything on the menu can be made vegan (the corndogs are done in a buttermilk batter, and there's no vegan cheese option), and she told me the brands of a lot of the products - Smart Dogs vegan hot dogs, Boca Burgers vegan burger patties, etc. Their vegan chili is hand-made in the restaurant and won 2nd place in the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off. Whole wheat buns (from Sara Lee, I think) are available for a slight extra cost, and all of the vegan products are cooked separately from the meat products. I was thrilled to find someone at a restaurant who was not only knowledgeable but passionate about these sorts of details.
The hot dog part of the menu is set up sort of like a pizza parlor - they have a list of pre-configured hot dogs with toppings (for example, The Pfluger Dog with kraut, deli mustard & onions, The Chicago Dog with tomatoes, pickles, relish, onions, mustard & celery salt, and The Broken Spoke Dog with caramelized onions & BBQ sauce), and then an option at the bottom (The Slacker Dog) which encourages you to "create an Austin original and keep it weird". I went this route and got a vegan hot dog on a whole wheat bun topped with vegan chili, caramelized onions, sweet relish, and deli mustard. I was tempted to get the kraut, but was afraid it'd be too messy to eat. (Next time, I'm going to do it anyway, and just get a fork and bunches of napkins.) I also got a side of vegan chili fries (though they accidentally served me cheese fries first) and a pomegranate Izze soda.
It was a bit messy, but worth every bit of it. The chili has a deceptively slow burn and a great flavor. The onions and relish added a nice touch, and an extra cup of deli mustard was just the thing in which to dip some of the fries that weren't completely covered with chili. I'll definitely be back!

One more note - the "Vegan Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers" are reportedly made with (non-vegan) Honey Maid graham crackers. Both one of my friends and I have called this fact to their attention, and were told something along the lines of "Oh, well, honey's vegan." So, it might be just a matter of enough vegans going there and setting the record straight. UPDATE - As of 11/12/10, they have changed the sign to read "honey vegan". It's a step in the right direction. All we need to do now is convince the owner to use vegan graham crackers!

Also, as of March 2009, it was reported on Vegans Rock Austin that the whole wheat buns are not vegan, but the white buns are.

From the website - "Please be aware that EVERYTHING on this menu can be veggie. Chili dogs, Frito pies, burgers, corn dogs, etc. can all be veggie. And our 'hard to believe it's not beef' chili, kraut and the dogs are vegan as well. To top it off, our chili has won awards 2 years in a row at the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off, a statewide event."

Vegan versions of hot dogs, burgers, chili
Low prices

All disposable dishes - paper boats, plastic forks, etc., so not as eco-friendly
No vegan cheese or vegan corn dogs

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