Thursday, December 16, 2010

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse, Austin, TX

Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse
1900 S. 1st Street, Austin, TX 78704
(512) 416-1601
Mon-Fri 7 AM-Midnight
Sat-Sun 9 AM-Midnight

Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse has long been one of my very favorite Austin restaurants. They have delicious coffee (and other drinks, both hot and not), a full menu of vegan (or easily made vegan) food, and great hours. Recently, they've moved just down the street to a larger location (right across the street from Sugar Mama's Bakeshop - score!) For people familiar with the old location of Bouldin Creek, there are some changes. Most notably, instead of waiting at the bar to order, you simply find a table, sit down, and someone will come over and take your order. There is also a *ton* more seating; the back room boasts 18 tables, 6 of which are next to wall-installed bench seating. The front room is cozy yet airy with a few tables, and the side patio has several tables as well.

The menu has some new additions as well. On this visit, I was really craving Bouldin Creek's amazing tofu scramble (my omni boyfriend, who doesn't even particularly care for tofu, constantly sneaks bites off my plate whenever he thinks I'm not looking.) I also had the desire to try something new. I found my answer in the Renedict, Bouldin Creek's version of eggs benedict. When ordered with tofu scramble instead of egg, it's completely vegan (even the hollandaise sauce!) The Renedict arrived looking gorgeous but a bit problematic. The two slices of cibatta bread were slightly stacked on each other, and the sauce and toppings were slathered across the entire thing. I finally decided to gingerly separate the two slices of bread and try to separate the toppings into halves. This is definitely fork food - with possibly a knife and a few napkins. As for the taste, it was sublime! The hollandaise sauce was creamy with a good flavor and playful hint of spiciness, the vegan bacon strips, tomato, and spinach all added nicely to the overall experience, and the tofu scramble was delectable as always.

Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse - Austin, TX

As a side note - the internet was acting up quite a bit while I was there. I got a lot of "IP Error" messages and a few "You've used up all your time" messages, though it continued to work...sort of. I could load web pages...some of the time. My instant messenger client wouldn't connect at all. A fellow diner suggested that it might just be that there were a lot of people using it. The place *was* quite packed, at that. At noon on a Wednesday, there were only one or two empty tables.

So, to sum up - Bouldin Creek is not really the best place to go and hang out while surfing the net (though that might change at some point in the future). However, it's the perfect place to go for great vegan food, drinks, and to enjoy the atmosphere, chat with friends, or read.

Bouldin Creek Coffee House - Austin, TX
"The Timmy" - veggie chorizo, organic red and black beans, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes, along with "The Neal" - sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and tofu scramble.

Bouldin Creek Coffee House - Austin, TX
Vegan soy mocha (they also have yummy lavender mochas and Mexican mochas!)

Bouldin Creek Coffee House - Austin, TX
Veggie Royale - homemade veggie burger patty served on toasted ciabatta bread with lettuce, red onion, roma tomato & BBQ sauce.

See more photos from Bouldin Creek (mostly the old location) in my Flickr stream.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Vegan" Steampunk Cupcakes (or, how to veganize anything with 5 minutes of Google-fu)

I've already expressed my undying love for cupcakes in this blog, but I haven't yet expressed my admiration for all things steampunk. No, I'm not just now jumping on the bandwagon; I've enjoyed steampunk stuff since before it had a name. *grin* So, imagine my jubilation when I saw a post labeled "Vegan Steampunk Cupcakes"! Now, in all fairness, I first read about this blog post from the Cupcakes Take The Cake feed, and they titled it "Steampunk vegan chocolate cupcakes with top hats, goggles, gears and Tootsie Roll modeling chocolate". When I clicked through to the original post on Bakingdom, it was titled "Tootsie Roll Modeling Chocolate on Steampunk Cupcakes". Now, as I was pretty sure, and as the author confirmed, Tootsie Rolls are *not* vegan. The author posts her recipe for the cupcakes and frosting here, and not only is it vegan, but it looks pretty darn tasty. I decided that the steampunk cupcakes were simply too cool to just pass up, so I Googled "vegan Tootsie Rolls" and came up with this recipe (originally came from -

Vegan Tootsie Roll


1 pound (16 ounces) of any good dark chocolate
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered with plastic wrap


1. Finely chop chocolate and place in a clean, dry bowl.

2. Place bowl over a pan of water that has been brought to a boil and removed from heat. Stir chocolate to melt evenly. Remove bowl from the surface of the water and stir to cool slightly.

3. Stir in corn syrup thoroughly and scrape the paste from the bowl. Allow the paste to cool and harden(overnight is best).

4. Squeeze fat from plastic on paper towels before kneading.

5. Lightly dust work surface and chocolate with sifted cocoa powder. Divide the batch into small bite size peices and wrap with plastic wrap or however you want.

NOTE: Use gloves when kneading and working with the chocolate dough.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll have time to try *truly* veganizing these awesome cupcakes, but I plan on it being sooner rather than later!