Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Biscuits + Groovy, Austin, TX

Biscuits + Groovy
Facebook Page
5015 Duval St (at 51st St. and Duval, next door to Flightpath Coffee, Arabic Bazaar, and The Peddler bike shop)
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 804-8285
M-F 9am-2pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-2pm, Fri-Sat 7pm-2am

I first heard about Biscuits + Groovy when they ran a special on Groupon. Upon finding out that they could make practically everything on the menu vegan, I was so excited that I had to go there *that day*, before my Groupon was even available.

One very important thing of which to take note - Biscuits + Groovy is located on Duval STREET. If you just type "Duval" into Google Maps, you might end up with Duval ROAD, which is in a completely different part of town. If you then drive to Duval Rd, I guarantee that you will not find any food trailers at all, especially shiny silver ones with vegan biscuits. (Go on, ask me how I know.) *facepalm*

When I finally got to Duval St, I found the trailer right next door to The Peddler bike shop (and, for reference, across the street from the cheapest gas in the entire city of Austin. You're welcome.)

Biscuits + Groovy - Austin, TXBiscuits + Groovy - Austin, TX

Owner Jon Lach is a complete sweetheart; very friendly and obviously excited about his business. He's also vegan, and is really informative about all of his food (and the fact that just about anything can be made vegan). He'll gladly tell you about upcoming special dishes he's planning, and can help you make up your mind if you can't decide what you want. On my first visit, I ordered The Donna Summer - vegan biscuits smothered with vegan cream gravy, vegan sausage, vegan cheese, and tofu scramble.

Biscuits + Groovy - The Donna Summer - Austin, TX

While the biscuits weren't *quite* as flaky as I would have like, the gravy was really tasty, and the sausage, cheese, and tofu scramble rounded out the dish nicely. I was pretty hungry, so I was able to eat the entire dish, but my boyfriend Mark could only finish a little over half of his, and took the rest home.

On my second visit (yay, Groupon!), I got The Aretha Franklin - vegan biscuits smothered with vegan cream gravy, vegan sausage, vegan cheese, and vegan bacon. I also had a delicious fruit smoothie from Flightpath Coffee (which is only 3 doors down from the Biscuits + Groovy trailer).

Biscuits + Groovy - The Aretha Franklin + Smoothie - Austin, TXBiscuits + Groovy - The Aretha Franklin - Austin, TX

The Aretha Franklin was similar to the Donna Summer, though I think I slightly prefer the tofu scramble to the vegan bacon. When I went, there were two picnic tables at which to sit (which I hear that Jon made himself!), and one (or perhaps both - my memory isn't great) had large umbrellas for shade. Even with the shade, it was still hot, so Mark and I walked over to Flightpath and sat on the patio in front to drink our beverages (he had a mocha) and eat our food. I hear that Jon has installed some better seating coverage, so I'll bet it's even shadier now.

Besides having awesome food, Biscuits + Groovy also does a "Mix Tape Trade" - just bring in a mix CD and get someone else's! Bring it back when you're done listening to it, and you can get yet another. They also are about to start Biscuits + Movies (every Saturday night starting 7/16/11), which sounds like it'll be a blast. I voted for "Blues Brothers" for the first night, and suggested The Wizard of Speed and Time as a possibility for a future date.

I can't wait to go back to Biscuits + Groovy. I think I might try for The Burrito next time - they say you can get anything on the menu in it, and the possibilities are mind-boggling!

RECIPE REVIEW - General Tao's Tofu

General Tao's Tofu
from VegWeb, written by rubybean77
(Also, if you click on the above link, you can see the instructional video posted below the recipe!)


1 (12 ounce) box firm tofu, in 1" cubes (frozen and thawed, if desired)
1 egg equivalent (e.g., EnerG Egg Replacer), prepared
3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons water, divided
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
vegetable oil for frying + 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry, optional
red pepper, to taste
steamed broccoli, to serve


1. Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add an additional 3 tablespoons water. Dip tofu in egg replacer mixture and coat completely. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cornstarch over tofu and coat completely. Watch out that the cornstarch doesn't clump up at the bottom of the bowl.

2. Heat oil in pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Drain oil. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic; cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic.

3. Add vegetable stock, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, and red pepper.

4. Mix 2 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well. Add fried tofu and coat evenly.

Serve immediately with steamed broccoli over your choice of rice.

First, please pardon the fact that there are no pictures for this recipe. My boyfriend and I were really hungry and ate all of it before I could grab my camera. Since I'm going to make it again, I promise to get pictures next time. Cross my heart and hope to run out of chocolate. (Or something.)

I had a few slight issues with this recipe, but they were all entirely my fault and can be fixed the next time I make this. There *will* be a next time, because even with the problems, it was still tasty.

I'll admit; I'm usually a bit lazy with my cooking. First, I mixed up the "egg" mixture in a container, put the tofu pieces in it and stirred them around some to make sure they were coated, then just started sprinkling the corn starch directly onto the tofu. Luckily, I'd only used a little less than half of the corn starch when I realized that the bottom of the container bore a striking resemblance to Elmer's glue, so I went ahead and put the tofu pieces into the heated, oiled pan, let them cook for a very short while, then sprinkled the remaining cornstarch over the tofu pieces in small batches, stirring in between sprinkling.

Second, instead of preparing the sauce in a separate pan, I added all of the ingredients into the same pan with the fried tofu. This created tofu that was probably not nearly as crispy as intended (mine was a smidge soggy), but it was still edible.

My last problem stemmed from the fact that I had no broccoli, but I *did* have cauliflower. Instead of steaming the cauliflower while I was making the rest of the recipe (which would have been the smart thing to do), I forgot about it until after everything else was ready. I cut up some of the cauliflower, piled it all into my giant coffee mug/bowl-thing, added a bit of water, and microwaved it for about 3 minutes. This actually didn't cook it much at all, so I had fairly crunchy cauliflower to go with my somewhat soggy tofu. Next time, I'll shoot for the other way around.

Since I didn't have any veggie broth, I put 3/4 cup water, a handful of kale, about 1/3 of a carrot, a couple shakes of salt, and a squirt or two of soy sauce into my Blendtec blender, and used that. I also decided not to use as much sugar as the recipe calls for, and instead just sprinkled some sucanat over the top of everything in the pan (I didn't measure, but if I had to guess, I'd say I used less than 1/8 of a cup). Also, for the "red pepper", I diced one red serrano pepper, which provided a really nice spice that didn't go overboard.

Overall, it was quite tasty, and when I make it next time, I won't take the "shortcuts" I used this time.