Wednesday, October 31, 2012

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Mamacita's - New Braunfels, TX

505 Business IH-35
North New Braunfels, TX
(830) 620-6565
Sun - Thurs: 11am - 9:30pm
Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm
For other locations, see their website.

All this week, I'm office-sitting for my brother and cousin in New Braunfels, TX. So far, I've been bringing my own lunch to work (a sandwich made with Tofurky deli slices, Daiya cheese shreds, avocado, and Asian chili sauce with a side of fruit). Today, however, I had to get up extra early to go with my parents, grandmother, and 3 year old nephew to the Snake Farm and Petting Zoo.

My morning at the Snake Farm & Petting Zoo with my 3 year old nephew. #instacollage #snake #snakes
The pigs at the petting zoo. #instacollage #pigs #pig #piglet #pigstagram

My family was going to Mamacita's for lunch, and my mother said she'd bring me lunch after they'd eaten. I gave her my to-go container, and headed to the office.

Around 1:15, my mother appeared with a giant bag (given to her by Mamacita's, but reusable, like a shopping bag) filled with food. The restaurant had used my to-go container for the fajitas proper (onions, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms), and given me disposable containers for rice & beans, pico de gallo & guacamole, salsa, tortillas, and chips. Now, the tortillas were simply wrapped in foil, which is a good way of transporting them, and the chips were presented in a plastic bag designed to go into the microwave (pretty smart). I kind of wish they'd just put the rice and beans in with the fajitas, though - I'd rather save a container than keep all my food absolutely separate.

Mamacita's Fajitas
Chips not shown. Also, I accidentally left my bamboo fork at the house, so I'm eating fajitas with chopsticks. Don't judge.

For some odd reason, fajitas don't show up at all on Mamacita's online menu. However, they are certainly on the menu at the New Braunfels location. I've been informed that both the refried and charro beans are vegan, as is the rice, so the only things vegans will have to avoid is the cheese and sour cream (and they'll give you extra guacamole instead if you ask for it).

Mamacita's flour tortillas are some of the best I've ever eaten. They're made in-house, and come to the table (or the desk!) pillowy, hot, and fresh.

Tortilla Room
Tortilla Machine

If you eat in the restaurant, the waiter will bring out chips and dipping sauces. The salsa rojo is tasty with a fair amount of heat, but stay away from the green sauce - it looks like it's made with avocado but actually has sour cream and other dairy in it, as well as some odd green coloring.

I'm not sure what other vegan options one might find besides the fajitas, though I would assume some of the enchiladas might possibly be made vegan with the right sauce and omission of cheese. I love the fajitas so much, I've never checked.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet Ritual - Brownie Addendum

I just realized I had some pictures from Sweet Ritual that I haven't posted yet! Their brownie sundae gives the sundaes in their handmade waffle cones a run for their money.

Sweet Ritual Counter
Sweet Ritual's Brownie Sundaes
Vegan Brownie Sundae

Monday, October 29, 2012

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Eastside Cafe, Austin, TX

Eastside Cafe
2113 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722
(512) 476-5858

Last week, a friend took me to Eastside Cafe. I was a tiny bit skeptical about the possibility of vegan options, but my friend told me they had a vegan menu, so I decided to give it a go. It turns out that their vegan menu is just 4 things from their regular menu with qualifiers in parentheses "(order without cheese or sour cream)".

Vegan Menu

Be warned, though, there are a few errors - I ordered the veggie enchiladas, which were advertised with three choices of sauces. One of those sauces is the suiza sauce, which is not vegan. I got mine with the verde sauce.

Enchiladas Verdé

The enchiladas were actually pretty good for being cheeseless. I would love for Eastside Cafe to start carrying Daiya cheese, but that may not happen any time soon.

There were also no vegan desert options, though the server suggested we could go across the street to Thunderbird Coffee (formerly Clementine Coffee) for vegan deserts.

Overall, it's nice to know that there's something vegans can eat if they find themselves at Eastside Cafe. However, if you're craving enchiladas, I'd suggest a trip to Mother's Cafe instead.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mac Daddy - Veganomicon

A while back, Tim and I decided we wanted mac & cheese. Searching through our various cookbooks, we came up with "Mac Daddy" from the Veganomicon.

Mac Daddy from the Veganomicon

This is some seriously tasty food. We used pieces of lasagna noodles instead of macaroni, used the vegan Ricotta that we'd just picked up in place of the handmade ricotta (another reason for picking this recipe!), and topped the whole thing with Panko breadcrumbs, but otherwise, we just went with the original.

Mac Daddy from the Veganomicon

So. Freaking. Good.

Man, now I want mac & cheese again...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Immaculate Baking Company

I found this lovely display at a local HEB the other day -

Immaculate Baking Company Stuff

The cinnamon rolls, biscuits, and crescent rolls are all vegan! I bought some cinnamon rolls and made them. Wow - tasty!

Immaculate Baking Company Cinnamon Roll

My boyfriend Tim bought a couple cans of the crescent rolls (WAY healthier than the Pillsbury rolls) to make his last batch of curry puffs. (I'll post his recipe next week.) Everyone agreed that they were actually better with the I.B.C. crescent rolls!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bouldin Creek Coffee House - Austin, TX

I reviewed Bouldin Creek a couple of years ago, and it's still just as yummy as ever. I always have a hard time deciding what to get, but it's really hard to pass up the tofu scramble and blueberry cornbread -

Blueberry Cornbread And Tofu Scramble
I got spinach with it, so it's healthy, right? I also got cold brewed iced coffee with chocolate syrup.

For desert, my friend and I decided to go with an almond espresso brownie. This was some seriously fabulous chocolate -

Desert Menu
Almond Espresso Brownie

Here's some other shots of Bouldin Creek Coffee House -

Stained Glass Windows
Outside Window
Window Art
Tamales And Tofu Scramble
The same yummy tofu scramble with two tamales, tortillas, and salsa.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soon To Be Post of Bouldin Creek Nominess

I spent part of today hanging out with a friend and eating at Bouldin Creek Coffee House, and a giant part rehearsing with VaNa MaZi, a local band with whom I'm going to be bellydancing and playing a bit of music at the Texas Renaissance Faire this weekend. I got some great pictures of the food at Bouldin - a delicious blueberry cornbread and the best tofu scramble in the city - but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to post the pictures since I'm on my phone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cookie Cups

Cookie cups!

Last week, my boyfriend Tim and I went to Wheatsville for a grocery run. I saw the tubs of Celeste's Best vegan cookie dough, and mentioned that the one time I'd bought it before, the dough ended up being really thin, and the cookies spread so much that my final result was more or less one giant cookie sheet cookie. Tim mentioned that perhaps they should be made in a cupcake tin instead. That's when the mad inventiveness started.

I had the bright idea to put peanut butter chocolate cups on top of each cookie cup. Tim didn't think that was a very good idea, so I just bought one package to top some for me. I then mentioned that my new Biscoff spread would be good in or on the cookie cups. Tim still hasn't figured out what Biscoff spread is good for, and doesn't like the taste, so again, just on two for me.

I filled each cupcake well about 3/4 full (except the last one, which was only about 1/2 full, but it got one of the peanut butter chocolate cups.) I put the peanut butter cups on two of the cookie cups and topped another two with a light layer of Biscoff Spread.

Finished cookie cups!

I baked them for about 11-12 minutes, and when I took them out of the oven, they'd puffed up like muffins. They were also extremely soft, so I put them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Cooled Cookie Cups

After freezing, the cookie cups had sunk back down in the middle and formed actual cups. I'm thinking these would be a really good receptacle for the coconut whipped cream I posted about before, or possibly some vegan pudding. I can't wait to experiment!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dr. Cow & Sheese Meltability Test

After yesterday's vegan cheese comparison post, I decided today that I'd see if they would melt. I'd tried to melt Sheese several years back, and it didn't work, but I decided to do it again now. You know, for SCIENCE.

Sheese After 45 Seconds

Here's some Blue Sheese (over a Tofurkey sausage) that's been microwaved for 45 seconds. As you can see, it hasn't actually melted, but the thinner edges got quite soft.

Sheese & Dr. Cow After 1 Minute

Later, I tried some Blue Sheese and some Dr. Cow Cashew & Kale together, and microwaved them for a full minute. They made quite the interesting popping sounds, and when I took the plate out of the microwave, both cheeses were sizzling (the white stuff on the Dr. Cow was actual liquid-y sizzle-y stuff). However, they seem to have melted even less than the previous batch, and the tortilla also got kinda stiff and crunchy.

So, the verdict is still "no". Perhaps I'll try some in the oven on a tostada tomorrow, but I'm not promising anything.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dr. Cow / Sheese Comparison

Last week, I splurged a bit and bought some yummy stuff from Rabbit Food Grocery. I went to their pop-up shop at Capital City Bakery last Friday to pick it all up (and scored one of the last three cupcakes from the bakery trailer!)

Rabbit Food Grocery Treasure Trove

Among my hoard were two flavors of Sheese (Blue and Smoked Cheddar) and Dr. Cow Aged Cashew & Kale cheese (for some reason, this flavor is not listed on Dr. Cow's website).

Vegan Cheese Comparison

I took all three cheeses over to a friend's house, where my boyfriend and I were meeting four of our friends to hang out. All of our friends are omnivores, so I was interested to get their opinions.

Vegan Cheese Comparison
Vegan Cheese Comparison

The Dr. Cow cheese was not generally liked. One friend thought that it was slightly sour and might go well with apples (something sweet). One other friend actually liked it better than the Blue Sheese, but not as much as the Smoked Cheddar Sheese. Overall, everyone seemed to like the Smoked Cheddar Sheese the best, saying that it was really good and that it tasted "the closest to what it was meant to be".

Personally, I liked the Blue Sheese best (but I've always been fond of blue cheese). I agree with everyone else that the Dr. Cow was a bit grainier than the Sheese. I liked it ok, but not as much as the Sheese. The price of the Sheese ($6.99 for 8 oz.) was also much better than the price of the Dr. Cow ($10.50 for 3.3 oz.). The only problem is that I hear that Sheese will no longer be imported into the USA starting soon (which is why I splurged on two wheels of it).

Tomorrow, I will try melting the Sheese to see what it will do (it didn't melt the last time I tried, but that was a few years ago.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Picture Post 2 - Spiral Diner, Dallas, TX

Since I'm busking at the Texas Renaissance Festival yesterday and today, I'm going to make two picture posts of more yummy stuff from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX (where I stopped for dinner on my way back from Kansas).

Deathstar Sundae - Spiral Diner
The Deathstar Sundae
Vegan Cheesecake & Brownie Pudding Parfaits - Spiral Diner
Pies & Cupcakes - Spiral Diner
Brownies - Spiral Diner
Chocolate Cake - Spiral Diner

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spiral Diner Picture Post

Since I'm busking at the Texas Renaissance Festival today and tomorrow, I'm going to make two picture posts of more yummy stuff from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX (where I stopped for dinner on my way back from Kansas).

Quesadillas - Spiral Diner
Crispy Spring Wrap Description - Spiral Diner
Crispy Spring Wrap & Apple Ginger Juice - Spiral Diner
Crispy Spring Wrap with Apple Ginger Juice
Crispy Spring Wrap - Spiral Diner
Hot Dog Sign - Spiral Diner

Tomorrow - desert!