Somnio’s Cafe

I absolutely recommend Somnio’s Cafe in South Austin.
Locally grown organic food. Cute, cozy house with a nice ambiance. BYOB. Generous portions for a good price. You really can’t go wrong with this place. It’s a perfect place to bring a few friends, a bottle of wine or a few good beers, and a big appetite.

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Somnio’s Cafe has a large selection of vegan/vegetarian options, but they also offer meat options as well (making it a great choice if you’re eating with carnivorous friends, family members, or coworkers who can’t handle a single meal without meat). Vegan and vegetarian dishes are clearly marked and many of the veggie dishes can be prepared vegan if requested.

I highly recommend the Nynavae’s Tacos with panko crusted mushroom fritters. Very very good. I’m also a fan of the Sissy salad with apples, avocados, jalapeños and pecans. Yum!

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Somnio’s Cafe also always have some nice vegan specials, like giant bowls of vegetable curry. These heart-shaped quinoa cakes were part of their Valentine’s Day special.

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I tried their Sunday brunch once and I don’t think their tofu scramble is as good as the tofu scramble at Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse…but their breakfast bowl was still very tasty. I’ll definitely go back though when I’m in the mood for pancakes and fresh brewed fair trade coffee.

Biscuits + Groovy Trailer

A few years ago, the Hyde Park area was pretty lacking in the fast food breakfast/lunch offerings. There was a handful of good coffee shops, restaurants, and hang out spots…but the ready-to-go meal options (especially of the vegan variety) were in short supply.

Lucky for me though, this has started to change. I live and work in the Hyde Park Area and now have a few great vegan trailers that I can walk to on my way to/from work. I’ve mentioned Counter Culture before. It’s great for lunch (because open most days at noon), but if I’m too lazy to cook breakfast and find myself hungry on my morning walk to work…now I can go to the Biscuits +  Groovy Trailer (open most days from 8:30am-2pm).

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The Biscuits + Groovy trailer owner is vegan. And while the food cart started as a strictly vegan cart, he has recently expanded his menu to include some meat. It’s too bad he couldn’t keep it all vegan, but I do understand the need to get a larger volume of people to give it an initial try. Judging by the reviews on yelp, the cart seems to be getting quite a bit of love from both vegans and non vegans, so that’s great. I do think he needs to clarify on his menu which items are vegan though (as it’s a bit tough to tell without asking him).

The first time I tried Biscuits + Groovy, I had the regular biscuits and gravy with a vegan sausage topping.

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The next few times I tried it, I had the works: biscuits and gravy with vegan sausage, tofu scramble, vegan cheese, and green onions. Yum!

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I honestly don’t think the gravy is as rich and delicious as the vegan mushroom gravy Miguel makes as home, but it’s still good. And I personally love my own vegan tofu scramble a bit better. But with that said, I spend my workday mornings making biscuits and gravy with sausage, tofu scramble, and vegan cheese. So I have absolutely no complaints! I’m definitely super stoked this place exists – especially in my area.

Also…John, the owner, is really friendly and the prices are reasonable. I foresee myself making quite a few more trips here on the mornings when I’m tired of my usual granola or breakfast tacos and am feeling like treating myself.

I’ll continue to add to this post as I try more things on the menu. I’ve heard good things about the vegan philly cheese steak (which isn’t on the daily menu makes an occasional appearance from time to time). And I still need to try the pancakes…and the breakfast burrito…and all the other stuff. Ok, now I’m getting hungry.

Cooking Fresh Pumpkin Pulp

Yay Halloween! Time for costumes and pumpkins and other fun things.

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This Halloween was especially fun and we hosted a pumpkin carving party at our place.

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Once the jackolanterns have been made, many people just roast the seeds and toss all the guts away.  This is an incredible waste because pumpkin innards are edible and delicious. Making fun things out of them should be an essential part of pumpkin carving!!

After all our pumpkins had been carved, we ended up with 3 giant bowls full of pumpkin pulp (which we pureed in a food processor) . We still have a little bit left in the freezer, but my roommates and I managed to create many different pumpkin creations.

So far, we have made pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pecan balls, pumpkin hummus.

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I even made vegan entrails for our Halloweeen party (and put a few dabs of pumpkin inside). They turned out great!

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Scary Vegan Finger Cookies!

Check out these vegan finger cookies my friend, Lilli, made for our Halloween Party. They’re made with homemade bread and almonds and I think they’re pretty amazing!

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Help Save Furrytale Farm Animal Rescue in Austin!

I friend told me about this story he read on the news. It’s a sad story and I’m hoping this farm rescue operation can raise the money it needs to keep it’s property. We both donated some money and now I’m posting it on this blog in hopes that others will do the same!

Details Below:

The Furrytale Farm in Seattle, WA, rescues abused and neglected domestic and farm animals and gives them a place to stay until adopted, or to spend their final days in comfort. They’re in danger of losing everything due to foreclosure and have until Oct 22 to come up with the funds or vacate. In an awful twist of irony the prospective new owners want to make it a hog farm for pork products.

Now in its twelfth year of operation, The Furrytale Farm is a no-kill multi-species rescue facility that provides its residents with sound nutrition, complete medical care, and a comprehensive rehabilitation program, and its visitors with a new and different concept of compassion and acceptance. If their property gets foreclosed on, these folks and, more importantly, these animals will be homeless. Please help this amazing animal shelter by donating something, anything, today!

Their donation campaign is here:

http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/campaign-0-1164

Their web site is here:

http://furrytalefarm.org/

Two Austin Veggie Events for Friday, October 15th

For those of you in Austin, here are two vegetarian food events that will take place this Friday, October 15th. I won’t be able to make it out, but thought some of you might be interested.

Details below:

Beets Living Food Café – First Anniversary and Expansion Celebration

Friday October 15, 2010 @ 6:00pm

This golden nugget is fast becoming the place to be and be seen. The Food Network is featuring Beets Cafe in December, and we are happy to celebrate them now, before you can’t get a table! One year after opening their doors, Beets’ delicious food is gaining famed finger-licking notoriety; but the ambience, is splendid and now expanding! Beet’s is taking their sleek, light and contemporary venue and expanding it next store. So now there is more seating and rooms for parties. Join us as we christin the new space, with free food, wine and live music. This is a party not to miss.

Meet and get samples of:
Zhi Tea
Austintatious Deals
Dragon Fly Wellness Center
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Live Music By:
Tammy Kantor
Katie Gray
The Kate Priestley Band

Door Prizes:
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Beets Living Food Cafe

1611 W 5th St. Suite 165

Austin, TX

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Best-selling author Terry Walters, whose bestselling first book CLEAN FOOD fueled a nationwide “clean” movement, is coming to teach Austinites how simple and uncomplicated it is to eat cleaner and add more whole foods to their lives. Her new book CLEAN START (Sterling Epicure, November 2010) is an all-you’ll-ever-need guide for a healthy and sustainable approach to eating and living well.

Terry believes that “clean food” is whole, minimally processed and close to the source for maximum nutrition. CLEAN START features easy guidelines and recipes for getting the most nutritional value and taste, while minimizing waste. Terry’s tips are so simple (Eat foods that are grown not manufactured. Eat all 5 tastes. Know the source of your food.), anyone can follow her advice and reap these potential benefits.

For you:

  • Increased energy and vitality with a strengthened immune system
  • Better absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Healthy weight control

For the environment:

  • Less packaging, waste and contamination
  • Improved local environment and economy
  • Increase in local jobs

I know that Austin loves its whole foods, and thought you might be interested in an interview with Terry to discuss her new recipe collection (including fall recipes – Green Fries, Medley of Pestos, Pinto Beans with Stewed Tomatoes and Spinach)when Terry’s in town on Friday, October 15th.

I realize the date is coming up fast and look forward to hearing what you think!

Best,

Sumika

Sumika Bajaj

YC Media

sumika@ycmedia.com

646-301-3780

Gathering of the Tribes Vegan Potluck this Saturday!

Hey fellow vegans and veggies.

Come to the Gathering of the Tribes potluck this Saturday!

This is the first all the vegetarian organizations and establishments in Austin have joined together for a big event.

The potluck will take place at Peace Park this Saturday, 10/2 @ 5pm.

From Brendan, the organizer: “For the first time ever, there’ll be one big event to bring together all the groups, organizations and members of Austin’s vegan, vegetarian, and animal-advocacy community. At Pease Park on Saturday October 2nd we’re having a huge vegan mega-potluck to celebrate the huge year that 2010 has been so far for our community. Our activities and activism, our great food and fun-loving groups have gotten Austin national recognition. Come join in with all your veggie friends! Anyone at all can attend, so please bring friends, especially veg-curious ones! Bring a vegan dish to feed at least 8 people (obviously not everyone will get to taste every little thing at such a huge potluck!), plus your beverages and eating utensils/plates. The other major Austin groups will all be there- Vegetarian Network of Austin, Austin Progressive Vegetarians, Vegan Drinks Austin and Action for Animals Austin. Plus we’re hoping to get as many of our local vegan business owners, restaurateurs, bloggers and “celebrities” to attend as possible.” You can RSVP here: http://veganaustin.org/event.php?id=348 Hope to see you there!

India – Plastic Bag Crochet Project

Not that I’ve been good about posting to this blog lately anyway, but now I’m officially taking a 2-month break.

Why? I’ll be in India teaching people how to crochet with plastic bags! You can learn more about this project here:

http://circleourearth.com/off-to-india/

And follow up with me on my new blog: BagsBeGone.com

-Cristen

Blog Break: Leaving For India!

I know I haven’t been wonderful at posting to this blog lately anyway, but this is an official notice that I’ll be taking a temporary break from this blog.

The reason is that I’m off to India. I’ll be in India for two months this summer teaching workshops on crocheting with plastic bags. For more info about this,  check out my new blog, BagsBeGone.com.

I also just officially launched my project on Kickstarter, an awesome crowd sourced funding site!

You can read more about Kickstarter on my blog post.

And here’s my Kickstarter page:

Video – Weekday Veg

Now here’s an idea that I like!

Check out this video from the founder of TreeHugger:

http://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_weekday_vegetarian.html