Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Must-See Vegetarian Eateries in Texas

Hello, Economical Eater readers! My name is Lizz from Lizz Delicious and I was asked by Michelle to share with you some of my favorite places to eat in Texas - in case you're traveling there this summer, or have plans to travel there in the future. I’ve lived in Texas since 2009 and have traveled throughout the state enjoying the dishes I find at the vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants located here.

To most people, Texas does not conjure up images of a vegetarian paradise. In reality, though, all of the state’s major cities feature vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafes, and pop-ups that travelers shouldn’t miss!

The capital city is arguably the most vegan-friendly one in the state. In fact, PETA awarded it the status of most vegan-friendly in the nation during 2013. Whether you’re in the mood for a good burger, healthy plate of veg, dairy-free ice cream, or an indulgent dessert, you are bound to find what you’re craving in Austin.

Tofu Enchiladas from Mother's Café in Austin

Let’s start at Mother’s Cafe and Garden. A staple of the vegetarian community, Mother’s has been open for decades. Their extensive menu frequently leaves me overwhelmed! Everything tastes fresh and healthy, from their Portobello Sandwich to their Bueno Burger to their Tofu Enchiladas. Got a sweet tooth? Don’t miss out on a slice of their vegan chocolate cake or peanut butter pie. Mother’s also offers weekend brunch specials!

Then, there’s Counter Culture. Specializing in vegan comfort food, Counter Culture used to be a food truck. They established their brick and mortar in 2012 and haven’t looked back! What’s on the menu? How about some vegan Mac ‘N Cheese or a slice of Lentil Loaf? You can also get a Philly Seitan, Jackfruit BBQ, or a Tempeh Reuben Sandwich, if you’d prefer.

For something special, don’t miss Capital City Bakery, whose legendary vegan cheesecake is the best I’ve ever had. They have a rotating cupcake menu and also make other sweets and savories like Texas kolaches, ice cream sandwiches (made with local vegan ice cream), and shortbread-style frosted sugar cookies.

Home of the Texas State Veggie Fair which takes place every October, Dallas is another great city for vegetarians! There is also a lot to do there. For starters, you can visit one of many museums like the Dallas Museum of Art or the Frontiers of Flight Museum. If you're more of an outdoors person, the Cedar Ridge Preserve or the Trinity River Audubon Center may be right up your alley.

When you've had enough fun that it's finally time to eat, make sure you get over to the Spiral Diner. The vegan eatery specializes in diner fare like coffee and all-day breakfast as well as substantial salads, big honkin' sandwiches, and BEER! Get a Philly Cheesteak, you know you want to. They literally have the biggest vegan menu I've ever seen.

For something a bit more exotic, try the Cosmic Cafe. Their vegetarian restaurant is full of Indian flavors and flair. Vegan items are labeled and most regular items can be made vegan upon request. They have wonderful outdoor seating, shaded on a cozy covered porch. The food, atmosphere, and staff are welcoming.

San Antonio:
Living in Austin enables me to visit San Antonio quite a bit. It’s approximately an hour and thirty minutes from Austin and, despite its proximity, is incredibly different than Texas’s capital city. It is much more catered to tourism with attractions like the Alamo and the River Walk, a man-made canal system lined with shops and restaurants. It is also home to some of Texas’s best vegetarian restaurants!

Portobello Steak from Green Vegetarian Cuisine in San Antonio

Green Vegetarian Cuisine has been my favorite vegetarian sit-down restaurant since moving to Texas in 2009. They have since grown to having three locations, one in Houston, and an off-shoot restaurant called Earth Burger, a fast-food joint that’s 100% veg. The menu at Green is diverse. You can find Italian, Mexican, traditional American, and Asian items. All of their desserts are vegan, including their soft serve which has rotating flavors. It’s the best vegan ice cream I’ve had! If you can’t decide on something, try the Italian Enchiladas or the Chopped BBQ Sandwich. Those are my favorites.

Gluten-free folks and vegans alike will want to visit Vegeria, too. They are San Antonio’s only 100% gluten-free, vegan restaurant specializing in Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. The flavors are wonderful, portions are huge, and the price is right. If you can’t make up your mind, just go with the daily Rosalie Special. Make sure you get something from the bakery case, too.

If you’re looking for places to eat closer to the River Walk, Juice Central and Senor Veggie are excellent options. The first is a juice bar with vegan ingredients like non-dairy milks and protein powders. Salads are available to-go, too. Meanwhile, Senor Veggie is a vegan restaurant with a diverse menu, but all with a Mexican flair. For instance, they have Lentil Texican Chili and Rustic Italian Polenta! Both are in walking distance of the River Walk. Depending on where you are, your walk may be 15-20 minutes.

The largest city in Texas just so happens to have the most vegetarian restaurants, too. The vast majority of eateries are Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian. They are located throughout the city as well, so you are bound to find something nearby.

The Pepper Tree is a Chinese vegan restaurant that has menu items and a buffet. They also offer a gluten-free menu.

If you’d like something a little more light-hearted, try Monster PBJ, a vegetarian food truck specializing in crazy peanut butter sandwiches.

For traditional American fare, stop by the Garden Kitchen, owned and operated by Dr. Baxter Montgomery, a physician who advocates eating a plant-based diet for health.

Houston has some amazing tourist attractions, too. If you’re looking for budget-friendly adventures, the Houston Arboretum and Discovery Center is free to the public. And dogs are welcome! With a reservation you can also enjoy a 90-minute guided boat tour of Port Houston at no charge. Who wouldn’t want to photograph the Houston skyline from the water??

If you’d like more restaurant recommendations for vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants, feel free to visit the Lizz Delicious blog. Thanks, Michelle, for letting me share some of my favorite eateries with your readers!

1 comment:

  1. Liz, this is so helpful! I travel to Austin for work and it's been super challenging to find veggie options, especially when all your coworkers want to gorge on BBQ!