So much pressure for the second entry!… I guess I’ll begin with my first meeting with my Vegans Rock Austin Meet-Up Group! Austin is currently experiencing a massive trend in trailer restaurants. It’s pretty genius and there are trailers for every type of food or beverage you can think of. Tonight, we met at the Vegan Yacht on E 6th St. in a lot shared with a few other trailers. It’s owned by this young tattooed couple committed to providing delicious vegan and vegetarian organic food that’s affordable to E Austin. And thus, the rest of Austin that wants this type of food. They have a menu online but they didn’t include their vegan freeto-pie! But i did have an amazing Daiya vegan cheese, seitan and avocado quesadilla. I was impressed. They had some pretty tasty looking smoothies but there was no way in hell I was going to pay $6 for a smoothie. Besides, I had already made a strawberry-mango smoothie with almond milk for myself earlier today. So there.
For anyone who really knows me knows I am inherently shy. I’ve really managed to overcome a lot of that in recent years(?) or months(?) and either way I met up with these vegan strangers and it was really great. There is one hilarious dude who is a great storyteller and pretty much organizes all the meet-ups and potlucks and all that good stuff. Ross. We chit-chatted and I found out he’s from Midland (TX) and is the son of a rancher and a bunch of his family are fishermen. He became vegan a few years ago when he found out the truth about factory farms and knew he could never look at eating meat or dairy the same way again. He felt very alone being he was the only one he knew in Midland who was vegan. He KNEW there had to be others who shared the same views and he moved out to Austin where he met his lovely wife and a handful of other vegans. He started this group because he wanted a gathering of like-minded people who could just “hang out and eat good food.” We were talking about how a gathering of vegans or vegetarians doesn’t always have to be about protests or tacking up posters of bloody animals (although he says that still needs to happen but…) sometimes you need to just relax and talk and joke around and enjoy new food. Everyone was very curious about which vegan restaurants I had tried in Austin. I felt kind of embarrassed because honestly I haven’t tried hardly any. Everyone jumped at this opportunity to tell me their favorite spot. The most popular suggestions were:
Conscious Cravings (also a trailer)
on Rio Grande @ MLK
on W. 29th
Casa de Luz
1701 Toomey (S. Austin)
I had been to Bouldin Creek a few days earlier with my friend Luke for brunch and I had this amazing tofu scramble with fresh veggies. It actually inspired me to make one of my own. Still inspired… haven’t actually made it yet. Soon! Luke is a minimalist eater most of the time (two scrambled eggs, a piece of toast and two slices of bacon) and definitely leans towards the carnivorous side. We don’t really talk about food much. He’s from a very New Jersey/Chicago Italian family with a big emphasis on meatballs. I did get him to try my chai and some falafel the other day which was monumental coming from a dude who somehow survives on cheeseburgers, pizza and beer. For another post, I want to go into a different approach to talking about food when there is a vegetarian or vegan involved in the conversation. Another day. I digress!
Back to Vegan Yacht-land. Everyone was really welcoming and they made sure I committed to going to their Halloween pot-luck on Saturday night. Awesome! These guys are total chowhounds too so I KNOW there will be some good shit there and good company. What should I bring?! Maybe those vegan chocolate chip cookies I’ve made a few times…
For the next post I’m going to get really serious and really explain my motivation for going vegan. CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are like being in a nightmare. Any it’s a nightmare so many animals live their entire lives. It’s an issue I’ve become very passionate about and I think it’s extremely important that people possess the knowledge that this is going on right under their noses and how our health, communities and environment is at stake not taking action against it. This all might sound kind of radical to many but this shit is REAL and these agro-barons don’t give a flying fuck about what diseased product we put into our bodies or how these animals are treated as long as they’re getting paid big bucks. And by supporting them we are paying them BIG BUCKS.
I’m going to try and end all these entries on a lighter note though. Let’s end it like this:
I’ve never felt like I was a part of anything. I took a risk tonight going out and meeting these strangers on the East side of town (woo scary!) and talking about something that is new to me. They weren’t snobby, they weren’t pretentious or holier-than-thou. I had never really talked to any group of people like this about veganism. Ever. I suddenly found I had something to say. I suddenly felt like I was DOING something meaningful choosing to live this way. All of the sudden I’m part of a community of people who have made the same realizations I have and had the same reaction probably of “Oh my God what the fuck is happening how can this be happening and how are we letting it happen?!” And that was awesome being around that energy. I can’t wait to go to the Halloween party on Saturday and eat amazing and creative dishes GUILT-FREE! (Except maybe considering calories… but oh well it’s Halloween!)
Thanks for reading! hearts.