The first day after the festivities felt surreal. I was clinging onto the fact that there were plans for a bunch of bloggers to meet for breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe
so that I'd have one more chance to revel in the magic of VVC. And they picked one hell of a spot! Bouldin is a hip spot with an eclectic menu and decor: here you can find a chandelier of old bicycle tires and endless cat art on the walls. We all felt at home.
My dude wisely chose the The Tofu Renedict: ciabatta bread topped with spinach, noochy tofu scramble, tomatoes, tofu bac'n, and vegan hollandaise sauce. I had a bite and was seriously impressed. Everyone who ordered this at the table was raving about it.
Never wanting to pass up anything with the world "caramelized" in the description, I simply had to have the Potato Leek Omelet: caramelized potato shreds, leeks, Daiya mozz, and scallions all up in some of the best tofu scramble I've ever had. SO NOOCHY! I may try to replicate this level of noochiness for our scramble brekkies at home… The refried black beans were also tops - and had a kick!
After our meal, our group waddled over toward our next destination, yet I just had to snap a photo of this brilliant food truck… if only they served vegan wingz!
Rabbit Food Grocery was a short jaunt from the restaurant and was highly anticipated. Austin's only all-vegan grocery store is worth the hype! And fear not if you can't make it to their super-cute store… they have online ordering!
Just look at all the things!
The BEST potato chip nostalgia...
And Magic Vegan Bacon Grease! There is a vegan EVERYTHING if you look hard enough. We walked away with some Bee Free Honee (made from apples!), Earth Balance chips in Sour Cream & Onion and Cheddar flavors (zomg), some Go Max Go Thumbs Up bars (vegan Butterfingers, yo!), Sweet Ritual Salted Caramel Sauce, Leahey Gardens' Cheese-Flavored Sauce Mix (the best old school, powdered cheese sauce around - especially if you melt Daiya cheddar into it…), TruJoy Choco Chews (vegan Tootsie Rolls!), and a square of Mister Sister Classic Fudge.
After the excitement of the morning, I said more goodbyes to beautiful bloggers and we ventured back to our AirBnB apartment for a lunch of leftovers and a quick nap. We decided that the weather was too perfect to stay indoors and that we wanted to do a walking tour of the city.
Austin is not only filled with vegan-friendly awesomeness, it is also a city that embraces and provides for its active community. There are lovely parks, walking bridges, and bike racks seemingly at every turn. It is always abuzz with runners, kids playing, dogs walking, boot camp classes, live music… the list goes on. Just being outside is enjoyable here.
And the view is nice, too...
We needed to walk along the famous shopping-central W 6th street for a bit and I was eager to check out the Lush Cosmetics store. This place is beyond rad! Lush prides itself on being against animal testing and, save for some products which contain honey, is almost completely vegan.
Soaps, shampoos, body wash, cosmetics, bath bombs… Lush has an alternative for any commercial-brand, chemical-laden toiletry.
We scooped up some bath bombs, a bar of mandarin-scented soft soap which can be broken off into small chunks for a bath/body wash/shampoo and whose proceeds help funds safe play areas for children in the Fukoshima disaster area (how cool is that?!), some shower gel that looks and smells like grape jelly, and vegan liquid eyeliner.
Knowing we had one last chance to check out the Unity Vegan Kitchen food truck, since they would be closed for the remainder of our trip, we made our way over. We were pretty sad to learn that the VVC special Chik'n & Waffles, as well as the Veggie Lasagna, were sold out - yet how awesome that so many people patronized the truck over the weekend! Luckily, fellow VVC attendee @michelledonner insisted I try a bite of her waffles - the last one! So sweet of her and, damn… it was tasty.
The dude opted for the Muffaletta Sandwich: olive spread, smokey cashew spread, spinach, and seasoned tofu. This got a major thumbs up.
I chose a lighter meal for walking around the city: Spring Rolls with julienned carrots, cucumber, purple cabbage, and red pepper with basil, spinach, and garlicky quinoa. The spicy peanut lime sauce I could DRINK.
We were gifted 2 incredibly moist and flavorful Avocado Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies by the owner and were ever-so-grateful!
We continued our walk, admiring the sights, sounds, and wildlife in preparation for...
Seeing the bats under the S Congress Ave bridge! There were tons of people on the bridge, underneath, and atop boats and paddle boards in the river waiting to see the nightly feast.
We weren't quite sure what to expect, but really lucked out having chosen a spot right next to a street lamp on the bridge - the bats eventually were swirling underneath the light, surely feasting on the bugs drawn to the light. It was truly mesmerizing - how cool to be able to witness that part of nature!
Even though our legs and feet were weary, we made the long trek back to our apartment. The city comes alive at night and we chose to stroll through the State Capitol building grounds, only to find visitors out and about even late at night. What's remarkable about Austin is that it seems so safe!
With two more days left in our trip we are going to harness the energy and excitement from the conference to bring some exciting new features to the blog (hint: there's a YouTube series in the making) and seek out as much R&R and more vegan food as we can.
Labels: travel, Vida Vegan Con