Hello hello! Happy Monday! I’m back after a brief hiatus last week, decompressing from Vida Vegan Con, and wrapping up the final quarter before summer (!!!). But mostly decompressing, and trying to process all that I experienced during my time in Austin.
VVCIII was beautiful, so beautiful, and I want to give it all the coverage and attention that it deserves. In the past when I’ve recapped my VVC experiences, I’ve mostly focused on the food, and on the amazing people I met. And I’ll do that this time too, because lord knows I ate great foods and I met great folks. But also, more than ever before, this conference was packed full of incredible speakers and leaders, presenting important, profound, and inspiring ideas. And I really, really want to share all that with you.
So thats what I’ll be doing later this week, over the course of a few blog posts.
But for now? Well for now, I just wanted to touch base (hello!) and share my Austin diet plan: the Taco Cleanse. It was basically the best diet ever, and looked something like this . . .
We rolled into town late Tuesday night, after a 2-day, 3-state, high-speed vegan ladyblogger road trip. And like true level 5 vegans, we hit the town HUNGRY.
First stop for late night grub: Arlo’s Vegan Food Truck, featuring tacos and burgers (more on those burgers in a later post), parked in the lot of the most adorable little cocktail lounge, Cheer Up Charlie’s. The best thing about this night was that Jimmy Buffet – no really, for realsies the real Jimmy Buffet – was playing live and loud across the street. And okay, so I’m not particularly fond of Jimmy Buffet per se . . . but I am a *huge* fan of kitsch/pop cultural iconography. And so this moment – listening to Jimmy croon Margaritaville, while munching on tacos in the warm Texas night – well this was pretty triumphant.
So sorry for the awful lighting and iPhone pics. I enjoyed a pair of “Street Tacos”: house-made burger crumbles, grilled pico de gallo, lettuce, with chipotle aioli.
And a pint.
And it was good.
I’d have to say Bouldin Creek Café was my favorite restaurant that we ate at in all of Austin (so nice we ate it twice!), and it was the perfect spot for brunching on our very first morning in town.
“Tex-Mex Nopalito Tacos”: 2 tacos filled with tofu scramble, roasted corn, cactus, and tomatoes on a corn tortilla and topped with housemade chipotle aioli.
Have I ever told you that chipotle aioli is my weakness? WELL NOW YOU KNOW.
Friday kicked off the official start to the third and final Vida Vegan Con, with the Vida Vegan Bazaar – an afternoon of food and drinks, speakers and panels, samples and socializing, and a whole big ballroom full of awesome vegan businesses hawking their wares. It was awesome!
The Vegan Nom taco truck was parked out front, along with Cool Beans which I sadly did not get to try. But Vegan Nom is like, the OG Austin vegan taco truck, and everyone says it’s the best. How could I resist?!
Terrible indoor lighting again, so sorry. I ordered their most popular dish, and it did not disappoint. “The Vegan del Rey”: breaded gluten-free lemon pepper mock fish topped off with fresh cabbage, avocado, and our signature cilantro-lime crema sauce on warm corn tortillas. Just one ’cause it’s a biggun.
Saturday was the first day of the actual con, and was also the day I was slated to give my big presentation. I was so nervous that morning I could barely gag down a plate of fruit, which meant that by nightfall – with my talk happily (and successfully!) behind me – I was starving. Back to Bouldin Creek Café, for dinner this time!
Triplets! I split this amazing platter with Jackie (Vegan Yack Attack), along with a nice big salad. And a celebratory beer. Or two.
These were the daily special, the “BBQ Street Tacos”: smokey tempeh strips basted with homemade espresso BBQ sauce, served in corn tortillas and topped with creamy slaw and crushed Fritos.
Yes, crushed Fritos. That’s how they do.
Before I knew it, it was Sunday – the final day of the conference and my very last day in Austin. So I had to start it off right, with a perfect plate of breakfast tacos . . . from the BREAKFAST TACO BAR at the con. Oh VVC, you are so good.
*sigh* So good you guys! So good. Just warm corn tortillas wrapped around tofu scramble, salsa, avocado, and coconut bacon. Simple and freaking perfect. *sigh*
And thus concludes our Texas Taco Tour, and my official 6-day Taco Cleanse. It was amazing and fun and funny and delicious, and really, just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to all-things-Vida Vegan Con-related. So more of that later this week.
For now? I need a taco detox . . . in preparation for tomorrow’s TACO TUESDAY!