Tales From The “Taco Cleanse”: Vida Vegan Con & The Great Austin Taco Tour, Part 1

June 8th, 2015 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health


Image via TacoCleanse.com, bless them.

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.

IMG_1285Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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.


Austin vegan tacos
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.

Austin vegan tacos 1

Austin vegan tacos 2
I ordered the “El Tipico”: scrambled tofu with a homemade potato hash cake, chopped local tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa and warm tortillas. And I added avo, of course.


Austin tacos 1

Thursday brought the unofficial-totally-official VVCIII “Meet ‘n Greet” at Buzz Mill bar and coffee shop, which also happens to host the Golden Spike Rail Cart walk-up window in the back.


Austin tacos

“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!

vegan tacos in Austin

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?!

vegan tacos in Austin 1

vegan tacos in Austin 2

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.

And how!


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!

Austin vagan tacos 3

Triplets! I split this amazing platter with Jackie (Vegan Yack Attack), along with a nice big salad. And a celebratory beer. Or two.

Austin vagan tacos 4

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.

vegan bacon breakfast taco

vegan bacon taco

*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!

  • http://www.amandaboldenow.com/blog AmandaBold

    Sigh. First trimester pregnancy MS stinks so much. I miss food – this looks amazing! Or at least, I remember enough about my love of food to know it would look amazing if I wasn’t only eating boxed cereals and berries.

  • Gretchen Keller

    TACOS!!!! This might be my favorite Bonzai post ever… EVAR! Glad you had such a great trip to Austin and looking forward to hearing all about the VVC in upcoming posts :)

  • Chelsea

    This post has inspired me to have my own taco Tuesday! Now, which version of vegan tacos do I want to try…?

  • http://www.vegansandra.com/ Sandra Vungi

    All these tacos! OMG!!!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    This totally makes me feel better about always craving Mexican food! I could eat tacos everyday, all day! Looks like an amazing trip!

  • Bianca

    Yay! ALL THE TACOS! I feel like I didn’t eat nearly enough tacos in Austin! I only had the ones at the VVC buffets, and the rest of the time tried Detroit-style pizza and jambalaya on a stick and vegan benedicts and bacon cheezeburgers. I wish I’d have at least had a chance to sample Vegan Noms tacos. But there was just too much food and not enough time in Austin! I wanna go back!

  • http://sweetteascience.blogspot.com/ Rachel

    Want all the tacos….

  • http://angieeatspeace.com/ Angie

    I am so glad you took full advantage of all the tacos…and shared them here. YUM.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh no! I remember that nausea all too well. Blech! So sorry you’re in the thick of it – and may you return to your formerly food-loving self very soon! And when you do, may you eat ALL THE TACOS!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Let’s catch up soon soon! ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Did you do it? Tonight we made soyrizo, grilled broccoli, and avocado tacos, and they were soooo good. Viva Taco Tuesday!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    That’s what I said! ;-D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Dude I crave it ALL the time. Definitely my fave cuisine. But we’re SoCal folk – it’s not our fault! There’s just so much good guac all around!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I feel ya – a belly can only hold so much. But I was watching your Instagram and it definitely looked like you were enjoying the Austin food scene. Helloooo jambalaya on a stick??? Was way jealous of that one.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    PS I was super inspired by your demo at the Bazaar, and am going to start growing ginger bugs (that’s what you called them, right?) ASAP!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The taco love is strong ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Glad you enjoyed Angie!

  • Gretchen Keller

    Yes, please! Though, I’m traveling for 5 days starting tonight… Miami for work & fun! I wish there was a good Vegan Cuban option!!?!??! Start investigating, will ya? xo

  • Chelsea

    I did! Seasoned tempeh and corn with spicy sauteed onions and peppers, and avocado, of course. Yum! Grilled broccoli in a taco? I’m going to have to try that one…

  • Kristin

    Oh. My. God. I am drooling over the pics. Definitely going to be experimenting with copycatting a couple of those little heavenly bundles this weekend…YUM!!!

  • Pingback: More Tales From Texas! Vida Vegan Con III: Exploring Austin & The Vegan Bazaar! | Bonzai Aphrodite

  • B M

    Ah, the importance of reading the title, would have clarified some things. As I scrolled through this delicious collage of mexican goodness, I just kept thinking, “its a giant taco fiesta! She must really like tacos, and now is making me really want tacos”. And then I read

    “Tales From The “Taco Cleanse”: Vida Vegan Con & The Great Austin Taco Tour, Part 1″

    Also, can we just give a little shout out to the taco and all its versatility,Hail to the taco! They all look amazeballs, and it looks like you guys had an absolute blast!


  • http://www.justthefood.com Joni Marie Ressinger Newman


  • Rebecca Carnes

    Oooh…don’t get me started on Avocado!…avo on everything, everyday:):) I am surprised P didn’t come out looking like a burrito hahaha

  • veganinbrighton

    I can’t believe I’m still catching up on VVC wrap ups and round ups! There are so many wonderful posts about the weekend and I’m thoroughly enjoying reading them all.