restaurants, travel

Thrifted Duds & Vegan Grub in Austin’s North Loop

The past few days have been all about getting my bearings in Austin. And (no surprises here) the first thing a gal notices when she’s making her way through this city is its sheer size. After visiting Chicago last summer, I knew what it meant to be in a car city. But this, my friends, is a truck city. Massive 4-5 lane streets plow through every inch of the urban landscape, even the downtown core. Yesterday my cab got on the freeway for a minute as a shortcut… I barely even noticed a difference.

The upside to all this size and space is that when you hit a new neighborhood it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon an oasis of cool in the middle of a truckstop. It feels special and all your own somehow. Or maybe that’s just Austin in general?

The North Loop seems to exemplify this experience best of all. From afar the shops in this area don’t look like much. For the most part they’re just tucked away on the side of the road.

But upon further investigation you’ll find a treasure trove of thrift stores, cafes & of course the long awaited (by me) Austin food truck.

We started our afternoon off with a little thrifting. Snagged a great chair for my friends place at Hog Wild for just $45 (and they deliver!)

And obviously I couldn’t help but try on a few clothing items as well. Basically if it had fringe or a Southwestern print I wanted to wear it. Sadly didn’t snag anything that fit but you better believe I’ll get something before I go. So much turquoise & suede!

And then came the real good stuff…VEGAN FOOD TRUCK! I had heard about Counter Culture before arriving here but had no idea where it was. But apparently I had traveler’s luck on my side because we just happened to stumble across it in our wanderings! I suppose I just hang in areas where the vegan food trucks gravitate…ahem…

Obviously the whole menu was amazing and it was super difficult to make a decision…All healthy comfort food inspired vegan dishes with some healthy raw food options mixed in for good measure.

My choices? Once my friend talked me down from ordering the Almond Butter and Pickle sandwich (you always have my back, Cait) I think I made the perfect choices: BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with a side of PacMan Kale Salad & a donut hole for dessert.

Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich with PacMan Kale Salad

No seriously there were PacMen in my salad.

Never having had jackfruit before I must say I was pleasantly suprised. The texture was a lot like a mushroom and really worked with the smokey barbeque flavours. Plus it came with pickles…so I got my fix after all. The kale salad was simple but flavourful and offered a nice savoury balance to the sweetness of the sandwich.

Oh yeah and then this …

Raw vegan “donut hole” made of almonds, dates & coconut. Definitely had the crumbly texture and even the flavour of a Tim Horton’s timbit. I might be the first one to make that comparison though seeing as we are in the middle of texas.

Then we ended the day with a stop into Epoch, a 24/7 coffee place that was jam packed with people even in the middle of the day. But it was obvious why as they served up some seriously tasty espresso as well as offering free wifi & outlets literally hanging from the ceiling for plugging in. Oh yeah and they had almond milk for my americano. Best way to close out the day.

That’s all the updates for now! I’m off to catch a random vinyasa yoga class then maybe do some gallery hopping.

Basically my dream Sunday. 🙂

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  • Reply Sarah B @ Bake + Bike January 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    OMG food trucks are the greatest! I would love to try everything on that menu. Have you been to Portland? Tis a food truck MECCA.

    • Reply the healthy hipster January 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Have I been to Portland, she asks… 😉 I spent a lotta time there when I was in high school because I used to go to the original Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls there.

      Anyhow here’s my take: While the PDX trucks are NO JOKE, there is still something kind of cheeky and ironic about bougie West Coasters eating Southern-Style comfort food. Thats just not the case here in Austin where even hipsters take their BBQ as seriously as they take their fixie bikes.

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