Long Weekends: Beyond Barbecue

Looking for a Vegan Vacation? Catch a Direct Flight to Austin, Texas.

Welcome to plant-based paradise.

By Tuck Woodstock September 11, 2018 Published in the October 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Arlo's food truck

With its food truck pods, murals, east-side gentrification, Bernie primary wins, and Voodoo Doughnut, Austin is essentially a hotter Portland. And like Portland, the Texas capital boasts a glorious abundance of vegan food. As counterintuitive as it may be, this barbecue hub is a prime destination for plant-based tourists, especially during balmy fall and winter months.

To start, grab a bright blue table at Counter Culture and dig into a spicy spelt biscuit bowl with seitan sausage. Save room for salted caramel brownies and apple guava Pop Tarts, because all-vegan Capital City Bakery awaits one block away. Spend an hour in the mesmerizing Mexic-Arte Museum, visit the Texas African-American History Memorial on the capitol grounds, or paddleboard the scenic Colorado River. At happy hour, head to Cheer Up Charlies, a queer bar hosting live music and vegan craft fairs. On the patio sits Arlo’s food truck (pictured above), home of massive seitan bac’n cheeseburgers. Recharge with a dip in the shady pool followed by a snooze at the Park Lane Guest House, an eco-friendly oasis of solar-powered cottages in historic SoCo—stays come with breakfast on a private deck (rooms from $229/night).

Wolf down sweet potato–pecan breakfast tamales at folksy Bouldin Creek Café, then head to North Loop Boulevard’s delightfully eclectic shopping strip, where visitors can browse at anarchist bookstore Monkeywrench, woman-owned sex shop Forbidden Fruit, and retro favorites Ermine Vintage and Room Service Vintage. After a quick detour to feminist bookshop BookWoman, it’s time for sloppy barbecue sandwiches at gourmet food truck Bistro Vonish and cupcakes at adjacent bakery Zucchini Kill. Stock up on snacks (and nooch enamel pins!) at all-vegan Rabbit Food Grocery, then grab buffalo cauliflower wings at nearby gastropub Beer Plant. Tap out (or fuel up) with a glittery cone of Dark Matter charcoal-cocoa sorbet at Sweet Ritual.

Travel time: 4-hour direct flight from PDX

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