Monday, October 27, 2014

Tasty Travels: Pulse Vegan

I'm so excited to be in Austin, Texas again. It is a wonderful city full of great music and delicious food! Upon arriving in Austin, we headed out to grab some lunch. (Gotta love the food truck spots... Multiple foods for any taste bud all in one place.)

I chose to grab a BBQ Seitan salad and rosemary fries from the Conscious Cravings food truck. The BBQ sauce was AWESOME! Sweetened with agave there was also a great tang and the kind of heat that doesn't necessarily burn... But it makes ya sweat! (My favorite!). The rosemary fries were so tasty! Imagine roasted potatoes with rosemary but as fried finger food. YUM!

Today, my mom, sister and I walked in and out of a bunch of shops, restaurants, and bakeries before we decided on the South First Food Court for lunch.  

We found Pulse Vegan, an all vegan food truck owned and operated by Colin Sheffield.  Relatively new to the Austin food truck scene, Pulse Vegan opened the truck's window just 5 months ago on May 29th, 2014.

I ordered "The Philly" and the "Sides Trio" (a sampler of the 3 sides the truck offers). According to Colin, The Philly is one of the most popular menu items, and I could definitely taste why!  The peppers and onions were cooked to the point that they were soft but still had an impactful crunch.  The tempeh (local, from The Hearty Vegan) was cooked on a flat top, making it crispy on the outside, and topped with Daiya Chedder-style "cheese".  What really made the sandwich for me was the homemade Cajun mayo.  I even got extra on the side because I wanted it on everything! The sandwich was served on a ciabatta roll which added a really great chew to the sandwich.
The "Sides Trio" was just as delicious and the perfect option to try multiple things on the menu without TOTALLY pigging out! 

The savory greens were AWESOME! They were perfectly cooked so that they were tender but yet still crisp, and... as you can see in the picture they are still actually green! They aren't that swampy mud color that comes from overcooking the greens. The did not have a greasy/slimey feel to them and the taste...?  Well, "fresh", "clean", and "savory" were the words out of my mom's and sister's mouths! It was true! Colin cooks the greens in a savory broth that contains allspice and thyme, which created a warmth but still maintained a lightness to the side dish.  (I can't believe I'm going to say this but... I may have sipped on the broth after I finished my lunch... DON'T JUDGE!!! IT WAS THAT GOOD!)  

Next up was "The Mac". Colin told me that he was very proud of his mac, and he very well should be.  It was a delightful combination of a nutritional yeast sauce and Daiya "cheddar cheese". This was also Gluten Free (all of the sides were naturally GF and everything on the menu could be made GF) What I really loved about this was that it was similar to my Mac-No-Cheese--the kid version as I call it... because it's reminiscent of the blue box Mac N Cheese kids like to eat... It had the delectable CRUNCH of the crust you get when you bake mac n cheese. It added an extra dimension that made it even more irresistible! (My non-vegan sister had ordered that for her meal but then we got the trio instead... I was only allowed 2 bites and she chowed down on the rest!) 

Last but certainly not least, the "Dill Home Fries". OH. MY. LANTA! First of all if you've read my blog you are probably aware that I LOVE POTATOES! (How appropriate that this post was written on National Potato Day! Check Twitter and Facebook for some TUBER-ler recipes! haha See what I did there?) These potatoes definitely claimed a spot in my Top Ten Homefries! Dill, garlic, salt and pepper were all that went on these pan-fried spuds... I couldn't believe they were pan-fried, by the way.  The crunch seemed too good for a pan.  I thought they had been double deep fried (French-fry style but in cube form). I even attempted to save them for last and the crunch survived the lapsed time. (HA yeah right, who am I kidding!? You know these were totally scarfed down...) Colin gave us ketchup for dipping which was delicious but I loved dipping them in the Cajun mayo too!

More about the menu:  Colin told me that he is most proud of "The Mac".  His favorite sandwiches on his menu are "The Buff Boy" and "The Frenchy".  He told me that he loves the flavor combination that exists in "The Buff Boy" and he recognizes that both are pretty unique flavors for the vegan community.  I mean YEAH! Buffalo "wings" and a "French Dip" w/ au jus?! Those are not typically foods that people would think could ever be vegan.  

Colin has a mission very similar to my own: Being vegan doesn't have to mean you're missing out! Just TASTE IT before you dismiss vegan food because of the opinion formed in your head that. Vegan food is just as delicious, filling, and nutritious as "regular" food if not more so! **More from Colin to come when TastyKaiti's reaches 20,000 pageviews.  So stick around to watch a clip of the interview when that happens! 

"Thank you Colin for an excellent lunch! And thank you for letting me interview you about yourself and the food truck! It is absolutely my pleasure to endorse your truck on my blog." ~Kaiti
Let Colin know you read about him here as we love to hear from our readers/eaters!

A Note to my Non-vegan friends: 

The great thing about food truck lots in Austin is there is something for everyone! (Vegan or Not)  And while they are certainly not afraid of vegan food anymore, my mom and sister were in the mood for a Breakfast Burrito and found a great one at Gravy, a truck that blends Mexican flavors with an old southern favorite of biscuits and gravy. We talked with the owner/operator Scott who told us that they are BRAND NEW!  Just opened THREE WEEKS ago! While he informed me that he didn't have vegan options, I did want to share with my non-vegan readers that he does have Vegetarian options on his menu.  His biscuits do not contain lard and the burrito my mom and sister split contained all vegetarian ingredients (with the exception of the bacon gravy).  So check him out at South First Food Court! Tell him I sent ya!


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