Thursday, June 19, 2014

Food Truck Rally, June 20th

I've been posting on social media all this week as the information has trickled in about veg options at the food truck rally this Friday, June 20th from 6pm to 9pm. It will be held on Church Street downtown and will feature live music, a climbing wall, and light art surprises at the end. Curse gaming will be there giving out free tshirts to the first 500 people.

As we've talked about before, navigating a food truck event can be very difficult for a vegan or plantbased dieter - in some cases even a vegetarian -  so I've tried to get info from as many trucks as I could. I will be updating this post as I get more info. The list of trucks I've contacted is as follows:

Crave Heat
I've vblogged about these folks before. They have a veggie burrito to die for! A homemade flour tortilla wraps up fried veggies, vegan beans, and tasty seasoning. Ask them to leave off the cheese and sour cream for a vegan experience. They have also been posting about a special "surprise" just for vegans, and lately lots of yummy looking photos of soyrizo! Crave Heat has responded and is in the process of expanding our veg options, so ask about their special and be sure to thank them for being forward thinking.

Dallas Mill Deli
Haven't responded

Earth and Stone Woodfired Pizza
 I talked with Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza on Twitter a few weeks ago. So sorry guys, I didn't realize you were going to be at the foodtruck rally! Generally pizza places have vegetarian options and it looks like they have some vegan options, too. Of course a real Italian pizza has very little (if any) cheese so you can always order a cheeseless pizza with the veggies packed on. Their crust is entirely vegan. They also have hummus. In my world that means you you put hummus on the crust and you have a sort of a pita pizza that sounds like a great foodtruck meal to me! Their crust looks absolutely delicious!

Food Fighters Bustaurant
Their vegan options are limited, but they sound tasty! They offer sriracha fries and buffalo fries.
I often bend my plantbased diet (no oil, limited salt/sugar) when I eat out, and these sound worth it.

Mason Dixon Bakery
Huntsville's completely gluten-free bakery. Employees are generally very knowledgeable and helpful to find vegan, dairyfree, or paleo options. Vegan cupcakes like the blue frosted Cookie Monster are very sweet, but absolutely delicious! Their regular white bread and their raisin toast bread are vegan. They also have some fruit and nut bars that will remind you of Larabars.

Cafe on Wheels Neon Lilly 
Neon Lily brings us tasty cuisine that isn't your everyday American fare. She tells us she will be bringing the following foods: some new very reach and kosher same time salad called 'Vinegret' (potato, sweet peas, carrots, red onion, green onion... and more dressed with avocado oil. Borsch for sure, Kapusta (healthy coleslaw), shaurma with herbal seasoned rice, fresh veggies etc.  She also tells us she prepares very limited quantity so preorders are the best option. Text her with your name no later than Thursday, 4pm.

On-On Tacos
I've gotten in touch with them and it sounds like these folks are trying to accomodate a variety of diets. Their beans are vegan, they offer a paleo bowl, and their nachos can be made gluten-free. Nut free and shellfish are "quarantined" so they seem allergy aware. For a vegan meal, they suggest ordering a burrito or the nachos without the animal products.

Piper & Leaf
The quintessential Southern sweet iced tea in a variety of flavors. Be sure to bring back your canning jar cup for a discount on refills of any kind. They carry a variety of tea and coffee products. 

Rocket City Expresso
These folks went above and beyond with their answer, providing us with a detailed list of milks, syrups, and smoothie mixes they offer that are dairy free and fully vegan. Very helpful and nice!
Besides coffee, they have various types of teas, or their mango or strawberry smoothies can also be made vegan. When it comes to coffee drinks, they have the basics that can be ordered with either Soy or Almond milk. Unfortunately, mocha, caramel, white chocolate mocha all contain dairy. But the following are available:
Espresso Macchiato
Cafe Latte
Cafe Americano
Chai Tea Latte

Syrup flavors that are safe: 
Creme de Menthe
Sugar Free Vanilla

Sugar Belle Cupcakes
Currently they offer no dairyfree, paleo, or vegan options. They may be offering a paleo cupcake in the future. I spoke with them about expanding their menu for those on plant based diets, so please feel free to drop them a friendly note if you would buy a vegan cupcake from them.

Sweet Home Coffee
Haven't responded

See your foodtruck on this list? Don't? Want more details about your business for this Friday (and beyond)? Let me know and I'll update this post. Comment here or get in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

VegOutHsv Questions and Answers

I've received several questions (and answers) through Facebook and Twitter so I thought I'd make it a regular event to share some of these here on the blog. I've transcribed the video this time, since I make such a long rant about local vegan politics, which you can find below. Please forgive the long run-on sentences but it's a transcription, not an article.

As a post script, I would like to add that there are many reasons for buying vegan products and I only discuss a couple. One reason I didn't mention it at all are the ethics of causing physical and emotional pain to other living beings. I felt I ought to mention this, since I wanted show respect for the ethical vegans following this blog. Just so you know, this is my personal #1 reason for living vegan.

Transcript from the video:

Hello and welcome to Veg Out Huntsville, the place to go when you're looking for a place to eat or a place to shot vegan and plant-based. Now I was getting a lot of questions on the website, on Twitter, on Facebook, about various different things so I thought I'd make a special v-blog to address those. And if you have any questions please feel free to post them on any social media, or if you have an answer that you think is better than mine also go ahead and post it on the social media and I'll pass it along. Now Kathryn wrote me back in May, actually, and I am sorry to say that I still have not been to this place, but it sounds absolutely delicious and it is on my list of places to try out. 

Now she says "Have you tried Viet Sandwich on Hwy 72?" Now I looked up where this is and it's actually in the shopping center where 72 and Slaughter/Jeff Road cross. At the intersection there's a shopping center and it's in there. "We've been veggie/vegan here for 16 yrs (!) and are always excited to hear about new dining options so definitely looking forward to hearing if you find something new. Viet Sandwich has Veggie Bahn Mi sandwiches with a soy based protein patty - they asked me if I wanted "mayo" on it, which I declined to make it vegan. I did get ours spicy which means fresh jalapeƱos (delicious to us, but perhaps too hot for others). They also have rice paper spring rolls - however I didn't get them. The sandwiches are only $3.75 and traditionally that type of bread contains no animal products." It sounds like a cheap a delicious place to try! I will be looking forward to trying it soon.

Next just a couple of days ago Holly posted, "Publix is now selling Tofurky artisan sausage (the chik'n apple flavor is the business!) and Gardein is on sale BOGO there starting tomorrow. It's a good week for stunt meat. :) " So be sure to check out Publix. Now Publix does carry a wide range of fake meat products which can be quite delicious. They usually have a whole lot of oil in them so if you're looking for health, there's not a whole lot of options there, but if you're looking for a taste or a treat once in a while there's some great options there. Go check them out at any Publix.

Then Shannon asked the question, "Do you know if any of the local food trucks offer vegan options? They're all over the place this time of year and I'd rather not stand in line forever to find out they don't have anything good." I had just this experience. Actually that is part of the reason why I started this, because I was seeing all these food trucks that generally don't list their menus online, and I have no idea what they have. Then you have like a half-an-hour wait time to just get up to the counter to ask what they have, and then half the time they don't know what vegan means. That's a terribly long process and in the meanwhile everyone behind you is going, 'come on, what's going on?' So it can be a very frustrating experience. So I decided that this information needed to be shared so that every body didn't individually have to do this. 
    Now the first food truck I set out to, also the first v-blog I ever did, was Crave Heat and it's very, very delicious. As far as other options it's on my To-Do list to check out other food trucks that are vegan friendly. However, I did post the question on Facebook and Twitter, and I got a lot of responses on Twitter. Livin' Like a Local reposted the question as did HSVevents - a couple of places did - and Livin' Like A Local tells me that OnOn Tacos can do vegan. This is probably correct as traditional Mexican is very vegan friendly, unless it's very texmex they will usually be able to find you something that they can adjust...although they may not know what the word vegan means, that's the problem I ran into.
    I've been talking extensively with Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza on Twitter, which Livin' Like A Local also put me in touch with them, and obviously a pizza place is going to have vegetarian options, but oddly enough it actually looks like they have some vegan options. Their crust is entirely vegan. They have hummus, and they have veggies. I think you put all these together and you have a sort of a pita pizza that sounds quite delicious. I've look at their crust before because I'm a big bread person, despite not being able to eat much of it having a gluten allergy, and their crust looks absolutely delicious. So I was very excited that there was some options rather than just having a cheeseless pizza. I know real Italian pizza actually doesn't have hardly any cheese on it but I've never been able to get into that, but if you put hummus on it somehow I can pretend it's not actually pizza and I like it. So there's my weirdity. So Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza is another place that is very friendly and eager to find something that is vegan. 
    When the food truck question gets asked, everybody goes, 'Oh, Chef Will!' Now I love Chef Will the Palate, I have talked about him before in my v-blog. He has amazing food! It's entirely vegetarian food and very vegan friendly. If you say the word vegan he can makes something up. They can direct you to what's on the menu - what's already vegan - they can make something special for you. He's an excellent chef, but I don't count him as a food truck because his trailer outside does not actually move. He stays at Lowe Mill. There's a reason why that trailer was put there to begin with many years ago. It's because they couldn't bring the Mill up to code to have food in there, because the floors and the walls were so horrible you didn't want to make food in there. Now they have since, of course, changed that as more money has gone into the building and they have Happy Tummy there inside and it's very clean in there and whatnot. But that trailer has still remained outside and that's where Chef Will is. I'm not even certain it can move but anyway it definitely doesn't. You can however find him out and about. He will have a tent set up at Greene Street Market, which is every Thursday evening. And you can find him other places outside of there, but not usually at the food truck rallies so I don't technically count him as a food truck. Now were he to get into the food truck rally business I would be absolutely ecstatic, as I think would a lot of people because every body loves Chef Will.

So the other thing I wanted to talk to people about is Livin Like A Local is putting on a burger contest. Now I asked them questions and the folks at Livin Like A Local decided that they ought to have a veggie burger section, which is great! At one point I was considered as a judge but I said I would need to know that these were vegan burgers not just vegetarian and the food places were not willing to accommodate me in that manner. But there is a veggie burger section, and it's June 21st and if you need any more information on that, you can check out Livin' Like A Local (no G, we are in the South). Livin Like A Local is a great place despite the food trucks not being accommodating - that's not their fault. They have been very supportive, they have been very helpful finding out information about vegan food, and spreading the word about vegan foods. So check them out. They are a great place to learn about Huntsville events that are going on. They're on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and of course they have a website. They have v-blogs at least twice a week so check them out and get some great information through them.

This does bring up a point that I'm kinda disappointed about. Businesses have -- especially in exploring this vegan thing -- have like this stigma if you say the word vegan they just shut down and they can't talk to you. So as a business that puts you in a situation where you're...the business is against the consumer, and that's not a good business ideal - surprisingly. For the most part businesses have been very friendly and easy to work with, but of course you run across that one that's just like 'well, we can't talk to you 'cause you're vegan.' And I think that's very shortsighted. 
    The number of vegans in this country has doubled in just a couple of years. Now when my brother told me this I wasn't terribly impressed, because I thought, well, if you have two people and you convince two other people to join you your number has doubled but that doesn't really mean a whole lot; you're still just four people. But looking at it another way, for instance, my parents went on vacation a little while ago, and on the way they stopped in Nashville and I found a couple of vegetarian restaurants that were very vegan friendly for them to stop at on the way through. They sat in line, waiting on a table for 45 minutes - and that is not the only vegetarian restaurant in Nashville. This is a lot bigger movement than I think businesses around here are giving credit and I think if we want know the city's really trying to push this, 'Ok, we're gonna get some tourism in here', which I think is great, but in order for that to happen we're going to have to become a lot more world friendly [and offer] a lot more things that people are going to expect that they can find anywhere else in the country, and one of those things is places that they can eat at. Because if they can't eat anywhere they're not going to come here. And it's not just strict vegans that are affected by this, it's people with food allergies. You have peanuts and you have dairy, those are your top allergens. If you can't take that out of your food, you can't eat. To completely dismiss that is short sighted as a business and you're going to lose money, and you're not going to be able to move on with the times. 
    So anyway, just been a bit frustrated lately and I'm hoping that businesses will...the other thing I'm hoping to do with this group is get businesses to take this movement a little more seriously - because it IS a movement. People try to dismiss it as some sort of a weird cult, but it has nothing to do with that really. It's an interest in being healthy and an interest in living more kindly on the earth, because eating meat and dairy products is arguably the most destructive thing you can do, environmentally speaking, and also the most destructive thing you can do to your body according to the longest and largest dietary study ever conducted. And a lot of people are of course realizing this and wanting to at least cut down on their intake, and would definitely use these options even if they're not strict, 24hr vegans. They would definitely use these options if they were available on occasion. Anyway, so that's my rant for the day.

So post your questions or your answers to anything that's been asked, anything that you want to ask, tell me places that you think I should check out. And yes, I will get to that Vietnamese sandwich shop; it sounds delicious! And in the meantime I hope you enjoy and tell me if you find some nice tasty food.