If you have ever read this blog before, you have likely noticed that we usually frequent eateries that cater more to carnivores than to vegans. The reason for this is two-fold. First, there are just many more carnivorous options than there are vegan options available. The second reason is because the vegan of this blogging duo is more inclined to blend into a carnivore’s habitat than to insist that the carnivore blend into hers. She may or may not realize how much this carnivore appreciates this trait, but the fact is that I do. A LOT! That being said, every now and again, I feel obliged to open my mind to dining at the haunts that she frequented long before she began spending so much of her free time with a meat loving unapologetic carnivore. This past Sunday morning found us at a vegetarian restaurant in the wonderfully weird world of south Austin. The vegan introduced me to Bouldin Creek Cafe’s Sunday brunch.
Anyone who knows me would understand that I was somewhat out of my element as we walked into the world of sandals, tie dye, and peace and love symbols but, I am nothing if not accepting of others, so I tried my best to not look sideways at the patrons and staff of this hippy dippy establishment. And, if I can be totally honest, I am so happy that I did. Everyone was incredibly friendly and the meal proved to be quite remarkable! Even if it didn’t include a side of bacon.
We had a brief 25 minute wait for a table so we started with a beverage at the bar. I had a drink called a Raspberry Sour. I think the vegan nearly flipped when she heard me order a drink containing hibiscus tea but, when in Rome. It was quite tasty. I feel as though I should also mention the bartender/barista that helped us with our drink order. He was exceptionally friendly and helpful. I wish I had gotten his name but I hadn’t gotten my bearings yet, so I totally missed the chance to send a shout out for the quality service he provided.
When we were eventually seated, I began to get a bit concerned because we waited for several minutes (like 10) before we were greeted by our server. As we sat there, we quickly realized that she was “in the weeds” and was working as quickly as she could. When she did approach us, she was friendly and efficient. Things were looking up quickly and got even better when I asked for her recommendation. She easily referenced the sweet potato and pecan tamale breakfast. I’m a native Texan. I’ve eaten all sorts of tamales – beef, pork, chicken, cheese, venison, raisin (yes, raisin) – but before this past Sunday, I had never had sweet potato and pecan tamales. The server, Aimee, described the dish as “sweet and savory”, and she could not have been more accurate in her description. Savory is an understatement. Coupling that sweet and savory goodness with the yolk of an over medium fried egg was as good of a bacon free breakfast as I have ever had. I’m not kidding. It was delicious.
So, whats the moral of this story? Be open to trying places outside your comfort zone, and you might just find a hidden gem buried in places you would never think to look otherwise. Bouldin Creek scores a solid three cow faces for the decadence of a sweet potato and pecan tamale, along with friendly wait staff and accepting atmosphere. Perhaps I will try tofu and tempeh next. . . . . or maybe not.
When the Carnivore and I started this venture a mere month and a half ago, we discussed all the scenarios that might occur. One of these included us trying places that we normally would never try. This was the true first of this type of encounter. Bouldin Creek Café is an old haunt of mine since the very beginning of my love affair with Austin. Back in 2006, a budding vegan, I searched for delicious venues. When I found Bouldin, a little shack down the road from its current location, I was delighted. I used to frequent it weekly (back in the Leslie days….my salsa never went to waste!). Upon meeting the Carnivore I never imagined us gracing an all vegetarian restaurant together but Sunday afternoon, there we were. He was encouraged by the fact that they had engaged us on Twitter (a note for any other restaurants listening…just saying) and also he knew that by doing this for me, payback will be in store!
We signed up for a table and stopped by the bar for a beverage. I got my usual almond milk Benny which just happens to be the first dirty chai I ever had and I’ve never looked back. We got a table fairly quickly for Sunday brunch time. Unfortunately that’s where the speedy service stopped for a bit. We had to wait quite a while before anybody approached to take our order. Once our server, Aimee, did arrive, I asked her if the Renedict was still available despite being after the designated cut off time of 2 p.m. and she surprised me with a yes! I of course ordered it vegan-style which means with tofu.
This is one of my favorite dishes here. I enjoy many others but I always come back to the Renedict. Think of it as a vegan version of Eggs Benedict. They start with a grilled ciabatta bun open-faced. Then they layer on an apparently soy-based bacon, fresh tomato slices, baby spinach and of course their famous tofu scramble. This tofu is the tofu I tell everyone who says they hate tofu to try. It’s amazingly crunchy, fried with, I’m assuming, a ton of nutritional yeast, “nooch” to the vegan crowd. Finally the dish is topped with a smothering of creamy vegan hollandaise sauce which ties it all together.
I give this meal four rutabagas. I always enjoy coming here. My only criticism was the wait for initial contact but that is likely due to the typical Sunday crowd. My partner in crime and I write these reviews separately so I am also anxiously awaiting his take. I assume it will be a little less enthusiastic but I’m so pleased that he tried and I will graciously await the more carnivorous adventure that awaits me in the near future. Don’t worry – it’s not my first rodeo…says the girl who has eaten fries for an entire day as this was her only option!