Snooze An A.M. Eatery

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Last weekend HCHV went on the road again for a quick trip to Denver.  After seeing the sights and dining with lovely friends, we had to eat one last time before boarding our flight home Sunday.  Snooze was not only recommended by said friends but was also on my list to take the carnivore as we have a location in Austin and I had already experienced the deliciousness on a work trip in Arizona.  So we decided to go for it and plotted our next review. 

Upon arrival we noticed a line, not unusual for Sunday brunch.  Just as I reached the host to put our name in, Larry spotted a bar seat and we jumped in them quickly.  Already this was going well.  We promptly put in drink orders and again while this is not a drinking blog I must say we were both quite impressed with our drinks.  Mine was the drunk and dirty chai so really how could that not be the best?

Our waitress/bartender (Lisa) returned to take our order and was a delight to speak with.  I’m sure you will hear more about her on the carnivorous review.  I ordered the Snooze Classic, vegan style.  This means with tofu instead of eggs.  I added avocado at her suggestion and also the “faux meat” soyrizo.  I was excited to see so many options just as I had remembered from my Arizona experience.img_0454

The food arrived and I was pleased to see my two plates as I was quite hungry at this point.  I dug in to the tofu scramble immediately.  Oh my!  Let me preface the following commentary by saying that this vegan has seen her share of tofu scrambles.  Not only that but, as you know, I have eaten a lot of vegan food in non-vegan establishments.  One of my biggest criticisms of these scenarios is that many establishments neglect to season their veggies and/or tofu enough.  They fail to understand that veggies need more than their animal counterparts.  Snooze, however, is not in this camp.  The chefs clearly understand the need for seasoning and do so quite well including my favorite, nutritional yeast!  Such a difference it makes.  And the addition of creamy avocado topped it off nicely.

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But wait, there’s more!  Not only did I have the scramble but it came with sides.  First I will discuss the hashbrowns.  Hashbrowns again can be ho hum if not executed properly.  Often the insides are too raw while the outsides are too crunchy and all the while lacking in flavor.  These were the exact opposite of this description.  Clearly they know their breakfast potatoes and well earn the title of A.M. Eatery.  The soyrizo was yet another success.  In fact, soyrizo is moving up in the world being embraced by those beyond the vegan persuasion.  It was so flavorful!  Finally the toast which can again sound less than exciting.  This toast came dry since butter was not an option with a side of blueberry jam.  I was never told the type of jam but it was so good I knew immediately.  It had whole berries and everything.  In fact, after seeing mine, the carnivore ordered a side of his own.

I give Snooze a solid four rutabagas.  The service was great, the food was delicious and dining harmony was easily achieved.  We will definitely return in our hometown, Austin, location.  Really the only room for improvement would be adding the vegan dairy options such as butter and cheese.  Even without, this place is a gem.

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On The Road Again . . . . . it’s more than just a wonderful Willie song!  This past weekend found the vegan and I once again taking the show on the road to the majestic and beautiful Denver Colorado.  From the snowcapped Rocky Mountains to Red Rock Amphitheater, we are both enamored with the city.  Some would think us crazy for jumping on a plane and flying to another state for a couple of meals and not much else.  But is it all that different from driving to Dallas for a weekend?  I think not!   So, Saturday morning had us wheels up and Denver bound.  We did a little shopping, enjoyed a bit of craft beer and some pretty great pizza at Hops & Pie on Tennyson Street, and swapped stories with some good friends that live in the area.  We headed home on Sunday afternoon but it was Sunday morning that left an indelible mark on this carnivore.

With a bit of a haze still lingering from the night before, we opted to try a breakfast joint that was born in Denver and has recently made its way to the great state of Texas. SNOOZE A. M. EATERY.   We chose SNOOZE because we had been wanting to try the Austin location but just hadn’t fit it into our schedule.  We figured we would dine in Denver and see if it was worth a second visit once we were back in Austin.  To say we will be visiting the Austin site soon doesn’t do justice to how much I LOVE this place.

We arrived at about 11:30 and found a significant line of anxious patrons winding its way out the door.  We waited patiently to put our names on a list that undoubtedly would’ve required 45 minutes to an hour of wait time, and at least a round or two of Bloody Marys.  As we approached the hostess taking names, I eyed a couple gathering their jackets and preparing to leave their seats at the bar.  We conspicuously hovered for a moment and soon snagged their seats.  SCORE!  The morning was certainly looking up.  We were soon greeted by a lovely server/bartender named Lisa and inquired about the drink options.   As Lisa discovered that I am a lover of all things bourbon, she recommended a cocktail aptly named the Boss Hog (think Bloody Mary with a taste of Colorado bourbon infused with bacon). To say I was skeptical doesn’t do justice to the doubt that I was feeling.  See, I am a traditionalist when it comes to bourbon.  If it isn’t made in Kentucky, then it just isn’t bourbon.   Its American whiskey.  Just the same, I did my best to hide my bourbon snobbery, and I am glad I did.  I am officially a fan of this new found breakfast libation.  It was especially well complemented by the smoky bacon flavor that any carnivore will enjoy.  It was really tasty and worthy of my praise.

I’m only a breakfast food eater on rare occasion so I was happy that we were nearing the lunchtime hour.  I explained that I was more interested in lunch than breakfast, and Lisa quickly steered my eye toward the Peter Paul Ruben sandwich – mounds of locally made corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese with house 1,000 isles dressing upon a plump pretzel roll.  This feast was right up my alley because I LOVE Reuben sandwiches but abhor the rye bread upon which it is traditionally served.   The pretzel roll as the default choice of bread was GENIUS!!  It was the best Reuben sandwich I have had outside of New York City.  The corned beef was tender and juicy.  The kraut was tangy and flavorful.  And the dressing was thick and sweet.  I truly cant get over how wonderful the sandwich was!

As you can well imagine, SNOOZE was firing on all cylinders at this point so the only remaining critique has to do with the ability for carnivores and vegans to dine in harmony.  I am excited to say that SNOOZE maintained a near perfect showing in this regard as well.  The menu has several vegan friendly offerings and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about the manner in which dishes are prepared.  Kellie enjoyed her meal almost as much as I enjoyed mine.  In all fairness, how could she possibly enjoy hers as much as I enjoyed mine?  I had a bacon flavored beverage and corned beef and sauerkraut for goodness sake!

Now to the all-important matter of assigning a rating for the dining experience.  I waffled (GET IT?) between a four and five cow face rating but I truly cannot find a reason to not bestow the perfect five cow face honor on this establishment.  The food was fantastic.  The wait staff was awesome.  The drinks were intoxicating, And the experience was spectacular for both the carnivore and the vegan.  Ring the cow bell!!!   It’s a perfect showing.  Thank you Denver Snooze!  We will see you in Austin soon!

Bouldin Creek Cafe

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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.

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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.

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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!

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