Jake and I live in west Austin. Way west Austin. Like 620/ Lake Travis west Austin. I even work for a newspaper called West Austin News, but live so far west we won’t cover my neighborhood. And I love it. Coming from a small town Austin really is too big for me. Everything is too close together and traffic takes forever. But my neighborhoo out of the way and quiet, except for the occasional deadly wreck on 620 or 2222… Someone’s working on that… I hope.
Anyway, because of my location I don’t get out to the rest of the city much anymore. In one month I will have lived in Austin five years, the first couple of which I spent my time in trendy coffee shops and bars downtown, down south and on the east side. But boy, is Austin always changing.
When I first moved here we had a budding vegan scene with food trailers like Counter Culture and the Vegan Yacht. Mothers and Kerby Lane were my go-to restaurants and the raw bar at Whole Foods downtown (before it went all oil-free and now, I think, non-existent) was my favorite place to grab “fast food.” Fast forward five years and Counter Culture is a bonafide sit-down restaurant, there’s a new food trailer on almost every corner and vegan cupcakes rule the mean streets of this hippy-turned-hipster little-big city.
Suffice it to say, I’ve seen the scene and was ready to take a step back from what I perceived, and the most recent outbursts to our terrible traffic have confirmed, was the hustle and bustle of the big city. Now I live far and traffic is terrible so it take about 25 minutes instead of 20 minutes to get anywhere, except during rush hour. I hide at the gym during rush hour.
But a couple of weeks ago I decided to venture out of my “newly”-formed comfort zone and back to my Austin roots. Jake and I had a lovely day filled with pampering, lunch and lots of treats.
If you’re on the lookout for a new salon with (potentially) vegan-friendly products, Jake goes to Method on the corner of Comal and E. 5th. It’s open, but cozy (a tiny spot indicative of the neighborhood) and they offer wine or beer while you wait. I believe the lady next to me had a mimosa. Jake got a typical male haircut and I’m not sure the price range (Yelp gives it a $$, which I think just means… standard), but I’m including them in my post because they (supposedly) offer vegan-friendly, cruelty-free products.
I’ve heard Kevin Murphy products were cruelty-free and vegan, getting PETA’s seal of approval back in 2012. I even noticed a sticker in the salon’s bathroom that said Kevin Murphy was cruelty-free. But when I go to their site there’s no mention of it, just that’s they’re “natural” and paraben-free. I couldn’t even find a complete list of ingredients for products, only the “key” ones. One blogger I found while researching posted the shampoo she bought contained both hydrolyzed silk and whey. So it may or may not be vegan. If you know for sure let me know. If not or you just don’t care and are looking for a trendy salon in a hip area, check this place out.
I have to be honest, I was a bit misleading earlier in the post. I didn’t really go with Jake to explore the new east side. I had a busy Saturday planned for myself filled with running and yoga and shopping. Jake and I are usually pretty busy on the weekends and our schedules only line up occasionally. Of course, that’s still only the fake reason I went with him. I really went because…cupcakes.
I haven’t been to Capital City Bakery since it moved to Caesar Chavez. Their new place is really coming together and I got some amazing goodies! I went for the cupcakes, but rice crispy treats have always been my weakness. So much so that at almost every birthday growing up I requested these crunchy little rice squares instead of a birthday cake. Unfortunately for me, since going vegan I still haven’t been able to find a good recipe or figure out the right ratio of ingredients to get a perfect batch. Luckily for me, Capital City Bakery has and I will love them forever for it!
Of course, being a bakery (and the sole reason I ventured out of my distant nook) we had to get cupcakes. The one on the right is a Strawberry Blonde cupcake and the left one is some sort of Chocolate Cherry Orgasm cupcake… obviously I didn’t like it 😉
Our final stop was lunch (as you’ve probably noticed, I always eat dessert first. Or rather, I almost always just eat dessert). I haven’t been to Counter Culture since back in September. Man, was I missing out. My favorite sandwich has always been (five years worth of always) and always will be their Philly Seitan. It’s flavorful and rich and very filling. I can only ever manage to eat about half. Jake got the Jackfruit BBQ. I really need to figure out where I can buy Jackfruit because it’s a pretty remarkable… fruit? It assumes whatever flavor you add to it, in this case BBQ.
Along with that we discovered LIVE Kombucha Soda. I used to love kombucha, at one point making my own with alien-looking, mama-ship goo. Alas, I realized it was just too acidic for me and had to give it up. So when Jake ordered this Pure Doctor (aka Dr. Pepper) drink I was a little sad, but you only live once (that applies here, right) so I tried it anyway. I drank about half the bottle. This really tasted like Dr. Pepper, but healthy! I probably won’t make it a regular thing, but it would still be worth it even if I did.