Monday, June 27, 2016

Allergen Friendly Austin, Texas

This is the second in a series of allergen-friendly spots in different U.S. cities.  Whether it's GF/CF, Vegan, Nut-free, there are some spots to love in some of America's great cities.  Check out Allergen Friendly New York City here.

Keep Austin Weird...and gluten-free ;)

Austin is Home
Austin, Texas is our current home, and perhaps, it's the best city in the world for our dietary lifestyle.  I absolutely love it here and you can find all sorts of local spots catering to different needs.  If you're on Instagram, you can search hashtags like #austinvegan and find thousands of vegan-friendly places and pics!

To my surprise, gluten-free dining out here has been a total dream!  I have dozens of places I love, but for now I will share my tops.  Maybe this post will become an "Allergen Friendly Austin 1.0".
Enjoying a book at Thai Fresh along with a Yummy Almond Milk Latte with a GF/ Vegan Carrot Whoopie Pie!

My Top Absolute Favorite Restaurant of All Time: Thai Fresh

I came to Austin only once before we moved here for good.  It was two years ago, and somehow I magically found this place.  I immediately called David and said, "What city on earth has a farm-to-table gluten-free Thai restaurant combined with a gluten-free, vegan friendly bakery, ice cream shop, and coffee house??  We are moving here someday."  I was joking, but as soon as we knew we were moving, I knew our first eat out adventure would be Thai Fresh.  The kids love the rich ice cream (I mean they have gluten-free/vegan waffle cones!!) and I love the charm.  And hat's off to Thai Fresh for recently trying something new to bridge the wage gap between the front and back of the house.  You can either sit down like a nice restaurant or grab something to go from the coffee/ice cream/ pastry area, but no need to tip as their food is priced to eliminate that.  They take care of their employees and it shows in the food and the service!
I recommend the Pad Thai with grass-fed beef or chicken, the drunken noodles, the coconut soup (all are gluten and dairy free), the gf/df/ef cinnamon roll bread, and most of the ice cream flavors (coconut base, not a tree nut), in a gf/df/ef waffle cone of course ;)

Burger Joints

Whether the chain-types like In-and-Out, or local chains like P.Terry's, Austin has some good burger options.  Our two favorite ones, however, are:
  • Hat Creek, gluten-free buns are available and they also have paleo-friendly chicken nuggets for the kids (egg-free too!).  These restaurants (several throughout Austin) all have a fun playground for the kids.  This place is one of our top meet-up spots!
  • Wholly Cow offers grass-fed burgers with GF buns and is super yum.  It's also in a convenience store so you can get some local kombucha and some yummy local snacks while you wait for your burger!
  • Salt Lick BBQ- not a burger joint, but a meat-lovers delight!  All their BBQ sauces are gluten free- and if you don't get the bread with your meal (or dessert) your whole meal will be gluten free!  We usually eat outside and get the family style combo meal, which is all you can eat!  This was Braylen's face when we told him we were getting a giant plate of meat ;)  This boy loves meat!
Outdoors at Salt Lick Driftwood

Vegan and Gluten Free Austin

There are several places that offer Vegan/ GF goods from restaurants to bakeries.  Since we mainly eat GF/CF and some of us are egg-free, we love these types of places in Austin.  Better Bites Bakery is a bit outside the city but their items are sold in Whole Foods stores and local places.  Their bakery is worth a visit if you are in town.  I got all the kid's birthday cakes from them.  They are also nut-free (and top 8 free!) too so that works for our two with almond allergies!
Braylen's Birthday cake with Better-Bites Mostess Cupcakes!
And our favorite vegan restaurant is Counter Culture.  I highly recommend the BBQ Cauliflower pizza and the Mac-N-Cheeze.  This place has comfort food and raw, vegan dishes.  I like the raw pad Thai and David likes the more comfort dishes.  They also have really good dessert specials and juices and teas.
BBQ Cali Pizza with Raw Pad Thai at Counter Culture patio

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