Buca di Beppo

We went to Buca di Beppo tonight for Jess's birthday dinner, and sat at the kitchen table - quite an experience.  It was interesting to be right in the heart of the kitchen, but noisy.

While the vegan options are limited, the items that were available were all pretty decent.  We started with the bruschetta, which was piled high with a nicely seasoned tomato blend, and quite tasty.  The waitress gained points by realizing and pointing out that the "vinaigrette" that normally comes with the salad would not be vegan since it has egg in it (okay, really? egg?  in a vinaigrette?  WTF?).  She brought out olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the salad, which while simple, did have sweet peppers, and kalamata and green olives. 

For entrees, we had gnocchi with a garlicky tomato basil sauce*, and spaghetti marinara.  Our waitress racked up some more points by offering to check the ingredients list of the gnocchi, but I have to say it was my least favorite of the dishes we had.  The sauce was good, but the gnocchi was bland and smooshy.  The spaghetti marinara was quite yummy though, and the spaghetti was perfectly cooked.  

The highlight of the evening for me though, was the Ultimate Raspberry Lemon Drop.  Bacardi Razz and Limon, sweet and sour, and a couple of frozen raspberries served in a martini glass dipped in sugar with lemon zest.  Yum!  

*Note:  My good friend Sarah of The Southern Fried Vegan pointed out that the gnocchi is normally served with a roasted garlic marinara sauce with "a touch of cream".  The server checked the ingredients list for us, and the gnocchi itself is vegan, so we had them sub a vegan sauce.  

Vegan Friendly Fine Dining in Austin?

I love Austin.  There are so many vegan-friendly restaurants here, and most are serving great food, but so far they're all very casual.  My mother (who is awesome) went to some trouble to find a really nice place called Shoreline Grill to go to for Mother's Day, that not only has a vegetarian menu, but half of the items on it are marked vegan.  To top it off...  they look delicious!

I'll be posting a review of the meal after Mother's Day, but I'd love to hear if anyone has any other vegan fine dining suggestions, or would like to share their experiences with Shoreline Grill.


Vegan "queso"

Had this the other night at Bouldin Creek Cafe.  OMFG it was awesome!  Warm cheezy sauce over a scoop of avocado, sprinkled with fresh onion and cilantro.  The flavor was wonderful, and it really evoked the qualities that I used to love about queso. Hope it becomes a regular on the menu.