Monday, 22 June 2015

USA 2015 Part 1: The road to VidaVeganCon

Hello hello hello! I got home a few days ago from a magnificent trip to the US, and I have so much to share! Technically I was going to the US for a vet conference in Indianapolis, however in a blissful coincidence the weekend before the conference was the weekend of VidaVeganCon in Austin, and so my trip begins!

I flew to the US with Hawaiian Airlines, as I have done for my past two trips as well. The Tuesday night flight left late, and was delayed a little, so even though I had dinner at home I grabbed a quick snack at the airport before getting on the plane.

Since last year, a few vegan friendly options have appeared at the Brisbane Internation Airport, which is pretty exciting (though still a long way to go). Before security there is now a MadMex and a cafe called Botanical Place. Though security, I got this vegetarian rice paper roll (make sure to ask for plain soy sauce for dipping) from TukChop and a small chips from Burger Urge. There is always the ubiquitous Subway as well.

Rice Paper Roll from TukShop and BNE

While Hawaiian Air does provide food, it doesn't cater to vegans. It was a 9.5 hour overnight flight (I managed to snag a whole four-seater to myself and got to actually lie down on a plane for the first time ever!), and when I woke up I asked them to put some hot water in my Organic Oat Snack to go with the fruit I got from them and the delicious orange/guava/passionfruit juice Hawaiian Air provides.

Plane breakfast (BNE to HNL)

After arriving in Honolulu airport I had three hours until my next flight and I was hungry. There is a small California Pizza Kitchen in one of the food courts. Their veggie pizza is vegan without the cheese. I picked off all that capsicum and then it was great.

Veggie Works Pizza with no cheese from California Pizza Kitchen

I had a 5 hour flight to LA, and my dinner was a McDougall's Pad Thai noodles, a teriyaki primal strip and about five of those little salad boxes (the attendant kept bringing me more and more, capsicum was picked off of course). I also had a chocolate berry snack bar. I got in to LA late and had to be back at the airport early, so I went straight to my hotel.

Plane food (HNL to LAX)

The reason I picked LA for my second stop over was that there is a Real Food Daily at LAX! It is tucked away in a food court of Terminal 4. it doesn't have the full menu of the regular stores, but it has some tasty treats including sandwiches, wraps, burritos, salads, nachos, soup, bowls and baked goods. Drink-wise they didn't seem to offer any milkshakes or smoothies, only very expensive bottles of smoothies and juices.

Real Food Daily LAX

To break my fast I had the RFD Breakfast Sammich, which was an English muffin with marinated tofu, tempeh bacon, swiss cheese, mayo, avocado and tomato, with a side of home fries. This was pretty tasty but a bit on the small side if you are hungry for breakfast.

Breakfast Sammich from Real Food Daily LAX

I also got some food to take on the plane for lunch. I got the Real Food Meal Bowl (brown rice, black beans, kale, vegetables and seaweed) with peanut sauce and a peanut butter cookie. The bowl was very satisfying, I especially liked the seaweed.

Real Food Meal bowl and Peanut Butter cookie from RFD

I landed in Austin and caught a shuttle to my adorable little AirBnB mini-cabin, and then immediately set out to find some food. I didn't have a car, so I was looking for something in easy (within 30 minutes) walking distance from my place. I ended up at The Steeping Room, which is a lovely tea house with a great vegan-friendly menu. It was happy hour, so I got the Vegan Scone set, which came with the most amazing maple butter (so so so good) and some strawberry jam. It also came with tea, and they have a huge selection! I chose a Mandarin Citrus White tea, which was great. The scones were yummy, though not technically what I would consider a scone. Did I mention the maple butter was amazing?

Vegan Scone Set with maple butter and jam and White mandarine tea

For dinner I met up with Kelly Peloza, my first in-person meeting for the week! We went to The Vegan Yacht and both had their Chilli Dog and a free coconut water. The chilli dog was nice, though quite salty. I am happy to report that the chilli was very mild, which suited my preferences just perfectly.

Chilli Dog at The Vegan Yacht

Wheatsville Co-op (the Guadalupe location) was near my AirBnB so I stopped by to pick up some snacks. The Maple Pecan Malk is made by a local company and is one of the greatest things I have ever had! I also had an Austin Cream Doughnut from Red Rabbit Bakery, which was filled with a chocolate cream.

Late night snacks from Wheatsville including Austin Cream doughnut from Red Rabbit Bakery

The next morning I went to Kerbey Lane Cafe to check out the pancakes I had heard so much about. The vegan pancake of the day was Orange Spice, and it comes with some vegan butter and lots of maple syrup. It was a great pancake! I also got some home fries because potatoes are important.

Orange Cranberry Pancake and Home Fries from Kerbey Lane Cafe

After breakfast I walked down to the Texas State Capitol Building, which had free wifi and was quite pretty. I also learned that Texas was a Republic for a short period!

Capitol Building

Capitol Building

No trip to Austin could be complete without a trip to the flagship Wholefoods. This places was HUGE! It was quite warm outside and there was a lot in there to explore, so I visited the juice bar and got a Minty Melon Smoothie, which had watermelon, mango, coconut water, lime and mint. YUM!

Whole Foods Headquarters

I then walked again (lots of walking!) down to Unity Vegan Kitchen, where they were having a 'Chicken' and Waffles special for VVC. I needed something lighter, so I got this stunning Sesame Salad with quinoa, spinach, garlic tofu, purple cabbage and peanut dressing. And capsicum, which I removed.

Sesame Salad from Unity Vegan Kitchen

I shared a table and met two fellow VVC attendees - Demetrius from Vegucated and Dan from More Than Salad. After lunch we went back to Wholefoods, then took a trip to Cornucopia Popcorn to sample some of their vegan flavours.

My next post will see the VidaVeganCon fun officially kicking off!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

2015-05-26 08.34.21

The hardest thing about leaving home is leaving my babies. This is the photo of Dim Sim I took on the day that I left.


  1. Chocolate cream filled doughnut?? How did I miss that? I need to get back on a plane to Austin pronto. That's so fun that you got to eat at the LAX location of RFD. I took a picture of it the last time I was there, but I wasn't able to eat there. Hopefully next time!

  2. Hi Susan! So glad that you had a nice trip, I was following your progress on Twitter (I'm a fan, not a stalker!! ;P )

    There is a lot of food in this post, where to begin? The Chocolate Cream Doughnut looks like a highlight, and what a cute name for a bakery too, love it! :)

    People really need to stop putting peppers on your food, it's not fair making you pick it all off!

    Best of all you got to meet up with some cool people on your travels too. (If you ever come over to the UK please visit, I will make you cupcakes and the cats will give you infinite cuddles until you can return to your own babies) :D

    Looking forwards to part 2!

    (And Blogger - How rude that I had to select pictures of steak to verify that I was not a robot and post a comment! And I failed, I had to take the test 2 more times with sandwiches, then "all items that are food" because I kept getting it wrong. I can't tell what half those pictures are of! But I am not a robot! LOL!)

  3. I'm so freaking jealous! Looks like it was amazing.

  4. Wowzers, you lucky duck - looks like you had a great adventure!

  5. People are obsessed with sticking those pesky capsicums on and in everything, aren't they? :)

    This is the one I've been waiting for! I've read lots of VVC recap posts, but I've been waiting for yours because I knew they'd be epic.

    Your little cabin really was adorable! I love cute tiny spaces. Probably because things feel more "to size" because I am so... vertically challenged.

    Potatoes are important indeed.