Attention Austin and Phoenix! I want to eat your tacos!
July 15, 2014 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I am traveling for work to Austin and Phoenix next week and am looking for food, tea, and zines.

I love, love, love southwestern food. I am a lacto-vegetarian with gluten and soy allergies and the acid foods sensitivity. I am looking for places that are good with allergy issues and okay with me asking for modifications. I have previously been to Bouldin Creek Cafe in Austin and loved it and will likely go there again if their menu still works for me, but I would like other options as well. I am more comfortable in hippie cafes and hipster joints than anything high end.

I would like to find places to get a cup of tea and sit around. I am a big fan of Dobra, Teaism, and Verdant and am looking for something similar.

I am into zines and small press literature, so if either city has a bookstore or a good infoshop along the lines of Quimby's that would be cool.

Any advice is appreciated, including the "don't go here" variety. Thanks!
posted by bile and syntax to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: All of this info applies to Austin:

Mr. Natural -- they are primarily tex-mex, primarily vegan, who are pretty on top of allergens.

Casa de Luz -- similar, but pricier.

Wheatsville -- a cooperative grocery store, but also one of my favorite places to eat lunch. They have a hot bar and salad bar but also have a great menu you can order from.

For tea:

The Steeping Room -- has at least two locations that I know of, and they also have food that is clearly marked as vegetarian, gluten free, etc.

Zhi Tea -- they have a cafe and tasting room, and sell their tea blends all around town


Not so much luck on this one. There's Malvern Books on 29th that sells indie press titles, but not really any zines. Maybe some chapbooks. There's also Farewell Books on Cesar Chavez that may sell zines.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:30 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Phoenix:

Tacos (et. al)
Gallo Blanco, in the Clarendon Hotel, has fantastic tacos. All their ingredients are super fresh, and they are good at catering to dietary restrictions in my experience (as someone with soy intolerance, and whose friends consist almost exclusively of people who are vegan and/or gluten intolerant and/or lactose/casein intolerant--we can always be sure that everyone will be eat something delicious at Gallo Blanco). In addition to their regular menu, they have rotating specials. Bonuses: delicious cocktails, and you can go up on the roof deck for a lovely view of the pool area and central Phoenix. Some great sunset watching, too.

I have heard that Los Sombreros in Scottsdale is very flexible in working with numerous dietary restrictions, but can't vouch for that myself (although I can confirm their food in general is very good). Downside: Scottsdale.

Outside the taco genre per se, Green is the hip vegan restaurant all my friends love best, along with the next-door vegan breakfast joint/coffee & tea shop/bakery Nami. You do need to be extra careful about soy in both places, though: make sure to ask before ordering if soy is a major concern for you. The teas at least should be safe in that regard...

Zines & quirky bookstores
You'll definitely want to check out Lawn Gnome Publishing, in the heart of the funky downtown arts district. While you're in the neighborhood, stop by Jobot. It's true they're mostly known for their coffee, but they do also serve teas.

Another cool place, uptown, is the newest location of Changing Hands Bookstore. They are a fiercely local shop, that started in Tempe, and have a really eclectic mix of goods, and often feature local talent. (Plus, they have a bar called First Draft, how cool is that?) If Changing Hands is too mainstream for you, just three blocks away and around the corner on Central Ave. is All About Books and Comics. On your way from Changing Hands to AAB&C, you'll pass by Stinkweeds, an iconic record store that specializes in independent music and has been around for almost 30 years. Definitely worth stopping by if you're at all interested in music.

All of these places are within easy walking distance of the light rail, so a breeze to get to.
posted by Superplin at 5:09 PM on July 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tacos in Phoenix (Oh how I love them!)

Joy Ride Tacos -- Hipster and flavorful and imaginative and great!

Seconding Gallo Blanco.

Urban Taco

And because you really should try some traditional Mexican tacos and not only hipster tacos:

La Santisima
posted by nubianinthedesert at 5:32 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Austin:

Tacodeli for breakfast and lunch, but don't go to the Lamar location between 11-1pm on a Saturday, it's too packed and you won't get a seat. It happens to be just down the street from a Steeping Room.

Veracruz All Natural is a taco truck on the east side that has good vegetarian options, and Papalote House is also great and has more than one veggie taco (just don't get the cauliflower taco, abomination).

You might like Farewell Books or Monkeywrench
posted by slow graffiti at 5:42 PM on July 15, 2014

Best answer: If you are staying/working in North Phoenix, Souvia Tea is worth checking out.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 5:59 PM on July 15, 2014

Best answer: seconding Monkeywrench for zines and small press books.
posted by monologish at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2014

Best answer: > And because you really should try some traditional Mexican tacos and not only hipster tacos: La Santisima

Heh, I started to include them in my list (strawberry salsa!), but I'm pretty sure they cook with lard, so the dietary restrictions held me back. It's possible you could call ahead and check whether they have vegan options, anyway. It's a favorite.

Embarrassingly, I live right down the street from Joyride but have not yet been in there. I really should remedy that asap.
posted by Superplin at 10:27 PM on July 15, 2014

Best answer: Any visit to Austin without going to Torchy's Tacos is a waste of time. It's seriously delicious.
posted by hootenatty at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2014

Best answer: I love Torchy's but I don't think they prioritize dealing with allergies and food sensitivities. Tacodeli seems a little more forgiving in this respect.

Not sure how they do on allergies, but the Vegan Nom is my favorite Austin Taco place.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:49 PM on July 17, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I am not marking a favorite because you are all my favorite, and I may post meetup suggestions to metatalk once I figure out my schedule. Yay!
posted by bile and syntax at 6:02 PM on July 17, 2014

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