In 2012, San Antonio is supposed to be getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 100+ new corps members. Based on the most recent polling data that shows the number of vegans has doubled since 2009, I'm going to take a wild guess and say there is a decent chance that at least one of these corps members is vegan. At the very least, there will be a handful of vegetarians.
Well, in addition to being a San Antonio native of nearly 26 years, I am also a vegan of 8 years because justice for animals is also important! So if you are placed in San Antonio and you are thinking DEAR LORD THEY EAT NOTHING BUT BARBEQUE AND ANYTHING DOUSED IN RICOS NACHO CHEESE, you are about 95% correct! For the other 5%, I offer you:
The Non-Definitive Veggie Guide to San Antonio
- Our only actual honest-to-God vegan restaurant is Vegeria which specializes in vegan Tex-Mex and is amazeballs. This is the only place in town to get vegan donuts, FYI.
Oh also, if you will allow a tangent since we just wrapped up Christmas, it's important to know that tamales are the most important food of the season here. And it's also important to know that the generous abuelitas traditionally make these with pork (or chicken) and that even bean tamales will have lard in the masa. But fret not, because Vegeria makes the best vegan tamales in town and I am not ashamed to confess that I ate somewhere in the neighborhood of about 15 tamales yesterday (many pumpkin spice, broccoli and queso, and black bean and cheese).
- Green was San Antonio's first vegetarian restaurant (b. 2007) and now has two locations, one downtown and a second on the North Side. It is also San Antonio's only 100% Kosher restaurant. Their menu has quite a bit of variety, although it skews more towards comfort food.(1)
- The last of our vegetarian restaurants is Pavani Express near our Medical Center. The accommodations are spartan (styrofoam and plastic cutlery) but the food is excellent! You can get a lot of South Indian food that most Indian buffets in town don't get into, including some outstanding masala dosa. It's also next door to one of the better-stocked Indian grocers in town. Shop here for spices, nuts, and grains (and Bollywood movies).
- For Thai food, my wife and I love Sawasdee because of its extensive explicit vegetarian menu, most of which is already vegan. Eggs are optional in the dishes that are not.
- Adelante has my favorite handmade corn tortillas and puffy tacos. Their food can run a little bland sometimes, though.
- Kings Court Frankfurter Express is a renovated house-turned-hot dog joint that makes a handful of veggie dogs that are mad decent.
- Other than Green on Mondays, Whole Woods is the one place I know that makes vegan pizzas with Daiya. I could be wrong on this, though.
- You need to get nieves when you are here. You need to go to Las Nieves. Get a mango nieves with lucas on top, it is the business.
Consider this a living document because my wife and I are ever-discovering new things. But San Antonio is a wonderful to city to love food in, vegan or not.
(1) If you do not gain weight when you move to San Antonio, you are a freak. Get out.
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