The Austin Food Blogger Alliance hosted a Holiday Tasting Party at PREP ATX on December 15th.
Since I’m a member, I was invited to attend. This was the 1st in-person event in over 2 years!
There have been Zoom parties and happy hours, mostly with whiskey or wine purveyors sending a little something to the participants. I’ve been waiting for food!
I also wanted to check out PREP ATX , the largest commercial kitchen space in Texas. The location is off Anderson Ln/ Hwy 183 in North Austin. I thought about whether I could start a food prep or product business and travel all the way to their commercial kitchen. Being in Southwest Austin would definitely be a trek. If you’ve been in Austin for a while or just moved here, you know how crazy the traffic can get!
PREP ATX offers shared kitchen space and also dedicated kitchens for businesses that want their own. Several restaurants offer meals there, like Fazoli’s and Kin Zen Thai Street Food. The lobby is big enough to host events and there is an outdoor picnic table area where one can eat food from restaurants on-site.
I peeked in the shared kitchen space and it’s clean and bright. Lots of new equipment as they only opened to businesses in 2021. The spaces are leased yearly, so it’s best to have thoroughly researched and tested your food idea before making the commitment. If they opened a location in South Austin, I’d definitely be interested!
In the meantime, my personal chef business where I cook in homes and my cottage bakery will have to do.
Here are the local food businesses that offered vegan options at the party
It was fun to talk to Ashley and her catering director about their experience at PREP ATX. Fibonacci Food offers meal delivery and catering for events. I got to try their cashew cheese with veggies and also a cute avocado chocolate mousse.
Ashley is perfectly capable of meeting plant-based catering needs. She said she was providing meals for the Austin Tantra Festival the following weekend.
I met Napat of Kin Zen and she was a sweet lady who made these tasty taro rice puddings. I haven’t had a jujube in ages! She gave me a tiny cup of condensed coconut milk to pour on this delectable dessert. Kin Zen offers Thai Street food, including fried vegetable spring rolls. I forgot to ask her if the Thai curries were vegan, but they do have tofu as an option. As with most Thai places, you must ask because there could be fish sauce, shrimp paste, or chicken broth in a meatless curry.
Have you tried to make gluten-free, vegan bread? If you have, you know that it can take the right recipe and technique to keep from getting a brick! I’ll leave it to the professionals! You can trust Jenny at It’s All Good Goods!
I got to meet her and Russ at PREP ATX where they have their own certified gluten-free kitchen. This is good news if you have Celiac disease or a severe gluten allergy. I don’t have either but I do like to vary the sources of carbohydrates I eat and I think it’s fun to add more buckwheat sometimes. Their GF sourdough boule and sandwich bread are vegan, with no additional dough conditioners or gums. They also use organic ingredients and make small batches! I enjoyed their bread so much that I even placed a delivery order and Russ brought some special for me, all the way to Southwest Austin on a Friday. Their sourdough crackers are crack too! If you are looking for an artisan gluten-free bakery, check out It’s All Good Goods!
I’m not a big caffeine aficionado, but if I did drink chai, I would probably love Kimbala. Madhu explained to us AFBA members that most chai here in the US is very heavy on cinnamon and low on quality tea. Growing up in India and having chai on a daily basis inspired him to create an authentic tasting small batch chai concentrate. Kimbala gives you the right flavor but with convenience. He now offers a golden milk concentrate. Madhu’s wife made me a golden milk latte with some oat milk and it was delicious. It’s definitely easier than juicing turmeric and heating then straining all the spices at home! Hoping that he can get it into Maha Market down south!
The morning of the party I was doing a bit of grocery shopping at Central Market at Westgate. I saw these colorful cups in the freezer above the Korean tteokbokki. Later that evening I saw these same noodle cups at PREP ATX. Honestly, I initially didn’t even check them out because I made assumptions that they were going to have animal ingredients. Then, Amy, our alliance President told me to check them out. It turns out that all 4 flavors they offer at vegan, plant-based! I took 2 cups home – Tom Yum and Korean BBQ and let my husband try them. He can eat ramen or Asian noodles every day. If you love spicy food, you’ll love these 2 flavors. I want to try the Penang Curry and Tokyo Curry. Since they are frozen, Chop Chop can actually put real pieces of vegetables, not dehydrated particles like instant ramen.
Other businesses at the event:
Fazioli’s – Italian fast food
Taste of Home Dumplings -fresh-made Chinese dumplings
The Little Basket – Asian fusion/ Taiwanese pic-nic meals
Lulu’s Pie Shop – pies
Cataloupe Island – cocktails
Dream Bakery – gluten-free bakery
Ziki – Mediterranean with a Mexican twist – These guys told me they have a couple vegan items on their menu including their falafel and I hope to check them out on South Congress.
Anyway, as with any season, try to support your local food business in your community. Ask for what you want, and most businesses will appreciate your feedback! I’m always looking for vegan options, especially at non-vegan places so I can enjoy a meal with people who don’t eat the way I do.
Thanks again AFBA and PREP ATX and local food artisans!