This guest blog post is by Kat Mandelstein.
This blog post is the fourth review in a series on The Austinot. It’s companion to the Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin by Austinot owner, Eric Highland who is not a vegetarian or vegan. That’s where I come in.
If you’re a carnivore, be sure to check out Eric’s series. But if you’ve been looking for the best veggie burger in Austin, you’re in the right place right now. You can recognize any of my reviews by the beginning of their title: “Harvesting the Best Veggie Burger in Austin.”
In this review series, I’m not only judging the veggie burger, but the restaurant experience as a whole. With that in mind, know that these are my personal opinions. Feel free to agree or disagree with them. I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations either way.
Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse Overall Impression
Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse used to be known mainly for its coffee, as an Austin community hangout. But after moving further south on South 1st St. over a year ago, they now have a huge following for brunch.
Usually I get a tofu scramble or tamales, for weekend brunch or a late night meal after going out. But upon the recommendation of my coworker and friend, April Riggs, I decided to give the Veggie Royale a try. April happily volunteered to accompany me on this leg of my veggie burger adventure.
Bouldin Creek has a great patio, but unfortunately it was raining hard the day we visited, so we sat inside by a window. I love the Bouldin light fixtures made from bicycle tire rims. There is lots of local art throughout the café, with painted murals on several of the walls and a rotating collection of art labeled with title and artist.
Bouldin Creek definitely has the Keep Austin Weird vibe and a staff that is a true cast of characters in a good way.
They have a wide variety of beverage options. Their coffee is locally roasted and fair trade. They also have 25 kinds of tea, wine, sake and beer on tap or in bottles. I only drink coffee in the morning, so I decided to have the 512 Wit with a lemon to help me chill.
You can also order mixed drinks, including Sake Screwdrivers, Sake Lemonades and what they call “Austin’s best hangover cure, The Leveler” – a mix of Guinness, espresso and chocolate. They even have Happy Hour from 3-7 PM daily.
The Veggie Royale is on the “Sammich” section of the menu. This veggie burger has a homemade patty, but I was told that the recipe is a secret when I asked what it was made from. I did get our server to say it did contain soy and peanut butter, but no dairy. So if you have a peanut allergy, then this is probably not the veggie burger for you! Since I am vegan, it was a great veggie burger for me.
The Veggie Royale is served on fresh grilled ciabatta bread with green leaf lettuce, red onion, local tomatoes and your choice of BBQ sauce, homemade chipotle-pecan pesto, or Basil Aioli. I chose the BBQ sauce and had them add avocado.
They don’t have the standard French fries for a side option, so I ordered a side salad. Your side options are a choice of chips & house salsa, black pepper Kettle chips, or homemade Asian Cole Slaw. You can also sub a small house salad for a side for an additional $1.50, which is what I did.
Kat’s Veggie Burger Review Criteria
For consistency, I decided to adopt Eric’s burger judging scale for veggie burgers using a 1-10 scale, with 5 being average. (As Eric would say, “Don’t be a hater. If I rate you a 5, that means you were average, and that’s not so bad.”)
So adapting the scale for veggie burgers, a score of 1 translates to “tasted like the dirt it grew in,” while 10 translates to “Mother Nature handcrafted it herself.” Remember, you are free to disagree with me. I am entitled to my opinions and so are you.
When reviewing a veggie burger, these are my categories:
- Veggie Burger Patty
- The Bun
- Messiness (note: Eric rates burgers higher as they get more messy because that’s how he likes them, but I rate burgers lower as they get more messy)
- Presentation (garnish, did they make it look appetizing)
- Overall Veggie Burger Taste
- Fries or Side Item (extra points for a choice in sides)
- Other Factors
Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse Burger Review
- Veggie Burger Patty = 7 Neither the menu nor the waitress would give me the exact contents of the Veggie Royale patty, but it does contain peanut butter and soy. There is an asterisk on the menu to alert anyone with peanut allergies, like my husband. This is a veggie burger he would need to skip, but there are a lot of other great options on the menu for him. This is a true vegan patty and it was very tasty and moist, but not crumbly at all.
- The Bun = 8 Their bun is not actually a bun. It is ciabatta bread. Surprisingly, it was soft and really good, not chewy and sometimes crusty like traditional ciabatta bread. It tasted freshly baked.
- Toppings = 7 I chose BBQ Sauce, and the Veggie Royale comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sprouts. I added avocado, which I do whenever I can. All of the toppings were very fresh and locally sourced.
- Messiness = 8 Once assembled, the Veggie Royale is not that messy to eat. It’s cut in half and easy to pick up, so everything stayed in the bread as I ate it.
- Garnish = 7 My salad was on the side. It came with tiny whole butter pickles that were really cute, and tasty too.
- Taste = 8 This is a very good veggie burger. The taste was pretty awesome. Peanut butter combined with Tofu does not sound that appetizing, but trust me on this one…it is really good!
- Fries or Side Item = 7 Traditional fries are not an option, so I opted to upgrade to the side salad with ginger wasabi dressing on the side. It was very fresh and good.
- Atmosphere = 9 I genuinely love the funky, artsy atmosphere of Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse. This definitely epitomizes the Austin vibe. Their light fixtures made from tires and old silverware get an extra point for funkiness. They also got an extra point from me for having some of the best patio dining on South 1st, and dog bowls for our four-legged friends. It is also very biker friendly – the pedaling kind, not the Harley kind.
- Cleanliness = 8 The restaurant is homey, but kept very clean. The art inside and out make it a thing of beauty.
- Other Factors = 9 Due to their roots as a coffee shop, Bouldin Creek still make a great cup of joe. They have lots of daily vegetarian desserts options too. This is also one of the best places in town for brunch if you are a vegan, or even if you’re not (expect sausage or bacon made from vegetables instead of meat, but they do serve egg dishes). Part of the charm is the friendly staff, laidback with eclectic personalities that are fun to interact with.
Bottom Line on the Veggie Burger at Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse in Austin: 7.8 out of 10
Overall Score = 7.8. The overall score is the average of the 10 categories.
Harvesting the Best Veggie Burger in Austin Continues
I can definitely see why my friend April recommended the Veggie Royale as her favorite veggie burger in Austin. It is now a favorite of mine too.
Side note: I never thought I would actually learn to like tofu scramble when I went vegan, but thanks to Bouldin Creek Café I actually do like theirs. They definitely know how to work magic with tofu, which is often a hard ingredient to disguise as something delicious.
Though Bouldin Creek Café is a vegetarian restaurant, carnivores really seem to like it too. It’s a great place to hang out, catch up with friends and people watch. I wasn’t sure if the new location would have the same charm as the original coffee shop, but I actually really like the new location and the greatly expanded menu.
So if you have never been to Bouldin Creek or have not been since they moved, I would highly recommend you give them a visit. Try out the Veggie Royale, the best veggie burger I have tried so far in Austin, or one of the other great, fresh choices on their expanded menu.
So far, of veggie burgers in Austin reviewed on The Austinot, here is the scorecard:
#1 – score 7.8 – Bouldin Creek Cafe
#2 – score 7.5 – Magnolia Cafe
#3 – score 6.8 – Elevation Burger
#4 – score 6.35 – Billy’s on Burnet
Other places that have been suggested for me to review are: Mr. Natural, Mother’s Café & Garden, Woodland, Big Daddy’s, Whole Foods, Galaxy Café, BJ’s, Crown & Anchor, Freddy’s Custard, Bartlett’s, 24 Diner and Your Mother’s.
What would you suggest?
Kat Mandelstein is not a native of Austin, but she got here as fast as she could. By day she is the Director of Social Business Strategy & CollaborANT at Ant’s Eye View, and by night she is the President of Social Media Club Austin, sits on the International SocialMediaClub.org Board of Directors and recently became the host of the Social Media Book Club and Webinar.