a counter-cultural visit

bonus points for the legit vintage jukebox stocked with oldies!
I'd been meaning to check out Counter Culture since its reincarnation as a brick-and-mortar location on East Cesar Chavez...and finally made it there this past weekend.  Its cool turquoise interior and vintage soda fountain stools are a throwback to a simpler time, as mellow oldies play from a twinkling jukebox.  The menu has expanded to serve a wider selection of vegan comfort food, including dinner entrees, dessert options, a weekend brunch menu, and many opportunities for a la carte ordering.  

I'd skimmed Yelp reviews before going and saw that many people complained about it being hot inside-- I noticed this was definitely true!  It was just a/c-less enough that our whole table noticed we were slightly uncomfortable and sticky.  Don't skimp on the A/C, CC!

lentil pâté and rice crackers

The lentil pâté was a light, nutty spread infused with tarragon and served with rice crackers (not looking very picturesque here, but it was tasty!)  Sandwiches range from jackfruit BBQ to Philly seitan and arrive on fresh, satisfying local bread with a gluten-free option.  (I tried my friend's cashew cheese and apple sandwich.. it was okay but nothing spectacular).
mac 'n' cheeze (made with cashew cheese)

The cashew "mac 'n' cheeze" was very flavorful but on the dry side, and the roasted root vegetables were finely diced and underwhelming.  Garlicky greens also fell short in both flavor and texture.  Beware the bold (but tasty!) kelp noodle pad Thai, which arrived with lots of heat and no warning!  The friend I was sharing with was unable to take more than two bites of it before forfeiting! I thought it a little strange that the waitress, who was otherwise very detailed and patient with our many questions, failed to mention the heat in this dish...

raw kelp noodle pad thai w/ roasted veggies and greens

Donut holes and brownie bites are glorified descriptions for raw nut and fruit balls; opt for the cashew "cheezecake" or coconut ice cream sundae instead.

Overall, Counter Culture is a welcome addition to Austin's lacking vegan scene.  Now it just needs that extra push to keep even the carnivores coming back for more.