Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vegan Food Truck Friday: Bufalo Bob's Chalupas

With over a month of Vegan Food Truck Friday posts under my belt, I thought it would be a good idea to start branching out into some new areas of the city and sharing my experiences with you in the process. So far I have shared with you four 100% vegan food trucks that proudly serve the Austin community. This week's addition to my special summer column is the first "veg-friendly" trailer I'll be spotlighting. And there will be more to come.

Bufalo Bob's Chalupa Wagon is located on RR 620 near Steiner Ranch and Lakeway. It's situated in a food trailer park that is just getting going. There are currently two other trailers set there, with 2 or 3 more coming soon. There is abundant parking and a number of picnic tables available, plenty of shade, the sound of running water from a creek next to the property, and a cool breeze winding through it all.

If it hadn't been for Vegan Food Truck Fridays I probably wouldn't have heard about Bufalo Bob's at all. Bob reached out to me through one of my posts, leaving a comment on one of my columns and recommending I come by and check them out. A quick look at their website convinced me to go. Chris and I headed out there a week ago today. We live right off of 620 near the Lakeline Mall. After driving on 620 for a few minutes, we started to get nervous after the GPS continued to lead us further and further down the road. But just a few moments later we found that the trailer park had snuck up on us on the left. We almost missed it! The trip didn't take 15 or 20 minutes to get there. Though the distance is further than we usually travel for food, the traffic was less than we usually deal with when going to the trailers downtown. The amount of time we spent in transit was relatively the same.

We mosied on up to the window where we were greeted cheerfully by the husband and wife team that run Bufalo Bob's. I had checked in with them on Facebook earlier that day, inquiring about the vegan options on their menu. They got back to me quickly through the Internet and remembered who I was when I showed up that night. I felt like they were both very attentive as we ordered, and clearly understood what "vegan" meant. They made recommendations to us while we made our selections as well, which I find to be helpful when trying something new. Essentially, though, each of their vegetarian items can be made vegan if ordered without the cheese.

The chalupas served at Bob's are traditional, meaning they are not the type of "chalupas" you get from Taco Bell. They are hefty tostada shells spread with beans and topped with various other things. Chris ordered the "Mexican" vegetarian chalupa while I ordered the "Mediterranean" one. The crunchy tostada shells they were served on were thick, flavorful, and definitely seemed a lot healthier than their store-bought counterparts. I loved them. Chris's chalupa was topped with refried beans and traditional fixins while mine was spread with hummus and topped with spinach, ground flax, and other finely chopped veggies. We also ordered chips and salsa with hummus, too. The blue corn chips were amazing and Bob's "Texas hummus," which Bob makes with pinto beans, local beer, and other unique ingredients, was so fantastic.

I had never eaten a chalupa of any kind before. It was challenging, but really delicious. The hummus was spicy, smooth, and unique. I am not typically one for hummus, truth be told, but I would order this dish again in a heartbeat. The shredded spinach on top was fresh and flavorful, too. Yum. So good. I wish they sold both kinds of hummus in to-go batches. It would be great on bruschetta and in quesadillas. I'm drooling over the possibilities.

While we were eating, Bob came out to see how things were going. We got to talking about food and ingredients and it was obvious that he has a real passion for what he does. In addition to offering vegan and vegetarian options, Bufalo Bob's is also allergy friendly. They have a strong gluten-free following and proudly share their disdain for GMO foods. They also brew black and green iced tea and have Blue Sky sodas for sugar fiends as well.

Bufalo Bob's would be a great place to go hang out with friends and family (they're planning on setting up a stage and having live music, too). If you're a vegan who goes out with non-veggies, there will always be something on the menu for everyone. They also offer call ahead service if you're on the go, if you work nearby, or if you can't survive long in Texas's summer extremes. Prices are affordable, and the menu is varied enough that you won't get bored if you become a regular.

You can find them at 3639 RR 620 N in Austin, TX just past the Mansfield Dam. Please check their website for hours and more menu items. Or, if you'd like to find another food truck with vegan options, consult my original Vegan Food Truck Fridays post. Thanks for reading!

Update: When compiling a my new Austin food truck guide I discovered that Bufalo Bob passed away on February 1st. He was a truly great man and I was deeply saddened to hear this news. He is survived by his wife, Evan, who will continue to operate their wonderful truck on 620. If you would like to pay your own respects, a portion of the tribute they held for him is now on their website. Feel free to leave your own personal comments.

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