Girls on Food


Hopdoddy Burger Bar: An Austin, TX-Based Concept Taking Over the West Coast

The concept of Hopdoddy Burger Bar is all about feeling good about what you’re biting into. Their main staples are their all-natural, humanely-raised, house-ground burgers that arrive on fresh baked brioche buns and washed down with craft beers. The atmosphere is lively with service that is fast-paced but still takes time to be friendly. Hopdoddy Burger Bar is also a bit of a do-gooder with one particular menu item, which I’ll tell you about below.


Tex-Mex #TacoTuesday in Round Rock, Texas


Torchy’s Tacos
2150 Palm Valley Road, Round Rock, TX 78664
During the Christmas holiday, I left the sunny skies of Fort Lauderdale to visit my little sister who lives near Austin, TX. She let me know that Torchy’s Tacos was definitely on the menu during my stay there and for good reason. Since being featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Torchy’s Tacos is well on its way to becoming a legendary “must-stop” spot near Austin, TX.

Having lived in Southern California for some years, I learned to love a good, authentic street taco so I was not sure what to expect with Torchy’s. My sister just moved to Texas from our hometown in the Midwest. While there’s nothing like the staple meat and potatoes dishes from back home, I wasn’t quite sure if her definition of “damn good” tacos would stand up to my seasoned palette. Either way, my little sister talked up this place something fierce, so I was revved try it. I have to say I was not only very much not disappointed; I was as pleased as a pig in mud.

Quite simply, the food here is damn good.

My boyfriend, sister and I all went in with a battle plan of sorts. First, we were going to tackle their homemade sodas. They both stuck to that plan. Me? I decided that even though it was only a bit after noon, I wanted a drink. That is what vacation is about, eh?

On to the food! We planned to each get something different so the others could try a variety of tacos. That plan pretty much went by the wayside when my boyfriend and I ordered almost the same spread and my sister decided to go with a shrimp taco variation. For the average person, a shrimp taco might sound divine, but unless I am ready to meet my maker, it’s a no-go for me since I am highly allergic to shellfish.

I ordered three tacos. The Brushfire, which was a combination of spices and seasoning that almost blew my mouth away. It. Was. Spicy. The taco consisted of marinated jerk chicken, grilled jalapenos, mango, and cilantro. Ladies, it comes with a dab of Diablo hot sauce as well. I’m pretty sure the devil himself made it because when I bit into it, I felt the heat of a thousand suns in my mouth. I thought I was just being a baby, but my Jamaican boyfriend who is plenty used to spice said it was spicy to him. So, yes. It’s spicy. This taco usually comes with sour cream, probably to cool things down, but I opted out of that. I guess I like to walk on the wild side. Despite its straight from hell spicy factor, I would order it again. It had great flavor and is a bonus if anyone needs their sinuses aired out.

Chicken Fajita. Y’all. I had a regular, ole chicken fajita taco at a place that offered specialty tacos with names like Dirty Sanchez and Mr. Pink. I lamed out with that choice. Of all the tacos I had, I would skip this one when ordering again. There was nothing wrong with it. But, the other two tacos were so right that this one seemed a bit bland in comparison.


That brings me to the last taco. The Mr. Orange, a fresh combination of blackened salmon, grilled bean and corn relish, a sauce blend of queso fresco and cilantro along with cotija cheese and avocado salad. Of the three, this was my favorite. Don’t get me wrong. Each taco was delicious, but I could have easily put away three or four Mr. Orange tacos. The salmon cooked just right, and the mix of flavors had a nice combination of sweet, zesty and savory. I usually ask for my sauces on the side, but since I was going for the full experience, I decided not to, which ended up being a great decision. If you usually are a sauce-on-the-side girl, try asking for light sauce but keep the taco as original to the menu as possible. Your tastebuds will thank you.

After getting our grub on at Torchy’s, we decided to head to Round Rock Donuts for sweet treats. If you remember from another post of mine, I do not like donuts. In fact, when ranking my top dessert options, donuts would not be anywhere near the top of the list. However, since being exposed to the fine confections that are homemade donuts, I figured, “why not?”

Round Rock Donuts
106 W. Liberty Ave., Round Rock, TX 78664

It was, again, a smart choice. We got a variety of donuts there. Small ones. Big ones. Ones you might even be able to fit your head through. That would be the Texas-sized donut.

When compared to a regular one, the Texas-sized donut probably equals about five donuts stretched out to make a giant “O” shape. It looked glorious. And like a heart attack. So we passed on that one. But, if you’re a “when in Rome” type person, try it out and comment on how you liked it. With so many appealing goodies in the local donut shop, you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.

Doggie Style: Vegan Hot Dogs in Austin

doggie style - vegan hot dogs in austin

doggie style food truck

Hot dawg! ? ?

I was a fan of hot dogs briefly during my childhood, and then they became increasingly weird and icky to me, especially once I found out what’s actually in hot dogs, but we won’t go there in this post ?

This post is all about Doggie Style, the new vegan food truck in Austin, Texas that serves what else – vegan hot dogs!!! My non-vegan boyfriend and I decided to check it out (i.e. I forced him to come with me) but I had a feeling he would like this place because he’s very open minded about vegan food and is a fan of pretty much all things vegan ?

First, here’s the basics:

Doggie Style located in the heart of Austin and the food truck scene. The physical address is 603 W. Live Oak St. They’re in the South First Food Court, right next to Rabbit Food Grocery: Austin’s First Vegan Grocery Store!

Doggie Style’s exact hours are fuzzy. I couldn’t find conclusive info online. We showed up on a Sunday around 2 pm, and they were open and serving free beer ?

I would suggest checking their social media posts to see what times they are open each day.

south first food court

doggie style menu

I knew right away that I wanted to try the special that week, the Poutine Dog. It’s a hot dog topped with mushroom gravy, hot French fries, and vegan cheese curds ?

My boyfriend got the Jon Stewart (pictured at the top of this post), which consists of a dog drenched in sauerkraut and Russian dressing. It honestly didn’t sound that good to me, but when I tried it I loved it!

We also got chips and queso, which didn’t look like much when it came out but was surprisingly good. My boyfriend liked it, and his hot dog was so filling he couldn’t even finish it all. I couldn’t finish mine either but saved it later for a snack.

doggie style austin

vegan hot dogs

The food was awesome, the service (although not personable) was fast, and the prices are super reasonable. I would go back to try out some of the other menu items.

Plus, it makes me happy that when I’m craving a hot dog with monster toppings, I can have it and it’s cruelty-free! Austin is a fantastic place to be vegan because there are options for pretty much anything you want. And non-vegans can enjoy Doggie Style too! It’s a tasty, healthier version of a beloved American classic Hot Dog on Google Android 6.0.1

Jillian ?

Arlo’s in Austin, TX: Vegan Food Done Right

arlo's vegan food done right

Meet Arlo’s Bac’n Cheez Burger. Me and BCB (for short) are good friends.

Us vegans are just like everyone else. I know some people may think all we eat is tofu, carrots and hemp seeds (and yes, we do eat those things) but we also want to indulge in junk food and comfort food too, dang it! ??

That’s where Arlo’s comes in. If you live in Austin, Texas – aka Land of Vegan Bliss – then you are in luck. Arlo’s is comprised of two food trucks that are conveniently located in the downtown area. Also convenient, as least for me, is that they are parked right in front of two awesome bars ??This pretty much completes my life. The main location is at Cheer Up Charlie’s, right in the heart of Austin’s famous music scene.  They also have a new location along a very popular strip on the east side at Drinks Lounge. I went to their opening a couple of weeks ago and it was packed! Arlo’s is well loved here.

900 Red River
at Cheer Up Charlie’s
Austin, TX

2001 E. Cesar Chevez
at Drinks Lounge
Austin, TX

arlo's food truck

The main reason that I am in utter love with them (other than they’re delicious food) is that they are committed to supporting local, organic, and non-gmo products. All of their food is made fresh on site and aside from being 100% vegan; they also offer gluten free options. But the best part is that even if you aren’t vegan, you can still enjoy their food because well, it’s great food; Simple as that. Plus, their burgers legitimately look like hamburgers. Like seriously, I can’t tell the difference. And the ingredients are super wholesome, healthy, environmentally responsible, and fresh. So you can indulge without all the negative side effects ??

Whenever I hit up Arlo’s, I always go for the Bac’n Cheez Burger because I used to have a mild (i.e. severe) obsession with bacon back in my omnivorous days. But this past week I decided to be adventurous and try something new, I got the BBQ burger, because way back when, BBQ was my other meat obsession.

bbq burger arlo's

It’s a house-made soy & gluten free patty, grilled in BBQ sauce, with chipotle mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles. It’s a little spicy so beware to all of the non-spicy people out there. It was finger lickin’ good and I chased it down with tater tots (insert Napoleon Dynamite quote here) because tater tots are da best. But if you aren’t obsessed with tots like me and Napoleon, Arlo’s also has french fries, sweet potato fries, and chips & salsa. They’ve also got a Chipotle Chik’n Burger, Chik’n Tacos, and Street Tacos. My advice? Start with the Bac’n Cheez Burger – it’s their most popular item for a reason, then you can work your way down the menu from there 🙂

arlo's taco

And now that I’ve got an Arlo’s frequent flyer card, that should make it easy for me. In fact, it will probably be my main mission in life to get all those stars punched in as quickly as possible. I suggest you check out Arlo’s asap to get your guilt free indulgence on. Feel good about what you eat and support local businesses!

Jillian ♥

P.S. If you want to explore more yummy vegan establishments in Austin, look for my other reviews here.

Photo credits:

Arlo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rabbit Food Grocery: Austin’s First Vegan Grocery Store

rabbit food grocery

rabbit food grocery store

Rabbit Food Grocery is Austin’s first all vegan & cruelty-free grocery store and I’m thrilled! I literally want to buy everything in their store.  Jessica Morris and Gabriel Figueroa, both longtime vegans, founded Rabbit Food back in 2008. They started out by setting up pop-up shops around town during events. Bunny hop forward ? to January 2015 → thanks to Kickstarter donations and lots of hard work, they’ve opened up their first physical store. Yeaaaah!

Rabbit Food Grocery
2210 S. 1st Street, Suite M
Austin, TX 78704

rabbit food grocery

Need to stock up on snacks? No problem. Rabbit Food carries several varieties of chips, popcorn, crackers, power bars, cookies, and candies. If you need something heartier, they have delicious soups to choose from, veggie burgers, and tons of faux meat products.

coconut bacon

vegan tuna

I bought a can of this black pepper Vegan Toona to see what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised. What exactly does one do with vegan tuna? ?? I took some leftover quinoa, put kale mixed with avocado on top, my can of Vegan Toona mixed with vegan mayo, seasonings, lemon juice, and diced red onion. That’s a whole lotta vegan going on and it was amaaaaaazing!

vegan bouillon cubes

vegan jerky

Rabbit Food also carries many different brands of egg replacer, granola, bacon bits, mayo, vegan jerky, and non-dairy milks. If you have a sweet tooth, there are chocolate bars, fudge, ice cream, Sweet Ritual Salted Caramel Sauce, Bee Free vegan honey (which I used in this delicious scone recipe), marshmallows, and pralines.

salted caramel sauce

vegan honey

Basically, you’re not going to go hungry in this store or suffer from a lack of choices. The only thing they don’t carry is produce, but it sounds like something that may be in the works for the future. If you’re already stocked up on vegan food, then you can browse Rabbit Food’s selection of greeting cards, perfumes, soaps, t-shirts, purses, and other handmade items. They also carry vegan pet products!

vegan socks

vegan t-shirts

vegan purses

After you’ve finished ooohing and ahhhing throughout the store, head to the register where you’ll find flyers & postcards about upcoming events, Hurraw lipbalm (I got the coconut flavor), the Vegan Survival Guide to Austin, and donation jars to help local animal rescue groups ??

hurraw lip balm

vegan survival guide to austin

So basically, this store is rockin’ and if you live in Austin or plan on stopping through, check it out. Or you can always visit to get more info and order online!

rabbit food grocery

This is the stuff vegan dreams are made of…

Jillian ♥

Jillian’s Berry & Herb Coconut Ice Cream Pops

berry & herb coconut ice cream pops

With all of the rain in central Texas earlier this year, I ALMOST forgot it was summer. It hasn’t been it’s usual scorching self. And then August rolled around – the worst month of the year to be a Texan – and oh yeah, it’s summer! Thanks 106 degree weather. Thanks very much. Luckily, my mom sent me some popsicle molds in my birthday package a couple months ago and I finally got to use them this weekend. Nothing screams summer like nice cold popsicles. But these are special popsicles. They are magical raw vegan popsicles. Oooh… A rich and creamy coconut base paired with frozen berries and fresh herbs. Toss in a little raw sugar to sweeten the deal and you’ve got homemade popsicles that are way better than anything store bought!

Here is the front and back of the popsicle molds my mom bought. She got them at Central Market, but I’m sure you could find something similar at other stores or online.

popsicle mold

The molds are really easy to use and I love that this brand is BPA & Phthalate free. These only make 4 at a time, but it’s the perfect amount if you want to share them with a couple of besties or secretly eat them all yourself 🙂

I took this recipe idea from the blog This Rawsome Vegan Life and I pretty much stick to it other than a couple of minor changes. I made two batches – The first batch was berry (straw, black, and blue) and thyme. I added a little less sugar to these because I was scared of overdoing it. They came out milky white and although not quite as sweet as I would’ve liked, they were still delicious. Here’s a close up:

berry & thyme coconut ice cream pops

The second batch I made consisted of strawberry and fresh basil. I used more sugar than the original recipe called for. These came out the perfect sweetness in my opinion, but it did change the color of the pops, they were a darker color and not as white. I’m totally fine with that because they still looked pretty and tasted great!

strawberry & basil coconut ice cream pops

Even if you aren’t vegan, you will salivate over these ice cream pops. They’re so refreshing and creamy, easy to make (even for kids) and best of all; it’s a dessert that’s actually healthy!

Here is what you will need:

1 set of 4 popsicle molds
One 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
Frozen berries
Fresh herbs
1/4 c + 1 heaping tbsp raw organic sugar

And here is what you do with said ingredients:

  1. Empty the can of coconut milk into a blender. Add the sugar and blend together for a few seconds.
  2. Place your frozen berries inside the popsicle molds. Sprinkle the fresh herbs in as well. Herbs that have small leaves like thyme don’t need to be chopped, but I recommend it for larger leaves like basil or mint.
  3. Pour the coconut milk mixture into each mold. Add the popsicle sticks and place in the freezer overnight or for several hours.
  4. Take out of the freezer and peel the molds from the popsicles. Voila!

These babies will melt pretty fast, especially if you’re outside. I stored the leftovers on a plate in the freezer, and when I was ready to eat them, I pulled them out and let them defrost for a few minutes first. Use any kind of fruit/herb variations you like. Fresh fruit works as well. If you have any leftover coconut milk mixture like I did, you can use it in smoothies or as a creamer for tea & coffee. Yum!

jillian with ice cream pop


Jillian ♥


RECIPE: Texas-Style Kolaches

As promised…

I found a recipe that almost matches up to the delicious
kolaches I enjoyed nearly every day I spent in Austin. The dough didn’t turn out as soft
and delicious as I remember but this very well could have been my fault. I’m
more of a cake/cookie/brownie/tart baker than a dough girl. I leave most of that to my bread maker. Still, I count this as a success because they did turn
out very tasty!
Homemade Kolaches:
Ham w/Jarlsberg, Sausage w/Jalapenos & Cheddar
Texas-Style Savory Kolaches 
Recipe (Adapted) from Confections of a Foodie Bride


(Yields 12-15)
for the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
2 large eggs
5/8 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/4 cups flour
The best part about these is the filling and the options are endless! I went with two favorites from Austin: ham w/jarlsberg, sausage w/jalapenos and cheese.
1. Pour warm water and yeast into bowl of an electric mixer. Let proof 5 minutes until foamy.
2. With mixer on low add milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar and salt until combined.
3. Add flour, half at a time, mixing until just combined.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature until dough has doubled, 1-2 hours.
5. Punch the dough down, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.
6. Divide dough into 12-15 balls, setting on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and leave out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
7. Flatten each ball, adding filling to the top then fold the dough around the filling. Set back on the parchment seam-side down. Cover, then preheat the oven to 375.
8. Bake 25-30 minutes at 375, until browned. (My two batches were ready between 15 and 20 minutes. This is likely because I stuffed them very full, so much so that the cheese oozed out of a few. Keep an eye on them from the 15 minute mark on.) 
9. Enjoy!



I flew home from Austin today, happy and full after eating my way around town for a week. This was my third and final trip out producing a TV show and now I’m having a really hard time dealing with the fact that I won’t be showing up to set every day to a box of delicious kolaches. Sigh.

I discovered these incredible Czech pastries in December and
have devoured countless savory varieties from four different places since, with each bite wishing this
Texas staple would make its way west so I can enjoy them in California. They
truly are little pockets of heaven: sweetened yeast dough filled with ham and
cheese, sausage and cheese (sometimes accompanied by jalapeno), spinach
artichoke dip and my personal favorite – egg, sausage and cheese. Heated up
they’re the perfect breakfast on the go, far superior in my opinion to the
breakfast tacos that seem to get all the buzz.
Since my hometown of Sacramento hasn’t caught on to the
kolache craze I’m contemplating trying to bake my own. If I can nail a recipe
I’ll post it here. If not, I’ll just have to book another flight… I know what
you’re thinking and the answer is yes, I would fly for pastry.

A City and it’s Brunch: Austin

Brunch is the highlight and kick off of Austin weekends. Whether it is a post run taco stop, a late brunch after sleeping in, or a kick off to your weekend activities. Austin does brunch, we do it well, and we take it seriously.


The line out the door proves my point.

Breakfast tacos will inspire a big debate among many Austinites. Everyone has their own opinion on who has the best breakfast taco. My favorite and dare I say the best in town are at Tacodeli.

Organic Eggs, Papas, Portobella, on Corn


Tacodeli prides themselves on serving local and organic produce, meats, and seafood. They have great specialty tacos, but my favorite combo is grilled portobella mushrooms, Papa’s (creamy mexican mashed potatoes), and eggs all piled on a corn tortilla. I have experimented with other combos, but my addiction to this creation is bordering on an obsession. After running, this is what I crave. It may not look pretty, but it is delicious.



Yellow Jacket Social Club

Yellow Jacket Social Club is an eastside bar with a great vibe, a tree covered patio, and live music on the weekends. In the morning they are back in action slinging Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and cooking up a delicious brunch. The chef here blows me away with his Shrimp and Grits.The grits are made with homemade shrimp stock. I would say these are now the best grits in town.

Tofu Scramble
Deviled Eggs


Then there is Perla’s…
Beautiful atmosphere, amazing oysters, fresh seafood flown in daily, and amazing brunch cocktails. Its definitely my favorite celebration brunch spot.

Lobster & Egg White Fritatta
Oyster Shooter with Tito’s
Lobster Stock, Cheddar, & Green Onion Grits



Hush Puppies


Lobster Omelette
The Filibuster
Salted Butterscotch Pots De Creme

Austin Eats: Elizabeth St. Cafe, Foreign & Domestic

Elizabeth Street Cafe 
Noodles * Bánh Mì * Boulangerie
1501 S. First Street
Austin, TX
I ate here three out of my five days in Austin, and loved every meal! This adorable cafe features a blend of French and Vietnamese cuisine and the service is as good as their delectable dishes…
Pork Belly Steam Buns (Cucumber, Cilantro, Hoisin, Sriracha) w/Poached Eggs
This is the perfect breakfast you didn’t know to crave until you saw this photo and now, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to get it out of your mind. (Sorry.) It was incredibly good, and such a leap from the standard brunch menu! The soft steam buns with rich pork belly and fresh crunch of cucumber, sweet and spicy with the sauces, are amazing on their own let alone paired with perfectly poached eggs. I might steer clear of breakfast reviews for a bit, biased now.
Pork & Shrimp Crepe w/Coconut & Rice Batter, Bean Sprouts, Herbs, Lettuce Wraps, Nuoc Cham
This is from their lunch menu and it’s another jaw dropping dish. Their coconut and rice batter gives the crepes a really crispy texture and interesting flavor, the best I’ve had. The filling is incredibly flavorful and well balanced. They recommend eating it in the lettuce cups they serve alongside it and I’ll second that!A friend and I enjoyed a few other dishes that I don’t have pictures of as well, everything impressed. It’s one of those restaurants you wish you could pack up and take home with you! Until next time…

Foreign & Domestic
306 E. 53rd St.
Austin, TX
This place was a recommendation from a local bartender after I listed off the spots I wanted to try. He nailed it.
Guy Fieri visited with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which I find a bit strange because it doesn’t really feel like any of the three “D”s but it is definitely feature-worthy.
Gruyere Popovers
Do not skip out on the popovers if you dine here. It’s what they’re known for and they are fantastic. Plus, gruyere! Is there a finer cheese?
Shrimp & Grits w/Pulled Pork, Soft Egg, Chives, Veloute
Squid Ink Fettucini w/Wild Boar Ragout, Cherries, Chilis
I’m a sucker for shrimp and grits, almost always order it if it’s on the menu. Also, squid ink fettucini so my friend and I had to order both and split them (a common occurrence when dining with me). Both were great but the wild boar ragout was outstanding.
Apple Pie in a Jar
Here’s my issue with pie: I’m not wild about the crust. I spent three years working in bakeries, more baking at home perfecting my pastry dough recipes, so I know what’s good and bad but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just don’t really like it either way. I love Dutch Apple Pie though – the topping, the filling, the ice cream on top. All the best parts are layered here in an adorable little jar. Perfect!This place is pretty far from downtown so I would not recommend taking a cab here on a Friday or Saturday night. They’ll never come back for you! We had a three and a half hour wait. Literally. Still, it was worth it and I’ll definitely go back!

Austin Eats: barley SWINE

barley SWINE 
2024 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX

This place is incredible.

It’s my favorite type of restaurant – small shared plates,
inventive ever changing menu, casual atmosphere, beautiful plating. It’s also
very popular and I will share the warning I was given – get there right when
they open since they don’t take reservations. I went with three other adventurous foodies so we of course ordered one of everything, doubling up on the most exciting dishes. This is the perfect way to experience this restaurant and if I lived in
Austin I’d do it every week.
Here’s a peek at our amazing meal, the entire menu captured by iPhone seconds before every morsel was devoured leaving nothing but gleaming white plates behind…



grilled okra, black eyed peas, hush puppy, goat feta

soft duck egg, grilled zucchini salad, popcorn, goat cheese

This was our second dish and the one that inspired the request for “something to sop up the sauce” before our plate was taken away. The server quickly brought back a mini spatula that my shameless foodie friends happily made quick use of scraping the plate clean! (They apparently get this request quite a bit.) Awesome.


grilled butternut squash, peanut, jalapeno, coconut milk

scrambled egg, blue crab, almond, roasted pepper, avocado

One of my favorites! It’s very light and refreshing, reminds me of summer in California.


pulled pig face, potato salad, pickle, egg yolk, apple

I’ve had pig face once before but this dish wins hands down. If you’re curious about the flavor here’s my best attempt at a description: It tastes like the dark meat version of pork, if there was such a thing.


rabbit, schnitzel, shishito pepper, radish, chanterelle

This was my first time trying rabbit! I loved it!! I am afraid the bar’s been set pretty high though.


crispy stuffed pig ankle, foie gras, beans, hot sauce

Is there anything better than foie? Another favorite.


grilled lamb loin & sausage, eggplant, falafel,

olive oil mousse, meyer lemon, parsley sorbet, chickpea
German chocolate cake

Hefeweizen doughnuts, smoked pork ice cream, whiskey, chile


This dessert was absolutely stunning. I’ve never had a doughnut that tasted anywhere near as good as these mini Hefeweizen versions. With the whiskey marshmallows and the pork ice cream, forget about it. Heaven.

Before your night is through, be sure to order the last thing on the menu – “Beer for the Kitchen”! It’s $1 toward each chef (we had six) to thank them for an incredible meal and reward them with the same suds that inspired it.