I recently got to travel with my husband to Austin, TX to visit some sweet friends who recently moved there & I had such a fantastic trip! I wanted to share my experience with eating out in Austin, shopping at their Central Market grocery store, and attending the famous Austin Roller Derby (which they kept peanut free for me)!
I only shopped at the Central Market Grocery on Lamar Blvd this trip, we went there our first day and I fell in love with the layout and vast selection of food! It was a magical grocery with lots to choose from, even for someone with an allergy!
Here were my favorite peanut-free product finds, and some photos of the inside of the store:
You may notice there are safe ice cream bites above! I’m going to request these in my local grocery stores in Louisville because they were a hit with everyone, but also are the only safe dairy-based ice cream I’ve found before! There’s a safe Italian gelato brand I can find locally in a store called Rainblow Blossom here occasionally, but not always, and it isn’t the same flavor as the typical ice cream I am used to and that I love.
While there was no dedicated peanut-free or top 8 allergen free sit-in bakeries or restaurants in Austin, Better Bites is a top 8 free bakery that does strictly wholesale based out of Austin, TX and made the DELICIOUS cookie dough bites pictured above. I had to share those evenly with Paul because they were so tasty! We went through 2 packs in 4 days! It truly was a vacation…we indulged!
I’d been to Austin once before and attended the Roller Derby there on a whim and had such a fun time that I wanted to take my friends and Paul to experience it! I got in touch with a man named Ross at the Palmer Events Center where it is hosted, and inquired about their concessions. He let me know there is food there and they do sell some candy snacks with peanuts, but that they’d be happy to pull the few peanut products while I’m there if I could tell them the date, and they did! It was so fun! I did notice some children had mini snickers at one specific table which they brought in with them, so I avoided that once I saw it, but it was a huge success and I was so pleased with the events center & experience.
A few places we went where I didn’t run into any airborne peanut issues were: Bookwoman Book Store, the incredible Central Public Library, a tour at the State Capitol building, walking up and along the shops on Congress Avenue, the Blanton Museum and Bullock Museum, and even in my Lyft experiences. I would suggest if you use Lyft with a severe allergy, to not “share” it with other riders, in case they’re eating or bring in food with them.
I successfully ate out at restaurants/food trucks that I checked in with prior to going! Those were:
- Vegan Nom Food Truck
- Conscious Cravings Food Truck (we ate there twice- it’s near both the Roller Derby and Congress Ave)
- 40 North
I had tea safely at the Guan Yin Chinese Tea House where they don’t serve food, and also didn’t make it to the Cool Beans Food Truck or Zhi Tea House because we didn’t need to, but both got back to me about not using/having peanuts.
My friend Ava and I learned how tricky it can be when eating out and asking about allergens on the spot without planning in advance during the trip. She inquired in-person with a food truck asking if they used peanuts or any peanut ingredients like oil/flour, they said nope, none! Then we walked up to the menu and Paul thankfully noticed the very first item listed on the food truck was a peanut noodle dish! Both Ava and I trusted what the man said, so this was a reminder to read the menu yourself and to really check thoroughly beforehand with staff and not trust someone on the spot, who may also just be working it and not know the menu well or be paying attention.
One day for lunch I decided to eat an Amy’s frozen meal beforehand and skip eating at one restaurant we went to since they used a lot of vegan pre-made ingredients I was unsure about, it did look delicious though, and Paul loved what he got there, so if you are comfortable since they don’t use peanuts it is called Citizen Eatery!
All these places need to be contacted again before trusting, but this will hopefully help give you a head start if you’re in or going to Austin, TX with an allergy but is not meant to ensure they’re still peanut free or 100% safe, I always view eating out as taking a risk and therefore try to keep it to a minimum.
I do strategize with what I get off the menu when I’m out as well, I go for things not based as much off of flavor and my own likes, but rank them by what has more limited ingredients and which may be less likely (in my experience/mind) to be contaminated. An example is if there’s a quinoa, steamed veggie and bean dish and then a veggie burger with a bun and aioli sauce, I’d go with the quinoa, veggie and bean dish since it seems like less processed foods and less components. I know from grocery shopping that often breads aren’t safe and are on shared equipment with allergens, and same with sauces, so the simpler the dish the better. This is a completely made up strategy by me, but I wanted to share! It doesn’t mean the beans I ate weren’t from a bulk section that was in contact with peanuts, but I’ve found in terms of having a reaction while eating out that going for the simpler menu item approach helps me.
Thank you for reading and happy safe neating!!