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Wheatsville Food Coop reminds me small Whole Foods Market. It is small but they have what I want.  They’ve expanded and got a much bigger better offering of everything.

They display food in a space-efficient way. Everything is clearly and lovingly labeled with state/country of origin, and organic or conventional farming methods.  There’s wide selection and it’s so fresh.

They carry locally grown organic produce. You can get local eggs, local produce, local herbs, local meats, and so on. I think their prices on organic produce and free-range, grass-fed meats are much better than what I’ve seen at Whole Foods Market or Central Market.

John Perkins, finance manager of the Wheatsville, said,

“Buying local is a great way to support our community and it reduces the pollution and other negative ecological effects of transporting the produce long distances.”

Popcorn Tofu via Wheatsville Popcorn Tofu fan page

Also, check out their deli section. They always have plenty of locally made wraps, pitas and sandwiches. I really like the food in the deli and recommend their popcorn tofu.

When you check out your products cashier ask if you are an owner. That’s because they’re a co-op. If you are a owner, present your card to the cashier. You can shop even if you are not a member but can’t use someone else’s owner number at Wheatsville.

Wheatsville is owned and operated by people. The motivating purpose of co-ops is to serve the needs of the members, not to generate a profit. When the co-op makes a profit, it is cycled back into Wheatsville to increase services for the owner, or if sufficient profit is made, it given back to the owners in the form of a patronage refund.

John said,

“One of the greatest advantages to Wheatsville compared with the larger businesses is that our ‘human-scale’ store is simply more convenient, and we maintain personal relationships with our customers.”

* Tips for shopping!

  • Be their facebook or twitter friend and find out about new products!
  • Check out the coupons when you enter the store! They have plenty of coupons at the front for various things being promoted.

Wheatsville Food Coop via google map

Sushi Nichi has become my favorite place near campus to get sushi. It’s walking distance from pretty much anywhere on campus, and most of west campus. When I lived in the university towers which is private dorm next to this sushi place I often went there to get sushi or Japanese dishes. Even though I moved out and no longer live there I go to there whenever I want to have sushi. It was little bit drizzling during the afternoon so I and my friend who wanted some hot Japanese dishes stopped there.

I usually grab a couple of rolls (I recommend: dragon, blue moonlight, and spider) or get lunch special bento box (bento is really good and popular and it is more than enough food for lunch: served with miso soup, salad, rice, 4 pcs of california roll, and veggie tempura). However, at this time I tried different one.

We had two pieces of sushi for appetizer.

Then I ordered chicken curry don – chicken, carrot, potato in house curry sauce on rice.

And my friend had tempura udon – noodle soup with crab, shrimp, and veggie tempura.

The sushi was good and tasted fresh. Also my curry dish was pretty good, but not that spetacular…

The prices are reasonable and they now have a happy hour menu from 4-6. It’s nice. As I mentioned earlier part of this post, the blue moonlight is a really popular roll and I definately recommend. Also, if you go during happy hour, try the unfiltered sake. My friend says it’s really milky and sweet and the most perfect compliment to the sushi.

Go and check more information: sushi Nichi.

The only drawback is parking space.. It is limited.. It would be good to walk or bike.

photo by thegreendebateteam.wordpress.com

Honestly, I’m not a vegetarian but I like vegetarian eating. There is a controversial issue whether vegetarian diets are always healthful. However, many studies found that vegetarians have much lower cholesterol levels than meat eaters, and heart disease is less commnon in vegetarians.

Vegetarian meals are typically low in saturated fat and usually contain little or no cholesterol. Since cholesterol is found only in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, vegans consume a cholesterol-free diet.

Also, vegetarians have lower blood pressure than nonvegetarians and vegetarian diet helps prevent cancer.

People might think being a vegetarian is hard because of diet limitations. However, it is easier than you might think. Vegetarian Times and the physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine suggest the 3-step way to be a vegetarian.

  1. First, think of three vegetarian meals that you already enjoy. Common ones are tofu and vegetable stir-fries, vegetable stew, or pasta primavera.
  2. Second, think of three recipes you prepare regularly that can easily be adapted to a vegetarian menu.
  3. Third, check out some vegetarian cookbooks from the library and experiment with the recipes for a week or so until you find three new recipes that are delicious and easy to make.

One of the big issue regarding vegetarianism is protein. People are concerned that vegetarian diet never get too much protein. However, many nutrition authorities, including American Dietetic Association, believe protein needs can easily be met by consuming a variety of plant protein sources over an entire day. Orr, a professor of nutritional science in University of Texas at Austin, said,

“Most vegetarians have to use complimentary meal plans, mixing different types of plant-based protein together to make centric amino-acid. For example, corn and beans. Those have differnet amino-acid but you put them together and then make centric amino-acid.”

If you make your own dishes at home, it would be fine. But if you plan to eat out, you definitely want to find a restaurant serving vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian eating is on the rise nationwide, so it should come as no surprise that many Austin restaurants are catering to this increasing demand. I know Veggie Heaven and Kerbey Lane cafe offer vegetarian menus. But there are many vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Austin. Check the list :)

But keep in mind that anything done in extreme is things to avoid. Professor Orr said,

“Meat, eggs, and milk have lots of good nutrition. So avoid any extremes, and middle of the road.”

University students are always looking for cheap, convenient, and delicious foods whenever they have a lunch. I think sandwich is one of the quick, inexpensive (of course, depends on what kind of sandwich), and tasteful food for students. There are many sandwich restaurants on the drag and on campus. I willI intended to do a series of reviews of the sandwich restaurants and compare them. The first sandwich shop is WHICH WICH on the drag.

Which Wich logo (via whichwich.com)

You can easily find big yellow logo near on the Guadalupe and 24th street. WHICH WICH is a fast casual sandwich chain with its headquarters in Downtown Dallas, Texas. You can dine in or get it to go – either way you are in and out fast.

When you walk in WHICH WICH you can realize that the process is simple: Each bag is pre-labeled, such as “Turkey,” “Italian,” “Vegetarian,” etc. Take a paper bag, then mark the desired sandwich and condiments and hand it to the cashier, who then slides the bag to food prep on a wire.

I usually get a turkey sandwich with lots of veggies, and I ordered same one for today’s lunch. One sandwich is about $5.xx without drinks.

It comes with prepackaged-standard lettuce and tomatoes, and there is also mustard and mayo on the side. Everything inside the sandwich was fresh so it tasted great!

If you like to customize your sandwich because you care about nutrition and calories then Which Wich is worth a try. You can make a light meal whatever you want. Here is the nutritional information. Plus, because you mark on the bag it is less chance of getting the order wrong.

Here is the map of Which Wich on the drag.

If you want to grab it more than on the drag, you can find a location near you!

Since I have many classes in the CMA building at UT I could have many chances to eat at Madam Mam’s. Conveniently located, this is the best Thai restaurant near the UT campus.

I visited all three locations of Madam Mam’s; at the Guadalupe locationWestgate location, and The Village location. The Village location is the third opening place, and the decor is fantastic.

It is pretty exhausted to find a parking spot near the campus. So, if you have a plan to visit Madam Mam’s with your car, it might be a good option to consider Westgate and The Village location. These locations have pretty large parking spaces.

I started out eating a couple of different menu items and dishes that I’ve tried since the first visit have been wonderful. People give Madam Mam’s pretty good reviews for the most part.

I usually get noodles and ordered GUAY TEAW KUA GUA (F11) with chicken: Flat rice noodles stir-tried with meat, eggs, bean sprouts, pickled radish and soy mixed sauce served with green leaf lettuce. You might feel greasy if you only eat noodles. However, the green leaf lettuce made this dish clean taste.

My friend ordered Pad Sea-Ew (F3) with chicken : Vermicelli noodles stir-fried with chinese broccoli and egg in special mixed soy sauce.

The only drawback of this place is that they do not split checks, which may be a concern for large groups.  Also, they only have 4 tables designated for groups greater than 4.  So, if your group which is larger than 4 people visit Madam Mam’s on the drag at peak lunch/dinner hours, you might be wait for a while until you get a table.

But the food is wonderful and reasonably priced. It will be on my list of places to eat at in Austin for Thai cuisine.

Image of the Go Local card

The Go Local card for Austin.

Austin has a powerful local oriented charm about it, which rewards those who participate with both the satisfaction of helping local restaurants, and sometimes, a better meal to boot.  But if that is not enough, there is something else out there that might help with that prompting.

The Go Local card (at publication their website was down, but they are in the process of pushing forward a new design, found here) gives local businesses and restaurants the opportunity to provide discounts to cardholders.  Like any other membership based card, all you have to do is present it at the register (or include it with the check).

I originally came across the Go Local card at the Austin Farmers Market, and in my early financial ignorance I never found a way to justify the $10 purchase, but I was quickly proven wrong once I finally picked it up.  Although I am a big supporter of cooking at home as much as you can, being a college aged student I still find myself on the other side of town once in a while and hungry, so any opportunity to knock back the price is appreciated.

So who participates?  If you live (or travel often) to the university area, there are quite a few places that do you may already regularly visit.

  • Kerbey Lane (all locations) – M thru F, 10% off Food & Non-Alcoholic Drinks
  • Ming’s Cafe – 10% off
  • Torchy’s Tacos – 10% off
  • Amy’s Ice Cream – 10% off

(A Google Map mashup of the locations)

(All locations can be found here.)

For me, I visit Ming’s enough (the past two days, as a matter of fact) that the card probably paid for itself in two weeks.  I suggest you take a look at the list (including the non-food related ones) and see if is worth it to you.

The card can be found at most retailers that support it, and is valid for one year.

Hello everyone!Ryan (Me) Playing Mini Golf

My name is Ryan Murphy, and I guess you could say I am responsible for the “cheap” beat.  I am always on the hunt for ways to save money when it comes to food (and well, everything), but at the same time I try not to sacrifice healthiness as well.  I will be hunting around this city we call Austin for any opportunity I can find for a typical college student to get the best bang for their buck when it comes to eating.

If you have any questions/comments/suggestions, you are welcome to leave a comment on any post I make!  Also, I can be found on Twitter, so I encourage you to shoot me an @ or direct message if you want to ensure I see you.

I’ll be back soon with more.  Until then, good eating!

Today I am writing about Kim’s magic pop which is healthy and light snack. You can grab this snack at Central Market in Austin. Magic Pop, which is a popular seller item at Central Market, is the crunchy, delicious, and multigrain snack. It is popped right in Central Market and packed in the plastic bag right out of the machine. It can be topped with nutellawhich is hazelnut spread, or various kinds of jams.

Kim's Magic Pop section at Central Market

Kim’s Magic Pop’s name is from Mr. and Mrs. Kim who are owners of Magic pop snack. After years of working together in the food business in South Korea, married couple and business partners Mr. and Mrs. Kim decided it was high time for everyone to enjoy the crisp and tasty goodness of fresh-popped Korean snack cakes.

When I came to the United States there are few options for not so much fat contained snacks. However, it is great for anyone looking for an alternative to high fat snacks and chips. It is made of unbleached wheat flour, rice flour, tapioca starch, white corn flour, water, sugar, soy lecithin, long grain parboiled brown rice, rice powder, salt, soybean oil, natural flavor, and stevia which is a natural sweetener. It is only 15 calories each and is very low in fat, in sodium and sugar free! It is no doubt to say that Magic Pop is a healthy snack.

According to Kim’s Magic Pop homepage, Magic pop will stay fresh in the bag for about a month. But throughout my experience I could not keep this magic snack over a month!

Watching the process of popped snack is fun and grab a bag of Kim’s Magic Pop for your healthy snack time.

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