When I was five, I brainstormed the best business model: My mom would open a restaurant drive-up window, through the backyard to our kitchen, so that the world (or at least Dallas) could experience her awesome cooking. I like to think that I was ahead of my time, since in many ways, that’s what the Austin trailer scene boils down to, mom-and-pop shops serving their homemade recipes. Of course, my mom was a total hippie who had recently returned from Berkeley to Texas. There was no pot roast in her kitchen. No chicken potpie or white bread sandwiches. I didn’t even know what ice cream was until I was six years old. At her house, it was wheatberry bread and black beans and lots of vegetables, all of which I loved. (Although I do remember one unfortunate day in kindergarten when I lifted a limp asparagus stalk from my lunchbox and wondered, “What the &#*$ is that?”) But 99% of the time, her cooking was hearty, healthy, and heavenly. So when I discovered the Vegan Yacht, I felt right at home. Sure, it’s more hipster tattoo–bike culture–punk rock than my mother could ever hope to be, but the food is classic comfort vegetarian/vegan. Like any good kid, I began my meal with dessert. It’s hard to beat the PB&J smoothie, with a rich blueberry burst that had me sipping until I had slurped it all up (although I wish there had been a bit more peanut butter involved). From there I moved on to the beet brownie, a flat, reddish baked good studded with carob pieces. Despite a bitter aftertaste, it was still a favorite of the evening. So was the “Freeto Pie” Burrito, a hearty grilled tortilla stuffed with meaty organic tempeh chili, crunchy “freetos,” and vegan daiya cheese. As I waded through the black, kidney, and other assorted beans, it became clear that the cardinal Texas rule of never, ever, EVER putting beans in your chili was brazenly ignored. But you know what they say: Rules are made to be broken. Especially when the result is something this deliciously filling, perfect for a winter evening. It may also seem like a few rules were broken to create the Mock Chick ‘N Sammie. Chicken salad without chicken or mayonnaise? I think I’ve waxed on (and on and on) in a previous post about the shadiness of mayonnaise, so let’s not get into it here. The Vegan Yacht’s alternative was light and fresh, stuffed between slices of thick-cut organic bread and arranged with lettuce, tomato, and generous layers of crunchy sprouts and grated carrots. The only mediocre part of the meal was the Seitan Quesadilla. I was excited to try the homemade seitan, but something about it tasted off, and its texture was too springy for me. Paired with the gloppy vegan cheese en masse, even the chunks of bell pepper and avocado, the grated carrots, and the yummy grilled tortilla couldn’t save the entrée. Lucky for me, I had saved a few bites of that beet brownie for just an occasion. I wonder if they’d give the recipe to my mother. 1001 E. 6th (512-619-7989). Open Mon 11–3, Tues–Thur 11–3 & 7–midnight, Fri & Sat 7 p.m.–3 a.m. Closed Sun. Posted by Megan Giller