Travel Restaurant Review: On the Road with Penny Lane

Angie Poolside
Me, poolside at Austin Motel

Note: I wrote this blog entry on the plane from Kansas City to Houston, the first of two flights on my way back to Austin and also at home the day after we returned to San Antonio. Forgive the lack of photos, we had way too much equipment on us for the film shoots to bring along our photography camera too!

My husband and I work as freelance filmmakers, which means we are often hired as a two-man production crew. Our friend and filmmaker Penny Lane invited us to help work on her first feature-length documentary this past weekend. We drove in to Austin on Thursday morning and met her at the Austin Motel, a really adorable spanish style retreat. We filmed our first interview with a professor at the University of Texas and then enjoyed lunch at Mother’s Cafe & Garden on Duval Street, a veg-friendly restaurant my sister had recommended. I had a cup of corn chowder cup soup and an Avocado Sandwich, all very appetizing.

We went for a quick swim in our motel pool in the afternoon before heading out for our second interview that evening. Penny told us her vegetarian friends had recommended Gueros Taco Bar, a fantastic veg-friendly mexican restaurant steps away from our motel on South Congress. Before you are seated be sure to ask for the Vegan Menu, which has a wonderful selection of vegan and gluten-free items. I’m always so happy when there is a special menu made just for vegans. I shared the spinach salad and chalupa entrée with Mark, which was so delicious. Penny’s flight left earlier than ours the next day so after a quick breakfast of banana nut muffins (see recipe) we dropped her off at the airport and headed to Veggie Heaven for lunch. Veggie Heaven has been a top spot for us since I became a vegetarian in 2008. If you have a craving for chinese food and fried spring rolls and you’re in Austin, I recommended Veggie Heaven. We caught our flight to Kansas City via Houston, rented a car in the Missouri half of Kansas City and drove to Topeka. We met our third interview subject at Brick Oven and Grill a seemingly non-veggie-friendly place, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with their Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes. The next morning I got a bowl of oatmeal with almonds and dried cranberries at a nearby Starbucks before our first interview in Topeka. After the shoot we stopped at Tup Tim Thai Restaurant, a recommendation I found on for lunch. The food was good, Mark and I shared a spicy vegetarian dish with Tofu and vegetables. We hit the road up and over to Easton, Kansas for the final interview of the trip but drove directly into a hail storm. It was crazy and fun and scary all at the same time. We were happy to have survived it without getting the windshield in our rented car broken, but we had to cancel the interview and head to our hotel in north Kansas City. I of course had drank at least three glasses of water at the Thai restaurant so by the time we got out of the storm my bladder was about to explode. We stopped at a nearby gas station to use their restroom but they said I wasn’t allowed to, so we sped to the closest restaurant in sight which was unfortunately a Burger King. Never has a vegan ran so desperately into a Burger King as I did! By the time we settled into our hotel it was getting late and we decided that we had eaten at enough restaurants for one trip and opted to make a stop at the nearby Target for dinner. It took us a while to finally get there and by the time we gathered our groceries (thank goodness for Amy’s frozen meals!) we were all getting rather giggly and silly. In that moment we realized none of us brought a form of payment, so we had to go back to the hotel for our wallets and go back to Target. We were joking and having such a good time and it made me realize how much fun it was to work on films and travel with friends. We left the next day (Sunday) and went our separate ways, us back to Austin and Penny back to New York. In Austin we visited my dad and he made us veggie burgers for dinner. It was nice to spend some time with him before we came back to San Antonio. It was really a great trip but I couldn’t have done it without the support of Mark and Penny, who were so accommodating to my diet.

xo angie

p.s. The greatest resource of the trip was It was just what we needed to find some great restaurants in completely unfamiliar areas!

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