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The Restaurant of the Future

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The restaurant of the future:

restaurant swing Lucky Robot Austin

You browse through the menu on an iPad, then place your order electronically and eat your meal (or attempt to, anyway) while swinging through the air. At Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen, a laid-back café near downtown Austin, the future is the present. We went for Sunday brunch (really lunch for me), and I ordered their Yuzu Miso bowl with brown rice and a mimosa. As we waited for our food, we watched the server bring an interesting-looking appetizer to a nearby table.

The dish was an oxymoron in food form: Deep-Fried Brussels Sprouts. I got an order out of curiosity, and it ended up being my favorite thing on the table! (Sorry for the blurry photo. It’s hard to take a picture while you’re swinging!)

Vegan Caramel

More highlights from the trip: Coconut Caramels – one of the many treasures I found at the Wheatsville Co-op.

Austin Indian Food

New India Cuisine – An unassuming restaurant, but the food is fantastic. At Indian restaurants I always like to try a variety, so I ordered Malvani Coconut Curry, Saag, and Millionaire’s Curry. Matt got samosas and Chicken Tikka Masala, un-pictured for obvious reasons! (And yes, I accidentally used his real name in a post a few weeks ago. So I guess calling him S now would be really dumb. In retrospect, it was probably just dumb to use a nickname in the first place. I try to respect the privacy of my non-blogging friends, and I’d seen other bloggers give fake names to their boyfriends, husbands, children… but yeah, maybe it was not my best idea.)

Counter Culture Vegan Austin

Counter Culture – I ordered a lentil loaf and a side order of cashew cream macaroni and cheese. Although it wasn’t my favorite meal of the trip (the loaf was dry and macaroni a bit bland), it got better once I added a little salt and asked for extra ketchup. Their homemade ketchup was really good.

Sweet Ritual Licks Ice Cream

It was hot out, so we ate a lot of ice cream on the trip! Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl from Licks (which has both vegan and non-vegan ice cream), and Coconut soft-serve from Sweet Ritual (The owner is super nice… she even set out a tray of free samples for us). And the ice cream from Thrice Café, reviewed in my Vegan Austin Restaurants post… this was our hands-down favorite.

fair trade chocolate Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages – A non-profit organization dedicated to fair trade. They sell intricate jewelry, accessories, home décor, and gifts skillfully crafted by artisans in third-world countries, and all of the profits go back to the village that made each product. Plus, when a store offers free chocolate samples, it instantly becomes my new favorite place to shop. Obviously I purchased one of the chocolate bars… You know, to help the cause. Any excuse to buy chocolate = win.

Link of the Day:

peanut butter oreos
……..Peanut Butter Oreos

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Lisa says:

    Wow, that sounds like a really cool restaurant but at the same time it makes me kind of sad thing will be done so electronically that we can’t even interact with others in a restaurant – well with the servers. It kind of makes me worried about kids being really socially awkward. If that makes any sense 😉
    But, at the same time it’s really neat because I’ve never heard of a restaurant like that!
    All the dishes look amazing!
    And I’m dying over those Indian dishes. Yum.

  2. Lisa H says:

    What a great time. I would have had food down my front swinging and eating at the same time, but what fun! I just made Tikka Masala with the new “chickein” cutlets. I didn’t tell my kids the substitution and they didn’t notice. I’m still laughing.
    Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.

  3. my oh my…restaurant of the future. How perfect!

  4. Lucia says:

    Hi Katie, I am an avid reader of your blog and you are one of my greatest inspirations to go vegan. I am an intern with an environmental group (Teens Turning Green) and we are putting together a cookbook called “Menu for Change: A Conscious Guide to Food,” which is designed to help students eat sustainably on a budget. We are hoping to get menu submissions from our favorite sustainable chefs and naturally I immediately thought of you! We are looking for simple, economical, sustainable, healthy, and delicious recipes—right up your alley! There are a couple of submission guidelines which I would be happy to email to you if you are interested but really it’s all quite straightforward. I would love to see your name in the book so more students can be exposed to your inspiring lifestyle!

    1. Sure thing. I’d love to help.

      1. Lucia says:

        Thanks so much! I will email you the details.

    2. Maya says:

      Hi Lucia! You probably know more about this than I do, so I thought I’d ask you. I do like many of Katie’s recipes, but a lot of them actually don’t seem sustainable to me. Using products like bananas, coconut, etc. that don’t abundantly grow in our country seems like it would cause a strain on other countries for whom these products are a traditional part of their diet. I have not done any research on this, it’s just a feeling I have. What are your thoughts on using these kinds of products? Coconut things in particular seem to have become particularly trendy over the past decade, and while delicious, I worry that it will put a strain on nations that produce the fruit.

  5. Kaitlyn says:

    I love Ten Thousand Villages! We have one in my city too. When I have time to go to the Farmers’ Markets on Saturday mornings, I always try to stop in there too!

  6. Barb says:

    Is it just me? I see no picture of blurry brussel sprouts. And I so wanted to see them. LOL! But I really want some to eat. Guess I’ll have to go to Austin!

    1. The blurry photo is of me. I did take a picture of the food, but it was even worse (not blurry, but dark and with terrible lighting).

  7. Jaime says:

    Okay, the place sounds awesome regarding ambiance.
    But….Deep-Fried Brussels Sprouts???
    My distaste for deep-fried anything aside, that sounds horrible. I applaud your curiosity.

    The lentil loaf looks like bleeding cow! BUT it also sounds good, minus the dryness. Hmm…how can we improve this…?

    1. I don’t usually like deep-fried things either… they’re so greasy. But our server told us that this was the most popular thing on their menu, so I had to try!

      1. Maya says:

        Uchiko/Uchi have amazing brussel sprouts too! They are crispy, not sure if they’re deep fried or just roasted/crisped but they are seriously delicious. It’s a pricey place, but you should check out their happy hour next time.

  8. Kaycee says:

    Thanks for the reviews, Katie! I am actually down here in Texas right now for a summer internship and was in need for some good restaurant recommendations :) Think I will pay a visit to Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen soon- such a crazy interesting atmosphere!

  9. Stephanie Adkins says:

    Anytime I go to Austin, Wheatsville is always the first place I go to to get my southern fried tofu sandwich and donut fix on! So stoked you go there, everything in Austin is so delicious!

  10. Alyssa says:

    Glad to see you made it to some real Austin original’s during your visit as my last Austin-oriented comment was saddened you missed out on some classic vegan-Austin cuisine. Next time around, hit up Mother’s and Beet’s.

  11. Austin is on my short-list for places I must visit, so I’ll remember these! That Indian food looks amazing!

  12. Jenni says:

    Haha, I love how you think “deep-fried brussels sprouts” is an oxymoron in food form. I must say, deep frying brussels sprouts does sound kind of counter-intuitive to me, but I guess your experience just goes to show that you shouldn’t knock it ’til you try it! I’m jealous that you got coconut soft serve. That sounds awesome. I wish there were more frozen yogurt places whose dairy alternatives were healthier than soy. We have a lot of homemade ice cream places here in LA, and a lot of them have nutmilk-based ice cream, but pretty much all the frozen yogurt places use crappy ingredients!

  13. Suzanne says:

    I’m glad you like Ten Thousand Villages too, it’s a great store! I love that they sell fair trade chocolate- and vegan to boot!

  14. Mich says:

    When I saw the post title, I got really excited and thought that maybe YOU were opening a restaurant. Because that would be amazing.

    Those 10,000 Villages chocolate bars are DIVINE. I wish they had a shop around here.

  15. Swinging while waiting for food sounds so exciting. I like the ideal of an electronic menu I wonder will most restaurants start a trend like that… :)

  16. Nessa says:

    So cool! I have to check this place out :)

  17. That sounds like such a cool restaurant… with the swinging benches. I love the flavors of Indian food, it usually seems to be the perfect combination between being really flavorful and yet not too spicy.

  18. awww.. that’s so sad in a way, I kinda like the server coming and interacting with the customer. Well, as long as there is no tip at the end, fine by me. 20% tip is ridiculous in my opinion.

  19. Isidore says:

    Holy crap I live like 45 minutes away from Austin (which- as you know- is nothing in Texas time) so you just gave me a lot of places to check out when I can. I really need to go to that ice cream shop and I’m debating on the Lucky Robot Japanese Cafe.
    (Why am I a teenager? Just one more year and I can actually do these things on my own.)

  20. That ice cream sounds divine!!! I am in THE land of ice cream (Italy). I couldn’t be happier yet it’s not-so great for someone who is lactose intolerant (yet STILL eats it KNOWING it’ll make her feel awful!) Lol!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Ten Thousand Villages is a great place to buy Christmas gifts. Have you checked out their website?

  22. Nice blog and new India Cuisine looks delicious just mouthwatering……. I will check out this place soon :-)