Dallas has been slow to embrace the food truck the way other cities have. Newer venues in the city like Klyde Warren Park and Truck Yard have helped, and steadily Dallas is becoming a more hospitable environment. By January, if all goes well, the city will also get its first all-vegan baked goods truck, Vegan Noms.
San Antonio native Allison Catalani, the baker behind the truck, is in the process of getting Vegan Noms through the food truck permit process.
Catalani first dabbled in veganism while going through a 200 hour training certification to teach yoga. As she slowly cut out meat and animal products she found she had more energy, was less tired and not constantly hungry. She also found that most vegans didn't have proper desserts, and one thing she refused to give up was sweets and baking.
"I've always been into baking," she says. "I started with an Easy Bake Oven when I was six or seven years old." Because she learned to bake on her own she wound up inventing a lot of her own recipes for muffins and cookies. So when she ventured into being vegan she also started experimenting with her recipes to find animal-free alternatives to milk, butter and eggs.
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One of the advantages to cooking vegan food these days is the availability of products like Earth Balance that makes vegan shortening and butter. Apple sauce is a popular replacement in vegan baking, but Catalani found that no matter what she did the apple sauce taste was always too prominent.
She started baking for her yoga students and last January she considered baking professionally. "Opening a bakery is a lot of overhead and commitment though," she says. Over the summer she wound up meeting a friend of her sister who runs a food truck in Portland that sells bagels. She realized that with a truck, all that she needed as a kitchen and a vehicle.
Currently Vegan Noms is still waiting on city permits for operation. Dallas is still so new to the food truck scene that the bureaucracy for it moves pretty slow; you can't even get a health inspection until you pass a plan review that involves blueprints and information like aisle width, sink style, whether or not you use antibacterial soap, etc.
Once it hits the road Vegan Noms will have a regular menu of standard baked good fair like banana nut muffins, snickerdoodles, brownies and red velvet cupcakes, along with rotating seasonal snack like lemon and coconut cookies in the summer, Guinness-based cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day and peppermint fudge for Christmas.