Munch On and Beyond is the brainchild of Chris Sauve.
“I came up with the concept of multiple businesses under one roof for a few reasons. I have worked with these folks in the past and knew their work ethic and I love the concept of pop-up markets with multiple vendors. We just decided to make it a permanent indoor market,” explains Chris.
She chose plant-based because she is vegan and against inhumane treatment of all animals. Understanding that so many people have problems with gluten, she wanted more San Antonio vegan options to be gluten-free. “Seeing people’s faces light up when faced with being able to eat anything on the menu, not having to pick and choose, is a delight.”
For many years, Chris worked for Vegeria, the city’s first vegan gluten-free restaurant. She worked in the kitchen and waited on tables. More recently, she began preparing her own snack foods under the Munch On label that were sold at Vegeria.
Chris’ personal favorites that she’ll be selling at Munch On and Beyond are a trail mix and stuffed dates. The dates are filled with Brazil nuts, then dipped in dairy-free dark chocolate and sprinkled with unsweetened coconut flakes. “They taste like mini candy bars,” she says.
Michael Evans has known Chris for many years. He and his wife, Paloma, are owners of Enlighten Veggie Food To Go, one of the co-ventures within Munch On and Beyond. Enlighten will offer up traditional foods, like burgers, wings, and tacos, made without any animal products.
I can attest to Mike’s skills with food. I’ve eaten many dishes prepared by him when he worked at Vegeria, and also at the local Krishna temple. I’ve seen him at work stirring the pots and selecting spices without any recipes. Vegetarian cooking is a passion for him, so he’s always interested in learning new dishes.
“I first started cooking vegetarian food by asking other cooks to share with me recipes of theirs that I liked, especially from Paloma who has traveled all over Latin America,” he says. “If you have the desire to do it, it will happen for sure. For my cooking, I love to keep my eye out for good cookbooks, especially at secondhand stores. I have a library of about 20 vegetarian cookbooks, two of which I probably bought new. I try to make myself cook something new from a cookbook once a week. An important aspect for me is making sure to cook, and eat, balanced. Make sure to eat some grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and you will be good.”
For Mike, as with many vegetarians, eating plant-based is for health reasons, among others.
“When people ask me why I am vegetarian, or why they shouldn’t eat meat, I like to say all reasons: ecological, economical, spiritual, health, and for the treatment of the animals. Personally, I began eliminating certain meat out of my diet after studying the effects it has on your body and how your body actually processes and breaks down meat, causing many of the health problems most prevalent today. From there, I began to study the effects on the environment, the global economy, the karmic repercussions, the life of an animal in a slaughterhouse, etc. It is a lot.”
My Tea Soul is run by a mother/daughter pair that also is connected to Chris through Vegeria and the old Viva bookstore. My Tea Soul will have a variety of fair-trade teas and baked goods. “Tea can be relaxing. Tea can empower. Tea can be inviting,” says Michele Hernandez, My Tea’s mom about why they were inspired to focus on tea and desserts.
Vegeria will sell a variety of tamales to mix and match and paletas. Before Vegeria opened its doors, I was buying tamales from the chef. I remember one day, it was almost like a drug sale. We met in a parking lot. I handed over the cash, and they gave me my fix: vegan stuffed tamales. I’m not a tamale fan, but FredAnthony Garza is so creative in his tamal-making. He can blend a touch of India, Thailand, California, and of course Mexico — without any lard, Maggi cubes, or other undesired ingredients. Pure taste and texture. I buy them by the dozen and keep them in my freezer. Great heat-and-serve meal or snack.
His paletas are new to San Antonio. Rather than your traditional sugar-drenched paletas, FredAnthony’s are made with low-glycemic agave. “This is an amazing incubator to see a dream become a reality. We will offer seven different flavors. The line will tap into San Antonio culture with flavors named, SanAnto, la Chingona, La llorona, and Dulce De Piñata.
FredAnthony is another one of those guys who’s filled with passion. He does what he loves, and it comes across in what he serves, and how he serves it. Both Michael and Chris worked with him when he first opened his restaurant. “Both are amazing compassionate hard-working individuals,” says Fred. “They brought so much to our team. When this opportunity came along I was hesitant to say yes because of all my commitments but their ideals and passion inspired and motivated me to partner with them. It’s an amazing experience to see people this motivated and inspired to create change in SanAnto.
The final spark in the five-pointed star is Golden Horn of Plenty. Its owner, Kaz Sephton is loved in San Antonio’s vegan community. Her love for all living things, and translating that to others, is her dharma. Her part in Munch On is a mini-resale shop, where some of the proceeds will benefit rescued dogs. Kaz, previously, was the very successful manager of several resale shops that benefitted animals.
For the love of animals, for the love of good food, for the love of supporting small businesses, for the love of San Antonio vegan options, check out Munch On and Beyond.