Tucson's favorite vegan bakery FINALLY has a brick and mortar

Bakeries are some of my favorite places in the whole world. I have a running list of my favorite pastries in Tucson, and it's a great feat that Hannah Houlden, of Houlden's Rise Above, is competitive on the list as a completely vegan baker.

My personal experience with her pastries started in a drive-thru. I tried her strawberry pop tart that had maybe been sitting wrapped in plastic for a bit too long and put off trying her pastries again for months. When Hello Bicycle owner Sam Lettes raved about her baked goods in an interview, I thought, maybe my experience had been a fluke.

I tried the chocolate chip cookie at Hello Bicycle's cafe, and thus began a sea change. I tried a pop tart again at Cartel Coffee downtown, fresh, and it was incredible. Then a savory pastry at Presta, equally impressive, before the cake and pastry pictured for this story.

When I was waiting in line at Hannah's new brick and mortar, some vegans behind me commented, "I bet every vegan in Tucson is here" (the line was very long). They then commented on the potential non-vegans who were coming in for the Instagram photo (guilty). But the magic of Houlden's, like other homegrown vegan vendors like Nopalinda, is that their food is even better than the animal product equivalent, not just an adequate substitute. It's for everyone.