Sunday, April 7, 2013

Texas VegFest in Austin

I went to Texas VegFest in Austin yesterday! The temperature was 80* and there was plenty of sun. I was in my element. There were speakers, food vendors, samples, and non-food items for sale. First, I'll list all the things I ate that I did not photograph - Nada Moo coconut-based ice cream in mint chocolate chip, Plant Fusion vanilla protein powder (they mixed it with water and it was SO smooth just from shaking to mix), tamales from Vegeria, a sample of Upton's Naturals bacon-style seitan, pizza dip samples from Christy Morgan's demo, and Indian fritters from another speaker. We wanted to try Good Seed Burgers, Red Rabbit donuts, and Arlo's food truck, but they were all sold out by mid-afternoon! My friend was able to get a coffee donut from Red Rabbit in the morning, but I thought they were selling cupcakes so I passed. Lots of booths were out of food by 4 PM. Insane!

Once we entered the park, I made a beeline for the Food Fight! Grocery booth, where I bought Phoney Baloney coconut bacon, sea salt Cocomels, and the best tote bag in the history of tote bags. It says, "NEVER READ THE COMMENTS." That's the #1 rule of the internet! They have a storefront in the Portland vegan mini-mall, so it was fitting that they were positioned next to Herbivore clothing, another tenant in the vegan mini-mall. Of course, I had to buy a couple shirts from Herbivore. I love a good message shirt. I bought one that reads "Bacon Had a Mom" and "Love Life No Matter Whose." Cute! I have quite the collection of message shirts.
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I also took the chance to buy specialty items from local Austin businesses. The Rabbit Food Grocery booth had Soy Curls (one of the things I asked Food Fight to bring on their fb page), Choc & Nut spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella that is palm oil-free, unlike Justin's brand), white chocolate chips (can only buy as a 3-pack on Amazon here), and Beanfield nacho chips (after trying a sample at the Beanfield booth, I had to buy these Dorito-like chips). One of my friends bought a raspberry coconut Dillo (they make vegan Twinkie knock-offs).
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There were plenty of vendors, but I stopped at the MonkeyWrench Bookstore table to buy a copy of Caribbean Vegan. I had seen online that the book included a seitan ham recipe. The author stopped updating her blog for a long time, so I was afraid the book was going to go out of print. I snatched up a copy. They had plenty of other vegan books, not just cookbooks. I regret not buying Christy Morgan's Blissful Bites cookbook from this table, but I knew I was already over my spending limit and going to spend more...
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For an early lunch, I had an order of lentil shepherd's pie with sweet potatoes from Happy Vegan Bakery and a mint chocolate cupcake from Capital City Bakery. For a late lunch, I had a combo plate from Aster's Ethiopian. I've never had Ethiopian food before, but the injera bread intrigues me. For only $7, I figured it was cheap enough to try and there wouldn't be the embarrassing moment of not liking it in front of the chefs (like what would happen in a restaurant). It was so good! The greens were a little bitter, but the spiciness of the red dish compensated and they were a great combo in the bread. For dinner, I had a little funnel cake (but I don't know the name of the vendor) and two tamales from Vegeria (not pictured). These meals were spaced apart, so I actually felt pretty good all day. I was expecting to feel stuffed and disgusting by the end of the day. I was satisfied and ready for a shower and bed by the time we got back to Houston. :)
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Because there were demos and talks throughout the day, I got to meet a few vegan celebrities. I stopped Christy Morgan to tell her to write about her training on her Blissful Chef blog, even if it's on a separate tab, because there's not that much information out there for vegans doing HIIT or serious endurance sports. There are a few blogs and books, but the more information available on being an incredibly active vegan will help dispel the myth that we don't eat enough to be athletic! I also stopped Ayinde Howell, a chef/entrepenuer who started the I Eat Grass blog. He seemed really cool, but we missed his talk because we were outside eating (shocking!). One of my friends *really* wanted to see Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's talk. I thought she seemed a little stuffy on her fb page with some of her status messages, so I was pleasantly surprised by her talk. She seems to really be reaching out to non-vegans and encouraging them to make the transition. She used humor and she was engaging. I had no intention of buying one of her books, but she was doing a book-signing after her talk. I bought The Joy of Vegan Baking and my friend took a photo with her. I was bummed that Isa Chandra Moskowitz could not attend, because I had intended to get a photo with her and get her to sign my Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook (my first vegan cookbook!).
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I also bought jumbo Dandies. Usually they're so small. I had no idea that they even made such a large marshmallow. I bought two bags, but I plan to give one as a gift to my friend that was supposed to go with us. This are the perfect size for s'mores! We totally could have used these at the recent luau party!
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Of course, there were free samples! Wheatsville Co-op gave us a mini Larabar and a few printouts. Raw Revolution was handing out 100 calorie bars. I picked up a tiny bag of Crunchmaster gluten-free cracker, plus some Lundberg wasabi rice chips and short grain brown rice. There were samples of hummus, Clif bars, and a few other things that I didn't stop to try.
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Oh yeah, I bought two cookie sandwiches from Capital City Bakery to bring home. One is oatmeal creme and the other is fluffernutter (PB cookies with a marshmallow filling). Yum!
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