Another year, another gigantic endeavor Vegan Beerfe... I mean Eat Drink Vegan has undertaken. They have gone from a small parking lot to a larger parking lot to a stadium to the entire area surrounding the stadium!
This year was no exception in the grandiose department, but the heat became a worthy adversary in trying to suppress the hurrah. It fought hard to stomp on the fun for June is definitely summer. The cool stylings of May from last year were nowhere to be found...unless you remained under one of the many trees and held fort.
I, on the other hand, jumped from booth to booth and group to group because I was at one of the biggest, baddest festivals of the year! So many friends and vendors in one area, it was too hard to sit still in the shade...which inevitably led to the three below happening.
- Did I still get burned after dousing myself with sunblock every 2 hours? Yes, yes I did.
- Did I have to get Pedialyte after the festival to replenish nutrients lost? Yes, yes I did.
- Did I walk back to the car with a massive headache? Yes, yes I did.
I also said hi to new and old vendors, tried delicious dishes, hung with friends, walked a ton, drank delicious kombucha, listened to some talented musicians, partook in fantastic photo ops and had a blast filming some cameo spots with my friend Vince Lia for his funny Eat Drink Vegan Youtube video.
My favorite dishes & drinks from Eat Drink Vegan this year were:
IEatGrass Ayinde Howell's Mac and Yease | First item I HAD to scoop up because I am a magnet to this dish.
The Herbivorous Butcher | All the way from Minneapolis, I could not pass up the opportunity to try their very sought after fare. Their festival option was The Double Down Sandwich. Two chick'n bun patties stuffed with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mayo and bacon. Three of us split and devoured. Nothing was left behind.
Plantfood for People | It wouldn't be right for me to head to a festival and not enjoy my favorite taco in town. Truly the best marinated, pulled jackfruit with fresh coleslaw, pico de gallo and chipotle mayo taco.
Fine Feathers Kombucha Co | After being pretty disappointed with another kombucha vendor, I stumbled upon Fine Feathers for the first time. I was blown away by the authenticity. Every sip was smooth and flavorful while containing the right amount of effervescence. The lemongrass oolong swept me away.
Mama's Tamales | In between heavier dishes, we took comfort in a refreshing ceviche. Any dish where avocado slices lie beautifully on top is alright in my book.
Gardein | YES it's simple, YES it's a packaged product, YES you can't compare it to a dish like Ayinde's Mac and Yease, BUT it was a free delicious snack you could grab and go. For a packaged product, Gardein's fish sticks are quite impressive. At the festival, they were hot, crispy and cooked thoroughly when I grabbed one..or two.
Gratuitous Smorgasbord Shot of the Savory Judging Table.
A new addition this year to the line-up was a Food Judging Contest.
Are you confused because you didn't hear about it?
Yeah, most people didn't either.
Not much was discussed on social media or even at the event. If they choose to continue this concept next year, I'm thinking more hoopla and engagement should surround it because it's not a bad idea.
Until then, enjoy this overflowing food table shot.
Cha Cha Kombucha | One word, Guava. They sold me at Guava. The delicate nature in which this kombucha is intricately created comes through in flavor and carbonation.
The Vegetarian Blog | Talk about a taco that can steal the show! Dhani created two of the most impressive tacos I've ever eaten–it rivaled my LA favorite, Plantfood for People. The taco above was a crispy, tender seitan with pico de gallo, avocado and magic sauce on a corn tortilla.
Organix | One of my favorite sandwiches in town, the Puerco, was festivalized. Marinated jackfruit, slow cooked and baked with homemade BBQ sauce, slaw, vegan mayo and pickle on ciabatta bread WRAPPED in a quesadilla. It was a beast.
SunCafe Organic | Ignore everything else and just focus on the pretzel with ale pub cheese sauce. That sauce is a "douse on everything" kinda sauce.
Not only were there delicious vendors, but some impressive retail and snack vendors. My friend Vegetaryn had a booth in Portland and LA. Beet x Beet had her retail PLUS an on-site screener for custom beer koozies! Herbivore Clothing brought their A game and Beanfield's gave away samples of their tasty chips.
A testament to the day was being able to endure the heat from roughly 10am to 5:30pm.
Damn June, BUT how can I be upset? Eat Drink Vegan has become such a force to be reckoned with that they had to move it to June to run consecutively with Portland. Trial and error when trailblazing.
The advantages this year included the food lines being shorter, more areas for people to lounge, more vendors and shorter bathroom lines. In fact, the venue was so much larger that I wasn't able to find many of my friends who traveled great lengths to get there. On my part, if the venue is the same for next year, a better game plan will be set. That way I can see all, do all, eat all and drink all!
Yup. I'm one ambitious girl.
Lots of love to the Vegan Visor Gang.
Yes, I did buy a visor. Yes, I forgot to wear it for the photo op. Yes, it's now collecting dust in my closet. Yes, I love the fact I have silly friends.