VegFest 2011

Seriously, best VegFest yet. I volunteered at the welcome table at the first-ever VegFest way back when, found myself flipping tempeh bacon for sampling at the second, and years later, having volunteered, attended and exhibited, I can easily say that 2011’s event was simply the biggest & bestest yet. Way to go, Northwest Veg! Like hundreds, if not thousasands, of other vegfolk, I was sad to see a few demos suddenly cancelled, but that was out of the hands of Northwest Veg, and as anyone who plans events can tell you, whether they’re planning grand festivals or tea parties for ferrets, stuff happens! Anyhow, while the attendance was through the roof – over six thousand throughout the weekend – people weren’t just stopping by to load up on samples, they were visited with a purpose: education. The classrooms were packed! No joke, I went to a demo 35 minutes early to grab a decent seat, and it was so worth it.

I spent most of the weekend behind the Vegan Iron Chef table (so if you saw a dorky gal in a dress with two black braids, yadda, yours truly), spreading the word about our plans for round 3 in Fall 2012, potential Pacific Northwest regionals (and beyond), and begging for volunteers with my awesome cohorts, but I did make a point to free up some time for a talk, a demo and a few strolls around ye olde VegFest, or shall I say, the new and improved VegFest. Aw, yeah.

Some highlights:

  • The people! I saw smiling vegans and the veg-curious every time I looked up from my biting my nails and chatting with my cohorts. I saw what seemed like every single vegan and vegetarian I knew from the state of Oregon! There were plenty of hugs, high fives & VVCers, galore.
  • Meeting the sweet folks at EcoVegan.
  • Even though I forgot to to pose with a mustache, yet again, it’s always fun seeing Nicole & Dan from Upton’s Naturals: the honorary Portlanders!
  • The coconut creamer. There’s no turning back.
  • Chicago Soy Dairy’s kick-ass prices on Teese and Dandies.  The next step to creating my dream Smores pie is merely buying a blowtorch…
  • Likewise with Earthly Gourmet: Holy, Soy Curls deal!
  • Taking a break from sampling and deciding on a Veggie Combo from Sengetara for lunch on Sunday. It has been far too long since I’ve visited the restaurant, and this was a spicy reminder.
  • Two words: GARLIC WHIP.

Some goods:

Simply a portion of the goodies I went home with on the first day.

The view from the Vegan Iron Chef table.

Behold, festin'

Behold, Flavavegan & Steffers!

Can I be Julie Hasson when I grow up?

More festin'

Samplin' the new line of Tempt ice cream bars.

Thinking about samplin' at the Supreme Master table.

Greetin' the friendly ladies at EcoVegan.

Listening to the honest and charming words of Grant Butler. Bonus points for Mama Pea's hair, right?

Bonnie, reppin' for all raw food folks in attendance, right?

Wowwin' at the Vitamix table.

Learnin' with Steffers

And watching kids inspire, on their way to the circus protest.

My monster friend and I were so damn intrigued by this gift from Steffers - this stuff is unreal! Go try it!

And finally, lunchin' on a complete meal - and purchasing the new Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian minutes later from Kittee herself. Aw, yeah!

In conclusion, it’s been the most vegan summer ever!

Mystery Meatout & Hidden Gems: A Quick Sneak Peak

This weekend marks the annual international Meatout, the “world’s largest grassroots diet education campaign”. Here in Portland, the dedicated volunteers at NW Veg and Try Vegan PDX have joined up for a day of activities featuring an open flash mob of vegan positivity downtown, a large NW Veg potluck in SE, and a presentation on Portland’s hidden gems by yours truly afterwards (just ignore the ridiculous description of myself on the site)! I’ve been busy researching and investigating for this dramatic expose, if you will, the past few weeks, and I’ll be showcasing 10-15 vegan-friendly locations in the PDX area that may not be on your radar……yet. It’s time for secrets & hidden gems!

Here’s a couple fairly easy sneak peaks the local bulk shoppers should recognize….

Where are these hallowed halls?

Now take a close look at this fried rice….

What local establishment makes a lemongrass flavored tofu available by the lb?

More dramatic unveiling & favorites coming Sunday night, 6:30pm at the Multnomah Friends Meeting House on SE Stark.

Also happening this weekend: Food Fight! vegan grocery is generously donating 10% of all in-store sales to Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support groups. More ways to directly donate are on the link as well.