Sunday, June 28, 2015

USA 2015 Part 2: VidaVeganCon Kicks Off!

Thursday afternoon was the Unofficial (But Official) VVC Meet & Greet at Buzz Mill for those who were in town early. I can't deny that I was pretty nervous, being a social awkward person plunging into an outdoor patio full of people who mostly already knew others there. But turns out I didn't need to worry, because everyone is lovely! I was welcomed by Jess, one of the amazing VVC organisers (who made me feel so welcome the entire weekend). I was so excited to finally meet Jojo from Vegan In Brighton (who I have followed in the internet since way back when I used to frequent the PPK) as well as fellow Australian (but living in Germany) Josh. I also met Randi from Laughfrodesiac and Lauren.

Buzz Mill had a vegan food cart out the back, Golden Spike Rail Cart, which is now operating as a wholesale business rather than a cart. However on the day they were still open and had a fun menu. I was still pretty full, but I had this Mini Cheese Steak (minus the capsicum) which was pretty yummy even though it was not very photogenic!

Mini Cheese Steak from Golden Spike Rail Cart


I've been a huge fan of Bianca from Vegan Crunk and finally got brave enough to say hi. She also had her best friend Sheridan with her, and we had met online through Bianca's blog, so that was such a great delight to meet her as well as Bianca!

Sheridan, me and Bianca


Austin is home to an amazing vegan ice cream shop, Sweet Ritual, and they were selling a couple of flavours there. It was hot, and also who says no to ice cream, so I got a scoop of the chocolate (almond-based) with sprinkles.

Chocolate Ice Cream with Sprinkles from Sweet Ritual pop-up


After the meet and greet I ended up at in.gredients for trivia with Jojo and crew. I was on a team with Josh, Erika (who I worked out used to do the Cosmopolitan Hour podcasts, which I loved!), Terry Hope Romero and Marie and Dan from Red Hot Vegans (who also organised the VVC scavenger hunt). Our team (Ovulation Nation) came fifth!

In.gredients have vegan mac and cheese, but by the time I was feeling hungry they had sold out! Not to worry, because we headed over to Via 313 food truck where I got to tick off one of my 'must eats', the Detroit-style cheese pizza (made with vegan cheese). This was so good! As I was not traveling with a partner, I ate this entire thing and it was GLORIOUS!

Classic Cheese Pizza from Via 313


The next morning was the day of the Vegan Bazaar, and I wanted to make sure that I didn't fill up on breakfast too much. So I went to JuiceLand (I went to the Guadalupe location, they have several) and had a Peachy Keen smoothie, which had apple juice, peach, spinach and kale in it. It was great, and judging from Instragram was a popular smoothie among VVC attendees!

Peachy Keen from JuiceLand


On my way back I stopped off at Wheatsville for the second part of my small breakfast. Just take a moment to admire this portion of their produce section. Greens are so pretty!

Pretty greens at Wheatsville


I picked up a chai latte (the JuiceLand ones had both honey and coconut oil in them... WHY???) and a breakfast taco (while in Austin). I also grabbed this cute oatmeal cup to stash for Indianapolis (more on that after Austin) and a mini-cheese just because. The taco had black beans, potato and 'beef mince', and ended up being a lot spicier than I anticipated. But thankfully I had some Maple Pecan Malk in the fridge to cool me down.

Breakfast Taco, chai and snacks from Wheatsville


And then it was on a bus and off the the Bazaar! The first hour was a cheese tasting put on by none other than cheese queen Miyoko Schinner! We can get three flavours of her cheese in Australia, but unfortunately they are all quite heavy on the coconut oil, so I was stoked to be able to try the other flavours! My favourites were the Mt Vesuvius Black Ash and the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse (I love all smoky cheeses). I didn't get a good photo of the cheese laid out on the tables, but here is my plate!

Miyoko's Cheese Plate


There was also a limited edition flavour, this gorgeous Fleur de Mai Sweet Cream Strawberry. The flavour of this was incredible! I wasn't sure if this had coconut oil in it (I suspected it did as her softer cheeses tend to) so I only had a little bit but it was so good. Plus, pretty!

Limited Edition Strawberry Cream Miyoko's cheese


The Bazaar itself was pretty amazing. A lot of great vendors and so many samples! Capital City Bakery was there with an entire table full of free samples! I had a cherry pie in a cup, a strawberry blonde cupcake and a chocolate chip cookie. I also finally got to sample a lot of Treeline Cheese which is incredible, the scallion one was my favourite.

Capital City Bakery samples


Treeline Cheese samples


Other vendors there that I enjoyed samples from included Mean Vegan Products (my first ever tamale tasting, also they make some great mushroom jerky) and Upton's Naturals (their new jackfruit products are great!). But there were so many more as well!

The bazaar also had some talks going on. After the crowded vendor area, sitting in a peaceful theater was a nice break. I went to Bianca's Kombucha and Ginger Beer Home Brewing talk, the 'How We Made Austin Awesome' Panel (CLICK ON THAT LINK!) and also Terry Hope Romero's guide to the internet.

Bianca's kombucha demonstration


Terry Hope Romero


I happened to bump into Anika from Vegan Score, Seattle Vegan Extraordinaire! I had not had a chance to meet her on my past Seattle trips, so this was Very Awesome (everything is awesome!). She also introduced me to two other Seattle vegans, Brit and Jean. Hanging out with awesome Seattle people just made my day!

There were four food trucks that came to the event, and I sampled from two. Of course I could not miss out on a taco from The Vegan Nom. They have a HUGE menu as well as specials, but I ended up going with the intriguing Maple Miso Sweet Potato, which had maple-miso glazed sweet potato, creamy salsa verde, coriander and avocado (I had them leave off the raw red onion). It was so good.

Maple Miso Sweet Potato Taco from The Vegan Nom


I also had a sweet corn tamale from Cool Beans. Forgive the terrible photo, but this was great! I was sad not to try and of their tacos, which I hear are amazing.

Sweet Corn Tamale from Cool Beans


My Bazaar haul. I want to go back and buy so much more stuff!

Vida Vegan Bazaar goodies


For dinner I met up with the Seattle vegans at Spider House, there was some sort of event on there but it got a but confusing so we just ended up sitting and eating and talking. I got the Mock Chicken Wrap from The Vegan Yacht and Brit got their famous Frito Burrito.

Mock Chick'n Wrap from The Vegan Yacht


Frito Burrito from The Vegan Yacht


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


Sahara sleeping the morning before I left.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, what a brilliant time! The food reports are getting better and better! Those cheeses sound amazing and great to hear you met so many lovely people.

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  2. So many of my fave places in this post! I miss Sweet ritual and Via313 and I could totally go for one of those green smoothies right about now.

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  3. Wowzers, your trip just sounds amazing! So much fun, food and meeting other bloggers. So happy for you :)

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