Saturday, September 22, 2012

DC VegFest 2012

My walk from work to yoga is about 20 minutes or so, and I usually chat with my parents en route.  On Thursday, when I was talking to my mother, she asked me "Are you going to DC VegFest this weekend?"  My initial response was "How do you know about DC VegFest?"  Count me impressed.

But, to answer her question, yes, Mom, I went to DC VegFest, and it was like Hannukah for the Vegans.

This year's VegFest was held at Yards Park, a beautiful area overlooking the Anacostia River.  After a short walk from the metro, I encountered hundreds, if not a thousand or more vegans, vegetarians, or people curious about being a vegan waiting in line to get this goody bag (more on that later!)

I met up with my friend Valerie (who has a wonderful blog, City Life Eats) and her friend Rachel, and we set off to explore the festival.

Here are some of my highlights:

Puree Juice Bar - Our first stop of the day was to grab some green juice from Puree, which is located in downtown Bethesda.  Since it was a warm day, we wanted to hydrate with some fresh juice.  My juice had kale, apple, cucumber and lemon.  While I've had fresh juice before, this was my first green juice and I was really happy with it (hence the big smiles below!).

Vaute Couture - Our next stop was Vaute Couture, which makes high-fashion, high quality vegan-friendly coats and and other clothing items.  I couldn't resist this gorgeous, snuggly green coat, especially given that it was 50% off!  Funny story - the Vaute Couture folks held it for me after I bought it, but, in a mix-up over how many they brought to DC, accidentally sold it to someone else before I could pick it up.  So, they are sending me one from inventory, free shipping.

Pete's APizza - I've written before on how much I love Pete's vegan pizza, so I was excited to see they had a stand.  They weren't serving pizza, but instead had a yummy vegan pasta with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and daiya cheese.   The eggplant was cooked to that perfect creamy texture that I love, and I could have eaten this pasta all day long!  For my gluten-free friends, Pete's also has gluten-free pasta.

Daiya Cheese - Speaking of Daiya, they were right around the corner from Pete's.  Valerie and I finally got to try the elusive Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Wedge, which we haven't seen anywhere in the DC area.  Apparently it's at Mom's Organic Market, so I'll be looking for it at the Rockville Mom's very soon.  I definitely preferred it to the other Daiya wedges.  I can see me eating it on crackers.

Roots Market - We've driven by the Roots Market in Olney a number of times, and I definitely hope to stop in there for a visit soon!  At the Roots booth, I was able to try Beyond Meat, a vegan chicken substitute that has gotten a ton of press lately.  Roots has in their prepared foods section, and hopes to carry it at retail soon.  I was so thrilled with the texture and flavor - it's super hearty.  I know you can get Beyond Meat in Whole Foods on the West Coast, so hopefully it will make it out here soon so I can play with it in some dishes. 

The Vegg - The Vegg makes a vegan egg yolk.  We tried it with some vegan french toast and I was bowled over on how authentic it tastes.  It's made with nutritional yeast and black salt.  It's thinner than an egg yolk might be, but the people working the booth said it can be bulked up with silken tofu.  Do you know what that means, friends?  Vegan fruit tart!  Stay tuned for that experiment.

Way Better Snacks - Way Better Snacks makes a variety of sprouted tortilla chips.  Sprouted foods are hot right now, there was a massive crowd at this booth.  All of the flavors were good, but I really enjoyed the Sweet Chili flavor (and got a larger sample to take home).  They tasted like Cool Ranch Doritos, except they're healthy.  We're talking protein, fiber, omega 3s and very little sodium given the flavor, and all natural whole grains and flavors.  Do you know what this means, people?  Step away from the Doritos.  Now, you can get all the flavor and none of the chemistry experiment.

Primal Strips - My friend Caren recently reviewed Primal Strips on her blog, Voodie Girl.  Caren was very happy with Primal Strips, so when I saw Pangea had them for sale at their booth, I decided to pick one up for a test run.  Primal Strips are meatless vegan jerky, and high in protein for a snack.  I haven't tried mine yet, but I'll post a review soon.  If I like them, I'll stock up.  I can see them as an awesome thing to have on hand when I travel.

Bold Organics Pizza - I'm always on the lookout for a good frozen vegan pizza, because I like to have at least one in the freezer in case I'm too lazy to cook.  Bold's pizzas are not only vegan, they're also gluten-free.  The crust was surprisingly chewy and the flavor was good.  They're available at Mom's, and, if you've got a Food Lion near you, you can get them there too.

Lotus Foods - Lotus Foods makes a variety of interesting bagged rice (rices?  reese?  What is the plural of rice?).  I got to sample the black forbidden rice, and I really liked the nutty flavor.  We're almost out of our rice blend, so I think I'll try Lotus next.

I also got to visit some of my favorite companies and tell them how much I enjoy their products and try some of their newest foods.  Earth Balance had a yummy chocolate soy milk I'd like to try more of, and I also got to check out Upton's Naturals new Hickory Seitan. 

Also, while I didn't buy anything from Amsterdam Falafel, I did snap this pic of their fixin's bar.  Note to self - make field trip to Adams Morgan soon so I can get some falafel!

Anyhow, I promised some details on the goody bag,  In addition to bazillions of coupons and tons of interesting vegan and animal rights literature, it included a bonanza of product samples:
Clearly, I will have no shortage of things to write about in the near future, so stay tuned for lots of product reviews.

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