Tag Archives: Texas VegFest

Snapshots from Texas VegFest 2014

I got to attend another marvelous Texas Vegfest and I tried to take some pictures, I was so distracted by all the food and people it was hard to stay focused!

The line for BBQ revolution was so long I would have needed a wider lens to capture it. Or at least, you know, stood farther away.

I really wanted to try Red Rabbit’Yellowbird Sauce Donuts, but alas they were sold out before I got there. Red Rabbit is only for people that get their act together early and that means I never get to have it.

Follow Your Heart was sampling grilled cheese with their pesto mayo, and man oh man, I’m glad I waited for a batch to come up because it was one of my favorite things I tried. 

I was excited to see Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant there, and so was Dan, he couldn’t resist their combo plate.

Counter Culture had a bunch of salads for sale, and they looked super fresh and tasty. 

I learned that Vegan Toonah is going to be available nationwide soon, in a little can just like fishy tuna. I tried it and thought it was very interesting. It didn’t really remind me of tuna but it wasn’t bad, just like seitan in a can.

I thought Tecolote Farm deserved the cutest booth award. I love their owl! I should have bought a shirt. I did get a Herbivore shirt that I love.

I waited in line FOREVER for Capital City’s Ham & Cheese Kolaches and then they sold out when I  was just about to the front. It was torture. I love those kolaches so much. 

I was stoked to try Hearty Vegan‘s fajitas and tuna salad. Dang, it was the best vegan tuna salad I’ve ever had! I loved it. The fajitas were good too! They were so popular that it looks like Hearty Vegan might start selling meal kits.

I was excited to see all my friends in booths, like the VRA gang!

I think I should have a booth next year called “Kiss the Puppy” and for a donation to charity you can kiss a puppy. I wonder if they would let me since it’s no dogs allowed. That’s even more reason there needs to be puppy love, though. Mostly during veg fest I missed our foster puppy.

I waited in another long line for Good Karma Kitchen, they are a food truck from Dallas and I loved their tacos last year so I knew it would be worth it. At the last minute I decided to get a deconstructed tamale with black-eyed pea relish and bloody mary salsa instead. It’s really a great idea for a home-cooked meal, maybe I’ll make my own version since god knows, I’m not going to Dallas.

I saw Teese selling vegan nachos and had to wonder why this isn’t a thing everywhere. Especially at the movie theater.

After that I saw the Happy Vegan Baker and I wanted to try her mac & cheese which everyone raves about and then decided to try the lentil shepherd’s pie too.

I loved the mac & cheese but that was when I definitely hit the upper limit of my stomach’s capacity, no Sweet Ritual for me! There were a million other food vendors, activist groups, charities, and businesses that I’m not even mentioning. If you haven’t been, you should definitive make it out next year. The music was really good too! Texas VegFest is just incredible, hats off to the organizers for pulling together another amazing fest. 

It’s Texas Vegfest Weekend

TxVegFestAustin- This is the weekend to go to Fiesta Gardens for Texas Vegfest and try all the best of what the vegan world has to offer. There are going to be people speaking about health, activism, professional fighting, and cooking plant based food including allergen free & even an instructor from the professional culinary arts program at The Natural Epicurean Academy.

There will be food vendors from all the different facets of the Austin vegan scene including, Indian, Ethiopian, Barbecue, Japanese, Tacos, Doughnuts, and cupcakes. Pretty much everything you could ever want to eat.

They will also have craft beer, live music, kids activities, and all sort of other stuff to do and see. And by the way, it’s free! (although there is a suggested donation.) Plus since it’s right on town lake you can ride your bike or even kayak there. And you can win stuff! And buy cool shit! And then eat more.

If you can’t wait, Friday night there is going to be a huge Austin Vegan Drinks pre-party at the Buzzmill complete with Vegan Nom Tacos, a hooping contest, ice cream, and vegan croissants!

So get your act together, find your best straw hat, and get ready to get ready to make this the best fest ever. If you want to read about last year’s event here’s my wrap up.

Texas VegFest 2013: a resounding success

If you look at my tweet cloud of the words I say the most “excited” is by far the number one. I’m usually excited about something. If I’m not, I get completely melancholy about how I have nothing to look forward to. For Texas Vegfest I think I might have just been too excited, I missed it last year because it was my bff’s wedding and thought that was one of the best events of my life, missing vegfest and hearing all about it just built up the anticipation even more for this year’s fest..  The night before I went to ATX Vegan Drinks with my friends from North Austin Vegans and had a fun time playing trivia even though my team abandoned me for the final round. Saturday was a freaking gorgeous day and by the time I finally got to the fest I’d already missed some events and sat down to see Dr. Montgomery talk about cardiology.

He was a great speaker, he talked a lot about how preventable heart disease is just by cutting back meat and that a lot of people know that and just replace beef with chicken. It’s not enough! He was dressed in his surgeons gear just in case any meat eaters showed up. I wanted to pay close attention but I just couldn’t sit still. I really wanted to get a shirt from Herbivore before they sold out. Then I got distracted by tacos.

Good Karma Kitchen had rolled in from Fort Worth to bring us their delicious tacos and noodle dishes. I got the barbecued Korean tacos with jalapeno cream sauce, sliced vegetables, and ginger pickles and they were amazing, and my favorite thing I ate all day.

I couldn’t believe the line for Arlo’s next door was a million times longer since Arlo’s is usually parked just down the street. They do have my favorite veggie burger in the world and people were waiting over an hour! I went looking for the Herbivore booth after trying some tempeh on a stick and then I ran into friends who wanted something sweet. We headed to Sinfull Bakery, I was stoked to finally try their Kolache after not being able to find one on a recent trip to Houston. I also tried one of their dark chocolate cookies and both were fabulous.

There were 5,000 people there and I saw so many folks that I have met over the years. It was sweet to see so many kids.

Actually, my favorite story of the whole day was hearing about a teacher that brought a group of her school children to volunteer for the day. Apparently she takes them to different places every other weekend to help out in the community and they had never even heard the word vegetarian before. They were really excited to see Omowale talk about boxing and wanted to try some of the food, but the teacher didn’t have the money buy them all expensive festival food and mentioned she would have to take them somewhere cheap like KFC. The Texas Vegfest staff heard about this and pitched in to buy them awesome local food from the vendors and they loved it! Meanwhile I was spending tons and tons of money gorging myself and Dan. I got him a plate from Aster’s Ethiopian because we don’t get up there enough and we love it.

We got to watch a very happy young lady dance for a while before she was joined by others,

But then I remembered I wanted to hear Colleen Patrick-Goudreau speak about how we are all taught to have compassion for animals but then we are taught to eat them too. She such an inspiring speaker. If you are considering trying to go veg I recommend checking out her 30 day program and her cookbooks. Halfway through the talk I remembered that I still hadn’t gotten my Herbivore T-shirt and by that time they had ran out of the one I wanted! Damnit! At least I’ll be in Portland soon enough. I drowned my sorrows in funnel cake.

and I got completely covered in powdered sugar.

The funnel cake completely did me in and I bought more treats for later.

And I missed so many other places I wanted to try. Mostly Unity Vegan Kitchen which I head everyone raving about. And the Happy Vegan Baker’s Mac & Cheese. And Capital City’s Cheesecake. And Counter Culture’s Sweet Potato Salad. And Sweet Ritual’s Salted Carmel ice cream in a Waffle Cone. There was a lot of food. I was so sunburned and exhausted I had to go home. It was all too much. As we were walking out Dan said, “you know the only vegan I didn’t see was Wes” and then there he was, waving to us goodbye Big Tex style.

It was that kind of a day.

Interview with Texas VegFest Vendor Amelia Raley

Texas VegFest is tomorrow April 6 at Fiesta Gardens and people have already started celebrating, I’ve been enjoying watching photos from Herbivore Clothing, Food Fight Grocery, and Vegan Houston as they populate my instagram with Austin’s vegan goodness. Tonight is the Texas VegFest edition of Vegan Drinks and they are even going to have vegan trivia so bet there at Cheer Up Charlies! If you are curious about the festival details check out my interview with board member Molly to learn about the bands, speakers, children’s activities, and more and go to the official website. And join the facebook event. And follow on twitter. Earlier this week I interviewed speaker Christy Morgan and today we are getting the vendor perspective from local ice cream proprietress extraordinaire Amelia.

I’m so excited that Sweet Ritual is going to be one of the vendors at this year’s Texas VegFest, first can you tell us what kind of treats we can expect?

We’ll bringing several flavors of scooped ice cream, including dark chocolate, salted caramel (which is soy free!) and a few other flavors. We’ll have cups, cones, sundaes, caramel by the jar, and t-shirts to sell.

Oh that sounds so good, is this your first vegfest?

We were there last year with Salted Caramel soft serve

What was your favorite part about last year’s event?

As a vendor, I didn’t really get a chance go see the lay of the lend or participate in the fest because we were so busy serving ice cream. When we sold out early, I brought out my hand-cranked phonograph and played music for passerbys.

Serving ice cream kind of sounds like the best job ever but I bet it is actually really difficult. What is the most trying aspect of participating in something like this since you all aren’t usually very mobile.

We have to contend with ice cream melting at outdoor events. We’re bringing an arsenal of waffle cone bowls, so, if it gets too hot, everyone will have delicious ice cream soup!

I love waffle cones. I think I have even dreamed about them. OK last question, if you get the chance to trade ice cream for a snack from any other vendor what would you be most excited to try.

We are super-duper excited about Atkinson Candies from Lufkin, Texas being at the show with our favorite candy – Chick-o-Stick!

Oh, wow, I just looked at that list for the first time in a few months – I can’t believe how many vegan bakeries we have in Austin. That’s so amazing!

It’s going to be a great fest! Thanks so much for answering my questions and I will see you there!

Interview with Texas VegFest Speaker Christy Morgan

Texas VegFest is this Saturday April 6 and I am so excited I can’t stand it. I think I should stop eating now to get ready. Or maybe eat a whole lot to stretch out my stomach? How does that work anyway? If you are curious about the festival details check out my interview with board member Molly and go to the official website. And join the facebook event. And follow on twitter. It’s going to be a hell of a time and you have to get their right at 11am to beat the lines and to get a good spot to hear author Christy Morgan do the first talk of the day at 11:30. I asked her a couple of questions so we would know what to expect.

Hi Christy, can you tell us a little about what you do?

My professional focus is teaching others how to make delicious, plant-based meals whether that be through my cookbook Blissful Bites, with recipes and videos on my blog, private and public cooking classes, or with my online wellness program Wellness Reboot. I travel quite a bit teaching at festivals and conferences.

In my personal life I’ve become pretty obsessed with fitness and working out. I’m training for a triathlon later this year so I’m working out a few hours a day 6 days a week. Eating a whole foods vegan diet, with ample protein, has done wonders for my active life. I’m able to push myself harder each day and lift more weight. I actually have bigger muscles than I ever did before I went vegan. It’s pretty awesome. I workout at Beyond Fit during the week, which is a gym run by a vegan. You don’t find that everyday!

That’s for sure, is there going to be a Beyond Fit presence at Veg Fest? Did you hear boxer Omowale Adewale is going to be speaking? Maybe you two should have a showdown. 

I actually saw Omowale when I was speaking at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival but didn’t have a chance to say hello. I’m excited to meet him this time! I’m always down for a showdown ;)

Yes, Chad and Beyond Fit will have a booth there and also the guys from VeganProteins.com will be there flexing their muscles. I love how these guys are proving that you don’t need meat or whey to be an athlete or bodybuilder!

I heard you are also going to be making food for us to try, can you tell me about it?

The focus for my cooking demo is on protein-filled dishes and a discussion on getting enough protein as an athlete. Since my life is all about training right now I’ve been experimenting with my diet and the amounts of protein that allow me to build lean muscle mass and recover from my grueling workouts. But it’s not just about smoothies, I’ll show you a few delicious way to incorporate protein into your diet.

That is exciting! God knows, it’s the number one question we seem to face as vegans, so I will be happy to have some more answers. Speaking of diet, is there anything in particular are excited to try at this year’s festival? There are a lot of vendors.

Well, I plan to fast the week before so I can eat at as many food vendors as possible. I can’t even name my favorites…I want to eat at them all! There’s such a great list of vendors this year; some names I don’t recognize so I’m excited to check them out. Thankfully my talk is at 11:30 so that will give me the rest of the day to enjoy the festival :)

I hear that! What, in general do you like to indulge in, when you are going to go all out?

I love me some desserts or pastries of any kind. One reason I work out so hard is so I can have treats every once in a while and not feel guilty about it haha. Capital City Bakery has the best naughty treats and I’m addicted to the gluten-free chocolate mini donuts from Mr. Natural. Counter Culture always has a delicious cheezecake too!

I haven’t had the mini donuts from Mr. Natural! I will have to check them out.

 
Thanks so much for your time Christy!!!

Texas VegFest Needs Volunteers

Last year was the first VegFest for Austin, even though we have been known for our veg-friendly ways for a thousand years. It took a group of people who were prepared to just get shit done to finally make it happen. I’m always amazed by the hard work and dedication that people have. I get overwhelmed organizing my pantry so I don’t know how these folks organize all the vendors, permits, bands, speakers, and god knows what else that goes into making such a huge and successful event. I know one of the most important aspects is that tons of people volunteer to help out and (obviously if you read the title) I am going to ask that you consider helping out too! There are great perks like you get to meet a bunch of awesome people, you get to go to the fest, you get to help the community and the animals, and when people ask you “what did you do over the weekend” you can have a better answer than “I layed around getting caught up on the past week’s general hospital on Hulu”. You get a cute T-shirt too so you can prove that you went to all the naysayers that didn’t believe you.

There are jobs for all skill levels so if you’d rather help with the planning and administration or work with kids, or clean the whole thing up afterwords, you will be able to find a spot.

Right now they are looking for Volunteer Team Leaders, the first volunteer meeting for team leaders is February 9. Team leaders are people who want to head up a group of volunteers on the day of the festival and in some cases in the weeks before for tasks like sending out flyers. They’ll have a more active role than your average volunteer. They can contact esti@texasvegfest.com to sign up.

They will also need volunteers in general to help with speakers, music, booths, entry, kids’ activities, set up, tear down, and general tasks. People can sign up for that on the website here: http://www.texasvegfest.com/volunteer/

So sign up and help make the fest super awesome.

Texas Veg Fest Countdown: An interview with Molly Frisinger Festival Outreach Director

I thought it would be fun to spotlight some of the different things going on at Texas VegFest, because I want you all to go! I want you to LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK and tell all your friends that this shit is happening. It is going to be so awesome and well worth a trip!

As you may know Molly is a friend of mine and the voice behind The Lonestar Plate, the vegan blog of Texas and Texas Chili cook-off champion. I want to call her a tireless advocate for veganism but I happen to know she is really quite tired from working around the clock on getting everything ready for Texas VegFest. She answered a few questions for us about the festival this weekend March 31

Why do you think Austin needs a Veg Fest?

People are constantly saying, “You can’t be vegan in Texas,” and yet here we are in Austin with a thriving vegetarian and vegan community and so much interest in plant-based cooking. We wanted to create an opportunity for everyone to get together and celebrate the great vegan food and resources that Texas has to offer. We especially wanted this to be an opportunity for people who, maybe they’ve heard about Meatless Monday or they have a cousin who’s vegan, and they’re interested in learning more but don’t know where to start. Texas VegFest is that place. Eat some tasty food, learn how to cook a few vegan meals, and just have fun with it.

What are you most excited about, personally, at festival?

I love to cook, so I’m really looking forward to seeing two of my favorite vegan chefs do their thing. Isa Chandra Moskowitz is making comfort food favorites like mac’n’cheese and BBQ seitan with her special twist, and Terry Hope Romero is making tamales, which have always intimidated me a bit. And really, if I’m honest, I’m looking forward to trying samples from all my favorite food companies like Upton’s Naturals, NadaMoo, Gardein, and Tofurky. Rumor is there will be some new products introduced at Texas VegFest!

I heard you are going to have some fun activities for children, which I have noticed many people seem to have. What kind of stuff are you going to have for them to do? (I want to tell my neighbors so maybe my street will be quiet for once)

Yes, surprisingly, a lot of people have kids! We’ll have a section of Fiesta Gardens set aside for kids’ activities. There will be a moonbounce, a gardening activity sponsored by Urban Patchwork, and games and activities to encourage healthy eating. There’s also lots of space to run around.

What do you think the foodies would be surprised about regarding TexVegFest or veganism generally?
A lot of people focus on what they’re giving up when they go vegan, but what I experienced, and what a lot of people experience, I think, is that it opens your cooking horizons. I’m not sure I’d be so comfortable cooking curries, making my own bread and pizza dough, or exploring grains like quinoa and millet if going vegan hadn’t nudged me out of my comfort zone.

I think Texas VegFest is a good example of this. If you look at the food our vendors will be serving, you’ll see samosas, chaat, empanadas, burgers, tamales, Ethiopian, Frito pie, Indian, hot dogs, TexMex, Mac’n’Cheese, and more ice cream and baked goods than you can imagine. It’s just a huge variety of foods.
It sure sounds like a lot of great food, what other adult entertainment is there going to be? I guess that kind of sounds like I’m expecting strippers….
That was a setup so I can talk about Purrfect Pineapples, wasn’t it? They’ll be there with their custom-made animal-friendly lingerie. In fact, bring your wallet, because Herbivore Clothing, Stay True Organics Tattoo Aftercare, Monkey Wrench Books, Back to the Roots, and Vitamix will all be there, too.

In between shopping and stuffing your face, we’ll have some great speakers and music as well. Dr. Michael Greger has an interactive presentation about health eating, and bodybuilder Robert Cheeke will be there to discuss fitness. If you haven’t ever seen Robert Cheeke talk, you’re in for a treat. I’ve never met anyone so extraverted and outgoing before. Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing has a really great speech about getting more veg options in restaurants, as well. And on the other stage, we’ll have music by Roxy Rocha, the Wheel Workers, and other great Texas bands.
Now everyone is going to think this whole damn interview is scripted so you have forced my to ask something totally off the wall. If you could wave a vegan wand on one Austin restaurant which would it be? And don’t give me some activisty answer and pick something just because it’s popular and more people would eat vegan just because of that. Where would YOU love to go if it was the same menu but all vegan versions.
Mandola’s Italian Grill, or really any pretty good neighborhood Italian restaurant. I can get a really nice Italian meal at Asti or Sagra, but I miss having a neighborhood pasta joint where I can get ravioli, eggplant parm, and a salad with that tomatoey house dressing that all Italian restaurants have.
Thanks Molly for your time and for all your hard work with the festival!