One of the side benefits of attending a vegan conference is that I didn’t have to worry about whether any food item was plant-based. There was plenty of food at Vida Vegan Con 2013 (VVC) between scheduled meals and the generous samples shared by the exhibitors.
When the exhibit hall opened Friday at noon, there was a crowd waiting. We started meeting the various tables and getting tasty samples. Other than a bag of bean chips from my swag bag, these tastes were my lunch.
Tofurkey: I had never had a Tofurkey product before VVC although there was an unopened package of Tofurkey sausages in my home fridge at the time. I loved the pot pies, pocket sandwiches and sausage samples I tasted all weekend. I even liked the sandwich slices we had at lunch one day.
Go Veggie: I was already a fan of the Go Veggie cream cheese. My cream cheese at home is plain but I’ll be trying out the various flavors in the future. The grilled cheese sample was terrific.
Chicago Vegan Foods – My first vegan grilled cheese was made with Teese’s cheese so I was happy to try the nachos. They tasted like the “real” thing. Another product offering was Dandies marshmallows. I’m not a fan of marshmallows so didn’t try them.
Nasoya – You might remember my review of Nasoya shirataki noodles. They also make vegan mayonaise products. We had potato salad made with Nayonaise the first day and Nayo Whipped another day. They were both very tasty. I will be using their recipe soon.
Bob’s Red Mill – We didn’t have any food to sample, but I have generous sample packs of various grains to try out at home and our bag of swag included a full size package.
Pacific Northwest Kale Chips – This was my first experience with Kale chips and they were good. This local company has several tasty flavors and deserves a national audience.
Better Beans – I wouldn’t normally buy bean dip except for gatherings but I really liked the flavors from Better Beans. They’re available in some Whole Foods stores now but not in my neck of the woods yet.
Missionary Chocolates– Chocolate is one of my favorite foods and the handmade truffles were delicious. I bought a couple the last day for my husband and I to enjoy at home. His was meyer lemon and mine was peppermint.
So Delicious Dairy Free – I had way too much ice cream over the three days courtesy of So Delicious. Being vegan does not mean giving up this cold treat.
Pacific – I was already a fan of the Pacific line of soups which probably explains why I only sampled at the booth once. As expected, the Thai Sweet Potato soup was yummy.
Coconut Bliss – Another line of coconut milk products including ice cream, milk and yogurt. This station was right by the breakfast and lunch lines so it wasn’t unusual to have ice cream on our way to more substantial food. Very good!
Peanut Butter & Co. – This team put out different samples (made with their peanut butters) throughout the weekend. They had six flavors of peanut butter and I was able to sample them all in various forms. I have a full jar of Dark Chocolate peanut butter and I’d think it is perfect for cookies!
Veggie Grill Reception
After my inaugural experience with Veggie Grill a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t wait to try other menu items at the reception sponsored by Veggie Grill at the end of the first day.
We had chicken rolls, chicken wings and kale salad washed down with punch. They all met the high standard set in Torrance.
Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase
This was my favorite food event at VVC and the one where I over indulged. Nine local vegan food vendors were set up around the room and we all started lining up for the feast.
I started out with the line for Sizzle Pie and White Owl Social Club. Sizzle Pie had three types of pizza but I went with the breakfast pizza and also picked up a BBQ jackfruit sandwich from White Owl Social Club. Both were delicious!
Next I tried the quiche and donut from Back to Eden bakery. I ended up going back for their tempeh scone.
This bakery seriously rocks. Thank goodness they’re not in San Diego because I would have a hard time not visiting every week.
The A.N.D. cafe served up a benedict meatloaf dish that I really liked.
They shared a serving line with Portobello which served a very elegant dish that I have no idea what it was. It even had edible flowers on it.
The chocolate hazelnut pie from Divine Pie was delicious! I wish I had tried their cheesecake but there just wasn’t room.
Portland Juice Press had delicious fruit and vegetable juices. My favorite was the beet and apple juice.
I wasn’t a fan of the donuts from Cinnamon but others did like them. They were denser than I prefer with this type of pastry.
The only vendor I couldn’t sample was Blackheart Bagels. I thought it was ironic that the table with the easiest menu item brought way too few samples.
I topped it all off with a White chocolate peanut butter and mixed berries smoothie from the Peanut Butter & Co. booth.
Portland Style Build-a-Bowl Lunch
Ingredients for our concoctions included quinoa, brown rice , raw greens, chorizo, tempeh, tofu, raw walnut meat, beans, hummus, Nacheez, salsa, tahini, dressings, and hot sauce.
I was so hungry there’s no picture of my creation (this happens a lot to me :)).
Dinner on My Own
Believe it or not I was hungry for dinner a few hours later and ate at Veggie Grill on my walk back to my hotel after shopping at Powell’s Books. I had the chicken platter. I felt like I was having a true chicken breast. The gravy was incredible as well.
Note that the protein did not come with a bit missing. Once again, I started eating before remembering to snap a picture.
Breakfast in the Ballroom
This morning’s breakfast was lighter (thank goodness). We had a choice of hot or cold cereals, various plant-based milks, fruit, yogurt and more. Again, there’s no picture of my hot cereal bowl.
The Sandwich Board
Other than the VERY long line this lunch was a hit. We made our own sandwiches with mustard-herb tofu, Bacon Seitan, Tofurky slices, raw walnut meat, Nayonaise, bread, raw greens, peanut butter, hummus, grilled summer vegetables, cheese shreds, dressings and hot sauces.
This was my last conference meal and eating dinner at the airport was a big letdown (although I was able to get a veggie wrap). Fortunately, I have lots of samples and coupons so I can try new and old favorite foods soon.
NOTE: This is part 2 of a three part series. Read all about Portland here.