April 14, 2010

Vegfest 2010 — greetin' and eatin'

This past weekend we attended our first Vegfest — a giant vegetarian sampling party put on by the Vegetarians of Washington. When I say attended I also mean worked, as we volunteered for a four-hour shift handing out food samples. For more than four hours I cut into pieces, practically non-stop, various kinds of Clif Bars, and placed them into cups for eager (I mean EAGER) attendees to try. I have to say practically non-stop because it's also true that not 10 feet behind me was the scooping station for SO Delicious coconut milk ice cream, where frantic and sticky volunteers scooped ice cream into cups as fast as they could to meet the demand of hungry attendees. It was impossible to forget what was going on behind my back, and every so often I was compelled to zip on over, politely snatch a delicious ice cream-filled cup, and dash back to my station. I felt guilty, but not THAT guilty. In any case, four hours of cutting Luna bars makes one consider all the levels of meaning in the word, "luna."

Getting ready — before the event opened and the crowds arrived.
I shared the table with my husband, who was pouring Tejana tea, and Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze, into cups at breakneck speed. People were VERY thirsty, which may have had something to do with the Punjab Snacks — a spicy-salty very delicious Indian snack mix made by Punjab Sweets in Kent — being scooped into cups by Bethany at the table next to me.

This is Bethany, before she was dragged to the SO table to scoop ice cream, and she was still clean and serene. Note the enigmatic smile.

Punjab Sweets is a vegetarian Indian restaurant that also has an online business selling sweet or spicy party mixes in bags, like the ones Bethany and the restaurant's owner, were sampling. This is a restaurant I'm very interested in visiting.

Mighty-O Donut samples just begging to be eaten.

In the spirit of full disclosure, in addition to the So Delicious, I may have had more than my share of Mighty-O Donut samples.

After our work shift was up we walked around and tasted things, and one sample that sticks in my mind (besides the ice cream and doughnuts) is the Field Roast classic meatloaf. I'm not a big fan of meat analogs, though I do occasionally make them myself. Mostly, the commercial ones are just too salty, and I hate the dying of thirst sensation I experience for hours after consuming them. I was, however, quite taken with the meatloaf. It tasted really good, and I may even buy it — at least once. I have coupons! If I'd been in my right mind I might have snapped a photo, but I was very hungry and the little sandwich I was handed was screaming, "eat me now." Oh well.

After all that tasting, did I discover any new foods to add to my shopping list other than the ones I've already mentioned? Probably not. There are still a lot of samples in my bag that I haven't tried yet — lots of energy bars and cereals — and if anything jumps out at me, I'll mention it in a future post.

20 comments:

  1. How fun! I wish we had a VegFest in my town!

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  2. Vegfest sounds pretty fun! Would you know if they do that around Chicago? BTW, I love So Delicious!

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  3. That would be reason enough to fly to the US!

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  4. Jennifer,
    It was quite a scene, though to be honest, it made me nostalgic for the defunct annual North Farm Convention in Madison, WI. Miss that.

    Carla,
    I believe this is what you're looking for. http://www.veggiefestchicago.org/

    You have lots of veg options in Chicago — great city!

    Mihl,
    It was fun, but it would take more than Vegfest to get me into a plane for so many hours. :)

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  5. I considered visiting Seattle for Vegfest, but the thought of a hungry, frenzied crowd gobbling up freebies scared me. Though your post was ultra polite, I get the feeling that I made the right decision! Thanks for a glimpse into the highlights and the madness.

    Btw, Andrea. If the Mighty-O donuts you sampled were sliced, then rest assured that all of the calories fell out.

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  6. Abigail,
    No need to fear the crowds at Vegfest. I'm kind of crowd-phobic, but I found it perfectly fine — nice and friendly and polite.

    Thanks for the Mighty-O tip. I will always remember to break my donuts into pieces before eating. What a relief. :)

    Carla,
    You're welcome.

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  7. Sounds like it was a very busy and successful vegfest. It's nice to hear so many companies provided samples. It's always fun to try new things. I haven't tried the field roast meatloaf but did have a chance to eat some of their sausages while visiting Portland, Oregon. They were so good! I bet their meatloaf or loaves would be a great alternative to tofurkey!

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  8. Yummy fun! I can't blame you for politely snatching ice cream cups and doughnut samples. The Field Roast goods are awesome! I haven't tried their meatloaf yet, but their sausages and Celebration Roasts are amazing. Plus they are made with lots of good ingredients which is always nice.

    Bethany! Her posts always make me want to be part of those furry "worm piles".

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  9. Looks like so much fun! Great way to get veggies together. I don't know any other veggies in my area.

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  10. That sounds like fun! I probably would have stolen some doughtnut and ice cream samples too. I haven't had a doughnut in years.

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  11. Jill,
    Yes, there were lots of samples to try — mostly things I wouldn't normally buy but it's nice to be able to taste small amounts of different products.

    River,
    I really like that coconut milk ice cream.

    Yes, sometimes I wish I could just curl up with a big pile of cats.

    Janet,
    You should check to see if there's a meet-up group nearby, or maybe even start one!

    Kiersten,
    I don't normally eat doughnuts either but they were kind of irresistible. I actually live only a couple blocks away from Mighty-O Donuts. If I had a sweet tooth it could be a real problem. :)

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  12. Mmm those Mighty-O's look awesome! Wish I'd been there, too. I'd have totally helped you chop up clif bars! :)

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  13. Aaaaah! I'm so jealous! Reminds me of the North Farm Food Fairs of years past. Glad you had fun there!

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  14. HOW FUN! I want to go to a Veg Fest! Wow, so many delicious choices, I wouldn't know where to start. Actually, that's not true, I'd head straight to those donut samples. YUM!

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  15. Trinity,
    Wish you'd been there to help, too.

    Claire,
    Don't tell anyone here but I think I liked the NF Convention better. Sigh.

    Tasha,
    What really looks like fun to me is dinner at YOUR house — so many wonderful foods!

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  16. Oh wow. This has convinced me that I need to go to a Veg Fest.

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  17. ah yes, we were more alert in the AM than at 2 PM. that said, I'll prob do it again next year.

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  18. Looks and sounds like you had a great time! I always get the Field Roast meatloaf whenever it's on sale. I thought it was kinda salty when I first tried it. It doesn't seem so salty now, I guess I got used to it. I don't know if that's good or bad. :-)

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  19. Monique,
    It's definitely a unique experience to be at a tasting event where everything is vegetarian or vegan.

    Bethany,
    Yes, me too. Did you notice any tables that didn't involve cutting or pouring? :)

    Chow,
    I always find Field Roast too salty, too, and don't usually eat it for that reason. The meatloaf didn't taste as salty to me as their other stuff, but I'd have to check the label to know for sure. It could have just been that I was really hungry and distracted by the commotion around me.

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