September 06, 2011

Finale: Vida Vegan Con day 3, and the morning after

We began the last day with the same breakfast choices as day two. Some people were disappointed with the repetition, but not me. I loved the breakfast and would have been happy to eat it every day for weeks. Besides, there were still many items on the long tables I hadn't even tried yet. I had lots of the same things from the day before, but I did try one combo that no one else at my table seemed to appreciate, though I thought it was terrific. Instead of maple syrup on my xgfx pancakes, I poured on the gravy meant for the biscuits. Oh, it was good!

I attended two workshops — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: The Marketing Panel, and Product Reviews and Ethics. One useful point I took away (and still remember!) was when reviewing food products, we should photograph them both inside the packaging and on a plate, so readers can see what they look like.

Then it was off to a quick lunch — quick because we only had about 1/2 hour before leaving for a food demo at Whole Foods. This was my favorite conference lunch — a taco bar made in heaven.

Every conceivable taco topping from fabulous raw nut meat to Upton’s Naturals chorizo, to the best tasting soy curls I've ever had. There was vegan queso, and a vat of of guacamole as well as chopped raw veggies, olives, grated cheese, and of course, corn tortillas or large lettuce leaves for those who wanted their tacos raw. Etc. Etc. Etc.

There was Spanish rice and cooked peppers and onions.

And there was this. Was it broccoli hummus? I honestly can't remember. Anyone know? I ate my two tacos and hurried to Whole Foods for another cooking demo.

This time the inimitable Hannah Kaminski was presenting a class entitled: Mastering the Art of Vegan Meringue. Vegan meringue? Yes, and easy to make, too. Hannah produced a stiff and fluffy meringue using only four ingredients and an electric mixer.

Then, despite an uncooperative oven and inadequate WF kitchen equipment, she made meringue cookies, Napoleons and a lemon meringue pie filled with lemon curd she had previously prepared. Because of the oven, the cookies were slow to bake, but tasted delicious when they were finally finished, as did the pie and Napoleons, filled with the tart lemon curd.

The slow oven made us late getting back to the hotel for the next session, Specialty Diets, but I'm glad I went. All four panel members were interesting and informative. Kittee Burns, Fran Costigan, Gena Hampshaw and Susan Voisin explained how they arrived at their special vegan diets, and shared ideas for making special diets work. One hint I'd like to pass along to those eating xgfx diets came from Kittee. She highly recommended using superfine brown rice flour from Authentic Foods in a mix of three parts superfine, two parts potato starch and one part tapioca starch for baking sweets. She also said The Allergen-free Bakers Handbook by Cybele Pascal has been invaluable to her.

Sadly, this was the last conference session, and all that remained was the closing address by Isa and Terry.

Fran, Julia, Marika and ... Helen? Is that you?

But we're not done, yet. There were still vegan Portland restaurants to visit, and eating to do. For dinner, we headed to what turned out to be my favorite dining spot of the weekend — Blossoming Lotus.

Pan Tossed Angel Hair Pasta with smoked vegetable marinara, herb pecan pesto and sage balsamic roasted tofu, topped with fresh herbs and a basil oil drizzle.

Live Taco Salad L, GF, SF crisp romaine, chili lime dressing, red onion, avocado, bell pepper, tomato, pecan chorizo, and our famous spicy nacho chips, served with a side of house made cashew sour cream.

Crispy Thai BBQ Salad GF romaine, mixed greens, shredded cabbage, carrot, cucumber, raisins, crispy rice sticks, curried cashews and thai spiced barbecue soy curls, with creamy sweet ginger dressing, fresh herbs & toasted coconut.

I had the crispy Thai BBQ salad and all I can say is OMG. And I don't say that often or lightly.

Helen ordering her breakfast.

On Monday morning, Bethany, Helen, Mr. EV and I went to Sweetpea Baking Company at the vegan mini-mall, for breakfast. I think I was too full from a weekend of overindulgence, and all I could manage was a cup of vanilla rooibus tea — but it was good tea. And I bought a chocolate chip cookie for later, 'cause I was kind of used to eating dessert before and after every meal, and I was afraid I might need that cookie.

We visited Herbivore Clothing Company where Mr. EV and I purchased sets of bamboo traveling eating utensils, and Food Fight!

After that, we wandered around the corner to Red and Black Café where we purchased lunch for the train ride back to Seattle. (Except for Helen who had scored a live salad from Blossoming Lotus at Food Fight.)

Then we headed to the train station, Helen on her bike, and the rest of us in a cab, where we caught the 12:15 back to Seattle ...

... and my sweet girl, Buffy.

I'd like to thank for sponsoring my ticket.


  1. What an awesome time. Thanks for sharing some of the tips, too. One of these days I will see Hannah live! I somehow keep missing her - but I love the way you put the two shots of her together.
    (Cute pup, I hope she didn't miss you too much!)

  2. Oh, man, I am soooooo jealous! What an amazing experience, and the food + people sounds so wonderful. Thanks for sharing it all!

  3. foodfeud,
    I hope you can come to the next VVC, and bring your zines to sell.
    I think Buffy missed us but she seemed to like the house where she stayed. She's 19, and a little subdued at this point in her life.

    You've traveled to some pretty exotic places, but Portland should be on your list!

  4. I'm so glad that you still liked the meringues, despite all the issues... But wow, I look absolutely -terrible-. I want to go hide under a rock now...

  5. Oh no! I thought you looked cute, but no one likes their own photo — I always hate seeing pictures of myself. I switched the photos — hope you like this one better. :)

  6. Looks like such a fun event, the taco bar looks amazing! Actually gravy on the pancakes sounds good to me - savory sweet. :-)

  7. Another delicious day! My last day ended similarly (at Blossoming Lotus). Great meal!

    I loved Herbivore Clothing. I picked up a great purse made of recycled bike inner tubes. I have those bamboo utensils -- aren't they great? I pack them every day with my lunch.

    Bet Buffy was super-happy!

  8. How on earth could anyone be disappointed in the same breakfast layout?!? I think I could go for a week and not eat the same thing with all of those choices.

    The taco bar sounds so good and my first thought when seeing the Thai BBQ was OMG, then I read your reaction to it! lol I would have definitely ordered that, too.

    I can just imagine how happy Buffy was to see you guys, and vice versa. :)

  9. It looks like you had a wonderful time! And I agree on that breakfast. It looks like it would be an awesome breakfast for the rest of my life. And yay for Hannah and her meringue.

  10. Oh, Buffy sure looks like she has a lot to say to you!

    Well, I am SO jealous of your experience. How fun to be completely immersed in all things vegan. Gravy on pancakes? I wouldn't ask any less of you, girl.

  11. Chow vegan,
    That was the taco bar of my dreams!

    You were finishing dinner at BL while we waited for our table to be ready. What a wonderful restaurant.

    There was a purse at Herbivore that I loved, but it only came in pink or green — beautiful, but not what I needed or I would have bought one. Great store!

    re: breakfast — I don't know. I eat the same breakfast just about every day so I'm the wrong person to ask about that. :) But there were things I never tasted, so I would have been disappointed if it had changed!

    I want to go back to Portland and get the Crispy Thai BBQ again!!!

    It was a breakfast fantasy as far as I was concerned. Yum.

    Gravy on pancakes may be odd, but it's good!

  12. Oh those spreads are making me sooo hungry! And I just ate.

    Glad you learned from the xgfx guru kittee. She knows her stuff. I invested in some of that flour and all I can say is I hope it gets cheaper.

    I never have had much of the cooked food at BL, maybe I should if I ever get back there. I so want to!

  13. Buffy was surely just pretending to be bored; she really missed you.

    I'm glad you loved Blossoming Lotus; everything about it was my favorite meal of my trip to Portland and I think it's overlooked all too often.

    I'm not sure if I can forgive the gravy on the pancakes...

  14. Is there any way you can post recipes for some of those delicious meals, especially the Thai BBQ Salad...

  15. Bitt,
    You would have been happy with the conference food — there was something for every dietary preference.

    My dinner at BL was mostly raw, and it was just delicious. I'm afraid if I go back I'll get the same thing!

    Now, now, the pancakes were not very sweet, maybe the same as the biscuits, so it was really OK to put gravy on them. Please forgive me.

    I don't have any of the recipes, except for a link to the chia pudding which is:

    I found this recipe ( which seems to be similar to the one you requested but in a wrap. You could probably make it as a huge salad instead.

  16. I just found your blog and love it! Clearly, you have a ton of experience being vegan! If you have any advice I would love to hear it! My blog is Thanks!

  17. Another great recap! I am sooooo curious about Hannah's meringue! Looks great. And glad to see that Buffy is up and at 'em. She is too adorable. :)

  18. Jessy,
    Thank you for leaving a comment. I'll look for your blog.

    Thank you. I can't really divulge her secrets but I it's in her next cookbook. Now all I need is my mixer, which is in Wisconsin!

    "Up and at 'em" might be too extreme a description, but she is hanging in there, and she was about to head down the front steps and leave the house while I had the front door open to water plants. So her devious little mind is still working. :) It just pains me sometimes to see how little strength she has.

  19. I've just been soaking in, every word and photo, everyone's experiences at VVC. Maybe, maybe I can go to the next one. All of those meals at Blossoming Lotus look amazing. And days of vegan buffet sounds so nice. I'm going to Dallas for several days next week with the fam, and I'm just looking forward to eating with no prep and clean-up for awhile.

  20. Buffy!!! <3

    I, personally, loved the breakfast both days. I don't get upset over having a full breakfast where I can eat every single thing there.

    That gravy was so good!

  21. Jenny,
    I've heard that Dallas is a surprising upcoming center of vegan cuisine. Have great time!

    Me, too! I'd be thrilled to face the VVC breakfast 365 days a year.


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