Thursday, March 22, 2012

Texas VegFest 2012 Writeup

I had an awesome day. Chris and I only spent about three and a half hours at the Texas VegFest but I needed a nap when I got home! My belly was full of wonderful vegan noms and the great Texas heat reached the high 80's, maybe even low 90's, while we were there. Fiesta Gardens was full of hot stuffed vegans, but all I saw were smiling, friendly, and happy faces.

The festival was laid out perfectly. Upon entering, you paid your "suggested donation" and received swag bag tickets if you donated the recommended $5 per person. A few more steps and you were at the swag bag booth, which was right next to the official Texas VegFest booth. They had some nice t-shirts. I thought about getting one. But I found something I wanted more. You'll see later.

The building that the speakers and demonstrations were in was off to the left while the food, music, and vendors were to the far right, over a bridge and behind some trees. There were a lot of booths and a lot of attendees eager to see what they were offering as samples as well as things to sell.

The place I was looking forward to eating at most was the Sweet Ritual Booth. It was one of the last vendors Chris and I passed as we made our first circuit of the food/vendor area. When she saw the exquisite soft serve sundaes Sweet Ritual was serving, she couldn't pull herself away. We had to make our first purchase of the day, and it was Sweet Ritual's "Caramel Crunch" sundae in a waffle bowl. Even though I had known about their amazing vegan soft serve since they opened last year, I had not yet dragged our butts down to their setup in the Daily Juice Cafe. I'm not sure why. And after consuming our first bites, we felt really embarrassed by that fact!

I never planned to be so candid here, but- holy shit, this is the best vegan ice cream I've ever had. This sundae is probably the best vegan dessert I've ever had, period. It's astonishing. For realz. The ice cream itself was smooth, creamy, and full of in-your-face vanilla flavor. The pecans on top were nice and soft, not stale and not full of crunchy shell pieces like you often get when you buy them from the grocery store. Even the chocolate chips were amazing. Despite being in and on ice cream, they weren't frozen or hard to chew. And the waffle bowl was very flavorful, crisp, and thin, though it held the ice cream without breaking or getting soggy. I think I have to add a visit to Sweet Ritual to the itinerary I made for my mom while she's visiting next week. Go to Sweet Ritual. If they're open, go there now. Trust me.

So, after we had Sweet Ritual for breakfast, Chris and I spent some time relaxing under the pavilion and listening to the live music. We had some more samples and then sought out our next foodventure.

The Mac'n Food Truck caught my eye as soon as we passed. Maybe it's in the name (if it's "mac'n" it has to be good?) or in the fancypants paint job the truck had. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that it had "Miami's original vegan food truck" painted on the side. Miami vegan food in Austin? That's exciting. These guys drove that far just for VegFest. I had to show some respect.

And they had so many things to choose from, it was so difficult to pick one. We ultimately decided to get their "Margarita Mac'n Cheese," which was made with basil, fire roasted tomatoes, and Daiya vegan mozzarella. It was creamy and flavorful and some of it even got burnt during cooking. YES! Just give me more burnt cheese, please. Check out that fancypants paint job I was talking about.

We were both excited to see the Daiya and Post Punk Kitchen booths. I had the chance to try samples of Daiya's new vegan wedges (I got a couple $.50 off coupons, too!). The pepper jack wedge had a nice spiciness to it while the cheddar was flavorful and a bit sharp. Both were a lot softer than I expected, but I anticipate them being absolutely delicious when sliced and used in panini.

The Post Punk Kitchen booth was selling cookbooks by the PPK crew. I intended to bring my Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar book to get Terry Hope Romero or Isa Chandra Moskowitz to sign, but I didn't remember this plan until I was on the highway avoiding a fender bender in my path. Oh, I-35. But I digress. We flipped through a copy of Vegan Brunch and knew it had to become a part of our collection. They were also selling their girly aprons with PPK logos screen printed on them. We bought both. Terry Hope gave us change (squee!).

Anyway, here's a list of things we sampled or saw that I recommend you also check out:

If you'd like to see the rest of what few photos I took, head on over to the Texas VegFest album I made on my Facebook page.

My mom is coming into Austin on the 4th. We're going to go eat a lot of local food while she's here. Be on the look out for some delicious photography this week!

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