Oakland’s Awesome, Sun-Baked, Line-Filled Vegan Food Fest »
Let’s get this out of the way: the lines were long. And I mean like, crazy long. Long enough to wind through the outdoor patio lined with pop-up vegan restaurants and snake back around on themselves.
The first annual Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival this past Saturday was well attended, almost shockingly crowded. We knew Oakland loved a good vegan dish (and beer), but wow. Some reported waiting in line for up to two hours.
Although certainly frustrating, I’m going to look at the silver lining here and posit this simply means they’ll need more space and more food booths next time, which the organizers know—not such a bad thing.
After the fest, Hella Vegan Eats posted a love note to the community on their Facebook page that included this insight: “We are overjoyed that there was such a positive response to this event even with the crazy long lines. We can’t wait to begin planning next year’s #OAKVEGBFF with way more vendors, more space, better organization, etc. Now that we know to expect so many people, we can plan accordingly!”
Personally, I waited half an hour in line then another half hour for one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever had, courtesy of S+M Vegan. The flavorful Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with tots and veggies and topped with pickled relish and sweet soy was succulent and satisfying. Standing while eating, I finished it far too quickly.
While waiting, we sipped tart ciders and sampled decadent pastries including a gooey chocolate grasshopper bar and caramel cupcake from Timeless Coffee. As the Oakland sun beat down, I tried tastes of a dark Ale Industries Rye’d Piper and the Linden Street New Oakland Glow.
I also got a chance to chat with the duo behind Rhizocali Tempeh. They mentioned that they were surprised, coming from Gainesville, Florida, a town with two independent tempeh-producing companies, to find no other locals currently producing tempeh in Oakland. Nuts, right? The organic tempeh-makers based in the same commercial kitchen as Hella Vegan Eats and S+M Kitchen.
Wildly popular fest organizers Hella Vegan Eats had some especially long lines as well, but I saw many a vegan walk away ecstatic with a glistening plate of fried “chicken” and waffle or mac-n-cheese Lusty Lovers tacos from their booth.
While the food vendors were all lined up in the outdoor patio, inside we got to check out some rather shiny classic cars and art installations.
Outside, dogs roamed the lines, some very cute pups up for adoption via Rocket Dog Rescue—which received 20 percent of the event’s proceeds—and others brought by attendees, just stretching on leashes and seeking fallen drops of precious veggie meats.
To see more yummy photos of the event, creep on the #OAKVEGBFF hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Truthbomb: milk and cheese are just as cruel as meat »
This is not the most pleasant way to start the day but if we vegans don’t share this kind of information, I don’t know who will. Right? I don’t want to watch it either but we all know people who consume dairy and these are the tools to raise awareness. So, here is the latest undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals of Canada’s largest dairy factory farm, Chilliwack Cattle Company in British Columbia. It’s brutal. I made it through about 15 seconds. The description alone is awful. From the MFA summary, some of the atrocities captured on the video:
- Workers viciously kicking, punching, beating, and hitting cows in the face and body with chains, canes, metal pipes, and rakes
- Sick and injured cows suffering from open wounds, oozing infections, and painful injuries left to suffer without proper veterinary care
- Workers using chains and tractors to lift sick and injured cows by their necks
- Workers poking and squeezing festering wounds, ripping clumps of hair out of cows’ sensitive tails, and punching bulls in the testicles
Brutal. According to MFA Canada’s FB page, the factory was promptly raided by officials—good on them for swift action! Though it would be nice if laws were enforced because, you know, they are laws, as opposed to being enforced because a third party did their own investigation and made it public. And of course it would be even nicer if animals weren’t treated as objects and machines.
Final message: Vegetarians, if you gave up meat to help animals, I applaud you for your intentions but eating dairy is just as bad. It’s time to ditch dairy. You can do it!
All-vegan ice cream shop formerly known as Lula’s makes peanut-butterific vegan ice cream! »
Jess being cute. My cone is on the left (your left) and her peanut butter chocolate chip is on the right.
As the weather was mostly pleasant here in NYC last week and her main squeeze was out of town, I got to go on an ice cream date with my friend Jess. You guys remember Lula’s Sweet Apothecary? Well, as you may recall, they had some drama last year. I don’t know much about it but I know they didn’t really close, but they don’t go by Lula’s anymore. They also don’t go by anything else so…I will call them the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s I suppose. Regardless, I hadn’t since whatever happened, so Jess and I decided to see how things were going over there.
First of all, they had espresso ice cream. MY FAVE. Second of all, they were all out of it—I guess it’s not just MY fave. However, all was not lost as I took a chance and got the vanilla ice cream with peanut butter crunch swirl and it was FANTASMIC! The swirl wasn’t really crunchy, just peanut buttery, which is what I was hoping. Jess got the peanut butter chocolate chip. I gave it a try and it was delicious as well! Even if they have the espresso next time I go, I think I will get one of the two we got. Or maybe the espresso. OR MAYBE ALL THREE BECAUSE I DO WHAT I WANNA.
I have to say I think the ice cream there is better than it used to be when it was Lula’s. Is that possible? When I first moved to NYC, I went to Lula’s a few times and while I liked it, I didn’t find the ice cream that flavorful. Or there were flavorful options but they weren’t classic ice cream flavors. Like the maple pecan was great, but the traditional options weren’t as plentiful and were just a little underwhelming. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I swear, the flavors now are perfect! TWO peanut butter options?! BE STILL MY PEANUT BUTTER-COVERED HEART.
And you’ll be happy to know they still have all the vegan candy bars for sale, including personal fave Go Max Go’s Thumbs Up.
So if you haven’t been to the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s in a while, go! Tis the season!
The address is 516 E 6th St, between ave A and B.
Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: quit meat, save dough! »
Did you know that the last time meat prices were this high, Reagan was in office? That’s one reason I write in a New York Daily News op-ed that if you want to save money, giving farm animals a bit of a break will also give our wallets a break, too. Amusingly, the paper named the op-ed, “Quit Meat, Save Dough.”
Speaking of money, a major battery egg producer was fined $6.8 million this week after admitting to bribing USDA officials to approve potentially rotten eggs.
And egg-laying chickens are on the political map in Massachusetts, where we’re waging a major campaign to ban battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates. Here’s the latest coverage.
Want to learn more about these kinds of animal protection campaigns while networking with tons of other like-minded animal advocates and eating off-the-hook vegan food? Come to the Taking Action for Animals conference in DC June 27-30!!!
P.S. Video of the week: Just a cat playing with a pig. No big deal.
NorCal: Party with Animal Place at Music in the Meadow TOMORROW! »
Sorry for the last minute notice but Animal Place’s annual Music in the Meadow is tomorrow! GUESS WHO IS GOING TO BE THERE. Ok I’ll tell you! Not only my idol Panda Bob, but the newly famous Mr. G and Jellybean! Oh, also, in terms of people, vegan NFL football player, David Carter, Jr. of the Oakland Raiders!
Plus, vegan food will abound! And the barns and pastures will all be open. And let’s be real, all we care about is cute rescue animals and vegan food. Of course there will be music too! That’s titular!
Get your tickets now! And tell me if Panda Bob is all cool in real life!
Seattle Cookie Counter: the vegan ice cream sandwich truck! »
Hello, vegan ice cream sandwich lovers! This Kickstarter is for YOU! Two Seattle folks, Chelsea and Chris, have taken it upon themselves to bring Seattle its very own vegan ice cream sandwich truck! Did I say truck? Because I meant to say VW BUS! Or “grandfather punch-buggy” as my brother would say, right before slugging me in the forearm.
Seattle Cookie Counter plans to have 30 flavor combinations and they sound AWESOME. Like check out my friend here at 6 o’clockish:
Coffee Chip? COME AT ME, BRO. Gimme that on a chocolate cookie sandwich and let’s call it a life.
There are lots of fun pledge rewards, including a kids’ ice cream party and even a special ice cream sandwich-laden marriage proposal package! So if you live in the area or plan to ever visit, (which you should, I hear it’s nice), then pledge and get your rewards so we can take over another town with our yummy vegan innovations!
East Coasters: Philly VegFest is almost here! »
Here ye, here ye! June 14th, the Philly VegFest this way comes! Heads up: This is a don’t-miss event!
You should know by now that your pal Megan Rascal is a native Philadelphian and I always try to share the Philly vegan goodness with yous guys. And boy, does the VegFest promise goodness! First of all, the event is FREE. Those are my four favorite letters in the perfect order (I’m sort of whatever about “reef”). Sponsored by the Humane League, there’s going to be all sorts of fun stuff like vegan food, cooking demos, and awesome vendors. Por ejemplo, the creators of the amazing vegan restaurant Vedge will be there with news of their forthcoming vegan bar! HOT DAMN. That’s so funny because “vegan” and “bar” are my two favorite words (in no particular order).
Other exciting things to look out for: Miss Rachel herself from Miss Rachel’s Vegan Pantry will be there cooking (and being awesome, but that’s a given), animal-rights juggernauts Mercy For Animals will be tabling, and Blackbird Pizzeria and HipCityVeg are just two of the super-dope food vendors lined up.
To keep up with all the announcements of more fun stuff they keep adding, follow Philly VegFest on FB. This sounds like it’ll be an amazing vegan day! Who wants to hop the Bolt bus with me on the 14th? I can make my dad pick us up at the train station and take us to Pine! He loves when I let him do stuff for me!
Strongest Hearts: vegan athletes do exist and they are amazing! »
I don’t know about you, but as someone who likes to pretend to be an athlete (AKA slow and gasping for air, but keeps on trudging), I’m insanely inspired by super-active vegans! Sooo, I want to see more of them in awesome videos!! Plus, how tired are you of the myth that vegans can’t be physically powerful if they want to be? Let’s show the world that it is just that: a myth! Enter Strongest Hearts, a web series that focuses on vegan athletes. Strongest Hearts films these awesome athletes doing some pretty darn impressive stuff with their bodies… powered by the power of Greyskull! Okay, kidding, powered by plants (duh)!!
Hosted by Registered Dietitian (and bike-obsessed) Matt Ruscigno, R.D. and shot by Whale Wars (amongst many other things) filmmaker (and hockey fanatic), Sasha Perry, Strongest Hearts has a few awesome episodes under their belt but they want to make more—because there are so many more stories to tell! Just watch the damn video they made, people, it’s so much better than any words I could stick together. Then donate what you can so us vegans can be super-inspired/inspiring, and maybe get some omni-athletes to see they could be vegan and still do what they love. DO IT TO IT!
First ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival is THIS WEEKEND »
Bay Area: Did you also watch the drool-worthy photos from the second annual La Vegan Beer & Food Festival roll in on Instagram and Twitter with stomach-rumbling envy a few weeks back? Just me? Well surprise, surprise, we’ve got our very own (granted, relatively more intimate but just as fun-sounding) vegan beer and food fest going down this weekend! Envy-drool no more.
The first ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival takes place this Saturday, June 7, 11am-5pm, in the beer garden/art gallery space Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland. It’s free entry but like all food pop-ups, you’ll pay for your eats as you go.
The awesome ladies behind popular vegan pop-up Hella Vegan Eats will be serving up their signature blend of out-of-this-world colorful dishes: Lusty Lover mac & cheese tacos, mini potsticker burritos (yep), “chicken” and waffle bites, and smoked seitan reubens.
And Black Spring Coffee, Curbside Creamery, Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery, S+M Vegan, Rhizocali Tempeh, and more will join Hella Vegan Eats in the gallery.
On the sweet side, Black Spring Coffee, which opened its doors last year, is known for yummy vegan pastries, as is fellow Oakland coffee shop, Timeless, which has warm house-baked treats. Black Spring will have pastries and iced coffee; Timeless is bringing pour over coffee, chocolates, and even more pastries. Oh and Curbside Creamery will have vegan ice cream sandwiches!
CommonWealth Café & Pub is bringing a variety of beers and ciders.
Plus, there’ll be DJ sets by Alexa Pantalone and Melissr Elliot. Even cooler? It’s for a good cause: 20% of food sales benefit Rocket Dog Rescue.
Better start warning your friends of an onslaught of incoming vegan food photos. Come to think of it, is there an official Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival hashtag yet? I’ll keep a look out.
The goal is make this a biannual event, with one in the spring and one in the fall, and smaller nighttime versions taking place once a month.
Reneu Shoes: Vegan footwear that’s cool kid approved! »
In my day job for Backpacker Magazine, I get to try a lot of shoes as a gear tester. Most of them aren’t vegan (go ahead, roast me in the comments), and they definitely don’t ever earn me any style points.* That’s why when the folks at PlanetShoes.com offered to send us shoes from all-vegan line Reneu, I threw elbows to make sure these babies came to me—I’m a serious remedial case.
In addition to being vegan, Reneu is eco-minded and incorporates earth-friendly materials into their shoes. Exhibit A: The first shoes I tried, the Temba ballet flat ($74), have all-hemp uppers.
My actual feet, looking much prettier than they normally do.
First thing I noticed: You probably shouldn’t try to go hiking in these. But if you (hypothetically) find yourself wandering around trails on a friend’s pot farm or something, then the Temba hemp ballet flat will not only be a fitting fabric for the occasion, but will do you good and hold up to the unreasonable demands you are making of it. The memory-foam insole isn’t enough to protect you from actual rocks and sticks and stuff, but it can totally handle a full 9 hours at a standing desk, plus the walk to happy hour afterwards. And they’re small enough to fit in a purse or a pack if you need to bring out the big guns hiker shoes on your commute (2.5 miles of flooded paths! I had to go WADING yesterday! Yes I am that lady who commutes in
sneakers approach shoes then changes!).
And guys: In these shoes, the adorbs 22-year-old designer across the hall from me actually took the time to stop in and tell me she liked my outfit. That has not ever happened before.
I also tested out the Nia strappy faux-leather sandals ($79), but did not love them as much. It’s a tough fit when only the back strap is adjustable, and I found myself tripping on them even though they’re actually a half-size smaller than I’d normally wear. Luckily PlanetShoes.com has free returns, though, so if that fit issue happened to you, it’d be all good.
In summary: CUTE!!
*Actual quote from a friend: “You’re like a disco hiker or something. You have these normal outfits on, then you’re still wearing shoes like you’re about to run up a mountain.”