vegansaurus!

09/29/2012

Chicago VeganMania is TODAY!  »

We totally slept on this! Chicago VeganMania is today! If you’re in the area, stop what you’re doing and head over because it looks super awesome and it’s FREE! The list of vendors is out of control. I’m super jealous of anyone going. I would go but I’m in New York and agoraphobic. Victoria Moran is going to be there, Vaute Couture, and even the Vegan Black Metal Chef! 

So if you’re anywhere near there, you have to go and send me pictures!

11/03/2011

3rd annual Chicago VeganMania Fest this weekend!  »

If I still lived in Chicago, I’d totally hit this fest up! Actually I probably wouldn’t because my job is in the restaurant industry, therefore I work every weekend of my life. Sucks for me! You should go, Chicago readers. Report back in the comments section (I live for your comments!). And if I’d given anyone else enough notice, they could’ve hopped a plane and frolicked about the glorious(LY cold) city of Chicago for a weekend. Has it gotten to that point your nose hairs are freezing together yet? Wait, that’s more of a December thing, right?

Looks like one of the best ways to spend a Saturday. Get to Pulaski Park Fieldhouse—1491 W. Blackhawk (a few blocks east of the Milwaukee/Division Blue Line stop)—from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Speakers include Natan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, and Vegan Outreach's Director of Outreach, Jon Camp. Food provided by Chicago Diner, Chicago Soydairy, Laviyah Ayanna of Vegan Food Truck, and Sandi Swiss of Canary Confectionery.

All in all, it looks like a fun day filled with vendors, music, artists, speakers, and FOOD! Plus, there’s totally an all ages after party at the Silver Room, at 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave. It’s $15, goes from 5:30 to 10 p.m, and includes live music, DJs, a raffle, food from Soul Vegan, plus door prizes.

C’mon, what else were you going to do Saturday? Cry in your Old Style about how cold it’s getting at some dive in Wicker Park/Logan Square/Ukrainian Village? Hit up Chicago VeganMania!

[Image courtesy mfablog.org]

07/05/2011

Guest post: Vegan Cookie Connoisseur Kelly Peloza goes to Mad City Vegan Fest!  »

The first-ever Mad City Vegan Fest was held last month in Madison, Wis., and I was lucky enough to be there doing a baking demo and speech. Over 1,300 people attended, and there were so many fantastic, inspiring presenters: Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House spoke about food activism; Terry Romero made chipotle seitan potato tacos; Kenny Torella of Mercy For Animals spoke about everyday compassion; and there was a nutrition talk, yoga session, and raw food demo! There were lines wrapping around the exhibitor room full of people eager to get their hands on lunch from local Midwest vegan food vendors like Dandelion Food Cart (I got a breakfast-y tofu ciabatta sandwich and it was yumz), Ste Martaen Vegan Food Truck, and a whole host of tables offering samples. A smashing success, and everyone was extremely friendly and super awesome.

It gets even better! There were Vegansaurus Happy Veggie Kids at the vegan fest! My friend Marla of Chicago VeganMania was there with Justice. Then I recognized Ayame, who sat in the front row at my demo and volunteered to be one of my cookie-decorators. I clearly need to be best friends with more eight-year-olds because Ayame said she loves cookies and bunnies, and OMG me too! I went vegan when I was 14 and grew up very much involved in the vegan community, and it’s wonderful to see these awesome vegan kids being a part of such a wonderful community at such a young age!

For my demo, I talked about cookbook-writing and the greatness of microplane zesters, then made Shirley Temple Cookies. They are a delicate, shortbread-like citrus cookie topped with cherry grenadine frosting, garnished with a cherry, candy straws, and a cocktail umbrella—just like the drink. Get the recipe here.

Sandi and Ayame and I piped frosting and garnished the cookies with all sorts of fun stuff. The audience also got samples of Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars (such a summery recipe, I know!) and Hypnosis Cookie Lollipops. Jasmin commented that my dress matched the cookies—when you spend all your time making cookies, at some point desserts become your (subconscious) fashion inspiration. The demo went smoothly and everyone was gobbling up cookies by the end of it!

The after-party was held at High Noon Saloon, with pizza and cupcakes galore (the only food groups you’ll ever need)! My friend Jessica of Compassionate Cake baked a huge selection of GORGEOUS cupcakes, in flavors like Chile Chocolate, Death by Chocolate, and Maple Vegan Bacon, topped with intricate fondant and chocolate sculptures. I had met Jessica a few days prior to the event, after seeing her cupcakes and deciding we needed to be friends immediately. She is just starting her catering business and she’s an amazing lady. Just look at these cupcakes!



I always go home happy and inspired from vegan fests and other events, and Mad City was no exception (well, 8 a.m. class the next day was kind of a drag). I met so many wonderful people, saw some good friends, and made new ones. Go get your vegan fest on in a city near you, or get involved with starting one! Something about putting hundreds of like-minded people with great ideas and enthusiasm all in one place all day makes awesome things happen!

Kelly Peloza is the author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which is great. Find her at The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat online, or all over the place in real life! Thanks for the post, Kelly!

06/23/2011

Another veg restaurant pops up on Chicago’s Northside!  »

Every time I blink, a new veg restaurant opens in Chicago! Don’t get me wrong—it’s always welcome news. But how am I supposed to choose where to eat when I visit with so many options?? Easy. I’ll just go to all of them. I’ve already walked the Magnificent Mile and been atop the Sears Tower (I don’t care what its new name is, it will always be the Sears Tower to me), so that frees up all my time to eat EVERYTHING VEGAN in that city.

The view from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods parking lot.

The new restaurant in question is Quesadilla: La Reyna del Sur, which is located in Chicago’s Bucktown/Logan Square neighborhood at 2235 N Western Ave. Logan Square is also unofficially known as the best neighborhood in Chicago. (I should know, I used to live there! California Ave. represent!)

Unfortunately, Quesadilla’s (can I call you that for short?) has no website of its own, but Second City Vegan has a review! Any Chicago-based Vegansaurus readers hit the place up yet? What do you think?

10/06/2010

Vegansaurus Midwest recommends Chicago VeganMania!  »

Hello Chicago! And surrounding area! You guys are about to have a lot of fun! EarthSave Chicago is holding the second annual Chicago VeganMania this Saturday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you’re all invited! Really! It’s at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W. Blackhawk, between Division and North Avenue), it’s FREE, and that is all you really need to know, you guys: Saturday, VeganMania, Free.

OK, if you must know more, some details. You’ll get a bunch of chef demos, notably from Soul Vegetarian, the Chicago Diner, and Isa Chandra Moskowitz! You’ll get speakers, like Oakland’s own Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and, oh, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, she is an unstoppable force! Also performers! See the schedule for particulars.

What about buying stuff? With free entry, you are basically obligated to make purchases inside—that is a tenet of capitalism!—so what will your options be? You can buy food from, yes, Soul Vegetarian, that’s exciting! Who else will be there? Chicago Soy Dairy, naturally, and Herbivore, and Supreme Master TV! Of course your own Vaute Couture, and a whole lot more.

According to organizer Marla Rose, you can also expect “appearances by the Vegan Cupcake Fairies.” That’s a positive thing, y/n? We are assuming yes, as Marla Rose uses the word “amazing” to describe them. Vegans with children, whether for the day or ever, don’t worry—once they get cranky and unmanageable, just dump them in the free “children’s play area” and let strangers deal with it! Brilliance.

You know, were we not spoiled by “sweater in the morning, jacket in the evening” weather most of the year, we’d move to your gorgeous city in a heartbeat, Chicago. The architecture knocks us out, the rent is sickeningly low, the theatre scene is amazing, and clearly you vegans are revered as precious creatures with your own “Mania” day. Unfortunately, your Vegansaurus is a big baby about things like S.A.D. and temperatures that actually kill people. We’ll just have to be long-distance friends.

Have fun at your Mania, Midwest vegans! Report back, with photos!

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