SoCal Veg Fest at OCC

The first annual SoCal Veg Fest happened this month on World Vegan Day – November 1.  It was a beautiful day at Orange Coast College and I thought this event went very smoothly.  I applaud the organizers not only because I personally know how super-cool they are, but because this was the first time a first annual vegan event didn’t turn out to be a total cluster fuck.  The location was large enough for the crowd, it was free to attend, free parking was provided, there was enough shade, there were many speakers and cooking demos to fill your time, and the lines at the food vendors weren’t absurdly long.  I look forward to attending this event next year.

SoCal Veg Fest

SoCal Veg Fest

Quite a few food vendors were out giving free samples of their vegan products.  I know this was a big part of what the day was about.  A popular flea market was happening nearby, and I know the organizers wanted any of those attendees curious enough about a veg fest to have the opportunity to try some delicious vegan food.  Good idea indeed.  I got some of those samples – but also paid to get some more food.  First stop was a group serving up food from Vegi Wokery.  I bet the Combo Plate would be delicious in the restaurant, but it was not so amazing when being served out of a tent.  I’ll have to hit up the actual restaurant one day.

Vegi Wokery Menu

Vegi Wokery Menu

Vegi Wokery Combo Plate

Vegi Wokery Combo Plate

After chatting with some friends, I decided to try Plant Food for People.  I think I’ve tried them before – maybe when they were first starting out? Everyone says they love them and they were, in fact, delightful.  The the Torta (#5) was nice, but way too much bread (or maybe just not enough filling?).  The Quesadilla (#7) was not what I was expecting. It was two small hard tortillas sandwiching a small portion of filling. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was the grilled soft flour tortilla quesadilla I thought I was getting.

Plant Food for People Menu

Plant Food for People Menu

Plant Food for People Torta and Quesadilla

Plant Food for People Torta and Quesadilla

Donut Friend is such a friend to the vegan community.  They always seem to come out to every vegan event.  Even though I live in LA and it wouldn’t be too hard for me to make the trek from west of the 405 to Highland Park, I never seem to get to their store.  I really should go more often – their donuts are amazing.  I got the Fritter Seems Forever (the best!), Husker Blu (yum!), Pumpkin Piebald (pumpkin deliciousness!), and X-Ray Speculoos (love speculoos, but ruined by the sea salt topping). I really could have gotten them all, but I must set some boundaries.

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend

Donut Friend

While waiting in line for my donuts, the woman in front of me was eating something that I thought I must have.  Turns out, it was a Pumpkin Cheesecake from Mother’s Market.  This. Was. Good.  I wish Mother’s Market came to LA.

Mother's Market Pumpkin Cheesecake

Mother’s Market Pumpkin Cheesecake

And lastly, I just wanted to show you some of the awesome cupcakes from their cupcake competition. It was a wonderful addition to the event and many winners went home with fun gift bags after three judges tasted every single cupcake (where can I sign up for that job?!).

Cupcake Competition

Cupcake Competition

Thank you so much to all the people who worked so hard finding the space, vendors, speakers, and everything else to make this event a huge success!

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Vegan Oktoberfest 2015

Vegan Oktoberfest is happening this weekend.  If you didn’t get out there today, you’re still in luck.  Vegan Oktoberfest will run again tomorrow – October 4th.

If you went last year (for the first annual event), you’ll remember it was insane and poorly planned.  The location last year was in a tiny parking lot at the beach somewhere between Venice and Santa Monica.  They oversold the event, vendors ran out of items early, it was super packed, and there was a record heat wave that day (ok – they couldn’t do anything about that last one).

This year was so much better.  They changed locations and created the event for two days.  This year’s event was at LA Center Studios – located just west of downtown and the 110 freeway.  Not only was the space more than double of what they had last year, but there were also so many trees/buildings to provide shade around the area.  My one complaint, though, would be that they could have set up more tents/tarps over the seating area for shade.  Otherwise, I thought this event was a success. Were there fewer people in attendance?  Maybe.  All the lines seemed rather short.  Maybe it was just better planning on the vendors this year?  Maybe Sunday will be more packed?  I don’t know, but was happy I didn’t have to wait in line for an hour like last year.

I got the non-drinker ticket, because I didn’t want to spend a ton on the ticket price and because I was driving.  I did have a taste of Ace Pineapple Cider from a friend and it was really good.  If you like sweet and not really alcoholly taste – hit them up.  I did get to try a lot of food, though, and I have leftovers to last pretty much a whole week’s worth of lunch.

Stop 1:  Ridiculous Baking Co does it again with their awesome Apple Strudel Cupcakes ($4) and Berliner Jelly Donuts ($3).  They also had a German Chocolate Cake, which I did not have today, but have had in the past (yum!).

Ridiculous Baking Co Apple Strudel Cupcake and Berliner

Ridiculous Baking Co Apple Strudel Cupcake and Berliner

Stop 2: The Grilled Cheese Truck is always one of my stops at all these vegan events (including LA Vegan Beer Fest this past May).  Their regular menu includes no vegan items – which is a shame, because they do them so well.  My two favorites are the Cheesy Mac Melt ($8) and the Cheesy Mac and Rib Melt ($10).

Grilled Cheese Truck Cheesy Mac Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Cheesy Mac Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Mac and Rib Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Mac and Rib Melt

Stop 3: The Go Vegan Truck (or is it the Make Vegan Truck?) was new to me and I still can’t figure out their proper name.  The Not Dog ($6) was one of my favorite savory items from the day.  Take a vegan dog, batter it, fry it, and serve it up in a hot dog bun.  Yum.  Their Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger ($11) was also good.  True to the name, the patty was crispy.  It was a nice burger, but if I had to pick one item to order, it would be the Not Dog.  I also tried one of their (unlabelled) desserts.  I think it was a Chocolate Rugelach ($5), and it was just ok.  Slightly sweet, nice texture, but nothing to write home about.

Go Vegan Food Truck

Go Vegan Food Truck

Go Vegan Not Dog

Go Vegan Not Dog

Go Vegan Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger

Go Vegan Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger

Go Vegan Rugelach

Go Vegan Rugelach

Stop 4: Sabores de Mexico looks like they serve all meat during their normal truck schedule, because they put up some (very hand-made) signs with a special vegan menu for the event.  I really appreciate the effort, but unfortunately, I was not a fan.  I got the Pepperdine Burrito which had rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, Daiya, and tofu.  I thought it was a little bland. Adding Spanish rice instead of plain ol’ white rice might have helped.

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu Pepperdine Burrito

Sabores de Mexico Menu Pepperdine Burrito

Stop 5: Donut Friend has been at other vegan events, but I’ve always skipped them in hopes I would make it out to their shop in Highland Park.  I have yet to go to their shop, so I decided to give them a go.  Everything was amazing!  The Apple Fritter ($5) was the perfect texture, the Allison Spice ($4) was a pumpkin cake donut done right, and the Custard Front Drive ($4) had the most delicious custard filling.  The chocolate glaze on the custard donut was a little more rich than I am used to being on raised donuts, but was not overpowering when combined with that creamy custard.

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Apple Fritter, Bavarian Cream, Pumpkin Spice

Donut Friend Apple Fritter, Bavarian Cream, Pumpkin Spice

Stop 6: Divine Dips is always a great way to end a hot, food-filled day.  The Matcha Green Tea is my favorite.  I also tried the Caffe No-Lait and loved it.  All this was topped with some Whipped Cream and I was a happy girl. ($6)

Divine Dips Matcha Green Tea and Caffe No-Lait with Whipped Cream

Divine Dips Matcha Green Tea and Caffe No-Lait with Whipped Cream

Stop 7: Nary Dairy is allegedly ceasing operations and Oktoberfest was to be their last event.  I hit them up to grab a container of Feta and two containers of Gouda for their 3 for $5 deal.  It’s a great product and we are all sad to see them go.

Nary Dairy Gouda and Feta

Nary Dairy Gouda and Feta

Bonus Stop:  Falasophy was also at Vegan Oktoberfest, but I was too full to grab something from them.  I did get their Classic Falafel Pita at another event and absolutely loved it.  The pita was so thick and fluffy and I loved that they added hummus (as opposed to just a tahini sauce).  Now I kind of wish that I had gotten one to go.

Falasophy Menu

Falasophy Menu

Falasophy Falafel Pita

Falasophy Falafel Pita

Thanks to the organizers of this year’s event for making it a ton better than last year.  See you next year!