Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vida Vegan Con, Portland, 2013

I'm back from vegan food blogger conference, Vida Vegan Con, filled with memories, ideas, and lots of delicious food!  I've been posting reviews of my fabulous meals at Homegrown Smoker, Portland's only vegan BBQ, Back to Eden Bakery, which has amazing gluten-free vegan treats as well as soft serve vegan icecream, Sizzle Pie, where I ate a delicious slice of vegan pizza called The Veganator, and the best Lebanese restaurant I've ever eaten in, Nicholas Restaurant. Here are some of my quick impressions of the city, the conference, and well, of course, food!

Speaking of food... one of the most exciting things about this conference was getting to sample new products by vegan companies such as GO Veggie!, So Delicious, Turtle Island (Tofurky), Teeze, Attune Foods (Erewhon), and WayFare Foods.  Upon arrival, we were handed a hefty goodie bag loaded with all sorts of tempting loot.  As if that wasn't enough, the first day featured a grazing bar type lunch where all of these companies handed out samples of their delicious treats.

Here's a lineup of peanut butter offered by Peanut Butter & Co.  My favorite was the chocolate peanut butter, which I think would make a great frosting.  It was yummy on cereal and in a banana smoothie, FYI.

Turtle Mountain, makers of Tofurky, is introducing a new line of "artisinal sausages" later this year.  Flavors include Andouille, Applewood Chick'n, and Spinach Pesto.  I sampled them all and I definitely think these will satisfy even diehard meateaters.  Definitely be sure to grab some to serve to your omni friends and family next time they come to dinner.

Nayonaise by Nasoya is much better than I remember.  It reminded me of Miracle Whip, and tasted really delicious with no augmentation in the potato salad they were serving.  I'd definitely use this at my next picnic.

Vegan, but not gluten-free, and I have no idea how they do it, but these fake bacon bits from WayFare Foods were delicious!  I can totally see using them in a savory bean soup or a tofu quiche with asparagus.  Loved the smoky flavor!

Teese makes great nachos.  You can get the spicy jalapeno or plain cheese and melt up a bunch to drizzle on top.  Sooooo.... goooooood.

I can't stop raving about how awesome this cereal is.  I know it's just cereal, but it's gluten-free, soy-free, and corn-free - all of the things I have to stay away from for health reasons!  It'll be so nice having some real crunch that I can alternate with rice puffs for my morning breakfast.

One of my favorites was the new gluten-free Cookies & Cream flavor from So Delicious.  They handed out samples in these equally good gluten-free cones.  Yum!  I can't wait till this hits shelves later this summer.

Vegan Trivia on opening day.  I would've lost badly if I was up there.  Except for all the nutrition questions... which I geekily knew all of.

The conference took place at the beautiful Portland Art Museum.  My favorite sculpture was in the outdoor patio garden.  And of course, I gave it a hug.

Terry Hope Romero, author of Vegan Eats World among many others, speaking about recipe creation. One of my favorite quotes from her presentation:  "Your recipe is the map, and the food you create with it is the adventure."

Another enjoyable presentation was by the young and talented Hannah Kaminsky, author of My Sweet Vegan.  She recently graduated from college with a degree in photography and demonstrated her food styling techniques.  Here is how she dressed up a simple Pad Thai from Whole Foods.  Looks good enough to eat! :-)

Here she is showing off her "most used tools."

I rode to and from the conference each day on the Portland streetcar.  It was a convenient form of transportation, and essentially free.  Here's the view out the window, which was pretty much a constant ominous cloud since it rained nearly every day I was there.

More ice cream.  This was vegan softserve from Back to Eden Bakery.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this mirage at the Portland Airport.  It was a pleasant way to welcome a weary vegan traveller.


Anonymous said...

Wow! It must have been so great to see and sample so many products and attend so many workshops.

Joanna said...

I hope it won't be long for the
cookies and cream by So Delicious to appear in grocery stores. They make a great product

Eric Triffin, MPH said...

New vegan waves are lapping at the shores of our appetites. This is good, although cooking for ourselves is best! These great products will have their place in making plant based options easy and clearly important, more and more to many!

Hannah said...

I'm so glad you made it to my workshop! It was great to meet you- Hope we can stay in touch through the blogs, at least. :)

Mary Lawrence said...

Thank you so much for checking out my Blog and posting a comment, Hannah! It was nice to meet you and I look forward to keeping in touch. :-)