Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fun Times, Animal Love, And Cooking Lessons At The First Philadelphia VegFest

After a week of nonstop rain, the weather turned out nice and bright for Philadelphia's first Vegfest.
A lot of amazing events took place at the Shambles today.
On 2nd and Pine, the very first vegan festival happened in Philadelphia, even bringing a load of curious carpooling New Yorkers like that of Demetrius of Vegucated fame.
It's so funny to be recognized. He asked me if I was a blogger and I looked at him, seeing his familiarity....
"Afro Vegan Chick?"
"Yes! That's me."
Oh how freaking awesome to be recognized and greeted by one of the producers of Vegucated. Unbelievable! The world between Philly and New York gets smaller and smaller.

Great meeting Demetrius! Apparently NYC has this wonderful ice cream called Lulu's Sweet Apothecary. Sounds like a must eat.
I woke up at 8AM, started walking from home a little after 9AM, and got there just before 11AM- Vegfest starting time. Yup. Nothing like a wonderful two hour "work out" to get the excited body even more enthusiastic! Felt pumped and eager to check out vegantastic festivities!

Goodies galore! SO spoiled. And it's not even a holiday.
Modestly crowded by the time of my arrival, I received two sweet gift bags from Vega and Mom's Organic Market. Treats like Brad's Raw Crunchy Kale, Lundberg's Rice Chips, Runa tea bags, and Raw Rev bars. Scored coupons from my favorite brands (Daiya, Tofurkey, and I've never tried Upton's Naturals!). Finally acquired Crazy Rumors balm. The flavor is limeade- perfect summer lip treat! I gotta say, however, those free organic fair trade bananas at Mom's Organic Market booth captivated me. Never ate a banana so good.
There were buttons, jewelry, radical t-shirts/tanks, books, brochures, 100% natural fruity popsicles, Soy Cafe sweets, and vibrant, spirited energy all around. Just an overall positive vibe. Music played by a band called Evan Cline covered my Goo Goo Dolls "Name" in an impressive way. Good indie acoustics and soothing mellow ballads. Made a new fan out of me today.
Spoke to a representative of Farm Sanctuary around the NYC area. They rescue farm animals like pigs, horses, ducks (OMG DUCKS=CHICKS!!!). I must schedule a time to go out there. It would be such a rewarding experience.  

This fashion truck had everything.
Chic transportation dress definitely up my alley!
Whole Foods Market gifted Beyond Meat coupons and handed out generous samples of a rather refreshing salad that feature Beyond Meat's chickenless strips topped with a mango salad dressing. Did wonders to my tongue. Both cool and satisfying amongst the heat.

Beautiful free sample of Beyond Meat Chicken Salad from the Whole Foods booth.
Sip N Glo Juicery gave everyone mini shots of One Love (cucumber, spinach, apple, pineapple, and ginger juice)) and Sweet Freedom handed little squared dessert samples. I tried the chocolate coconut with a chewy maple tasting bottom. Mmmmhmmmm.

Yummy chocolate coconut and maple goodness.
I took a lot of important information out of the cooking demonstrations. More than the foods that were "magically" finished without aided ovens and fast cooking skillets. Heehee.
Our first lesson came from Certified Natural Chef Sara Glassman of Fine Dining. She made bean burger sliders with a simple carrot and cabbage slaw. Now I know how to chop cabbage. So happy about that! She suggested that cooking beans are better than canned- more nutrients. I have never made my own beans- time consuming for one thing, but I'll look into that in the near less lazy future.
Dijon mustard, tahini, water, and brown rice syrup make the dressing. No bread required.

Sara posing with an easy dinner that will please anyone.
Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel's Pantry takes the stage...
She sprays with grapeseed oil.
She sears seedless watermelon on each of its six sides.
Watermelon filets are topped with a simple horseradish sauce, pumpkin seeds, and an edible leaf.
Never considered using watermelon in a savory dish before. Rachel stands by its incredible flavor one hundred percent. Gotta try that!
A tip- eat right away. Taste starts to become unappealing if left sitting out too long.
Smelled inviting just like all the other prepared meals. Loved that gentle wind blew all the cooks' aromas into the crowd. Pleasant fragrances had my mouth watering all afternoon.

Super cool Rich Landau- a winner of Food Network's Chopped and co-owner of Vedge gives us valuable tidbits about summer grilling. Like cutting the skin off zucchini so the marinades don't make skin "boil and bruise." Also: Wet herbs in the last seconds of cook time- dry herbs before. Well, that explains a lot. Plus the hotter the skillet gets, the less one needs to depend on oils. Vegetables and tofu will not stick so badly if the skillet is heated up enough. Great advice.
Finished grilled zucchini. Man. I wanted a bite.
Rich's wife- Kate Jacoby introduces the couple's latest venture V Street opening this summer/fall in the Rittenhouse Square location. She creates an interesting ice cream parfait layered with black eyed peas (weird yes), fruit, cream, black eyed peas, and more cream. Too bad the grated shaved ice didn't work out.
Red sauce is added to the parfait. Voila!
My excitement tripled as energetic Christina of the popular PBS show- Christina Cooks took the stage. Turning vegan at age fourteen, daughter of a butcher, she mentioned that thirty years ago, there weren't that many vegan food options available. She's right. The world has now evolved with great product lines such as Beyond Meat, Gardein, Daiya, and So Delicious. Every few months, new items emerge with the latest innovative flavor profiles. One day I'll make it out to test the latest vegan foods at the expo and bring back all the juicy scoop. Have been dying to attend for ages.
She prepared Wardolf Salad. Inwardly I clapped, seeing another person break out red onion and talking about its sweetness compared to yellow and white. I adore red onion y'all. I really do. Granny Smith apples bring a sour component to the red onion sweetness and added raisins and chopped fresh parsley help body digest the proteins (pea protein that is) founded in diced Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips. Of course it isn't Wardolf Salad without walnuts- more protein for the vegan to consume. So don't ask that silly question my meat eating friends. We do get enough of the "P" word.
I enjoyed Christina's responses to questions about gluten and soy. A lot of people have been jumping on gluten-free who don't even have celiac disease and soy isn't this big baddie responsible for causing breast cancer in women. Still, it's best to consume organic and Non GMO based wheat and soy products.

Catching the speed of Christina's amazing energy!
Posing with the finished Wardolf Salad- Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips, Granny Smith apples, red onions, parsley, raisins, walnuts, and vegan mayo.
I relished Philadelphia's break into the Vegfest bandwagon, hoping that this becomes an annual tradition.It got a packed house hopping, revved up curious people's interest in vegetarian/vegan living, and gave them a sample of plant based life as well as what this symbolizes to animals and environment. I do hope the bill passes here that gives us the opportunity to have GMO "foods" labeled. What a huge, giant step that would take in slapping Monsanto's face. We have every right to know what food is real and what's genuine garbage! How programmed do they want us to be in America? Sheesh. I think it shouldn't be such a big deal, but they're so terrified that they want no such laws to pass. They don't want people to get smart. Instead it's "easier" to remain in ignorance about where food comes from. While other countries actually give a care.
Anyway, sorry to rant.
Philadelphia Vegfest made for a perfect Saturday morning.
And it should happen again next year and the year after.
Thanks to all the vendors, sponsors, guest speakers, and IG/Twitter pals who made this event great! Had a blast!

1 comment:

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