I spent the weekend in New Orleans at the annual NOLA Veggie Fest, a fund-raiser for the Humane Society of Louisiana. I signed books and led cooking demos on both days of the fest, but since I took so many pictures, I've decided to break the fest into two posts. Here's my day one recap.
Paul and I grabbed free breakfast in the hotel. They had oats, so I added brown sugar and raisins to mine. And I had some of the breakfast potatoes. Then we headed down to the New Orleans Healing Center, home of Veggie Fest.
I had the first cooking demo of the day at 11:15 a.m., so I set up my table and got to work demonstrating my Eggless Tofu Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk.
After the demo, I moved to the booksigning table I shared with Ellen Jaffe Jones, author of Eat Vegan on $4 a Day. Both Ellen and I were published through Book Publishing Company (yes, that's the name!), and they very generously paid my way to come to New Orleans for this event. My publisher Bob and Book Pub Co employee Sal staffed their book sales booth next to our signing table. Both Ellen and I led demos/talks and signed books all day.
It was great meeting Ellen! She's a devoted marathon runner, and since I plan to run my first half this year, she gave me lots of tips for increasing mileage and proper stretching. She's also a whiz at book sales, so I think I learned a few things from sharing a table with her (note to self: laminate press about the book and set that up at my signings).
We were stationed right next to the Viana and Field Roast plant meat sampling station, so I snacked on gyro meat and sausages all morning. But I was still famished by noon. Paul and I hit up this Fat Falafel food truck parked in the Veggie Fest's back lot.
I ordered the Fat Sandwich (a falafel and pita sandwich topped with root veggie slaw, French fries, and vegan garlic sauce). Nothing says amazing like fries on a sandwich, my friends. I typically eat a French fry po'boy when I'm in New Orleans, but this was the next best thing. And that garlic sauce was so yummy (yes, there are falafel balls hidden under all those fries)!
After lunch, I met a unicorn in the parking lot!
I stayed at the signing table for most of the day, but I did wander around long enough to buy three vegan message tees and a cute cotton dress. Oh, and I sampled bars and plant meats all day!
The NOLA Veggie Fest folks planned an after-party with a burlesque show at Cafe Istanbul after the event. Since we'd been snacking all day, we weren't really hungry for dinner. But we couldn't resist vegan lasagna! A catering company had Rice Noodle Lasagna, Vegan Jambalaya, and Potato Salad. When we got there, the lasagna was almost gone! But there was just enough.
Not the prettiest plating, but both were tasty as hell.
After the burlesque show, Paul and I headed to Frenchman Street to check out the local bar scene. There we ran into fellow Veggie Fest speakers Dr. Casey Taft (Vegan Publishers co-founder and author of Mom, Dad, I'm Vegan: A Guide for Understanding Your Vegan Family Member), Will Travel for Vegan Food blogger Kristen LaJeunesse, and vegan boxer Omowale Adewale. We all tucked into a very crowded reggae bar for a bit. Then Paul and I wandered down the street and found a cool goth bar.
We finally ended the night at a 24-hour cafe — Tic Toc Cafe — by our hotel. Paul had some meaty breakfast plate, and I stuck with coffee since the place wasn't vegan-friendly. Check out this place's motto!
Tomorrow, I'll fill y'all in on day two and share more pics from Veggie Fest!