Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vida Vegan Con, Part 1

I spent last week hanging out with some of my favorite vegan food bloggers and speaking on panels at Vida Vegan Con II in Portland. I took about 600 pictures, so I've combed through and selected my faves to share in two posts today and tomorrow. I mean, I'm sure you'd love to see every single one of my 600 photos, but .... jk! I know you don't care about all that! Here are my highlights from Thursday night and Friday.

Vida Vegan Con didn't officially start until Friday around noon, but there was an unofficial meet 'n' greet at the White Owl Social Club on Thursday afternoon. I arrived early because I was on foot and got there sooner than I'd planned. Lucky for me, they had Vegan Bloody Marys!!! Jesus, Portland is a magical place. This Bloody Mary was the best I've ever had because it was super spicy and made with beet juice!

Also arriving early were Lydia and Mauro from From A to Vegan! I'd never met them before, and they were so fun!

We chatted for a bit, and then my old pals from Vida Vegan Con I arrived — Brit of Vegans Don't Bite, Dawn of Vegan Moxie, and Katie of Vegan Noms. We spent so much time together at the 2011 conference, and this year was no different. I was so excited to see my girls again!

I spotted Jojo from Vegan In Brighton right away! How can anybody miss this adorableness?

And I was thrilled to meet Dan of The Gay Vegans (and Dan was thrilled with this Cock and Bull beer!). He was such a sweetheart. We'd been Twitter friends for some time, but now we are real life friends.

On the way to the ladies' room, I ran into Sayward of Bonzai Aphrodite and Gena of Choosing Raw.

Of course, Erika of Sews Before Bros and Amey of Vegan Eats & Treats were up for some silly fun.

After all that socializing, I'd worked up quite an appetite. And it was happy hour at the White Owl, which meant the Fried Mac & Cheese Burgers were half-off. This burger was RIDICULOUS! Mac & cheese all pattied up and deep-fried. Glorious.

I mean, look at this. Come on.

The meet 'n' greet ended at 6:30 p.m., but Dawn, Brit, Helen, and I found a few minutes for a fun photobooth shot.

The next stop was the People's Co-op, a natural grocery, where we watched The Intrepid Herivores vegan travel show pilot. It was all about eating and ordering vegan food in Thailand. Then we were off to the Sweet Hereafter — a totally vegan bar — for more vegan drinks. I had a Vegan White Russian!

On Friday morning, I awoke to a couple of Voodoo Doughnuts, and then I left Joel's apartment to register for the conference at the Portland Art Museum. After registration, I had a few minutes to seek out lunch at a nearby food cart pod. I stumbled on this vegan-friendly cart called Savor.

They were offering Vegan Grilled Cheese and Vegan Split Pea Soup with Croutons. You can add all kinds of stuff to your grilled cheese, so I picked Marmite and tomatoes. Wow! I will always add Marmite to my grilled cheeses from here on out.

After lunch, it was time for the VVC panels and workshops to begin. I spoke on a panel about spirituality and veganism (with freelance blogger Gabrielle Pope and Nicole from Upton's Naturals), followed by a panel called "Path to Cookbook Author" with author goddesses Joni Marie Newman and Julie Hasson. So honored to be on panels with such amazing women!

After the panels were over on Friday, there was a VVC Veggie Grill reception in the conference ballroom. There was Watermelon Juice (delicious, but it would have been better with vodka).

And Vegan Chicken Wraps and Buffalo Wings.

And just to make sure we got some veggies in, they also served up a Kale Salad with Mango Dressing. Mind you, this was the most greens I got all weekend!

Just after the reception, I tagged along with Dan (from New York), Amber Shea Crawley, and her husband Matt for a ride to the Vegan Mini Mall, where a gorditas and s'mores pop-up shop was underway. Upton's Naturals was serving Gorditas inside Food Fight Grocery. Remember gorditas from Taco Bell? With the hard and soft shell combined? That was the business.

And for dessert, Herbivore Clothing Company and the folks from Dandies were roasting s'mores near the register.

The best part about these s'mores? They were made with Biscoff cookies instead of graham crackers! Glorious.

Here's a shot of vegans loitering outside the mini-mall with their gorditas and s'mores.

After the pop-up, a group of us went for local craft beers at Hungry Tiger Too. And then we headed to Lovecraft, a goth bar. Look at the ceiling!

And here's a group shot (of course, the lovely Miss Amber Shea "Goth Girl" Crawley was there!).

Well, that was all for Thursday and Friday. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures from the rest of the conference.


Hannah said...

Aw, you and my Amber were hanging out together! And isn't White Owl Social the best?! We ordered the vegan campfire-at-the-table-with-the-glorious-flame-and-everything s'mores there on Friday night. SO GOOD.

Claire said...

What. A. Party. You are quickly convincing me to get out to Portland for the next Vida Vegan Con. Drooling all over my keyboard right now.

Michelle said...

Looks like awesome fun!

Chef Amber Shea said...

Amber Shea "Goth Girl" Crawley, HAHA! ;P I'm so glad you posted that picture, because I don't have ANY pictures of the two of us together - sadness! But that awesome group shot will do.
Miss ya already!

Sheridan & Drew said...

So much fun!!! And I really want a fried mac & cheese burger!

GlutenFreeHappyTummy said...

how fun!! and wow...those smores!! :)

Sarah C. said...

Looks like so much fun! I'm interested in hearing more about the veganism/spirituality panel you spoke on. Sometime would you be willing to write up a bit about what was spoken about there? I have been reading your blog a while now but I didn't realize that was something you were interested in.

KTBuns said...

1. OMG I must have Jojo's shirt!

2. How did I miss watermelon juice?!

Erika said...

Those tacos were seriously off the chain!

It was great to see you, as always. Of course, your page in the cookbooklette is the cutest, with Amey's illustrations of baby chickies!


Sayward Rebhal said...

Bianca! I loved hanging and chatting for the short time we did. I wish we'd had more! You're awesome, can't wait till next year! <3

Vegan American Princess said...

Clearly, Portland is a lot more vegan-friendly than the Long Island town I live in. A vegan strip club? That says it all! I will definitely make an effort to attend the Vida Vegan Con next year, and not for the strip club! Great post which made me very hungry!

Abby Bean said...

Oh my gosh; I thought I'd invented the Biscoff s'more. Back to the drawing board!