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.
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.