Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What I Ate at Bonnaroo 2014

I survived my fifth Bonnaroo! I spent Thursday through early Monday morning at the annual Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Like Lollapalooza and Coachella, Bonnaroo is one of the country's largest mega-fests, and this year's line-up was stellar as always. Elton John was MAGICAL (I may have shed a tear during "Candle in the Wind" and "Tiny Dancer"). The Bouncing Souls were awesome (and the lead singer was actually pretty bouncy onstage). Ice Cube told us all to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves, and Janelle Monae's "Tightrope" was, well, tight.

But this year's EDM DJ line-up was the best part — Skrillex, Zedd, Kaskade, The Glitch Mob. I stayed up until sunrise Saturday night re-living my old raver days as DJs dropped beat after beat. Anyway, that's enough about the music. You're here for the food! But first, I can't do a Bonnaroo post without showing you the iconic Bonnaroo ferris wheel. I didn't ride it this year, but I spent a fair amount of time Saturday night gazing at the lit-up wheel with diffraction glasses.

But I digress. Now onto the food. I brought plenty of snacks and easy camping meals with me, but each day, I ventured into Centeroo (the main venue area with stages, vendors, and other attractions) to purchase one or two meals. There are so many vegan options at Bonnaroo, but it's a festival and that means jacked-up prices. So I tried not to eat every meal out. I'll do a full post on what I packed to eat at the campsite tomorrow. Tonight, I'll show you the vegan food I bought at the fest.

On Friday around lunch time, I found the Feel Good Foods booth, which proudly advertises "Vegan Entrees" on their sign. Last year, I had their BBQ Soy Curls, and they were quite good. So this year, I went with the Coconut Curry Tofu — tofu, snow peas, daikon, and carrots in a coconut curry sauce over brown rice. Paul took a bite and proclaimed it awesome, and he's not even vegan.

Later that night, I tried a dish I've seen on the menu at the Yakisoba Noodles vendor menu for years but never tried. It's Vegetable Yakisoba Noodles — wheat-based noodles with cabbage, carrots, and snow peas in a savory-sweet soy sauce. This was probably my favorite dish of the weekend because it reminded me of vegetable lo mein. Lo mein noodles often contain eggs, so I can never order it from Chinese restaurants and I miss it.

On Saturday, I ventured into the Food Truck Oasis, a food truck court near the giant water slide. The trucks came from all over the country, and most had vegan options. I decided to try Eatbox, a food truck from vegan-friendly Asheville, North Carolina. They had a couple vegan dishes on the menu.

One of those was called the Bad Hunter, and it was a vegan version of their traditional meatball sub. This had homemade vegan meatballs made with walnuts, lentils, and oats. And it was topped with marinara and green peppers. So good!!!

On Sunday, I walked past the Dia De Los Tamales booth. They had Vegan Black Bean & Corn Tamales for $5 each. I just got one so I'd have room for another snack. This may not look super pretty, but what tamale does? But it was so good! The salsa on top was garlicky and delicious, and the tamale was stuffed with black beans and corn. I could have eaten about five more of these!

Just before Elton John played the closing set on Sunday night, I knew I needed a snack. I grabbed a quick Vegetable Samosa from Swagruha Indian's booth (a Bonnaroo late-night snack tradition for me).

Even though I'm having tons of fun when I'm at Bonnaroo, I'm also there to work. I shoot the festival for my newspaper, The Memphis Flyer. You can see my slideshow of band shots and festy scenes on the Flyer website, but here are a few of my favorite shots. Janelle Monae!

And Cake! Remember them from the '90s? Yep, this was a fun, nostalgic show.


The Preppy Vegan said...

Love that there were so many vegan options! And lo mein = my fave hangover food ever. There's an Asian food buffet at my local grocery store that I can just roll into and stock up when needed.

I, too, would have teared up at Tiny Dancer!

Brokenweed said...

I had the tofu BBQ curls last year and thought they were too spicy. I had a sweet potatoe dish from Eat box 2 years ago and it was great. To go with my samosa, I did the French fries with the chickpea marsala sauce. That made a good dinner between the afternoon and evening acts. There is a stand in VIP that has a tomato salad and sweet potato hummus with blue cornchips.

Renard Moreau said...

[ Smiles ] Vegan food and musical entertainment goes down well together.

Katie said...

Nice! Last time I was at a festival I just ate big meals before hand in case there wasn't much. Good to know Bonnaroo has good selections, makes me want to go even more!