Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vida Vegan Con Takes Texas: Day One!

If you've been following along, you know that I spent the last week hanging with the most awesome vegan bloggers and attending workshops and basically sampling my way around vegan Austin during the third annual (but very last) Vida Vegan Con. Over the past two days, I've shared pics from the pre-conference activities. But tonight, I've got pics from day one of the two-day conference.

Saturday started with swag bag pick-up! VVC HOOKS IT UP with the freebies, yo. Each con attendee received a bag stuffed with all these goodies!

I've been to all three VVCs, and one thing I've learned to look forward to are the fab breakfast and lunch buffet spreads! They feed us so well. Saturday morning started off with a Breakfast Taco and Artisan Toast Buffet! We were in Austin, after all, so there were many, many tacos to be had!

Here's my plate — Black Bean & Soy Chorizo Taco with Daiya, Sweet Earth bacon, salsa, cilantro, and avocado. There are potatoes on the side because they wouldn't fit into my taco. And I hit up the artisan toast buffet for gluten-free toast — one with Chao and one with Earth Balance Avocado Spread and fresh avocado!

I also helped myself to a bit of Raw Cashew Yogurt with Granola and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts.

After breakfast, Sheridan, Drew, and I attended an opening talk by Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary. So inspiring! And then we hit up the Feminism & Veganism Panel, and Sayward's excellent "Facing Failing Health as a Vegan" talk. Then it was lunch time! Another buffet. This one was a Vegans Heart Bowls buffet, but we actually just used plates. Look at those greens! See, we did eat something kinda healthy in Austin.

I made this big ole mess pile of awesomeness. I can't even tell you what all was on it but good stuff! Let's see ... there was spinach, roasted chickpeas, hummus, Heidi Ho cashew chevre, tempeh sausage, Sweet Earth bacon, coconut bacon, Daiya, black olives, nooch, hemp seeds, kale chips, rice, quinoa, miso sauce, and vegan ranch. Holy crap! I did just remember everything on it. Bunch of randomness, but it was delicious.

Lunch dessert was a Coconut Panna Cotta with Candied Quinoa and Pineapple. Tasty! But I could only eat half because I was so full.

After lunch, we went to Ginny Messina's talk on preventing ex-vegans and, finally, Christy Morgan's discussion on how activists from different areas can all get along. And somewhere in the middle of those talks, there was more dessert! Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars! Also, fruit if that's what you're into. I ate cookies.

As soon as the con workshops were over, we headed to Rabbit Food Grocery, the all-vegan grocery store, to stock up on stuff we can't get back home. Vegan fudge! Vegan twinkies from Cakewalk! Vegan bacon cheese dip! Yellowbird Habanero Sauce (remember that from yesterday's post?).

Then it was time to hit up the third anniversary party of Capital City Bakery, VVC veteran Kristen Davenport's totally vegan bakery! A visit to this shop has long been on my bucket list. We arrived a little late though, and there was a line of vegans around the block! But that was okay. We weren't very hungry yet, and while in line, we got a chance to chat with Ted (@wokonthewildside). Ted took this picture of Drew, Sheridan, and I.

Once we finally made it inside, we were overwhelmed by the choices! So many delicious cupcakes, cookies, kolaches, and cheesecakes (not pictured because they were in a different case)!

It was a tough decision, but I finally picked this amazing Fluffer Nutter Cupcake! Peanutty, marshmallowy goodness! I actually didn't eat this until the next day though because there was no room in my belly.

And I also got a savory Vegan Bacon & Cheese Kolache! I'd never even heard of kolaches, but they're all over a Texas. They're pastries filled with either savory or sweet fillings.

Even though I was totally full, I couldn't help but biting in and eating half while it was hot. OMG!!!!! Softest bread ever. I regret sharing the rest with Paul later that night. He came in from hanging with his friend, and he was hungry. It was the only non-snack food in the hotel room. So I shared. But now I wish I would have been able to eat it all myself because I've been dreaming of this pastry ever since. I'm not so good at sharing food.

We weren't hungry for dinner, but we weren't about to let an opportunity to eat in Austin pass us by. So we headed to the 'burbs to check out the legendary vegan Detroit-style pizza at Via 313. They have a couple food trucks located in the city core, but we really wanted to sit inside somewhere with a bar. Plus, it was kinda sprinkly out. Lucky for us, we had a car, so the 15-minute drive out there wasn't a problem.

The server told us there'd be a 45-minute wait on pizza, so we ordered this Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower appetizer. Simple roasted veggies drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

But this was the real star of the night — Vegan Detroit-style Pizza! Detroit-style means it's square with thick, soft crust and just a drizzle of sauce on top. This also had Daiya mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and olives. I could only manage two slices, but man it was so good. I was wishing I had room for more! Thick crust pizza is my jam.

After dinner, we were stuffed. So we called it a night since we had to be at the con again bright and early. I'll be taking a break from blogging over the weekend like I always do, but I'll be back Sunday night with pics from Day Two!


Babette said...

VVC sounds like paradise, or at least a very good dream.

I would really like to sample that vegan toona you got in your bag.

When you mention Earth Balance with avocado spread, is that a recipe or a new product from EB?

I had never heard of kolache either, but now that I saw that inside pic with the melty cheese, I want one badly.

Bianca said...

Babette, it's newish from Earth Balance. It's just an avocado based margarine spread. It's excellent on toast with fresh avocado on top!

Erika said...

I was pleasantly surprised by Via 313! I'd never even heard of Detroit-style pizza before. I'd call it 'middle school cafeteria-style' pizza, but in the best possible way (it only looks like it's from the cafeteria, but it tastes soooo good!).

Babette said...

Does it taste anything like avocado?

Bianca said...

Babette, it doesn't have a strong avo taste. But it's there a little bit.

Bianca said...

Babette, it doesn't have a strong avo taste. But it's there a little bit.

Bianca said...

Babette, it doesn't have a strong avo taste. But it's there a little bit.

Christine (The Raw Project) said...

Great recap, so true that we were fed well - whew! It was great meeting you and attending your session!

Susan said...

I loved the pizza at Via313, though we went to the food truck so didn't have the fancy appetiser options!