Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Recap: Eat Drink Vegan Festival 2016 (formerly LA Vegan Beer + Food Fest)

Eat Drink Vegan!

This past Saturday saw record temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, but that certainly didn't stop folks from heading out in droves to Eat Drink Vegan, or the festival formerly known as the Los Angeles Vegan Beer and Food Fest! In spite of the heat, it was an incredible event filled with tons of vegan food, beverages, products, and lots of good cheer from those attending! I had a blast, and wanted to share a recap of the fest with you!

This was the first time the festival was held under the name "Eat Drink Vegan," but it is the seventh year of this Los Angeles vegan event. Furthermore, the event is branching out beyond LA and just had its second year in Portland earlier this month, which looked amazing! I need to go to both next year! I'm sure they will expand into other cities soon, since these events keep getting more and more popular! The turn-out this year was staggering, I think they had about 10,000 people show up, and roughly 60% of those are non-vegans. It's great so many people are getting exposed to a more compassionate lifestyle through these events.

The lines of VIP ticket-holders before they opened up the event. Entry was 
pretty well organized and went fairly fast. 

The event has grown every year, from its beginnings in a small lot behind The Roxy (2010 - 2012), to a bigger open lot on Sunset Boulevard (2013 - 2014), to last year's event in the Rose Bowl (2015), to this year's venue, a portion of the golf course behind the Rose Bowl. We are talking acres of gently rolling grass lawns dotted with picnic tables, plenty of trees providing pockets of shade, and lots of space for the thousands that attended to Eat Drink Vegan! Even though it was a scorching day, many people kept cool under the numerous trees, shade tents, or fan misters. The venue was pretty perfect!

The Eat Drink Vegan venue - it was so pretty! This was early on, before
the crowds descended full-force!

The LA event featured over 80 different vendors and unlimited pours from over 200 different beers, wine, kombucha, cold brew and craft sodas. In addition to all the food and drinks, it had a pop-up marketplace full of clothing, beauty, makeup, accessories, plus live music throughout the day. Doesn't that sound like vegan heaven?!

The 4 oz. commemorative glasses for the event just waiting to be filled 
with tasty beverages!

I had a VIP ticket, which meant I could enter two hours before general admission. I arrived with three other friends, and as soon as we got in we split up - two of us went and hit up the first food vendor (Herbivorous Butcher, since we knew it would be the most popular booth that day!) and the other two found the perfect shady spot. We set up blankets under a big, shady oak tree, which was a perfect spot that we used the rest of the day! For the next few hours we took turns going out to get food and drinks, and we pretty much shared all the food we brought back. We really took advantage of the shorter lines during the exclusive two-hour VIP time, and we grabbed most of the food we wanted during this time. Some vendors were even offering VIP-only specials and pours!

Our view from our shady spot - it was right in the middle of all the action!

For me, the highlight of the event was food and that's pretty much what I came for, as you can tell from my Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (just search "thespookyvegan" on any of these to follow me!). I didn't make it to all the Must-Try Eats I wrote about last week, but I made a valiant effort! Check out some of what I ate at Eat Drink Vegan below:

The Herbivorous Butcher was my first stop for their regular and Buffalo 
Double-Down Burgers! The Buffalo Double-Down was one of my 
favorite things I ate at Eat Drink Vegan! 

Blue Window's falafel-battered onion rings with special sauce.

Jackfruit nachos from Upton's!

Mini donuts from Donut Friend - Custard Front Drive and Strawberry Lab.

A trio of delights from Plant Food and Wine - passion fruit cheesecake, 
wild mushroom, and smoked hummus! My friend thought this was the
best hummus he had ever tasted!

The Mac Sabbath from Snackrilege, mac n cheese-filled balls with
tremendous flavor! I also picked up one of their awesome tees!

The mac n cheese waffles, chili mac n cheese waffles, peanut butter cannoli, 
and inception cookie (Oreo inside of a chocolate chip cookie!) from 
Clara Cakes! The mac n cheese waffles were insanely delicious, as 
were her sweets!

Charlie's Brownies coming through with a Caramel Brownie Sundae topped
with coconut bacon! This tasted SO GOOD on such a hot day!

Organix's Puerco sandwich 'dilla style (wrapped in a quesadilla)! WHOA!

Little Pine was serving up these pretzel rolls and cheese sauce and the flavors
were incredible! I could have keep eating these all afternoon, and they
 paired fantastically with beer!

The Southern Belle sandwich (mashed potatoes, gravy, fried chick'n, ranch)
 from Organix is always a winner!

I finally got to meet the lovelies behind the spooky Frankenstand and sink my
fangs into their No-Kiel Basa, simply dressed with mustard and ketchup.

On my way out, I couldn't resist picking up a half dozen donuts from Donut Farm, 
who just opened a location in LA. It was great having these leftovers for the
rest of the week.

Eat Drink Vegan was so much fun and I think this year was the best yet! It not only had delicious food and beverages, but it was well-organized, had a wide variety of vendors, offered a gorgeous venue with plenty of space, had multiple water refill stations, an adequate amount of restrooms, tons of shade from the trees as well as specific shade tents, fun people, and everyone had a wonderful time! I am already looking forward to next year!

For more info, you can check out the Eat Drink Vegan Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website.

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