Thursday, March 30, 2017

Recap: Vegan Street Fair 2017

This past Sunday I attended Vegan Street Fair 2017, which was bigger and better than ever! Vegan Street Fair started in 2015 (read my past coverage HERE and HERE!), and every year since then they have grown and improved so much that it has become my favorite vegan festival of the year! This year the street fair took over more streets, had more vendors and longer hours, and featuring fun carnival-style games, lots of seating, and even a beer garden!

The event was completely free, but VIP passes were also available for about $40. If you can swing it, I highly recommend VIP tickets, as they allow you access to special VIP front of line windows at nearly every food booth, plus you can also spring for a little extra to get a swag bag that is packed with all sorts of vegan goodies! The food lines at each booth are looooong, so a VIP pass will save you valuable time and ensure you can eat all the vegan things!

This year they eliminated their food tickets as well, so attendees could just pay vendors directly. Thank goodness, since this meant you didn't have to stand in line twice (once to purchase food tickets, and again to exchange those tickets for food), which made everything faster, less confusing, and more streamlined!

I really had a great time, but let's get to what you REALLY want to see - the vegan food (psssst - check out my list of 10 must-try vendors at Vegan Street Fair and see how many I was able to hit below)!

Vegan Street Fair 2017 - a map to all the festivities!

I'll walk you through my day at the Vegan Street Fair and show you what I ate there below:

 Vegan cheese and margherita pizzas from Rock 'n' Roll Pizza

Mister Spooky and I arrived to North Hollywood early to grab a close parking spot. We easily found parking at 9:30 AM and walked over to pick up our VIP passes (full disclosure, I received media passes to cover the event, which included VIP passes) at the press tent. I love getting there earlier to watch all the vendors set up and put the finishing touches on their booths! We walked the length of the street fair waiting for vendors to open at 11 AM, all the while being teased by the yummy smells coming from the vendors! 

Soyrizo pizza from Rock 'n' Roll Pizza

We had a stroke of luck at around 10:30 AM, when a few vendors opened early! We hit up Rock 'n' Roll Pizza, that was serving up beautiful slices of their vegan cheese, margherita, and Soyrizo pizzas! Mister Spooky picked up a tasty slice of their Soyrizo pizza (which I enjoyed a few bites of!). 

Tacos from Taqueria La Venganza

When 11 AM hit, we headed straight for Taqueria La Venganza, a vegan taqueria from Oakland, California. They are SO popular and I have never been able to try them before at other vegan festivals because the line for their booth is always so intense. This time, though, I just HAD to have them! The VIP line moved pretty quick and though they had SO many choices and specials I settled on a taquito plate and three tacos (carnitas, barbacoa, and al pastor). The taquito plate was okay, but the tacos were amazing!! So, so good! I would have happily just eaten these all day long. 

 Roni and the Cheez Effect from Riot Grill

Next up was one of my most anticipated booths, Riot Grill! This grrrrrl-powered vegan caterer had all kinds of delicious dishes with fantastic names (Roni and the Cheeze Effect for their mac 'n' cheese, Saves the Daiya for their grilled cheese, and so on!)! Their booth was sooooo cute and clever, and I can't wait to try all their other vegan items.

 Action for Animals booth

Besides the food, there were a lot of booths selling vegan goods like clothing, makeup, buttons, pins, and soooo much more! I loved Action for Animals' booth featuring lots of vegan tees, plus some rad stickers!

After hitting a few food booths, we noticed that there were soooo many people there already! It is always so rad to see so many people come out for a vegan event and eat vegan food. And of course I saw a lot of familiar faces and catching up with friends was fun! Though it was getting packed, our VIP passes really helped cut through long lines and get our food quickly. Super grateful we didn't have to stand in long lines for food!

Mac n cheese bites from Word of Mouth Truck

We also stopped by the brand new vegan food truck, Word of Mouth! They had a lot of tantalizing selections, but I went with their mac 'n' cheese bites! The gooey mac 'n' cheese is battered and deep fried to crispy perfection. It came with ranch dressing and was the perfect-sized snack. I really can't wait to try all their other goodies!

 Caramel Apple Abundance from Yoga-Urt

Another of my must-try items was Yoga-Urt's brand new Caramel Apple Abundance flavor they debuted at Vegan Street Fair. It was starting to get a little hot with all the sun and crowds, so this was the perfect respite! And it was soooo delicious and the perfect taste of autumn!

 Toasted Ravioli and vegan deviled "egg" from Jayce Lab

The favorite thing I ate at Vegan Street Fair was the toasted ravioli from Jayce Lab! I have never heard of toasted ravioli (I just thought Jayce was a genius, because he did make the vegan deviled "egg" in the photo above!), but it's a thing! A very, very yummy thing! The ravioli were all handmade by Jayce (again, genius!) and I really wish I had taken more to go because I am craving them like crazy! The deviled "egg" was also surprisingly tasty - I have had one at Ramen Hood that is similar, but this one actually tasted good and had better texture.

 So many people hungry for vegan food! And can you spot the Happy Cow?

 Charcoal lemonade from The Raw Juicery

We got a little parched while we walked through the crowds, so we stopped at The Raw Juicery for "The Cleanup", a cold-pressed charcoal lemonade that helps detoxify your body with activated charcoal, bentonite clay, lemon, lavender oil, coconut nectar, and probiotics. I really loved this stuff! I mean, I love all black everything, but this stuff actually tasted fantastic! It wasn't overly sugary, it just tasted lightly of lemon and a subtle lavender scent. Plus, it really helped hydrate us on our search for more vegan food!

Pulled "pork" and French dip croissants from The Ridiculous Baking Co.- 
made with vegan meat and cheese from The Butcher's Son!

Besides Taqueria La Venganza, the longest line I waited in for at The Ridiculous Baking Company for their meat-and-cheese-filled croissants! They always have can't-miss creations at vegan festivals, and this time they collaborated with The Butcher's Son from Berkeley to come up with this ridiculously good-looking croissants! I had to get one of each, the pulled "pork" and French dip - I took them to go and had them later that day, and my fave was the savory pulled "pork", which I added some BBQ sauce to. The wait was worth it for these babies!

 Vegan Twinkie from Two Birds Baking Company

I have such a massive sweet tooth that I wanted everything at Two Birds Baking Company! I settled on their vegan version of the Twinkie, but I wish wish I had given in to my desires and gotten their cupcakes, too! The Twinkie was moist and while I think it could have used a bit more cream it was dang good. 

 Vegan "turkey" slider from The Abbot's Butcher

I have been wanting to try The Abbot's Butcher for quite some time now, and I was ecstatic that they were at Vegan Street Fair! I would have liked to order their full-size items, but my pants were getting a little tight by this time so I settled for their vegan "turkey" slider. I really liked the patty but wasn't into the dry ciabatta bread they used. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the patty and can't wait to try them again soon! They frequent Orange County farmer's markets, so I hope to pop by their booth at one of those soon!

The beer garden, hosted by The Federal Bar

This year Vegan Street Fair had a beer garden!! You could grab some beers, soda, or water and chill in the 21 and over enclosure right next to the Federal Bar. They had ping pong tables, foosball, cornhole, and more games set up for people to enjoy, too. Mister Spooky grabbed a pint, I grabbed a water, and we just chilled watching people play games while we let some of our food digest. I loved that it was such a friendly, chill vibe in the beer garden! I do wish the line for beer wasn't as long, but it did move pretty fast. I also think that a designated VIP area or line in the beer garden would have been a nice touch (hint, hint for next year!). 

So many booths, so little stomach space!

By 2 PM we were starting to feel pretty full, so we decided to pick up our VIP swag bag and head home. We didn't get to try everything (with over 100 vendors that would be impossible!), but we had a great time and left happy and satisfied. These events need a nap tent where people can lie down for an hour and then get back at it! I would have stayed longer if I wasn't such a sun-hater (I live in the wrong place, I know), but the promise of a dark, air-conditioned room was a siren call I couldn't resist!

A peek inside the VIP swag bag

When I got home, I unpacked the VIP swag bag and found it was packed with so many yummy vegan goodies! I couldn't believe how much stuff they included, and it was a really neat perk! If you go VIP, try to go VIP with swag bag, as there was over $100 worth of goodies included. I basically spent the rest of the day ooooooh'ing and awwwww'ing over all the snacks I received.

VIP swag bag - so much stuff!!

My favorite items in the VIP swag bag were the Love Grown Foods Fruity Sea Stars (I love their cereals so much!), Lucy's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Alter Eco's Salted Almond chocolate bar, Nature's Charm Coconut Milk, Steaz Cactus Water, Pretzilla Pretzel Bites, and so much more! I've been snacking on these items all week and they are perfect for packing in my work lunches.

More VIP swag bag goodness

Vegan Street Fair was a success this year, and I heard that over 30,000 people attended! It keeps getting bigger and better every year, and this year was the best and most-organized to date. Not only did they make it bigger, add more tables, add more vendors, add a beer garden, and drop the food tickets, but they also organized the layout much better. The flow of the booths worked better and they were aligned so lines from different booths didn't overlap and made walking around much easier. Kudos to the whole VSF team for making this year the best yet! 

The next Vegan Street Fair will be held in New York City this June, and Vegan Street Fair Nights will be returning to North Hollywood for two nights in September, so mark your calendars! 

You can find more info on Vegan Street Fair on their website!

Check out what last year's Vegan Street Fair was like HERE!

Check out my report of the very first Vegan Street Fair in 2015 HERE!

Want info on more vegan festivals coming up this year? Check out my recommendations for four others HERE!

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