LAVBF Part 1
Wow! What can I say? The 4th Edition of the Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest presented by QuarryGirl, Tony’s Darts Away & The Roxy, was all kinds of AWESOME! This event was so much bigger than last year (2012 recap here!) - more food, more beer, more vegan peeps! It was so big, in fact, that they moved it across the street from its original location. It was so inspiring to see so many people out & about & living la vida vegan! It’s apparent that L.A. vegan foodie scene is going off right now - the amount of vegan food vendors was staggering, & that was just a small sampling. Kinda makes me wanna move to L.A., or get a stronger movement in my hometown of San Diego!
While I enjoyed tons of incredible food, sampled some tasty brews, & caught up with a few of my favorite vegan bloggers, the highlight of my day was meeting Tony Kanal of No Doubt! I’d caught wind that Tony would be in attendance via twitter & just about lost my you know what. I love that he is vegan & is becoming more & more outspoken about animal issues. I’ve been a huge ND fan since high school & was lucky enough to see them play a very intimate show at when I was in college at UCSB in ‘94. I shared that memory with Tony & he said “those were the best shows!” I’ve met very few “celebrities” in my life & it’s super out of my comfort zone to approach someone like that. But I’d seen him taking photos with other “fans” & took my opportunity! YOLO, as they say & I must say that he was super gracious while I dorked like a mega-fan. He was super gracious & his kindness totally made my day!
So let’s talk about what you see in some of the photos! It was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to decide where to start with the food, but there were a few “no-brainers.”
- First off, I devoured the "Dynamite Roll" from Shojin, LA’s all vegan, macrobiotic, & organic sushi spot. I went there for this year’s pre-Moz show birthday dinner & it was awesome, so when I saw them on the bill I knew I needed to seek them out. Best vegan sushi ever!
- Stopping by The Frankenstand is also always a must. They were slammed & sold out of frankenweenies by 3 o’clock! So glad my friend was able to grab one of the last "Creatures" before they closed up shop. The duo behind the cart “Wolfie & Vampy” are total characters & I love their spooky theme concept!
- My friend Sarah recommended I try the "Korean Bibimbap Lettuce Wrap" offered by Susan Feniger’s STREET. I first learned about STREET from QuarryGirl’s video. While not an all vegan joint, there are vegan/vegetarian options always offered at the restaurant & is one QG’s top picks for dining out in LA. I had put it on my list of must tries, & there they were! The lettuce wrap was delicious. Super light & crisp with seasoned rice, tofu, kimchi & veggies. YUM!
- Another dish that caught my attention was the “Chilled Soba Salad” from one of my fave LA joints, Mohawk Bend. I love a soba salad & this was super tasty with radish, avocado, orange, crispy onion, sesame, carrot, & soy vinaigrette. They were also giving away a small cup of "Spiced Horchata Cake" - how could I say no to that?
Obviously I was feeling the Asian foodie fare!
As for the beer…there was a lot. People consumed a lot. I however, did not. For one, I was driving. For two, I am not a day drinker. For three, & try as I might, I’m just not THAT in to beer. I can hear my craft beer nerd friends GASP at the sound of it! Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate beer, especially vegan craft beer, but I just don’t geek out on it! But I was super happy to see a familiar face, though, as Lee Chase, the vegan 1/2 of SD’s Blind Lady Ale House & Tiger!Tiger! Tavern, & the brewmaster behind Automatic Brewing Company was there with his "Don’t Run Me Over" Tangerine IPA. And because I am a creature of habit, I naturally gravitated toward what I know I like - Saison - & really enjoyed North Coast Brewing Co’s "Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale.” Other than that, I stayed pretty dry & enjoyed watching the drunken shenanigans of others go down! You put that many people & unlimited beer pours together on a hot day in LA & you know tomfoolery is gonna go down hard. Fortunately, as this was a place full of compassionate vegans, no one had a drunken bro-down throw-down! At least not that I witnessed. Sloppy, yes. Disorderly, no.
Believe it or not, that’s not all folks! Oh yes there’s more! And you bet I didn’t forget about Seabirds! Oh no! Their fried avocado tacos really float my boat. But you’ll have to wait for part II to hear all about that.
And, that concludes part 1 of my LAVBF recap. Stay tuned!