seattle’s vegetarian fest

It’s been a while, my friends, but sometimes life shoves its fat ass into that space that isn’t really a seat, just a natural space you and your fellow riders have left so you can all be comfortable. You can’t blame it, it’s life, but come on, there’s clearly not enough room for the likes of you!

Well, one of the things I managed to do in these past weeks was meet up with Jess of Get Sconed! (here’s her roundup) to check out Seattle’s VegFest. It was vegetarian, not vegan, which was sort of a bummer, but whatever. A lot of people showed up to check out the meatless fares and wares. It was seriously crowded—I tried to get up high for a good shot of the floor, but this lady with a walkie-talkie and a really bad perm wouldn’t let me. Boo.

Why was it such a bummer to have nonvegan stuff there? Because when you walk up to a table, all excited to try a delightful-looking gluten-free cookie, and check out the ingredient label on the box as you’re about to pop said cookie into your mouth only to find BUTTER, well, it makes your heart hurt a little. Besides, aren’t all cookies vegetarian? Why would one bother to attend a vegetarian fest? I made sure to say to the girl behind the table, “Oh, this isn’t vegan. Oops.” But here’s the other bummer of the event: Practically all the tables were run by random volunteers. They had no knowledge of the products. When I volunteered at Portland’s VegFest, the rep for the frozen berries I was sampling gave us the full story of the farm, the process, the products, and how they made the electricity to run the processing plant—and that was only because he had to run back and check out of his hotel!

Ummmm, what else, what else, what else? (Trying to get through all my gripes before I show you what I tried!) They had separate waste bins there for landfill, recycling, and compost, but we had no idea what our cups and spoons and whatnot were made of, so these bins were just a mish-mash of everything. VegFest (Sorry to keep rubbing Portland salt in this wound, Seattle) required that all serving containers were fit for compost. It was easy and clean. Next time.

So what did I check out? I’m going to work my way from random to like to love:

OK, I didn’t try this, but look at the size of that pot! It’s a veg sauce/dip, like a warm, non-Mex salsa. I have no aversion to anything in it, but I just wasn’t drawn to it either.

This was interesting (to me). This woman’s a veg coach. I guess some people need hand-holding to get through the wild world of ingredient labels. By the assortment on her table, I think “vegetarian” means “vegan,” although I’m pretty sure those are honey grahams in the back of the “vegetarian” side. Oh, honey, how you divide us.

Here’s the new chocolate pudding from Wayfare. They’re super nice people over there, and they’re the ones who bring us We Can’t Say It’s Cheese. If I had this love of pudding from childhood I might be really excited about this, but I’m not good with the squishy and goopy, and this had a viscosity about it. It’s made from oat, and I could tell. The flavor’s pretty good, though, so if you’re not stupid neurotic like me you might dig it.

These guys had two halves to their table, very clearly marked “vegan” and “vegetarian.” I tried the original flavor and it was pretty good. Your standard vegetable spring roll, but crispy not doughy, and it didn’t feel like I was only eating cabbage. Kudos. I was let down to see dairy in the potato rolls, ’cause that sounds kinda awesome, but it was fun to exclaim (pretending I was at a vegan party and someone suddenly discovered) “There’s dairy in the potato rolls!”

And more Daiya to love! This is their new pepperjack. I tried a little quesadilla with it, but the photo turned out ultracrap. It’s got some decent spice to it. I’ve never in my life had dairy pepperjack, so I don’t know how this compares…but at the end of the day, who cares? I like this and that’s pretty much all I care about.

Also riding the pepper train are these drinks from Prometheus Springs. They all contain capsaicin, the hot stuff in peppers. Love it. These are pretty intense if you’re not expecting it. I just checked out the site’s store locator and discovered they have it at Food Fight! Guess where I’m off to.

And I’m closing this out with, of all things, yogurt. I always have and always will hate most yogurt. I don’t care for the consistency or the fermenty tang, but this stuff is damn good. It’s cultured almond milk and the flavor is mild, not out to prove anything, just being itself. I found some at a Whole Foods near me, and it was around $1.50 for a container. I don’t know how much other yogurts go for, but for an occasional treat (at work, not around any nut-allergic Toms) I’m willing.

So yeah, that was my day at Seattle’s Vegetarian Fest. I’ll try to follow this up fairly quickly with the stuff I ate outside the convention center. No promises, but I’ll try.

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