Tagged: Texas VegFest

Texas VegFest 2013

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It's a beautiful day for a VegFest!

Our Texas VegFest 2013 photos are finally up! This year’s Texas VegFest was bigger, better, and a ton more fun with over 5,000 people coming to enjoy the vendors, speakers, live music, and general festive atmosphere.

Team Settlers of Seitan is victorious!

To warm up the crowd for the big day, we hosted another ATX Vegan Drinks – Texas VegFest Edition on the eve of the festival, and drew a huge crowd, thanks in no small part to all of the out-of-towners who came to Austin for Texas VegFest! Texas was well represented, with many visitors coming from Houston and Dallas, and we even met some folks who came all the way from Oklahoma and Colorado! Thai Fresh supplied the delicious baked goods (mmm, vegan croissants…) and ice cream, and the team known as “Settlers of Seitan” swept our challenging vegan trivia night, winning all three rounds with only a single incorrect answer! We even spotted Texas VegFest speakers Ayinde Howell and Omowale Adewale among the crowd.

On the day of the event, we had an even bigger blast than we did last year, hopping from booth to booth and grazing on tasty food from what seemed like an explosion of food vendors, compared to the first Texas VegFest. We got off to a later start than last time, so finding parking nearby was a little more challenging, but the extra walking was much needed exercise to make up for our gluttony at the festival.

The later start also meant we managed to avoid the big lines to get into the gate, and we sped right through the collection of the $5 suggested donation and had our lovely Wheatsville swag bags in hand within moments of arriving at Fiesta Gardens. The swag bag was stuffed chock full of coupons and samples, and was very useful for the multitude of additional coupons and samples that we collected as we made our way around the festival. Wholesome Sweeteners included an especially generous sample pack in the swag bag – we’ve been sweetening our morning hot beverages with free agave nectar packets almost every day since Texas VegFest, and we still have quite a few left to go…

Corn dog and deep fried cinnamon roll from Tough Cookie Bakery

Many of our favorite local vegan and vegan-friendly food vendors were well represented at Texas VegFest, and a couple of out-of-town vendors were there as well: Good Karma Kitchen drove their truck down from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Sinfull Bakery brought a big pile of vegan pastries from Houston, and Vegeria made the trip up from San Antonio. There sure was plenty to eat! I really loved the BBQ and Lemon Picatta skewers from The Hearty Vegan, and luckily for us, they posted the recipes for these delicious concoctions on their website! We also got a chance to sample some food from Unity Vegan Kitchen, and we’re looking forward to checking them out again when they open their trailer! We were glad that Tough Cookie Bakery made it back up to Texas VegFest this year, though sad that they had run out of pretzel brats by the time we made it to their trailer. Luckily, they still had plenty of deep fried cinnamon rolls and corn dogs.

We didn’t have the time to see as many of the speakers this year as we would have liked to, due to the HUGE vendor turnout and our late start, but we did get a chance to catch Ayinde Howell’s cooking demo and got a taste of delicious cheddar broccoli soup. We’ve been told that Texas VegFest is planning to put video recordings of all of the speakers’ presentations online, so that those of us who missed out on festival day will get a chance to catch up. (Unfortunately, online viewers will not be able to taste the delicious samples from the cooking demos – you still have to show up in person for that.)

Ayinde Howell eats grass

Thanks and congratulations to all the fine Texas VegFest staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a success two years in a row. I can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for year three!

We’re a little late to the Texas VegFest coverage party, so in case you haven’t already done so, check out these great writeups from fellow Austin vegan bloggers Kaylin’s Kit, Lazy Smurf and Lizz Delicious, fellow Texas vegan bloggers visiting from outside of Austin Generation Cake and A Little Vegan Blog in Big Ol’ Texas, and visitor from farther away, Vegtastic! (we are so glad that we randomly met Helen at Cheer Up Charlie’s). Don’t forget to take a look at the great photos from official Texas VegFest 2013 photographer, Austin Vivid Photography.

Better Know an Austin Vegan:

Adrienne Lusk, Texas VegFest director

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Adrienne and Cooper enjoy the Texas Bluebonnets

Behind every vibrant community are the people who make it possible, and the Austin vegan scene is no exception. The capital of Texas has long held a reputation as a beacon for alternative minds, resulting in a rather large collection of bloggers, chefs, event coordinators, entrepreneurs, advocates, and others who are intent on making their city the best there is for plant-based living. Whether it’s a new vegan menu item, an upcoming group potluck, or an animal-friendly city policy, there is usually at least one tenacious individual to thank for it. In this new interview series, we will put a human face on this phenomenon, examining the diverse crowd of those who give this Middle American enclave its edge. Welcome to Better Know an Austin Vegan.

At no other time is all of this apparent than at Texas VegFest. The annual event brings together everyone from the scene and beyond in a dazzling display of the power of community, and it will mark its second year this Saturday, April 6, at Fiesta Gardens. We were pretty pumped for the event the first time around, and we are even more delighted that it has made its return. Full details of the festival’s activities – including vendors, speakers, bands, and more – can be found on their website. Also of special note is the return of ATX Vegan Drinks – Texas VegFest Edition, which will again be held on the eve of the festival, this Friday at Cheer Up Charlie’s. So feel free to come out and mingle!

Heading up the festival is its director, Adrienne Lusk. Arienne has the boundless energy, enthusiasm, and expertise integral to the its success, and is the embodiment of the positivity and easy-going professionalism one experiences at the event itself. We discussed her own background and how she came to be involved with VegFest, what she and the other board members learned from last year, and plans for event in the future, among other things. Our biggest thanks go out to her for her time, work, and for helping to get this series off the ground.

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Vegan News Bites

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Austin Vegan Postcard– Just stopped by Sweet Ritual to pick up a salted caramel brownie shake (ridiculously good btw), and found these nifty Austin Vegan Guide postcards. Featuring a full list of the Austin vegan businesses, and a few awesome blogs in town (including yours truly), these postcards are out just in time for SXSW. Whether you’re a local, or just in town for the week, pick one up, as you might learn something new.

– Speaking of learning something new… the secret’s out about Capital City Bakery‘s new brick and mortar address. It’s listed on the postcard as “coming soon, 2013” at 2211 E. Cesar Chavez. Located smack dab in between Mr. Natural and Counter Culture, and a few blocks away from Sugar Circus, East-siders are going to have no lack of vegan treats.

New Tofurky Products– If you’re not already following VegNews on Instagram, you should be. We are freaking out about the pictures they are posting from Expo West. The new products include pot pies and pockets from Tofurky, breakfast sandwiches and jerky from Gardein, maple bacon potato chips from Kettle Chips and bleu cheese dressing from Follow Your Heart. It could be months before any of these hit the shelves, but you can be sure, we’ll be the first in line to snap them up.

Texas VegFest is less than one month away! Have you seen their list of vendors? and speakers? There will be burgers, Ethiopian, falafel, donuts, baked goods, ice cream and funnel cake to eat. Not to mention chefs, cookbook authors, and professional athletes to hear speak. The best part is that it’s all right here in Austin!

ATX Vegan Drinks– The menu for the St. Patrick’s Day ATX Vegan Drinks at Counter Culture is looking amazing: Dublin coddle (sausage dish), corned beef & cabbage, apple mash, bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce, Irish coffee, green juice and of course, lots of beer! Add Red Hot Vegans’ very own vegan bagpiper to the mix, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a party!

Texas State Veggie Fair 2012

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2012 marks the third year for the Texas State Veggie Fair. We made the trip up to Dallas for last year’s event, and it has grown explosively since then. This year’s selection of vendors and exhibitors was greatly expanded, and the new venue at Reverchon Park had more than enough room for the larger number of booths. To top it all off, there was convenient free parking at the garage across the street.

Texas State Veggie Fair Program

We’re too beat from our weekend of fried-food gluttony and the long drive to do a proper write up, but our personal highlights included:

For full coverage of the event, enjoy our extensive Texas State Veggie Fair Photo Gallery. Our friends at Lone Star Plate have a great recap of the fair as well.

I can’t wait to see what the Texas State Veggie Fair has in store for us next year, but until then, we have Texas VegFest 2013 to look forward to! Who knew that Texas, of all places, would be the home to so many great veg events?

Vegan Week in Review

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– As if Thai Fresh weren’t already awesome enough (with their vegan baked goods, and vegan-friendly Thai menu), they’ve upped their game and gone and made all of their ice cream vegan! Get your butt over to Thai Fresh and check out their case of hard packed ice cream with crazy awesome flavors like Thai iced tea, fig, corn and sweet potato. You can even try them in an ice cream sandwich!

– There is one week left to vote for the 2012 Veggie Awards from VegNews! Support all your favorite vegan businesses and products by giving them your vote! A lot of local favorites are on there like Counter Culture, Celeste’s Best, NadaMoo and Food For Lovers Queso. You can also vote for Austin as your favorite veg-friendly city!

– Brand new vegetarian food cart Good To Go just opened up in the NATY trailer park on Anderson Lane. They offer quesadillas, frito pies, patty melts and four different veggie burger options (including the Goodseed patty!) with toppings such as Daiya cheese and Soyrizo chili. They are so brand new, that their menu is still a work in progress… meaning that if more vegan options are requested by customers (like vegan mayo and pesto), it might just happen!

– It’s already time to pull out your 2013 calendar: Texas VegFest has announced that next year’s festival will be held on Saturday, April 6th, 2013! Don’t forget to save the date for Austin’s biggest vegan event of the year.

– Greens, Beans, and Grains, the latest food station to open up at the Whole Foods downtown, is now serving up some super tasty and wholesome vegan-friendly food (just stay away from the meat, and you’re good to go). The options are mostly what you would expect to see at a salad bar, but they also have some more complex offerings, like pesto and chili. You can pick an item off their menu, or create your own. If you want to most bang for your buck, create your own, and choose the baked potato as a base. At $5.99, it’s a steal!

Counter Culture will be hosting a benefit for Austin Pets Alive! on Saturday, September 22nd, from 4pm to 9pm. The event will feature live music, with a portion of the sales going directly to Austin Pets Alive. Free music, good food and raising money for a good cause – I’m in!

– Awesome vegan catering company Green Island Catering is now offering ready-to-go meals at Daily Juice in Hyde Park (45th/Duval) and The Wet Whistle (MLK/Chicon). Stop by today and pick up a rustic pesto lasagna, fajitas or stacked enchilada – they’re all superb!

Rabbit Food Grocery Hops Into Town

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Do you ever find yourself perusing the online offerings of one of your favorite online vegan retailers and wishing for your own local vegan grocery store, where you could walk the aisles and shop at your leisure? With their online vegan store that provides free delivery to local pickup spots, Rabbit Food Grocery is well on the way to turning that dream into a reality. (Especially with their record day of sales at Texas Veg Fest!) We are lucky to have so many vegan-friendly grocery stores in town. But a 100% vegan, brick-and-mortar grocery store, owned and operated by vegans, would provide our community with the opportunity to sample the many diverse products that we currently only drool over in the back pages of Veg News Magazine. Such a store would allow us to keep our dollars in the vegan community, supporting cruelty free living at every step. And just imagine the benefits to the animals of providing a tactile browsing environment to the vegan-curious.

Jessica and Gabriel

Jessica Morris and Gabriel Figueroa officially opened Rabbit Food Grocery for business on January 16. Currently, the majority of their sales come from the local pickup orders. They partner with vegan-friendly eateries who host their pickups and benefit from the increased traffic. Rabbit Food customers can look forward to grabbing a meal at Conscious Cravings, or the soon to be reopened Counter Culture. If you pick up your order, only to realize that you forgot to order a chocolate-covered dillo, never fear: the genius Pop-Up Shop comes to the rescue. You can look forward to browsing the Pop-Up Shop when you pick up your order; it’s a unique opportunity to get a closeup look at new or unfamiliar products. A word to the wise: they can only bring a small sample to the Pop-Up Shops, so be proactive and place your order online beforehand. You don’t want to miss out on Sheese or Match Meat!

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VegFest in Photos

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The very first Texas VegFest was this weekend, and now that we’ve all recovered from the most amazing gathering of vegan and vegan-friendly vendors, we can finally blog about it! There’s just one thing: Texas VegFest was such a big event, that to really do it justice we’d need to write a HUGE blog post… after all, we’re talking about Texas!

Entry to Texas VegFest

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, go ahead check out our Texas VegFest gallery – it’s like we wrote tens of thousands of words about VegFest! Relive the event, or, if you weren’t able to make it, get excited about next year’s VegFest!

And for those of you who prefer your news in word form, we’ll just cop out and link to people who linked to people. Our friends at Lone Star Plate have put together a collection of links to various coverage of the event.

Vegan Week in Review

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Hope everyone has recovered from last night’s amazing ATX Vegan Drinks Kick-Off party for Texas VegFest! The main event is today, so you better drive, bike, walk, crawl, do whatever you have to do to get your ass to Fiesta Gardens! Bring some money and an appetite, because the food vendor line-up looks insane!

Dr. Cow Cheese– Make sure to stop by the Rabbit Food Grocery booth. They just got in an order of Dr. Cow vegan cheese! I’m so excited, I’ve already placed my order, and my cheese is securely in my fridge. You can tell that a city has made it in the vegan world when you can get Sheese and Dr. Cow locally. Austin has arrived.

Coolhaus– Coolhaus has finally announced that they have vegan cookies to make vegan ice cream sandwiches here in Austin! Vegan spiced carrot cake cookies, no less. They have rotating flavors of Strawberry Mojito, Spicy Pineapple Cilantro, and Blood Orange sorbet to complete your sandwich. This is nothing new for their LA, Miami and NYC locations – but it was breaking news for Austin last night on twitter. I can’t wait to try my first vegan Coolhaus ice cream sandwich!

– Our beloved food truck Arlo’s has posted on Facebook that they are looking for a new location, because they no longer have access to electricity at their current location. Please let them find a new location soon, as I think I am going into vegan bacon cheeseburger withdrawal!

Vegan is Love– For those of you with children, or for those who are still children at heart, there’s a new vegan children’s book out called Vegan is Love that will be released on April 24th. You can pre-order it on Amazon today.

– My Easter plans are complete – my Egg Nots have arrived in the mail! I’m so excited to get my hands on these ceramic eggs and use all sorts of kitchen experiments to come up with natural dyes. Ecorazzi has a great blog post up, where they did just that. I plan on being a total copycat.

Vegan Cookbook Bonanza

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Vegan Books at MWB

MonkeyWrench Books is super stocked with an awesome selection of vegan cookbooks. This book bonanza is available now at their store on North Loop, and will also be on sale at Texas VegFest this Saturday! Add to, or start, your collection of vegan cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero before, or during the festival! They’ve got Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, Viva Vegan, Appetite for Reduction, Vegan Brunch, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and more!

MonkeyWrench Books is the bestest, all around most amazing collectively-run and operated radical book store in Austin! It’s made even more awesome by the fact that two of our Red Hot Vegan bloggers volunteer there. Check out the MonkeyWrench website for info on how you too can become one of these superfly volunteers!

MonkeyWrench Books is also an amazing community space, and will be host to Austin’s local Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale event on April 29th! Can’t wait a whole month for a cookie? No worries! MonkeyWrench normally stocks vegan cookies and brownies by Celeste’s Best, and has vegan donuts from Red Rabbit Bakery on Sundays – come in on Sunday and you can even get a free donut with the purchase of a book. Books and donuts – sounds like a winning combination to me!

Texas VegFest is almost here!

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Texas VegFest is nearly upon us and we in the Austin veg*n community can hardly wait!

Texas VegFest Flier

Many of us here at Red Hot Vegans are well-acquainted with the folks who are running the event, so we’ve been privileged enough to see bits and pieces of the planning process from the very beginning. It’s been a real thrill for us to see it come to fruition; through the hard work of the organizers, what was once an idea among ordinary individuals has now materialized into what may possibly be the biggest vegetarian event of the year in the state of Texas. It’s exciting and inspiring, to say the least!

It’s important to give a little bit of background to help understand exactly what this means. I’ve been lucky enough to have been associated with the Austin vegan scene for about seven years now, after attending my first potluck by Vegans Rock Austin, a social group that was then just a couple of years old and still associated with Meetup.com. Since that time, the scene here has blown up: VRA got their own site and message board, different social groups arose, multiple local-focused vegan blogs came online, the quality and quantity of dining options exploded, and the sheer size and general connectivity of our community grew exponentially. Texas VegFest is the culmination of this history: the most prominent mark yet that our community has made on the culture of this great city. So for the old-school veg scenesters like me, anticipation couldn’t be higher.

So, what does this event have in store, anyway? Their tagline says “From cupcakes to kale, there’ll be something for everyone,” and from the looks of it, that appears to be true. While a full detailed list is available at the Texas VegFest website, here are some of the highlights that many of us are particularly looking forward to:

This is only a brief overview, so check out the Texas VegFest website, Twitter, or Facebook page for more info. You can also RSVP on the Facebook event page. It takes place at Fiesta Gardens, on the shores of beautiful Lady Bird Lake in East Austin, from 11am-6pm this Saturday, and don’t forget about ATX Vegan Drinks – VegFest Edition this Friday from 7-9pm at The Brixton. Hope to see you there!