Sunday, September 21, 2014

DC Veg Fest 2014

DC Veg Fest.
@busboysandpoets @amsterdamdc @barefootbucha @therandyradish @stickyfingersdc and more!

One of the greatest days I've had in a while! I had so much fun talking with the different companies, organizations, and restaurants! I tried a bunch of products and sooo many yummy goodies! This post is a little more on the side of reviews because I want everyone to know about the Veggie goodness that the DC-metro area has to offer! 

Please check out the photos from my day.  I will post a few here but I took WAY more than a few pictures :-) 

A couple of my favorite places were at DC Veg Fest: Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats and Busboys and Poets for example.  Sticky Fingers (which I've previously reviewed) was there with plenty of sweet treats and owner, Doron Petersan was even there giving a presentation in the Kids Tent.  She talked to the group about how to get kids to eat new things and she had the most adorable assistant helping her with her demonstration!  She suggests having kids try something 3 times before they can say that they do not like it.  And as many suggest, GET YOUR KIDS IN THE KITCHEN! Helping you make the food they are going to eat will encourage them to eat what they make!
Loved seeing all kids who love their Veggies!
  Busboys and Poets (which I haven't reviewed yet) is absolutely one of my favorite restaurants in the area.  Why, you ask? It is a restaurant that caters to EVERYONE!!!  I made a bunch of my friends come out to Busboys and Poets for my birthday back in April and everyone LOVED IT!  There is something on the menu for everything! BUT... What's even better... THEY HAVE VEGAN BRUNCH FOODS!!!! Breakfast and Brunch are seriously hard meals to dine out for, but not at Busboys!  With 4 locations in the DMV, you're food needs will definitely be met.  Check out their menu, and their NEW fall Vegan menu items (below)! I can't wait to try more of their menue and do a full review! French Toast PLEASE!!! 

So, next to the Sticky Fingers booth was Barefoot Bucha.  Hands down, THE BEST GINGER KOMBUCHA I'VE EVER HAD! No. Seriously.  You know how many kombuchas have that funny taste because the flavor aspect doesn't last?  Well this one DOES! If you love ginger, you would love this ginger Kombucha.  They have other flavors too: Cherry Root, CranGinger, Elderflower, Hint of Mint, Plumblossom, Kombuchai, and Classic.  (Ginger was the best choice for me today because A- I love ginger and B-...I was about to eat a ton of food and I needed something to help soothe my digestive system :-) 

With distributors in the DMV, here are a few places where you can find Barefoot Bucha!  I even got this sweet reusable cup! 

After walking around, continuing to sip on my tasty Barefoot Bucha, and taking lots of pictures, I set my eyes on my first food adventure! Amsterdam Falafelshop!  I love falafel, I haven't posted any recipes for falafel because I have yet to master it like the chefs at Amsterdam Falafelshop.  Their falafel was fried to perfection.  Crispy on the outside but soft AND MOIST on the inside.  Think about it, how often have you had falafel that is dry and leaves you reaching for any and every liquid beverage in sight?!  Not here! And their condiments (in store they have 21 toppings!!) I topped mine with Baba Ganoush, Pickled Beets, Cucumbers and Onions,  and Tahini sauce. Simple and DELICIOUS!

 After walking around and talking to a couple of people at some booths, I decided I needed to pose for a little photo op, before heading to the next spot to eat again! (Don't judge me, I specifically didn't eat before attending Veg Fest so that I could eat lots of yummy veg foods!) Anyway, here I am at the nasoya booth. What do you think? D.C.'s Top Chef? ;-) 
For my next food snack, came from the booth set up by Vegetable Garden from Silver Spring, MD.  If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know, I cannot resist Chinese food! And that is exactly what they have to offer! They had veggie sushi rolls, General Tso's mock-chicken, and Sesame mock-Beef with Yams on the menu for Veg Fest.  I went with the sesame mock-beef with yams (mostly because I eat veggie sushi all the time and they were out of General Tso's).  It was very tasty! It came with steamed broccoli and brown rice.  I loved the addition of the yam! But, I will say that it reminded me more of like, an orange chicken.  It was sweeter than I typically like because I love spicy Chinese food best. Definitely will eat at their restaurant again... (Especially upon finding out that they are located in "Leisure World", not to far from the ballet studio that I grew up in.  I won't tell you what my mom and I used to call that area... It's hilarious but because my mom used to a comedian, some of the jokes aren't quite PC. And I don't want to offend any of my readers!) Even after chowing down of this though, my Chinese food craving wasn't satisfied.  What's a Asian style meal without a spring roll of some sort!?  Off to my next booth! 

The Loving Hut booth was my next stop! One of the closest vegan restaurants to where I live, and I'd never been!? They had a bunch of great choices but all I wanted (and could stomach... have you been keeping track of how much I've eaten so far??) was one of their "golden rolls".  Crispy and deep fried-- can it get any better than deep fried?? Filled with carrots, cabbage, taro, mushrooms, onions and bean thread noodles, it was just what I needed to cap off my Asian meal!

The sauce was yummy too. Pineapple-y and sweet.  But I was missing the tang/heat of spicy mustard or sriracha.  I'll definitely get another when I get out to the restaurant to try some more of the yummy looking things on their full menu! I really want to try their vegan Bahn Mi and their Fried Wontons... and their Sesame Eggplant Tofu! 
One of my favorite parts about Veg Fest was seeing all of the animal welfare leagues that were out in full force, and even brought some sweet canines that were available for adoption! I have to take a minute away from my food adventure to give a little plug for THE BEST WELFARE LEAGUE IN NOVA!  The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is where my family got our beloved Raleigh.  While he was with there, they called him Scott.  While that was the name of my most recent ex, we decided it needed to be changed once they approved us to take him. It was a long process, they wanted to see everyone in the family interact with the dog so that they knew he was going to a great home.  Sadly, after 12 long years of a great life, we had to put Raleigh down at the end of August.  As you can see by his picture, he was an old man.  He was the sweetest dog in the world and everyone knew him as Raleigh, the wonder dog.  We miss ya bud, but at least you're up where you're free of pain and where Benji and Rudy can't annoy you anymore! :-)

Okay, sorry... back to the food! Next up... I needed something. Something that I haven't had in a long time... Sweet... creamy... HELLOOOOOO Charm School Chocolate!! (sorry I couldn't get pics of the actual chocolate, their booth was pretty full!) 
Their vegan milk chocolate was soooo dreamy! They use coconut milk which adds to the texture but didn't change the flavor of the chocolate. While they don't currently sell in Virginia... They do sell their chocolates and sweets online and at the Roots Market near my grandparents! It may be time to pay them a visit, and pick up some Charm School Chocolate on my way! <3 <3 Those Toffee Almond Bites look right up my alley! 

My last stop for food was at The Randy Radish food truck.  I've seen this food truck driving around the area but was always heading in the opposite direction.  FINALLY I got to see what they are all about! The wait was a little long but it was the end of the day and I was fine with a little break to sit down and rest my hot and tired feet! The menu was full of yummy looking treats. But with summer coming to an end, and being out side at what reminded me of a summer block party, I had to go with the Jackfruit BBQ.  MAN AM I GLAD I DID!!! The spicy BBQ sauce was just the kick I'd been looking for all day! And their slaw was crisp and cool, I only wish I had more of it! 

While I love food trucks, I am excited to announce that The Randy Radish will be opening a STOREFRONT NEXT WEEK!!! In Sterling, VA!  I hope this means more of their menu choices will be available daily.  I can't wait to review more of their menu! I really want to try their Crabby Cake, Mediterranean Picnic Sandwich, Tofu Reuban, Rainbow Pad Thai and their Autumn Quinoa Salad! I will definitely keep y'all posted when the storefront is up and running. Be sure to like and follow me on Facebook and twitter to stay informed :-)

Like I said, I loved seeing all the dogs out and about at Veg Fest, but the best one I saw was Guinness, the face of Craft Kombucha

Guinness was the reason that I stopped to get a drink from Craft Kombucha. He was the perfect combination of my boxer, Rudy, and my sister's brindle pit-lab, Benji.  (Shout out to the two guys I met in line! Hope y'all had a great time!) I had their spicy pineapple kombucha. It was deliciously refreshing though not as spicy as I was hoping for. Wish I had had enough money to buy more flavors! I really wanted to try the grapefruit and the (I think it was..) cherry-apple cider? mmm sounded so yummyyy! Can't wait to try them again!

I was also given some Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil to test out and write a review! I can't wait to do it! (I already made stovetop croutons and stovetop popcorn with it last night and I LOVE IT so far! I will do a separate post for that as it will include some recipes as well as the review!) Yummm

One last booth I have to talk about holds a special place in my heart.  The Natural Epicurean Academy for the Culinary Arts came to Veg Fest!! I have been absolutely obsessed with Natural Epicurean since I first found out about the school a few years ago.  I even applied and got accepted (but couldn't afford to go... still want to though!) 

I loved seeing the booth at Veg Fest and totally helped the representative tell people about the school! So naturally I have to share a few things about the school before I end this blog post!  The Natural Epicurean is a one-of-a-kind culinary school based in Austin, Texas.  This school is one-of-a-kind because it is THE ONLY ALL PLANT BASED CULINARY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY! That's right!! All vegan/vegetarian culinary school that also teaches raw, macrobiotic, and ayurvedic techniques.  How awesome is that!?  They have a NEW distance learning program so you can take classes online if Austin is too far away.  Check them out! <3 <3 

That's all for now!!! 


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