Los Angeles Vegan Beer & Food Festival 2014

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It’s that time of year again. The Los Angeles Vegan Beer and Food Fest was this past weekend and it was every bit as excellent as last year if not better. The organization was stronger, I personally thought the music was better and it was easy to get all the food and drink I could handle. Enough logistics, lets get to the goods.

Here is the checklist card they give you when you walk in with the full food, drink and entertainment breakdown:

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I had thoughts of filling this out, but they went out the window once the beer hit the lips.

Crossroads

Up first was the potato skins from Crossroads. I’ve haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard amazing things so I wanted to make sure I got to check it out before my taste buds got to overloaded.

Vegan Potato Skins from Crossroads

You got three varieties per $8 order. The kale pesto, bolognese with soy mozzarella, and a truffle leek pate with frisée deal. I was hoping for a bit more from them and heard that echoed around the fest from others who had been to the restaurant. It was still tasty, the kale pesto was my favorite. Just didn’t blow my mind.

Grilled cheese truck

This was the clear winner all around. I think the main reason was because they normally don’t have vegan options and because the food kicked ass. I split the Mac N Cheese grilled cheese with “ribs” and the chicken and waffle grilled cheese with the friends I was with. Both were delicious.

vegan grilled mac and cheese with ribs vegan chicken and waffle grilled cheese

Gracias Madre

I first tried Gracias Madre last year at the fest before they were in LA and was instantly hooked. Since they opened I’ve only been once, but it was delicious. Might be one of my favorite vegan places in LA. Will need a few more visits to solidify. This year they had this coconut ceviche tostada that was killer.

vegan coconut ceviche tostada

Shojin

Also first discovered these guys last year and had to come back for more. It was actually kind of difficult to find them because they didn’t have an obvious sign. Determination and sushi craving can solve most problems and eventually I found their tent. I got the dragon roll, but the scallops also looked really delicious. They were pre-made and then added the sauce/fire before they were served.

vegan dragon sushi roll from shojin
vegan dragon sushi roll from shojin

Real Food Daily

They had a quesadilla and vegan cronuts (croissant donut for those non-foodies out there). I liked the quesadilla and thought the cronut was just okay. It had a strong orange flavor and apparently there was a vanilla one that must have been sold out by the time I tried it. I definitely would have been more into that. The quesadilla was good and taken up a notch by the mango salsa.

They had a “tu-nut” salad sandwich too that you can see in the picture, but I didn’t get a chance to try it.

vegan quesadilla and tuna sandwich vegan cronut

Other stuff

I had a bite of the Asian tots and slaw from Tonys darts away that was bomb. Also worth mentioning were the tasty grilled cheese samples from Follow Your Heart, the nacho cheese from Tease and the vegan mozzarella sticks from M Cafe. I didn’t get to try them, but Doomies Big Mac, Bramble Bakeshop peanut butter cups, Frankenstand, and Southern Fried Vegan BBQ all looked really great. Check out #veganbeerfest on Instagram and you can see some more drool-worthy photos.

Music-wise, check out He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister. They closed it down and were my favorite band of the day. Coattails was a great song.

What could be better?

  1. More water. There was one brewery who was also rocking a water jug that was empty pretty fast. Waiakea was selling water bottles, but that was it. I think it would be great to have a single water sponsor setup multiple stations throughout the venue so people could hydrate.
  2. Universal tasting option at $3 or $5 for each vendor. May be some challenges with this based on what some food folks were selling, but if everyone had something for $3-$5 you could try a lot more from different people. If you were with a decent group this isn’t as much of an issue. However it also folds into my next thought.
  3. Snack pass. A lot of first timers were surprised that they had to pay for all the food on top of the base ticket price. I guarantee people would pay an extra $20-$30 and maybe more, to get some food included. My thought would be to have this snack pass where you could get all the $3 tasting plates you want and then spend more for the larger or just more expensive options.

Overall amazing work by Quarrygirl, Tony’s Darts Away and Nic Adler. Can’t wait until next year.

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Questions? Suggestions? Indigestions?

Comments

  1. Tiffany says:

    Are there no REAL healthy veg options? I’m all for beer, but disappointed in all of the “cheese/Meat” substitutions. This does not qualify as a great representation of what it means to be vegan. Most are poor substitutions of overly processed items to mock a taste.

    • There were healthy options as well, but it was more of an indulging kind of event then a health focus. There were salads, quinoa, juices, etc. I’m also not super into the fake meat, but I like the recreation of traditional meat foods using whole foods like jackfruit tacos and hearts of palm ceviche for example.

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