Technically, my Vida Vegan Con 2013 experience started on Thursday night when I arrived in rainy Portland and rushed straight to a glorious reunion with Lisa, Nicole, and Angela, but that’s pretty much the extent of that story, so: Friday.
Friday morning saw Angela, Lisa, Nicole and I ducking into Kure, a most fabulous juice, smoothie, and breakfast café, for pre-registration fortification. We weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea, for we also ran into the fabulous (all of ‘em fabulous!) Kate, Marika, Dreena, and Heather.
Angela treated me to the Veritable Vegetable Blend of carrot, celery, cucumber, beet, spinach, and lemon (swapped in for ginger). I still can’t get over how sweet, creamy, almost-nutty-in-its-sweet-creamy-goodness this all-vegetable juice was. HERE BE MAGIC.
After picking up our heavy swag bags (HERE BE MAGIC) from the #VVC2013 venue and dropping them back at the hotel, a group of us power-walked to Prasad for an early lunch and gabfest. My roasted garlic chili topped with green chili sauce and a side of steamed kale was deeply spiced, nourishing, awesome. (HERE BE… okay, you get the picture.)
After lunch, I attended Gena’s brilliant[ly useful] presentation Blog Writing as Writing, in which she discussed what editors look for in writing, on the one hand, and correlative blog writing mistakes (and ways to avoid them), on the other. I also saw Ginny Messina’s talk on Vegan Nutrition, and an entertaining panel on the Art of Writing Recipes with Nava Atlas, Dreena Burton, and Terry Hope Romano.
Throughout the day, I caught glimpses of and hugs with my dearest Amber, Matt, and Hannah, ate a great many ice cream, tofurkey, kale chip, nacho cheese, peanut butter, kevita, and butterscotch pudding samples, and then joined Lisa, Angela, and Nicole again to explore Portland’s vegan minimall before having dinner at the incredible Portobello.
Portobello is one of the best fine-dining restaurants I’ve been to. Ever. Vegan or not-vegan. We shared an appetiser of beet tartare with roasted beets, carrot aioli and capers with cashew cheese and baguette (we added gluten-free bread), which was beautiful. Creamy, beetroot-y, zingy with dill and capers, and perfect atop the warm, crusty bread.
Lisa and I then shared the English pea ravioli with morels (English pea, shallot & mint-stuffed ravioli with sautéed morel mushroom and spring onions), which was extraordinarily full in flavour, pepped up by the fresh sweet pea filling, and the cauliflower steak a la plancha (cauliflower steak, chickpea panisse, griddled fennel, red and green chimichurri), which my photo does not do justice. The zing of the chimichurri, the crunch and then inner creaminess of the panisse, the soft fennel, the crispy-grilled cauliflower. HERE BE MAGIC.
And then! And then! To think that a day so wonderful could keep going! Have you heard of the White Owl Social Club? If you live in, or ever visit, Portland, you must get you there. You must.
Yes, there were vegan deep fried pickles. Yes, there was delicious cider bigger than my head. Yes, there was a photo booth for the taking of incriminating photos. Yes, there was much laughter and wonderfulness with not only my dinner compadres but Kate and Marika too. But there were also…
VEGAN S’MORES VEGAN TABLESIDE S’MORES VEGAN S’MORES THAT CAME WITH THEIR OWN LITTLE CAMPFIRE AND GRAHAM CRACKERS AND DANDIES MARSHMALLOWS AND DARK CHOCOLATE AND I COULDN’T EVEN COPE WITH THE WORLD IT WAS ALL TOO GOOD TOO GOOD.
Also, I figured out the best way of getting the chocolate in s’mores to melt.