Momma Told Me: Experiencing SoCal VegFest And Expanding Horizons

Blog Archive

Experiencing SoCal VegFest And Expanding Horizons

#SoCalVegFest 2016
Momma Told Me: Don't think different, think broader.

If you'd asked me a few years ago if I'd like to go to something with 'VegFest' in the title I'd have laughed out loud and made a snarky remark about bacon covered veggies. And the truth is, that type of mentality runs rampant among the communities outside 'that way of life.' You know the communities, 'Veg Heads,' 'Tree Huggers,' ....'Vegans'- there's us and then there's them. If it sounds like an ugly way of thinking, it is.

But, really, a few bad apples (pun intended) have given an entire way of living a bad wrap. Vegetarians, vegans, and humanitarians all have this misguided rep for being over-zealous and judgemental when, in truth, those looking outside are casting stones just as far as them. As a foodie, I've long recognized this war but it wasn't until one of our close friends 'came out' as Vegan that I was forced to look at how I so harshly judged.
There are a lot of reasons I feel I will never be a Vegan.

Do I feel there is anything wrong with those who choose to be? Absolutely not? Could I see myself as a Vegetarian, or Pescatarian? Maybe. But what it really boils down to, is I would rather choose to expand my lifestyle to be more conscious, than flip a switch overnight and commit to an entire way of living I really know so little about.

And that is how I would up at SoCal VegFest the, second annual free admittance, massive weekend event which self professes it's specially organized to "engage curiosity and inspire consciousness in people of all ages." I really couldn't put it better myself.

Organized on the sunny Orange County College Campus what might be misunderstood as a Vegetarian or Vegan festival really was an enlightening experience. With hundreds of vendors, many food trucks and food minded vendors yes, from animal free hair care to holistic living and inspirational live music. Anyone walking in with an open mind would surely find themselves delighted beyond labels and lingo.
#SoCalVegFest Donut Friend Los Angeles, CA
Prime example- Vegan Donuts.

Local North Los Angeles boutique style donut shop, The Donuttery, was arguably one of the hottest Food exhibits at the event boasting a mostly Vegan menu of flavor twisting, from scratch, donuts, with names like PB&J and Cinnamon Roll. Many of their menu offerings are not just animal by-product free, but gluten and or dairy free as well, making them great for those with allergies, or just a conscious sweet tooth.

Even in the SoCal heat I insisted on toting a few of these delicious donuts through the event with us, and home for dessert that night. It was well worth the wait; forget their excluded ingredients, these were easily some of the best donuts, flavor and texture, I've ever had!
Of course I was all about the food- and the seemingly endless samples the vendors had to offer only gave me more reason to 'educate' myself on culinary alternatives and potential benefits to dietary changes- but there was plenty more going on than Earth friendly hippie brands peddling food.

Whether you were interested in aligning your chakras, sampling homemade incense, exploring natural fabric dyed and printed clothing, learning to play a new instrument, or wished to discuss methods of at-home-composting, there was something to intrigue everyone from the curious, to the life-long-devoted Earth conscious individual. We spotted families, pets (which technically weren't allowed because of the food), couples, fashion driven college students and grunged out high schoolers. And the vibe- it was electric.
As someone not necessarily looking to convert to Veganism, I was also accompanied by my Vegan friend. That somehow sounds wrong, when I type it, as if hes 'my Vegan friend'- when, in fact, he's introduced me to many like-minded people from his circles. But, still, I associate him with my 'tipping point,' my 'eyes wide open' factor. So nearly everything we actually sampled or bought was, in fact, Vegan, despite the fact that not all the vendors were Vegan friendly.

And if I am speaking Chinese- Vegan would indicate no animal sourced products were used, rather than no animal meat (Vegetarian), and Veganism can take many forms from mild (no milk, meat, fats) to extreme (no honey, animal labor, or even animal household pets). For our purpose my friendly Vegan friend is quite easy to talk to and will happily explain that every Vegan must find their own level of comfort as to what their lifestyle means, and what path they will live.

Having said all this- yes, that is Vegan funnel cake, and it is amazing. Up top: a plant based milk substitute we found even more creamy than the big name competitor, Silk. Look for MALK at a store near you soon!
#SoCalVegFest 2016 Vegan Sushi
Speaking of expanding horizons, Vegan Sushi is something I didn't think existed, let alone thought I would ever try- so I naturally jumped at the chance when we passed by a specialty food truck known for their imitation spicy tuna-less tuna. Believe it or not, the materials cost of manufacturing this sushi was not only less on the eco-impact bottom line, but the wallet as well. And the flavor? Impressively good. The puffed rice and crispy noodles on the exterior really brought the texture and flavors of the imitation tuna to life!
#SoCalVegFest PETA
Of course it wouldn't be SoCal VegFest without the PETA booth- a booth that pops up at a lot of festivals and events I frequent, but has always had me a bit timid to approach. PETA has a bad wrap for being a little extremist, and some of their representatives have questionable tactics for shock based messaging.
On this particular day I was actually accompanied by my friend, Aaron (you know, my 'Vegan friend') who actually just began working as a social media representative for the organization this month. He really helped show me the softer side of the organization, and how they worked hard to expand not only vision but perception through creative solutions- not just the traditional scare tactics they often get a bad wrap for. With representatives such as Aaron holing their face, I really find the organization is much more approachable for mainstream consumers such as myself.
Somewhere near the PETA booth were a few animal friendly accessory and fashion vendors. I, personally, don't find that Vegan fashion in the high end market is in my budget- with the gorgeous high-top leather alternatives calling my name ever so sweetly- but I definitely found a beautiful art in thinking outside traditional materials to create gorgeous clothing. The more I pondered how truly far one had to go to be genuinely Vegan kosher in the world of clothing, the more my head actually began to spin. So many animal by products are used in the industry, much like the case used to be with cosmetics.
SoCal Veg Fest also had an assortment of events being hosted throughout the weekend, much like you'd find at your local fair. A costume contest and cupcake contest were just a few of the highlights- The criteria for the cupcake contest being that they at minimum were Vegetarian friendly. These rules didn't seem to hinder creativity at all, though- the Little Shop of Horrors inspired cupcakes were a clear front runner in my book. I only wish I could've tasted them!
#SoCalVegFest Vegan Mushroom Potstickers
We wrapped our day with one last snack- Vegan Ginger Miso Portobello Potstickers (a pricey $18 plate, but oh so worth it as it was, wok'd in from of you.) And, of course, we stopped by Southern Fried Vegan for a plate of  Chicken-less Chicken and Waffles to take home for dinner. Man, if I lived in the Los Angeles area I could easily see myself spoiled on good Vegan eats!

Of course the moral of the day was really just an expansion of possibilities and a slightly different way of thinking. The social impact of our consumer and dietary consumption is one issue- but the mentality of skewing one's self towards am ore sustainable, and greater, future, really shines with appeal to me. I look forward to attending the event again next year, and will definitely keep my eyes out for similar events more local in the upcoming year! Now, tell me, what do you think you'd enjoy most about visiting an event like SoCal Veg Fest?

What Daughter Says: Expanding your mind doesn't require commitment, it just requires an open mind.


  1. I wonder if this was going on when we lived out there. We certainly would have gone to it just to try new stuff!

  2. I really love what your daughter said about Expanding your mind! What a great way to look at life! I do like to try new stuff even if I am not Vegan myself there is a lot of good food that I would love to try!

  3. oh my, the food looks delicious! I love going to events like this to find out about new products and try new recipes that I can then make at home.

  4. I love events like these! It looks like you had a great time!

  5. Vegan donuts? Does this qualify them as healthy? If so, it means I can eat a ton of them! ;)

  6. OMG, I just want to reach through the screen and eat all of this. Such amazing food!

  7. Looks like a really awesome festival. I definitely have an open mind about it, but I definitely need to learn more about it first.

  8. Looks like a fun festival. My daughter tries to eat a mostly plant based diet so she would have really enjoyed this event. That vegan sushi looks yum!

  9. Wow, this looks like an awesome event! I would have loved to go there. All the food looks so amazing! I'd love to be able to go here sometime and try out all that amazing food.

  10. As A proud card carrying vegetarian this is the kind of festival my dreams are made of! I really hope they bring this to NYC! I have to get in touch with them!

  11. Like you, I don't ever see myself becoming completely vegan. I do love to eat more veggies than meat though. I am always looking for alternatives to meat. I would probably have loved this festival.

  12. I would love to visit all the different food vendors and trucks. We enjoy all types of food.

  13. I would love to go to SoCal VegFest. I have a few family members that are Vegetarian. All this food looks so delicious.

  14. This is a pretty impressive festival! All of that food looks amazing even though it is vegetarian.

  15. I am mega impressed with all the Vegan offering this festival had. I would have NEVER guessed these products were in fact, Vegan!

  16. Great point of view! Vegan or not your shots make that food look amazing!

  17. It's so cool to see people being creative with vegan recipes. I need to venture into this vegan world and try a few things.

  18. What a cool event! All those food look amazing! I would love to try those vegan food!

  19. Wow what a great event! It looks super yummy too!

  20. oh my this looks great. and the food wow. i wonder do we have anyting like this here in boca. i would love to attend.