Vida Vegan Con – Conference Recap, Part I
I got into PDX late Thursday night, so I missed some of the early activities. Friday morning, after getting very detailed and enthusiastic MAX instructions from the person at the hotel’s front desk, I decided to walk to Flavourspot.
My stomach was still on east coast time, so I didn’t realize it had formed a waffle sandwich shaped hole. The waffle was perfectly cooked – crispy outside, soft inside. The flavorful and savory sausage was a nice compliment to the thick, sweet maple cream.
I decided to wander around a bit to work up an appetite before meeting up with some folks at Native Bowl. Upon arriving, I saw with Panda Cookie, who I hadn’t seen since Memorial Day weekend. It was nice to see a familiar face. She introduced me to Gabrielle, with whom she co-writes Vegans on the Move.
I also ran into the lovely Julie Hasson, who runs Native Bowl with her husband. Julie introduced herself after I stood staring and smiling at her for several minutes. I can be really shy and awkward, but Julie was incredibly sweet.
I ordered the Mississippi Bowl, which contained soy curls, tangy barbecue sauce, deliciously creamy ranch dressing, rice, and a huge helping of vegetables, which I really needed after the waffle. I don’t usually like ranch dressing because it contains evil mayo. Julie told me that their ranch is not mayo-based, but delicious-based.
Several other folks wandered over to the carts and I met Lauren and Mo, whose blogs I’ve admired for years, Kelly and Joni, who are both incredibly talented cookbook authors, and Jeff from Sweetpea bakery, which sadly I didn’t visit on this trip!
After Native Bowl, we headed back to the conference center, where I met Louzilla, and entertained Panda for a while with jet-lagged induced banter before registering and picking up my huge swag bag, sweet name tag, and a bag of special goodies for my hotel room.
The champagne and cupcake Meet & Greet started at 6:00, and was a whirlwind. I was happy to see the very charming Ben of Suicide Food again. I finally (finally!) met Isa and Terry in person. I met Chris and Crystal Tate, makers of Food for Lovers Queso, who are two of the most genuinely nice people you will ever meet.
I was also thrilled to finally chat with Joanna and Kittee, and to meet Erika and Jordan. It was overwhelming, but amazing seeing so many people I’d only known online, and I’m sure I’m forgetting people I spoke with that night.
After the reception, a big group of us headed to Vita Cafe, where I met the incredibly nice Lisa and Nicole. I remember making amazing raw doughnut holes from both of their blogs a while ago, which is why I recognized their site names.
I had a tasty salad at Vita – greens, quinoa, and currants, with lemon tahini dressing. I’m definitely recreating it. We ate and chatted for a bit, then headed out for a good night’s rest.
I’ll be back soon with details about the rest of the conference!