Nearly 9,000 people showed up to the Eat Drink Vegan festival (formerly known as the Vegan Beer & Food Festival) at the Pasadena Rosebowl in Los Angeles over the weekend. It was an astounding turnout considering both the 100-degree heat and that
even 10 years ago, the likelihood of this many people coming out to a football stadium for anything with the word “vegan” in it was unthinkable.
Popular plant-based brands like Tofurkey, Starlight and Gardein represented but there was a strong showing of local vegan foodmakers, as well. Uncle Eddie’s Cookies, a family business based in Glendale, California now distributed throughout the U.S. was there with its founders, brothers Jeffrey and Robbie Jacobs. Pioneers of the jackfruit taco trend, Plant Food for People, were slinging their slaw-covered delectables. Moby’s Little Pine offered perfect fresh-baked soft pretzels with cashew cheese; Pizzanista presented four types of vegan pizzas; caterer Southern Fried Vegan featured a unique and delicious “Fried Chickun” with their greens and mac-and- cheese. Other innovators traveled to offer their wares—Rocco’s Sweet Shoppe, co-owned by Rich Labbate (of the indie rock band Lidsville), came all the way from Arizona, and there was no missing the long line at The Herbivorous Butcher, the Minneapolis-based brother-sister company known for its outrageous vegan “KFC double down”—a sandwich using two pieces of “fried chicken” as a bun stuffed with seitan bacon, garlic-pepper havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and homemade ranch dressing.
Entry comes with a tasting glass, which got you pours from more craft beers than can be named, but there was plenty for the sober vegan, too. Standouts include South Carolina-based Cannonborough Beverage Company’s small batch ginger beer, bright root beer and grape flavors from Jackson Hole Soda and a wide variety of Health Ade Kombucha.
Between well-placed misting fans and treats like Kind Crème’s soft serve and Sugah
Mamma’s mint chip ice cream sandwiches, people struggled to keep cool in the sweltering heat. Lots of cute merch in the market place from the likes of Herbivore Clothing Company, Moos Shoes, Vegan Rock and Craftsman Soap Co., too, showing cruelty-free has come a long way. This year a portion of all proceeds went to The Gentle Barn, lest we forget while “pigging out” the true heart of veganism—the animals.