Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PROBAR Pampering

Who: VN Publisher Joe Connelly + VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland + VN Editor-at-Large Jennifer Pickens + VN Western Ad Sales Rep Lara Bradley + VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig + VN Editorial Assistant Melissa Feineman
What: PROBAR-sponsored evening of yoga and vegan wining and dining
When: Thursday, March 5, 2009
Where: Malibu, California
Why: To decompress before the three days of pure insanity known as Natural Products Expo West

The Scoop: There's a chance that we may have alluded to this fact before, but Expo West is what is referred to in certain circles as insanity of the purest form. Sure, we love having the opportunity to sample all the latest and greatest products on the market, getting to spend some time out of the office, and for some of us, whiling away a day at Disneyland investigating what sorts of options there are for vegan visitors. However, the conditions of Expo West being what they are (trying to cram as many taste and product-sampling sessions as possible into a three-day period), even the most seasoned experts run the risk of succumbing to information overload.

Clearly, the kind folks at PROBAR are well aware of this fact, which is why they thoughtfully extended an invitation to VN staff and other media types to spend a relaxing evening at the property they were renting for their staff in Southern California.

Allow me to paint a little picture for you: as the sun sets, you are welcomed into a palatial home (yes, this home actually had two separate wings) overlooking the shores of a lake. You are then guided to a large heated tent where you are invited to participate in a Hugger Mugger-sponsored yoga session. After you've spent some time stretching and relaxing, you are then treated to an amazingly delicious–and all vegan–dinner, made by PROBAR's founder and resident "Food Evangelist" Art Eggertsen. No, this is not a dream, though it may certainly sound like one.

PROBAR founder Art Eggertsen with his not-so-secret admirers.

As we were enjoying the incredible food (the Italian theme featured delights such as Field Roast-stuffed peppers, polenta lasagna, orzo risotto, and roasted vegetables), we were also recounted with the PROBAR story and briefly introduced to some of the key players in the PROBAR family. The entire VN table was practically swooning as founder Art Eggertsen explained his vegan ethos. While never preachy, he spoke very convincingly about how veganism (and meat-eating) can affect our planet. Several VN staffers noted that Art's heartfelt words were having a clear impact on everyone in the room, and we could absolutely understand why he chose the moniker "evangelist" for himself.

As if we needed any more special treatment for the evening, we were flabbergasted by the sheer amazingness of the dessert selection. Vegan cheesecake and gelato in truly incredible flavors (Amaretto, anyone?) had us pretty much speechless. For anyone who hasn't personally met the VN crew, please note that this is quite an awesome feat.

The evening was, by all accounts, a fantastic success. We left feeling not only stuffed to the gills on one of the most amazing meals ever, but energized by this company's mission, ethos, and all-around incredible team.

Art poses with some of his awe-inspiring cheesecake and gelato.

1 comment:

nora said...

Wow, that sounds amazing!
I'm curious as to what you scrounged up at Disneyland. I was there last Friday, and got a vegetarian gumbo breadbowl, which I was told was vegan with the exception of them not knowing what the glaze on the bowl was (so I ate around it). I also got a great meal in Downtown Disney. What did you guys get/