Monday, August 30, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Due to prior obligations of going to the oh-so-awesome Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Veronika (roommate) and I couldn't head out to Fairfield until Sunday, though the 19th Annual Fairfield Tomato Festival had been kicking the whole weekend. As we drove through the golden hills of California, I finally began to feel that West Coast sunshine I'd been hearing so much about, and also I felt a little closer to Northern Michigan summers. When we arrived, we were greeted by a blocked-from-traffic Tomato Alley, making way for rows and rows of arts and crafts. This would be perfect for someone in search of an artisan touch for their home, but Veronika and I were on a mission: We needed to find those tomatoes.
Since we arrived later in the day on Sunday, we had already missed the tomato-eating festival. But that didn't mean there weren't still plenty of tomatoes for us to taste test. More than 40 varieties of heirlooms in fact, which was actually a smaller showing than last year, when because of warmer weather, there were more than 150 varieties. We were still satisfied with the offerings, and maybe because it was the last day or maybe because we the volunteers were feeling especially generous, we were offered a number of free tomatoes. Cucumber, tomato, and black bean sandwiches, watch out.
While the Fairfield Tomato Festival was no National Cherry Festival (There was, in fact, no tomato queen), we still had a wonderful, warm Sunday afternoon enjoying fresh produce. I think it's safe to say we'll be back next year.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Where: Naperville, Ill.
When: August 7–8, 2010
Why: Beware Boston. Move over Toronto. There's a new festival on the block.
The Scoop: A century after Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle immortalized the stockyards of Chicago, in an affluent suburb 30 miles to the west and in the shadow of McDonald’s Hamburger University, a small vegetarian festival began in 2005, attended by a few thousand believers. Science of Spirituality, a non-profit multi-faith organization that adheres to a vegetarian diet, started VeggieFest Chicago as a way of promoting its meat-free lifestyle to the community, one tenet of the international organization’s mission. Fast-forward five years. If you are unsure that the veg lifestyle has caught fire, or doubt that the beginning of critical mass for vegetarianism is upon us, you weren’t in Naperville, Ill., this past weekend.
Under mostly hot and sunny skies more than 20,000 people from as far Seattle to Boston, Quebec to Florida, strolled through the always crowded fairgrounds, soaking up food and info as fast as it could be served. VegNews even imported the crackerjack sales team of Randy and Bev Orwig (Lyndsay's parents) from St. Louis to assist us on Saturday, when we sold a record number of subscriptions in a single day.
VeggieFest Chicago is reaching a new audience through a successful combination of open outreach, enjoyable entertainment, a welcoming attitude, and a wonderfully supportive vibe. Hundreds of volunteers pitched in for months before the event, and then for two very long days, to pull off a festival that needs to be on every vegetarian's map.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Where: The Chicago Diner, Chicago, Ill.
When: August 6, 2010
Why: Because John Goodman says so.
The Scoop: Welcome mats emerged when VN landed where the Lollapalooza music festival, Northalsted Market Days, and the Veggie Fest Chicago —the main reason we were visiting the Midwest during the brutal dog days of August—were simultaneously scheduled on one glorious weekend in and around the Windy City.
OK, the cast of Seinfield we are not, but here is our entire dining party in front of the newly renovated soon-to-be-landmark Chicago Diner. Tune in tomorrow for a recap of the Veggie Fest Chicago, where you just might get to meet Lyndsay's parents, Randy and Bev.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Where: Holy Gelato! San Francisco, Calif.
When: August 3, 2010
Why: It was 8pm on a Tuesday—obviously I needed some vegan ice cream.
The Scoop: While the rest of the country is trying to escape the summer heat, we here in San Francisco are still trying to convince ourselves that it's not winter. It's hard to get in the summer-lovin' mood when the sun hasn't come out in weeks and your day-to-day attire consists mostly of thick socks and turtlenecks. Slight exaggeration, but really, it's cold. So in an attempt to pay homage to my third favorite season, I went out for some vegan ice cream last night.
I'd heard from some fellow VN staffers that Holy Gelato! in the Inner Sunset would be a great way to spend a weekday night—it's near my apartment, the neighborhood is adorable, and the vegan ice cream is decadent, some varities of which are supplied by Maggie Mudd. So roommate in tow, we headed over to the corner of 9th and Judah, soaking in the charming Inner Sunset along the way. We didn't manage to leave the house until after 8, but unlike the small-town Midwestern life I hail from, places in SF are open past dusk. Holy Gelato! welcomes customers until 11pm, which is exciting for me.
The décor was precious—an ice cream joint with a boutique-like feel, selling clothing and mugs across from the ice cream case. After sampling nearly all the vegan ice cream they had to offer, which comprises about half of their total selection, I settled on a small bowl with two scoops: One of Charlie Brown's Nightmare—chocolate, peanut butter, and cookies—and one of The Bomb—chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows, and fudge brownie bits. Not to sound like Rachel Zoe, but when I had my first bite, I died. Literally.
Overally, Holy Gelato! was a monumental success. Delicious vegan ice cream in all the flavors I love. Now to keep this from being a regular Tuesday-night occurance...