Vida Vegan Con 2013: Day Two

Check out my post on Day One!

Day Two of the trip started with a reunion! Brittany and Simar (both of Vegans Don’t Bite) had gotten into town late the night before and were also staying with the same wonderful hosts. We began our morning with a head-scratching session as to which breakfast/brunch spot we wanted to try first. We settled on A.N.D. Cafe - all vegetarian, most items easily made vegan and/or gf.

This place did not disappoint. It was difficult deciding on sweet vs. savory, yet I had noticed a theme with many of the dishes other bloggers chose - lots of gravy and scrambles. I usually select sweet foods for breakfast (cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, etc.), yet I knew these people must be onto something and I should get in on the action. I ordered the gf Fiesta Waffle: stuffed with sausage, potato, & mozzarella, topped with mushroom dill gravy and herb tofu. So many flavorz!!1! This was pretty fantastic. The gravy was very light, but herby and flavorful, as was the scramble. The waffle itself needed nothing more for a dressing and made for a hearty vehicle for the toppings.

And it wouldn’t be a vacation without partaking in a spicy, vegan Bloody Mary, now would it? Yum!

After brunch we hustled over to Skeleton Key Tattoo, where, during the last conference, I had received my first vegan-themed tattoo. Since then, the color had faded a bit and needed some brightening. I had it touched-up by the talented Levi and wrestled with wanting to show it off later and keeping it bandaged until I could adequately give it its first wash. Isn’t it beautiful?

A trip to the nearby “vegan mini mall” was in order. We stopped into Scapegoat Tattoo, an all-vegan shop, so Simar could investigate their artists’ work and book a future appointment. Then it was Herbivore Clothing Co., where I dropped some seriously well-spent $$$ on a kickass hoodie (“Wings are for Flying, Not Frying”!!!), a souvenir for my bestie’s newborn, and a veg-themed necklace. Before departing the mini mall, we stopped in for a latte at Sweetpea Baking Co. - I ordered mine with hazelnut milk!

Brittany had a hankering for a smoothie, so we searched for Sip - one of two carts in the city which offers fresh juices, smoothies, shots, and shakes. This Sip cart is located right outside the People’s Co-Op. For the novelty and squee-ness, I ordered a cookies & cream milkshake. Felt like I was a kid again!

By this time, late afternoon was approaching and we needed to drop off our purchases and prepare for the unofficial meet & greet at The White Owl Social Club. When we arrived, we immediately ran into Bianca of Vegan Crunk, an old friend from the last conference, holding a beautiful beet-juice Bloody Mary - we were definitely in the right spot! We were relatively early and, knowing full well that a mass group of hungry vegans would soon descend upon the bar, we knew we had to get our orders in.

I was still somewhat full from the milkshake, so I opted to get an appetizer instead of a meal. The Gresham Style Potato Boots were definitely the way to go! Baked with vegan bacon crumbles & cheddar and topped with pimento sour cream, vegan ranch, and green onions... mouth-watering. The perfect combo of carby potatoes, smoky vegan bacon, and two rich & creamy sauces. Their versions of the Moscow Mule and Mint Julep were pretty damn tasty, too!

While sipping away, I reunited with many old friends and was lucky enough to be introduced to some fabulous, beautiful new vegans, just bursting with the same excitement about the con and all the weekend had to offer.

Meet my partners in crime - the folks with whom I raised all kinds of vegan hell last conference and who received many bear hugs: Brittany (Vegans Don’t Bite), Dawn (Vegan Moxie), myself, Bianca (Vegan Crunk).

Taylor (Hot Piece of Class) and Rebecca - gorgeous ladies and good friends. More bear hugs!

Jared (The Laughing Vegan) - the most resilient and fun-loving vegan I’ve had the good fortune of knowing!

I also had the opportunity to meet miss Kittee of Cakemaker to the Stars and local sweetheart, Ami, whose generosity was endless throughout the weekend.

And whose face did I see that warmed my heart instantly? Gena of Choosing Raw, that’s who! Gena has been such an inspiring voice in the community and her blog has brought those in ED recovery together through support and constant encouragement to nourish one’s body and soul.

After the meet & greet, a large group of conference-goers traveled to the People’s Co-Op for a very special screening of The Intrepid Herbivores' pilot episode of their travel show featuring plant-based foods discovered in Thailand. The show was simply wonderful. It had laughs, education about local culture and language, beautiful imagery of bright, fresh veggie-based foods, and a genuinely enjoyable story of their 3+ weeks overseas. If you would like to see this fabulous show come to your TV set, please consider donating to them as they prepare for creating their first season!

To close out the night, tons of vegans took over the Sweet Hereafter - an all-vegan bar with beautiful decor and a menu chock-full of savory dishes. When I saw the Eastern Bowl, I ordered it without a moment’s hesitation... this dish is one of the best I have had during my first trip and it had to be experienced again! (Psst, for non-Portland locals, check out my recreation of the recipe!)

Wanting some caffeine to fuel the chatting, laughing, and gushing about our days ahead I requested that the bartender make me something fancy with coffee. What he created was a “Spanish coffee”, and included multiple kinds of liquers, fire, and soy whip. Kickass!

As the night wound down, we all headed back to our hotels/hostels/B&B’s to get rest for the next morning - the first official day of the conference!

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