month of memories

Month of Memories: Veggie Grill in LA

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In January 2012, Veggie Grill flew a small group of vegan Portland-area bloggers down to LA to show us the inner-working of the vegan fast-casual chain, planning on an upcoming expansion to Portland.

Jess, Michele and I spent the whirlwind weekend getting to know the founders and owners of Veggie Grill, eating double our weight in Veggie Grill food, and learning about the ethos and ingredients that make Veggie Grill so successful. It’s no secret that the people we met, and the food we tried, led us all into a Veggie Grill love affair.  Veggie Grill paid for the trip expenses, but the transparency and genuineness of our interaction with everyone involved is what really impressed us.

Veggie Grill founders and a group of Portland bloggers
Veggie Grill founders and a group of Portland bloggers

Well, that, and the fact that Daryl Hannah was apparently sitting right behind us in the Santa Monica Veggie Grill, and we only realized once Jess got home and looked at her photos.

Month of Memories: Lunch in Austin

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wheatsville-lunch-with-bloggers

No, we aren’t done talking about Austin yet. I suppose, though, this photo speaks more about bloggers than it does about Austin.

We stopped by Wheatsville Co-op a couple of times during our scouting visit last spring, because it’s one of the most fantastic co-ops, period. (They have their own vegan lip balm and bottled kombucha, folks.) We grabbed a table in that famous Texas sun and were photographing our lunch, when I had a rare moment of self-awareness.

Bloggers spend a ridiculous amount of time photographing food—no breaking news here—but we seem to not notice that we’re doing it or let it bother us. But it’s weird, right? Look at this table full of food, including (of course) the Wheatsville signature offering, popcorn tofu, and we can’t just dig in? What’s wrong with us?

Don’t you worry, after our little photo shoot we got down to business. After all, we had lots of exploring to do.

We miss you, Austin. We miss you, Wheatsville. We miss you, popcorn tofu. Until we meet again…

Month of Memories presents: Q & A with Jojo! (aka dear Vegan.in.Brighton)

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Greetings! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds. 

It’s now time to catch up with first time, wonderfully enthusiastic Vida Vegan alumnae, Jojo Huxster, better known to vegan bloggers (and readers!) around the globe as the longtime blogger behind “Vegan.in.Brighton“. Jojo’s currently across the pond once again, exploring and documenting even more of what the United States has to offer vegan visitors.

 

JoJo
Hi JoJo! Just what have you been up to this summer? 
After Vida Vegan Con I travelled around the Pacific Northwest a little more and then popped home and quickly turned around for Spain where I celebrated my 30th birthday with my besties. After that I popped to Zagreb to hang with some more wonderful vegan friends.
Since I’ve been back in Brighton I’ve been eating all of the gelato, planning my next trip (see ya soon San Francisco!) and baking cupcakes for Operation Icing, my not-for-profit bakery.
Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
After reading everyone’s write ups of the first conference in 2011 how could I not? The speaker line up was amazing and it was a perfect opportunity to meet up with online friends from all over the globe. I finally got to meet Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh and we had a ridiculously fun time sharing a room together for a whole week.
Looking back, what was the most memorable class? 
This is a tough one but I’d have to say Isa’s iPhone photography class, she’s completely hilarious and awesome and I have been using many swatches in my photographs ever since!
How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 
I am making a concerted effort to take better photographs whenever I can, but, y’know, sometimes I’m just hungry so don’t hold me to it!
Who were you really excited to meet? 
 
Wow, so many people. I’ve been talking to so many PPKers and bloggers for years and years without ever having a chance to meet them in person so it was a total whirlwind and I loved meeting everyone.
So, have you started reading any new blogs? 
Yes! I have two new favorite blog discoveries, one was Bonzai Aphrodite, I’d never heard of this beautiful vegan lifestyle blog before and I love it. I had also never realised that VVC organizer Janessa had a blog, I know right, duh, and I’m loving following her on her travels around Eastern Europe and SE Asia.
Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 
Can I have more than one favourite meal in Portland? (Note: Duh) I was there for almost two weeks – I seriously had to keep extending my stay because I didn’t want to leave! I loved everything I ate at Back to Eden and if I could I would smuggle Ms Panda with Cookie across the ocean (y’know, if she wants to) to come and live with me so that she can cook me her famous biscuits and gravy every day.
Another meal I keep thinking back to is the Mac ‘n Cheese burger at White Owl Social Club, I ate that thing four times in a week – no regrets!
White Owl’s Mac & Cheese Burger with shoestring fries. Photo via Vegan.in.Brighton

In short, Jojo rules and all of us at Vida Vegan Headquarters are in awe of her Mac ‘n Cheese dedication. Come back this way soon — they’re calling your name!

You can read more about Jojo’s take on VVC2013 right here on her recap and stay tuned to her blog updates & travels (she’s recently been spotted in Las Vegas) over at Instagram, @vegan.in.brighton and ditto on twitter

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.

Month of Memories: Vida Vegan at the Office

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Yeah, we don’t have an office. Our HQ is a P.O. box and a collection of living rooms, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and bars. It’s a little challenging at times, sure, but it also allows us to try new spots around town, curl up with cats, and stay limber, so we can dream up lots of fun stuff for the likes of you.

Here’s a look back, via our Instagram feeds, at what a Vida Vegan meeting looks like!

Working on the schedule in Michele’s living room, from @janessapk
Early VVC floor plan sketching, in Janessa’s coffee table, from @vidaveganhq
Bagels and coffee and notebooks and laptops, at Ford Food & Drink, via @vidaveganhq
A blank slate, ready to be filled with classes. Another living room shot, from @jdfunks

And for you Portland folks, just a heads-up, we signed a contract for a little event space for early December. We’ll try to get details together for you soon. We’re pretty excited about how it’s shaping up.

Month of Memories: Coffee in Seattle

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SEA doughnutCoffee and a doughnut, come on! Is there anything so simple and pure and everything that’s good in the world?

Sadly, vegan doughnuts are not a given. So if you are lucky enough to have them in your life, you embrace those fried-dough sweeties. And don’t get me started on a good, honest cup of the local roast! Think of all the sad cups of coffee you’ve had, especially while traveling, stale, bitter, or that thin brown water. Yes, you drink it—because that’s all there is—and you drink it black because they don’t even have soymilk.

The Pacific Northwest is sort of a quality coffee safe zone, especially when you get into the cities. We just happened upon Herkimer on our location-scouting trip to Seattle, for the 2012 Tech Seminar, and it was exactly what we needed. When you’ve got a day or two in a city with a bunch of appointments, and you’re hoping so hard one of them suits your needs, stress can run pretty high. (What if you can’t find the perfect combination of location, capacity, wi-fi, catering, and price?) Taking a moment to sit down with the best partners ever and just eat a (Mighty-O) doughnut and drink a cup of coffee—leisurely drinking from a mug, not throwing back a paper cup—can be pretty special.

Thank you, Seattle. Thank you and your gazillion local coffee roasters. You spoil us.

More (Late) Summertime Q & A with Julia Legume

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Hey there! Welcome to the next edition of our latest Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters! These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, seasonal shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds. 

We’re now joined by a devoted (and super appreciated!) member of the VVHQ support team and recent host of Portland’s Pop Up! Taco Shop!, Julia Legume 

Julia shows her support for Chimp Sanctuary NW.

So Julia, what have you been up to this summer?

Park Ranger-ing, watching Wheel of Fortune, petting every dog and cat I see in the streets of pdx.


Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
I’m dating one of the organizers!

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

Vegan Professionals in a Non-vegan World with Janessa, Fran, Julie, and Grant– good stuff dudes

 

How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 

I think one more person reads it.

 

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I tasted Upton’s bacon– and now I eat a lot of it at home!

How Julia brunches at home: hot biscuits & Upton’s seitan bacon.

 

Who were you really excited to meet? 

Heather Spork (who happened to be a vendor with Galaxy Foods), Madeleine.teacup and SweetT from the PPK forums, and Jojo!                 (veganinbrighton).

 

Any special memories of VVC2013 you’d like to share? 

The Chicago Vegan Foods Teese nacho machine!!!!

 

So, have you started reading any new blogs? 

Travel blogs, basically. The Gay Backpacker — I like his style.


What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?

Less recipes/ how to’s with packaged ingredients, more thoughtful and creative dishes that are inspiring

 

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC? 

Team building exercises. Mandatory. (Noted!)

Here’s Julia, helping assemble the SWAG bags.

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend? 

Pool parties, pizza parties, slumber parties, hikes, campouts, dodgeball, Vegan Olympics.

 

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? (as if you could resist!) 

DUH EMAME’S ETHIOPIAN FOODCART DOWNTOWN.

Combo platter, Emame's Ethiopian
Combo platter, Emame’s Ethiopian

Thanks for sharing!


Our Month of Memories Q & A series will continue far into VeganMoFo.

Here’s Julia’s VVC2013 recap: Vida Vegan Con, I love you. For her latest & greatest, check her out on Instagram, @donna__noble.