This past week there have been a slew of local vegan events near where I live in Northeast Los Angeles. I’m not sure if there are always this many awesome things going on or if I just started looking at the right time. Unfortunately I did not hear about Mohawk Bend‘s Authors Worth Celebrating event with Isa Chandra Moskowitz until after the fact, though I would have loved to have attended. Actually, the knowledge of the event gained from a friend’s tweets spurred my search for similar vegan events in Los Angeles, leading me to discover The Church of Seitan at Verdugo Bar. No devil worshipping here, this name is merely a clever play on words (which reminds me of the similarly witty t-shirt Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler can be seen wearing in an interview about being vegetarian). For those who are unaware, Seitan is a “wheat meat,” made from gluten and often used in vegan recipes as a source of protein and texture in lieu of meat from animals.
So when Sunday rolled around I was pretty psyched to check out this monthly event. Knowing I would be consuming a fair amount of beers ($2 off draft 3-7pm) and vegan treats I began my day with a run through the hills. Seeing as how I live in Los Angeles, the weather was perfect as usual and skies were clear. Taking a second to snap a picture for Instagram, I took a moment of gratitude for the area I live in and the beauty all around me.
When we arrived at the bar, there were only a few customers inside and I wondered if I had gotten my hopes too high for the event. But after ordering a few beers, we made our way to the back patio for “the service,” as the organizers like to call it, and the place was packed! A cute pop-up shop was set up right next to the entrance and a DJ spinning records in the far corner. Because what kind of vegan event in NELA would be lacking in vintage diggs and vinyl?
We followed the delicious smell of taco seasoning all the way to the far back corner where Plant Food for People were cooking up some mexican-style vegan fare. I had only recently tried jackfruit for the first time and have been obsessed with creating a recipe at home with my new-found favorite ingredient, so I was delighted to see that jackfruit tacos were on the menu. We picked up a few jackfruit tacos with cabbage slaw and a side of beans (all for only $7!) from the friendly people behind the counter and exactly two minutes later, they had been completely devoured – delicious!
As we finished our tacos, the MC announced that vegan bingo was beginning so we picked up some bingo cards and found a table. They had some fun prizes such as Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz(who was actually in attendance!). No winners in our group but the game was really fun.
After bingo ended, we had one last important thing to do – get our hands on some vegan cupcakes! We made our way to the Peace of Cake booth and picked up a “Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcake.” Chatting with the baker, Michelle, I discovered that she had invented a vegan version of the famous creamy liquor. Moments later, as I was sinking my teeth into the rich, chocolately dessert, I took another moment of gratitude for her undeniable talent in creating such a delectable vegan treat.
As we left the bar, a little more bubbly and with a lot fuller stomachs than we entered, I couldn’t help but smile. What would have been a delightful event for anyone, vegan or not, was also a symbol of hope. To spend the afternoon with a group of like-minded people was so refreshing and also a reminder that living a compassionate lifestyle is not only rewarding but can also be really fun!
When we got home, we decided to go for a walk just before sunset, partly to offset some of the damage those decadent cupcakes no doubt had on my backside and also to relish in what remained of one of the most enjoyable Sundays I’ve had in a while.