Vegan Street Fair LA Nights
Saturday & Sunday, September 1st & 2nd, Labor Day Weekend 2018
It’s taken me a while to write up my experience since I’ve been a bit out of commission due to extreme fatigue, so apologies for being behind (this is one of the reasons I've been so tired lately).
I took a quick trip to the desert to visit my family, and on the way back, I stopped in Los Angeles (North Hollywood technically) for the Vegan Street Fair LA Nights 2018. There is another LA Vegan Street Fair in March apparently, which is much larger the LA Nights event, but despite this, LA Nights is a two day event. I had bought a special ticket for Saturday the 1st of September, which included a pass that grated me a $4 item from each vendor. This… was probably not the smartest move on part since I was attending the event alone and I can only eat so much; but I did the best I could!
The event was held behind a bar called The Federal on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. It was early yet, and the sun was high and hot. There weren’t too many people there yet—general admission opened at 3pm, with Early Entry ticket holders admitted at 2pm. I’m the kind of doofus that always get’s to an event early, but since I was solo, I wanted to get in, stuff my face, and get out before the crowds descended.
My first stop, after purchasing a bit of swag, was Mac N’Cheese Rebel, where I got my $4 serving of Vegan Mac w/Vegan Duck, caramelized onions & cherry tomatoes. I’m not sure what the cheese was made out, damn it was creamy and delicious! This was a total win, and the caramelized onions and vegan duck (a bit of a surprise) added depth to the small dish. Good stuff, and right out the gate too!
These two booths were toward the entrance, and from here I moved further in toward the heart of the fair. There was a DJ playing very loud music, and on a hot day, with the sun on your head… well, it wasn’t my favorite part of the event. I somehow kept ending up at one of the tables by the DJ stage, too. I would have liked something to drink, and while there was a lot of lovely shade in the beer garden area, but the drink menu was very limited. Then I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to be drinking… so I moved on to more food.
Atlas Monroe had a small waffle on their menu and that was what my pass entitled me too. I also splurged and bought the Cajun Southern Fried Chicken plate with garlic herb fries. The wait was long; the people in the booth didn’t have it together at all. By the time I sat down, my waffle was cold (and dry; it really needed more Earth Balance and syrup), but the fried seitan chicken was hot and crunchy, as were the fries. These were a total win, even if the waffle was a little dry and the wait was long.
The Vegan Hooligans (love that name) offered a $4 Cheesy Tots, that were pretty dang good. Of course there was hot sauce mixed in with the Violife herbed cheese, so I had to sort of sort through my tots in order to find one that was hot-sauce free. Pretty tasty; though by now I was edging toward the FULL point. Where is my husband when I need him?? (answer: taking care of our four dogs. Okay, I’ll forgive him. This time….).
Vegatinos! I’d been looking forward to this one because I goddamn LOVE Mexican food. I mean, I’m a California girl—Mexican food is just part of life here! And I was totally blown away. First off I must say I was getting really full by this point, so I only ordered my one $4 taco. I was surprised at my choices; not only did I get a choice of some something like 4-5 salsas, but also the filling choices: al pastor, chickin, and asada, jackfruit carnitas. I ordered an asada taco and requested the mildest salsa (a tomatillo), onions, cilantro and lime. And despite the mild salsa, my mouth totally exploded upon first bite of the taco. This was not Vegatinos fault; but my own particular health issues. But despite the heat, this was a massively delicious taco. I kept taking bites and then downing a half bottle of water after each mouthful. The damn taco just tasted so authentic. I’m no expert, but this single little taco brought back memories of my time living in Los Angeles many years ago and being continually surrounded by awesome Mexican food. Also, the service was prompt and friendly. I got my taco in record time.
By this time, I was not only full of food, but water as well; and my mouth was still on fire. I decided to get some ice cream at Donut Friend. I’m not sure what they make their ice cream out of, but it was super creamy and tasted very much like dairy ice cream. I also got two donuts to go, and figured I could have them for breakfast. My $4 choice was a cake donut (cinnamon-pumpkin), and then I bought a raised crème brûlée donut. I indeed ate the crème brûlée donut the next day and it was amazing. The vanilla cream was sweet but not cloyingly so, and the donut itself was light, airy and just the right amount of chewy. I saved the cake donut for my husband. Oh and again, excellent and fast service at the Donut Friend line (I’m a stickler for service after spending years working in customer service in both food and retail).
Along with the food booths, DJ stage, and the beer garden, there were pool tables, air hockey, some Jumbo Jenga, and a few other games set up in various spots throughout the area. The crowd was quite diverse, something I was happy to see. There were people from every age group, ethnicity, and generally all walks of life. I mean, yeah, it’s LA; but still. This was no “rich, white vegan” event (and thank god for that). And living in the Berkeley/Oakland area, I’m used to this vibrant make up of people—so I didn’t even notice this until much later. Still, it was refreshing, and reassuring to see. Veganism is reaching out to all; all need and should be including. Just as this lovely sign from the event states:
All told, it was a fun and well-attended event (it was crowded when I left, and I left early). Next year I hope to go again—only next time I hope to bring along a friend or two!