NYC Vegetarian Food Festival: The Savories

Home Eateries Bakery NYC Vegetarian Food Festival: The Savories

For the most part, I think there was definitely more sweets and snacks than savory foods at the food festival. I was equally excited about the savory dishes that the vegan eateries had to offer. One food item I was quite thrilled about was vegan cheese. Being lactose intolerant, I’ve always avoided cheesy dishes like macaroni and cheese and pizza, even though I do enjoy them a lot. So when I saw them being offered, I was eager to try them all. I can’t remember the last time I ate macaroni and cheese or enjoyed a slice of pizza! I’ve only had soy cream cheese before and I’ve always been a bit hesitant with trying other types of “fake” cheese, but I guess this was my chance.
Chicago Soydairy, that makes vegan marshmallow Dandies, also makes Teese vegan cheese and Breaded mozzarella teese sticks. They cooked up their breaded mozzarella sticks, small slices of pizza made with their Teese cheese, as well as nachos chips topped with their cheese. The food looked and tasted great.

I Eat Grass features Executive Chef Ayine Howell and Chef Oscar Macow. They provided samples of their vegan tempeh tuna salad and macaroni and yease. They assembled vegan tuna salad sandwiches and scoops cups of macaroni and yease for sale. The tuna salad was also available for purchase in a mini tub. It was all so delicious! I sampled a bit of the macaroni and yease and was really happy at how tasty it was. It was definitely a big hit. When I came back to purchase a container to go, they had already sold out. So, I just picked up a prepackaged tuna salad sandwich to bring home. I totally want to try more of their dishes. It’s going to be tough though, since they are a catering service. I wonder where and when is the next time I’ll get to enjoy their fantastic dishes.

Loving Hut also had their take on macaroni and cheese with mock chicken. They had a spicy buffalo one and a regular one. They also cooked up quesadillas. Apparently, they are a newly opened, international chain restaurant that’s all vegan. Their New York location is on 7th Ave between 29th and 30th. I actually walked by it the other day. It’s currently being renovated, so it might be easy to miss. Their macaroni and cheese was really tasty too. I purchased some to-go to share with friends and family after the festival, and they kindly boxed them up for me. By the way, everyone enjoyed it.

Foodswings the Williamsburg-based vegan fast food spot also served up macaroni and cheese, along with their cupcakes and treats. I didn’t get a chance to try their foods, but I’m definitely curious about checking them out. Luckily they are located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and just a train ride away. The chick behind the table was dressed as a scandalous devil and the dudes were like punk angels. Amusing. The way that the described it, Foodswings is kind of like your fast food burger/bar food place, except all vegan-ized. I’ll have to go check out their burgers some time.

The V-Spot Cafe, the Park Slope Latin vegan restaurant, sold a wide variety of their vegan empanadas. I picked up a breakfast empanada and a Colombian empanada. The breakfast one was filled with tofu scramble, soy cheese, and black beans. The Colombian one was filled with potato, carrot, onion, corn, and seasoned seitan. They were so delicious!

And there were pickles! Rick’s Picks offered their 14 varieties of hand-packed and all natural pickles. I picked up a jar of The People’s Pickles. I always enjoy their pickles!

I’m not much of a salad dressing person, but I did enjoy sampling the various salad dressings by Wholesome Creations. Their salad dressings are 100% natural, vegan, gluten-free. There’s no chemical preservatives, no added colors, and no artificial flavors. There’s Lemon Paradise Salad Dressing, Mediterranean Salad Dressing, Green Tea & Ginger Salad Dressing, and Cranberry Pomegranate Salad Dressing. I liked the Green Tea & Ginger one most. These dressings could be lots of fun.

Regal Vegan provided samples of their Faux Gras, a toasted walnut lentil pate. They also introduced their newest product Basilicaux, a basil cashew spread. I grabbed a cracker and gave it a try. The spreads were so flavorful and delicious! It’s healthy too. The spreads are filled with fiber, protein and healthy fats. They would go great on toast or crackers, or as a veggie dip. The spreads are good for about two weeks from the date of manufacture, since it’s all natural and there’s no preservatives. They also sold their Banh mi made with their Faux Gras, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, and jalapeno, inside a baguette. I didn’t go for the banh mi, but I did pick up a container of the basil cashew spread. The Basilicaux is actually not sold in stores yet, but it’s coming soon. I was happy to find that their Faux Gras can be found near me at SAI Organics, in Astoria.

Heart Beet, an Indonesian Vegetarian Catering Company, served up a variety of delicious foods. There were samples laid out as well as package ones for purchase. Their dishes are Asian, Western, and European inspired. Each food item had all their ingredients listed. There was a mixed salad with iceberg lettuce, fuji apples, bean sprouts, cilantro and served with a nutty dressing. For hot food, there was tofu and tempeh with coconut milk, which featured tofu, tempeh, long beans cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with various spices. They had a sweet and sour sauce with peanuts (peanuts, palm sugar, tomato, vinegar and salt) as well as a soy sauce dressing (soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and rice vinegar). For desserts, there were small containers of tasty looking cassava cake (cassava, palm sugar, grated coconut and salt), as well as black rice pudding (black rice, taro, pandan leaf, palm sugar and salt) which is served with a coconut milk. They are a very new company and don’t have much of a web presence right now. They are starting off small and relying mostly on word of mouth for now.

I really like their uses of peanuts, coconut milk, and all the wonderful spices. Their dishes reminded me of the vegetarian food from home and the Vietnamese desserts I’ve grown up loving. The black rice pudding reminded me of che (Vietnamese pudding) and the cassava cake reminded me of banh khoai mi (Vietnamese cassava cake). I purchased a package of black rice pudding to bring home for my mom, because I’m sure she’d enjoy it too.

Beyond Sushi by Espirit Events showcased their beautiful vegan sushi rolls. Behind the table, you can see the chefs preparing and assembling the delectable and healthy bites. Their vegan sushi features fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients like kiwi, mango, carrots, micro greens, and edamame. The rice is colorful. Instead of white rice, they offer a variety, like black rice, six-grain medley of red, black and short-grain brown rice, purple and hull-less barley, rye berries and long-grain red rice. Also, some of the rolls are assembled using soy wrappers instead of seaweed sheets. I wanted to buy a box of sushi to bring home, but it was too bad they sold out by then.

Sacred Chow, a vegan restaurant in the West Village, sold their dijon marinated raw kale and their grilled tofu. They also had some of their vegan pound cake for sale. I grabbed a few samples and it was all quite tasty. I would be cool to check out their restaurant some time. They post their daily specials online too. Bookmarked!

Verile Catering, a plant-based catering company, sold plates of their raw zucchini and daikon pasta with fresh watercress in a miso mustard sauce. The dish looked so tasty and delightful. I think it’s really neat to make “fake” pasta with shredded vegetables. They also had their dessert pizzettes creations, which featured an oat-based crust with frosting like vanilla, lemon buttercream, chocolate, and almond, and choice of toppings like chocolate, roasted peanuts, candied ginger, banana chips, and dried cranberries. Yum!

I’m so happy I was able to learn about and try out so many delicious food products and dishes. The only sad part is that I don’t know when’s the next time I’ll get to enjoy those distinctive dishes from the catering companies, but I’ll definitely keep a lookout for future opportunities.

Personally, I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but I do enjoy eating vegetarian foods. For the most part, I maintain a low meat diet and eat mostly fish. Vegan cuisine also comes in very handy since I’m lactose-intolerant. I know many people who are instantly turned off when you mention the words “vegetarian food” or “vegan food”, but these dishes are not your typical preprocessed soy burger. I’d definitely recommend my fellow omnivores to keep an open mind and give these alternate dishes a try too.

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