Hosted in Reverchon Park on Sunday, the fourth annual Texas Veggie Fair was a free, family-friendly event with vegan and vegetarian food and lifestyle items for sale. There was plenty of live music, a beer garden, speakers, chef demos, and lots of activities for two or four-legged little ones.
As it turns out, there were just as many dog legs as human. Yippie Pomeranians, overweight Labradors, and scary-big Great Danes alike made up a huge portion of fair-goers. Many booths were aimed to please this crowd: adopt-a-pet stations, doggie treats, and even pet-friendly photo booths had puppy Mamas and Papas squealing with delight.
The kiddos were also allowed to partake in the food and fun fest, with kids’ yoga and story time in the Gathering Garden, creative arts and crafts projects, bounce houses, and even face-painting.
But let’s get to the good stuff.
The grown-up set could be found cross-legged on the lawn, chowing down on vegan fare, waiting in line for popular food trucks (Nammi Truck, Gepetto’s Pizza, Good Karma Kitchen), scrounging for free samples, or perhaps even arm wrestling with Big Bald Mike, who I spotted standing behind a “Real men love bunnies” sign. I spent most of the sunny afternoon in Trinity Hall’s very cool beer garden, sipping pear cider and listening to Zhora.
The must-try item of the day was the vegan Corn Dawg from Tough Cookie Bakery. The guys from this Bastrop, Texas bakery have been here since the first Texas Veggie Fair, and they are wildly popular.
I asked Morgan Hohle at Tough Cookie Bakery why their tent had the longest line all day. The answer was simple: “We have the best corn dogs,” he said. And the only vegan corn dogs at the fair.
The fried treats are a people-pleaser and the recipe’s pretty wholesome. Owner Christopher McEwan rattled off the batter recipe while he fried up some Dawgs: cornmeal, organic flour, cayenne, baking powder, baking soda, almond milk, water—and in the middle—“just a regular, old SmartDog hotdog.”
I was surprised and a bit weirded out when I bit into this very meat-like treat. Not being a fried food gal, I shared it with my carnivorous friend, who agreed it was oddly meat-like… and delicious. We polished it off and agreed we wanted to go to a baseball game.
Reverie Bakery had everyone raving about its vegan tiramisu cheesecake. “It’s phenomenal!” shouted a woman with approximately five exclamation points, “And not heavy!”
New to the scene was Pop Star Hand Crafted Popsicles, owned by John Doumas. When I checked it out, only one of the five dairy-free and gluten-free flavors wasn’t entirely sold out. (Come on, people, Green Apple sounds delicious!) There are usually about 20 flavors to choose from varying from season to season. You can usually find them at your local Farmers Markets, or hire them for special events and catering,at just over two bucks a pop(sicle).
Other popular spots were Capital City Bakery, The Jamaican Pot, and Spiral Diner.
“Next thing I’m going to try is that zucchini po’ boy,” said first-time fair-goer Jennifer Johnson, “Because it just sounds so good.”
Lauren Adams is a senior at SMU and a ShopTalk intern.