Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oakland Veg Week

The last week of April was Oakland Veg Week.  This event, or, more accurately, series of events, was aimed at getting people to pledge a week, at least, of being veg.  I don't know if many meat-eaters did it, but this sort of thing is pretty terrific for those of us who are already veg and want to take advantage of discounted meals at local restaurants, and go to veg events.  Hopefully some meat-eaters did, indeed, pledge to go vegetarian or vegan for the week.

My only problem with it was that I do not feel it was vegan-focused enough.  It seemed to treat vegetarianism as a morally equal choice to veganism.  I don't think the organizers really feel that way, or at least I hope they do not.  But many of the discounts offered were for non-vegan meals, and at one event I attended, in particular, it was actually difficult to get vegan food!  Dairy cheese all over everything.  Honestly, I don't even understand the point of having vegetarian desserts at a veg event instead of all vegan ones.  I mean, desserts are always vegetarian, with only the rarest of exception.

That said, quit complaining, me!  I finally got to meet Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!
I mean, I guess it was just a matter of time until I got to meet her.  We live in the same town and of course I'm going to go to every vegan event I know about.  Still, it was a real pleasure to go see her talk at the Oakland-Temescal Library, eat the free vegan food, tell her about how her podcasts have helped me enormously, and get a picture taken with her, you know, "for my blog" (who am I kidding, to me she's a total celebrity).  If it were almost anywhere else on the planet that I saw her speak, the room would be full, people would pay money to hear her, and it might be difficult to get the chance to chat with her.  But in Oakland, California, we vegans are so spoiled rotten that I'm sure lots of people were just like, "Ehh, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, huh?  Well, maybe I'll catch her next time," so it was an easy project for me to talk with the Compassionate Cook herself.

The speech, as you might expect, covered much of the same ground as her podcasts and was not really new to this roomful of vegans.  But, you know, it's still good to hear her talk.  If the converted didn't enjoy being preached to, no one would go to church.

Even though I really cannot afford to eat out,  I did get the chance to go to one of the restaurants that had Oakland Veg Week deals.  A Vietnamese restaurant called Vo's was offering 10% off any of their vegetarian (vegan) dishes.  My companion and I got some veg dishes, and although they were quite good, I would not call them Vietnamese.  They seemed more like Thai or just a pan-Asian mix of styles.  Maybe I'm spoiled by the authentic Vietnamese at Tram's Kitchen in Pittsburgh, which was once a favorite walk-two-blocks-and-eat-inexpensive-but-delicious-food destination for me.

I wish I had made it out to some other Oakland Veg Week events, especially their Grand Finale Celebration, which looks like it had a lot of great food for the tasting, but I could not make it due to a prior engagement.  I went to their Vegetarian/Vegan Pop-Up Market but, ummm, they were sure right to have put "Vegetarian" first.  There was barely any vegan food at it, and what there was quickly ran out.  Also, when I asked if the wine they had was vegan, the person serving it looked really confused.  I ended up buying this tamale-like thing for $4.
Unfortunately, it was really small and quite flavorless.  I mean, not terrible or anything, but I would certainly not pay for it again.

All kidding aside, I really hate complaining about events that have such good intentions.  But the Pop-Up Market thing really rubbed me the wrong way.  It was probably just poor planning that there was so little vegan food, but it also quite upsets me that, at a veg event, they felt the need to have anything non-vegan.  I mean, it's not like being vegetarian means you HAVE to eat cheese with every meal.  To promote veganism, they should have only the best possible vegan food, and not do any of this one foot in, one foot out business.  That's my personal opinion.  Maybe I'll be able to get involved with planning it for next year.

1 comment:

  1. Bah to dairy cheese everywhere, and lack of vegan options! That would really irk me too...it's not that hard to make like, a vegan brownie or something. But hey, how awesome that you got to meet Colleen! She's an awesome speaker.

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