Saturday, September 10, 2011

Never Too Late for a Portland Update

Yes.  I know Vida Vegan Con has been over for about 2 weeks now.  This update is way later than intended because life has been extremely busy over here with school.  Also, my pics aren't the greatest because I forgot my camera almost all the time (3 out of the 4 days).  But some fun was had.  Oh, yes!  So about Portland...

I arrived from a fairly bumpy flight, got shuttled to the rental car place, and had to endure the slooooowest service I've ever had...ever.  About an hour after I landed, I finally started driving to my friend's (Rich) house.  Only I got lost.  Like, 40 minutes lost.  When I finally reached Rich's house, we walked over to Hungry Tiger Too where a bunch of conference goers were meeting up.  We arrived to find almost everybody gone, but I got to meet Steffers, Louzilla, and Joni!  Fun times!  I ordered the BLTease and some sweet potato fries.  The sandwich was a'ight.  Nothing grand.  But those fries were incredibly bomb.  I loves 'em!

Afterwards, Rich and I went to his neighborhood farmers market.  I was wandering around and discovered Missionary Chocolates.  They were giving away free samples on just about everything!  I ended up buying three truffles: meyer lemon, vanilla salted caramel, and ginger.  They were fantastic!  So damn good.  I also picked up some golden raspberries.  Mmm.

Next, we took the short drive to Vendetta for the unofficial meet and greet.  First of all, I was totally overwhelmed.  That place got packed with so much vegan goodness, I had to down some beer to take it all in.  Errbody was talking and having a great time.  I couldn't even begin to list everybody I met.  Rich and I left a little early.

Panda cookie!
Here's where things got epic.  Rich lives right down the street from a food cart pod.  We walked over, and I realized I was at Potato Champion!  I ordered the vegan poutine and a pineapple basil juice.  Poutine is a salty, gravy filled, potato orgy of awesome!  And the juice was really refreshing after a day of mostly potatoes and beer.  Then, I turned around and realized I was sitting in front of Whiffie's Fried Pies!  Rich and I noticed that they had a vegan mounds pie (choco-coconut), and we both dug super deep to make room for it.  Words cannot express how amazing that pie was!  It had a perfectly flaky crust with this thick, creamy coconut pudding inside.  There was flaked coconut in the pudding and a nice chocolate sauce inside.  I highly recommend it!

And that was my first day in Portland.  How crazy is that?!

Friday morning I said goodbye to Rich and headed over to Kittee's to work on the game show.  Can I just say how much I heart that woman?  She is amazing.  We spent a little while prepping, then headed out to Native Bowl.  Erika and Jordan showed up, and we chatted while waiting for Amey.  I also met Luciana, Lisa, and Gabrielle.  When Amey finally arrived, five of us piled into Kittee's car and headed back to her house.  Amey, Kittee, and I pretty much worked on the game show and got the prizes together before registration.

Things went pretty fast from there.  I registered, picked up my swag bag, and got into my dorm.  The bags were HUGE.  Filled with coupons, books, peppermills, cookies, bars, snacks, and so much more.  Plus, the dorms had an extra toiletry gift bag with soaps, toothpaste, condoms, etc.  I quickly changed and met up with Ben before heading over to the reception.

The reception was fabulous!  I met Chris and Crystal finally.  Adorbs.  I also drank much champagne and tried my hardest to look elegant while eating a cupcake.  Mission: impossible.  I also met my Texan peoples.  Kristen, Molly, and Stephanie.  It was awesome, to say the least.  Oh, and I also met my roommate for the weekend, Jen!  It was a really great time.

VVC breakfasts: pancakes, fruit, yogurt, biscuit, potatoes, gravy, scramble
After getting my cupcake on, I went with a huge group to Vita Cafe.  Let's see if I remember everybody.  John, Kelly, Lou, Isa, Terry, Erika, Jordan, Luciana, FootFace, Lauren, and two of the sweetest Canadians (Lisa and Nicole) I ever did meet.  Anyway, I had the vegan club sandwich, some fries, and a salad.  Here's the thing...the salad and fries were HUGE!  All I could manage to eat was a few bites of each and half a sandwich.  Let me tell you about that club.  It was seriously the best sandwich I've ever had in my life!  So damn good.

Afterwards, I took a cab back to the hotel with Luciana, Lisa, and Nicole.  The girls refused to let me walk back to the dorms by myself.  It was terribly sweet.

Saturday was so damn stressful for me.  I headed to breakfast, and then it was non-stop action until the game show.  Kittee, Amey, and I were figuring out the logistics and order so that things would run smoothly.  I feel like it was a great success.  It was so fun to be apart of something so different.  Plus, everybody left with some sort of prize.  And on top of that, the teams took that ish seriously!

After the battle royale, I ate lunch and chilled out before getting ready for the Galarama.  My ultimate goal was to get there early because the lines for everything at VVC had reached legendary status.  So, I put on my outfit and got myself to the Gala.  There was so much food.  SO. MUCH. FOOD.  Pizza, burgers, wraps, spring rolls, chikn tenders, sundae bar, and some dranky drank.

My absolute favorite part was hanging with my dance floor bestie, Lauren.  The PPK straight owned that dance floor.  All I have is this really lame pic that doesn't quite capture the essence of the dance circle.  And I'm still mad at myself for not starting a Soul Train line.
can you spot the PPKers?
When the Gala ended (way too early), I went with Luciana to Food Fight for Upton's pop up sandwich shop.   I had the second best sandwich of my life there: chicken seitan, grilled eggplant, chipotle aioli on a delightful focaccia.   So good!  Then this lady randomly pulls up in an ice cream truck and offers us samples of coconut lemon saffron ice cream.  BEST. THING. EVER.  And the weird thing is that she had never, ever stopped her truck there before.  This is why I love Portland.

Sunday was much more relaxing.  I was a little bummed that everything was coming to an end, though.  I did get to catch some really great talks.  In the morning, Lidiana and I did our budget talk.  We were worried about not having enough material, but we really owned it.  We even learned some stuff from the audience.  The amazing Joanna told me about freezers being more efficient when packed to capacity.  I did not know that!

Afterwards, I caught Terry's talk.  She was hilarious and nerdy as ever!  I also went to the Publishing Panel.  Everybody was lovely there.  I found it really refreshing that nobody tried to sugarcoat it.  They made writing and publishing very real to people.  The last thing I saw before heading back home was the Opinionated Bloggers.  For me, PPKers stole the show.  Footface was charming and out-of-this-world hilarious.  And Jordan was brutally honest and insightful.

I didn't really get to say goodbye because I had to haul ass to the airport.  But I did want to say that this was one of the best experiences of my life.  I can't wait to go back in 2013.  And I will be there whether I'm a speaker or not.  There are so many places I didn't get to see and so many people I didn't spend enough time with.  Portland, I kinda freaking love you!

Until we meet again...


sgcorrie said...

It was so nice to finally meet you in person! I'm really happy to hear you loved Portland <3

Kittee Bee Berns said...

yay mo! real life friends now!

KTBuns said...

You rocked the Battle Royale, lady. :)Definitely Top 5 of my VVC experiences (and you know those spots are mighty competitive!).

Can't wait to head back to PDX to try this club sammy you're raving about!

VeganLisa said...

Hey Mo,

Nicole and I are the two Canadian's who walked with you to the dorms. It was great to meet you and I had a blast at the Battle Royale. I'm still disappointed that I couldn't name 25 cookbooks in 30 seconds - I need to learn to talk faster.

Thank you for all the work you put into created so much fun.


Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

LISA! Yes. I saw the faces, but names have become word soup since getting back. I will now edit this! It was so great meeting you and Nicole!

Luciana said...

I'm still upset about missing your game show! I definitely plan to be at the next con in 2013.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, a Portland recap is ideal now, because it's already feeling so far back in the past! Good to remember all the details... Ah, 2013 seems like forever away for the next one!

Mihl said...

Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time in Portland! Thank you for sharing and I hope school slows down a bit for you.

Andrea said...

It's never too late to talk about the great VVC. It was cool meeting you. By now I'm feeling that everyone ate more interesting food than I did, and at the time I thought I was eating way too much! Got to go back to Portland and hit all the spots I'm reading about.

Erin said...

I haven't done any sort of VVC wrap up yet, so you're definitely not behind the game too much. The Battle Royale was so much fun, you guys did a fantastic job!