Last night I attended an event that I expected would be a small vegan social event where I might be able to meet a handful of other vegans in a low-key setting. I attended one such event a few weeks ago and I was one of 3 people (the two others were older men) and it was pretty awkward, but I decided to give it a shot again last night after yoga in the hopes that it might be a little more lively. I suppose I missed the memo entirely because not only was it more lively, it was a full on mini VegFest! They had live music, raffles (I won!), and all sorts of vegan food and product vendors all night. I feasted on a delicious 'polenta pizza' from Nourish Charlotte, a decadent fried chicken (seitan) and waffles from this lone badass guy (I wish I knew his name so I could tell you), and a pastry/pop tart from Move That Dough. I also bought two of her donuts and a pumpkin cinnamon roll to bring home and unfortunately I don't have a picture because J ate half of it before I even had a chance to open the box (I guess thats a testament to how good they are).
When I moved to Charlotte from San Francisco, one of my biggest fears was that I'd never meet another vegan, that I'd be a social outcast, that I'd be forced to go to barbecue joints every day and cry at the sight of all the grilled animal flesh. I can't say that I was totally wrong - I still haven't made any vegan friends and I'm still very much the only vegan I know in this side of the country - but I've been pleasantly surprised to find a small but proud, and growing, vegan community in this city. Most restaurants seem to understand the concept of 'vegan' when I ask for substitutions, and some even have explicitly vegan options on their menu which is the shocker of the year for me. I'll share some of my experiences in discovering the vegan scene out here at a later time, but for now, feast your eyes on my delicious food from some of Charlotte's best vegan food companies.