This past Saturday, I ventured to the Santa Monica Festival and it was even more massive than I imagined. Since Santa Monica is allegedly the most environmentally friendly part of LA, I imagined the festival to reflect this. My friend and I sought out the "greenness" of the festival and although it didn't quite live up to my expectations, there was definitely a lot of potential.
We began at the food trucks, which were parked right outside the event, near the entrance. Many of the trucks had vegan options. First there was the Let's Be Frank Truck which had an adorable picture of a dog on the back and were serving up veggie dogs.
There was also The Border Grill Truck which I have heard amazing things about. Since there was such a long line during Lunchtime, I did not get a chance to try it. The Green Corn Tamal is one of the few dishes that can easily be veganized.
I hit up the Yalla Truck for an early lunch. They are an amazing truck that used to be completely vegetarian but oddly decided to add chicken to their menu. The concept of the truck is to create fusion falafel sandwiches and there is everything from Greek to Italian to Thai varieties.
I opted for the Falafel Reo Reo (Thai) sandwich ($6) as it sounded so interesting and unique, combining the best of both worlds.
For six dollars it was a great deal! The sandwich was quite filling and so tasty. The vegetables were so well seasoned and had a milky flavor from the combination of tahini and sesame sauce. There was even more creaminess and a strong spice from the peanut sauce. The falafels were very crisp on the outside and so soft on the inside. I will have to hunt this truck down to order this sandwich again.
My friend visited the Sweets Truck for a soy vanilla latte. We also found out that they carry vegan baked goods during many of their typical stops.
My friend really enjoyed her latte. She described it as very sweet with a strong vanilla flavor. The cup was also green and biodegradable.
We also paid a visit to the India Jones truck to see what vegan options they had. It seemed the only options were a vegetable curry and samosas.
The last truck we checked out was the Coolhaus Truck. They told us they offer sorbets that are vegan.
Next, we walked through the festival to discover the booths and of course score some free items. First, we stumbled upon some freeze dried fruit at Crunchies.
The banana freeze dried fruit I tried was just so odd. I didn't understand the appeal to it. In fact, it tasted just like cardboard. Is this supposed to be space food or something?
I also tried some delicious, freshly brewed tea at the Numi booth. They had a variety of options on hand and they were all very soothing.
Right across from the tea booth was a woman handing out samples of glazed almonds. She assured us they were vegan, as she tries to be healthier by cooking them in water rather than butter or oil.
The almonds were so delicious and coated in a carmelized cinnamon sugar glaze. They were very sweet but not disgustingly so. Unfortunately the woman usually sets up shop right outside the dreaded LA Zoo, so I will not be back to get more of these.
The other green initiatives were to encourage festival goers to use more environmentally friendly transportation. They provided a free bike valet and even free tune ups on bicycles.
There were also local organizations passing out free reusable bags with a pledge to use them for grocery shopping. In addition, there was a booth to take a picture with your new bag, further enforcing the importance of it.
At the end of the festival, we noticed a sign that created such a positive energy and really showed how much potential this festival has for celebrating the environment. The sign alone made my day.
The festival was full of free cooking demonstrations (although sadly not vegan) and exercise sampler classes. I did not participate in the exercise classes but they looked really fun! This festival really demonstrated that people are starting to recognize the importance of protecting the environment and how eating meat causes many of the main issues. My hope is that next year it will be even bigger with more of a vegan influence.