Just Another Lost Weekend: Beer Fest & World Fest

May 28th, 2014 - filed under: Furthermore » Another Lost Weekend

LA Vegan Beer Fest 2

A good friend of mine sings a sweet, alt-country cover of the über-80′s Wall Of Voodoo jam, Lost Weekend (a spectacular song in it’s own right). It’s super catchy, which is why I’ve used a lyric to title this series – even though the original song is rather forlorn. Quite the opposite of my weekends these days, but never mind that. It’s a great title and really, aren’t they all? Lost, but never forgotten.

This May, SoCal saw not one, but TWO all-vegan, all-awesome festivals in a single spectacular weekend of cruelty-free and eco-friendly celebratory glory! And I think it’s official: LA is giving Portland, New York, and SF a run for their “Best Vegan City” money. Bring it.

And if this weekend wasn’t wonderful enough all on it’s own, for me it was EXTRA special because, well, LA Vegan Beer Fest is where I met Jeremy for the first time, last year. ♥ ♥ ♥

And now, one whole wild year later, this is how we spent our anniversary weekend:

beet juice

Saturday morning meant a road trip to LA. We always make a giant fresh-pressed juice before a weekend away, to clean out the crisper and use up all the veggies. This one, pre-beer fest, centered around beets. Because liver.

A gorgeous drive down the California coast, a quick pit stop for a couple iced coffees to fuel the fun, and we were ready to take on the 5th annual LA Vegan Beer & Food Festival!

LA Vegan Beer FestLA Vegan Beer Fest nachos

Gosh, how to even describe Vegan Beer Fest?

It’s like, one day of pure unabashed and unadulterated awesome. Vegans – the happiest vegans! – everywhere, all around. So many friendly and familiar (and even famous) faces. Good music – live and turned up loud. PERFECT WEATHER. Incredible food, soooo much food, from raw kale salad, to gourmet Mexican, to mac ‘n cheese + ribz turned into a grilled cheese sandwich. And of course, beer. All the beer.

I think my friend Brian, AKA The Sexy Vegan, said it best on his Instagram:

I can’t say enough about the Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest. It is seriously the best day of the year (if it’s a year in which I didn’t get married or have a kid).

And I might just have to agree!

LA Vegan Beer Fest Sayward The Sexy Vegan

With Brian, Mr Sexy Vegan himself, and his wife Desiree, who I finally got to meet – and who is rad!

LA Vegan Beer Fest tacos
Beer-battered avocado tacos.

LA Vegan Beer Fest vegan taco

LA Vegan Beer Fest eat taco

Beer Fest is, of course, about beer. And great food, and really great music. But most of all it’s about community. I ran into SO MANY long-lost vegan pals, and I got to meet Bonzai readers which is always so special, and I made new friends, too. Lots of new friends!

And that’s one of my favorite things about the vegan community in general – the accessibility and the inclusiveness. For the most part we are all just so incredibly stoked to be involved in something so meaningful. And there’s very little social hierarchy that I experience, so that you can go to an event like this, and hey! that person is totally on TV but they’re just chumming it up with everyone else. And ohmigosh! That’s so-and-so from my favorite podcast, or whatsherface from that seminar I saw, or that wicked sharp writer who just released a top-selling book. Or, maybe it’s someone you don’t recognize at all – someone who just looks super freakin’ cool. And you can just walk up and say hi, no matter who they are, because they’re probably approachable, and they probably just want to geek out over the food, and chat about activism.

I love that about our community.

LA Vegan Beer Fest 1

Beer for the People!

LA Vegan Beer Fest Sayward Ayinde Howel
This is Ayinde Howell, one of my very favorite vegans. Besides being a kickass chef/restauranteur and soon-to-be cook book author (check out his blog, I Eat Grass), Ayinde has been vegan for his entire life. That’s right! So for a mom like me who’s raising a wee little pint-sized plant-eater of my own, Ayinde is a rare unicorn. I’m actually thinking of interviewing him on his experience living vegan-since-birth . . . would you guys be interested in that?

And finally, of course, this whole thing was also an anniversary!

LA Vegan Beer Fest Sayward Jeremy love
We found the very exact spot where we met, one year prior. Because we’re big dorks.

One year. One year earlier, I’d spent the entire trip down to LA telling my girlfriend Kate about how I just didn’t believe in longterm romance. And how I really didn’t think that my “match” existed, because that person would have to be X but also Y, and strangely Z, and also this impossibly long collection of other odd, often seemingly contradictory letters and variables.

I had no idea that I was describing the man I’d meet only hours later, who turned out to be all those things and so much more. Jeremy and I bumped into each other around 3:30, at that very spot at Beer Fest, and we were stuck like glue until after midnight. And we’ve continued to stick, ever since. He is everything I never thought existed, and who could have imagined that one year later we would be here, living this beautiful life together?

♥ ♥ ♥

Beer Fest wraps up early, around 5:30-6. And after saying a million goodbyes, Jeremy and I decided to retrace our steps from our first night together, a year ago. Which meant: dinner at Bulan down on Melrose Ave!

Bulan Thai VeganBulan Thai Vegan 1

Drunken noodles and garlic pepper tofu with broccoli. Perfect post-Beer Fest food!

Bulan is a hole-in-the-wall all-vegetarian Thai joint, and it’s awesome. And after dinner, we grabbed a night cap at the same bar as last year, just a little bit farther down Melrose.

But of course, this year, instead of escorting Kate and I safely to our hotel, Jeremy took my hand and walked me back to the little room we’d rented, right in the heart of Hollywood. Together.

It was a really, really great day.


On Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning lounging around. We knew we wanted to hit World Fest – an annual LA event that bills itself as basically “vegan Earth Day” – but we weren’t necessarily in any rush. So, we decided to take a bit of a stroll, to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

Hollywood Farmers Market

Holy moly, I had no idea the Hollywood FarMar was so amazing! There was tons of produce, but also prepared foods (for like, blocks!) and clothing and wares, and flowers, and coffee and juice, and music . . . it was more like a bazaar than a FarMar. It was great! And while we were there, we finally got to sample Nary Dairy vegan cheese (good but very similar to the cashew cheeses I make at home) and No Moo “wise cream” (which was delish!). We also grabbed breakfast:

Hollywood Farmers Market young fresh coconutyoung thai coconut meat

Fresh cracked young Thai coconut water at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. // Young Thai coconut flesh for breakfast on the way to World Fest.

So, we didn’t actually take a ton of pictures at World Fest, whoopsie! Well actually that’s not entirely true, we did take pics but they’re mostly of us holding food, not of the actual surroundings, and I’m sure you’re pretty tired of looking at my mug by now. Just a few to get an idea of the event?


LA World Fest vegan foodLA World Fest Vegan Hot Dog

For me: gluten-free falafel with fresh herbs, salad, and tahini sauce. This was great. // For Jeremy, a California-style hot dog with avocado, arugula, and tomato with crispy-fried onions.

This was the first World Fest I’d been to, and word on the street is attendance was low due to the double-booked weekend with Beer Fest the day before. But World Fest is a totally different vibe, focused on the environment, on education, on family-friendly activities and lots of brands and booths selling goods and sharing information. There were multiple stages and lots of live music, plus guest speakers and demos.

IMG_7816LA World Fest vegan So Delicious ice cream

V-Dog vegan dog food was on super sale, so we had to take advantage. // What’s that you say? Free mocha almond fudge ice cream bars at the So Delicious booth? Well don’t mind if I do!

Overall, World Fest was a really cool mix of art, fashion, health, and activism. I hope that next year it’s staggered more from Beer Fest (though it did make for a fun and eventful weekend!) and I’ll definitely bring along the wee Waits Rebhal next time.

LA World Fest Vegan V-Dog Food 1
The long walk back to the car.

Jeremy and I took off in the early afternoon, giant bag of V-Dog + refreshing snow cone in tow. We were home by late afternoon, and spent a balmy and relaxing evening playing cards outside while grilling up veggies and buffalo tempeh wingz.

Again, gosh, a really, really great day.

But I seem to have had a lot of those, this past year …

  • Solène

    Love reading your posts about events. My dream is to move to LA to escape the British rain and this is not helping! :-) And happy anniversary to you and Jeremy!

  • Sarah

    I went through a big break-up not long after you did, and unlike you, I haven’t quite found the faith to believe that I’ll ever find another big love like that again. But you’re starting to change my mind with all these cute posts – they give me hope! Happy anniversary :)

  • Angie

    Beer fest was awesome! Great recap. I wanted to make it to World Fest, but was too zapped from the day before. I also hope next year they are more spaced out.

  • veganinbrighton

    That looks like such a wonderful weekend! I have to say that I’m not the biggest beer person but the food at Vegan Beer Fest looks so wonderful that I think I’d go for that and, as you said, the cool community vibe. The California style hot dog from World Fest looks super delicious too, totally my kinda food!

  • vegyogini

    This was the first year I planned to attend VBF, had a ticket, and then my favorite, closest-to-my-heart non-profit with whom I’ve been volunteering for 5 years, scheduled the first event of the season for the same exact day. I thought I could go to VBF afterward for a couple hours until close, but then I scheduled a date for that night and that was the end of that. So, perhaps next year, for your 2nd anniversary! I skipped WorldFest in favor of recuperating. I’m happy to see it was a beautiful weekend for you two!

  • http://www.theveganchickpea.com theveganchickpea

    what an amazing weekend and i’d LOVE a q@a with ayinde!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    That looks like soooo much fun!!! I will have to mark my calendar for next year… we need things like this down in San Diego:):)

  • Joselle

    I’d love to see an interview with Ayinde. Great idea.

  • Ingrid

    So happy for your happiness, Say!

  • stephie137

    Looks like an awesome weekend! Also, congrats on the Tom’s partnership.

  • Meg Travis-Carr

    Whoa, looks like Paradise!!! Love your posts and I would love to see a post interviewing Ayinde Howell! Congratulations on your Tom’s Partnership and congratulations on your most excellent year and all that you do! ♡

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Soléne, aww thank you! And yeah, LA is pretty amazing. I came here to escape the Portland rain and the sun has completely changed my life. Ha!

    Have a great weekend!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Sarah, this comment means a lot to me. I never expected to find love so soon, and not like this. But in my life, and watching my own friends, I’ve come to believe that those big, painful breakups are just the first step on a path to bigger and better things. It’s been true for all my friends – and why wouldn’t it be true for you? ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah I think this year was a fluke, and hopefully they’ll be separated next year. Glad you had fun at beer fest – it was awesome!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah, it’s awesome, you can buy “non-drinking” tickets and not even do the beer thing! The festival is great for just amazing food and music, and of course, the community!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh no! Well, I mean, I totally understand. But you HAVE to come next year, it’s so much fun!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yeah, I’m going to get on that interview. He’s already agreed, I just need to make it happen!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh my gosh you have to! That would be amazing. Yes!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yes, I’m on it! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aw, thanks lady. Much ♥!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks lady, it was an awesome weekend and I’m very excited about the partnership. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Meg! For all the congrats, haha. And that interview with Ayinde will definitely be coming soon . . .

  • Lesley26

    Sayward you are just so pretty. I think you are so cool. Although I’m not 100 percent vegan, you inspire me to each about 70 percent plant food and when I share the vegan food with people they love it and just seem to feel good about what they ate. Thanks foe your blog. I think you’re the most :)

  • Thepostpartumvegan

    I would love to see an interview with the “vegan since birth” guy. It would be great and inspiring to hear about his thoughts, feelings, everything about growing up vegan and not knowing what pepperoni pizza tastes like.