VegLife Des Moines‘ VeganFest was a great excuse to visit my cousin Chuck as well as see many of my Iowan friends who would be in attendance (and also Michelle from The Herbivore Clothing Company who traveled from Portland!). I arrived the night before VeganFest and was starving when I got to town, so I opened up my Happy Cow app on my phone and saw that I was mere minutes away from Gusto Pizza Co. (My favorite thing about the app is the map feature, hands down.) They have Daiya cheese and many veggie options, but I kept it simple with cheese and spinach.
My first experience with Krunkwich Ramen House was on the way to Kansas City’s VegFest in 2017, and I now have dreams about their amazing Kimchi Tots with Miso Whiz. I wouldn’t normally put kimchi and cheese together, but this works so well. Jumping ahead to the end of VeganFest, Cadry of Cadry’s Kitchen and her husband David joined my cousin Chuck and me for dinner at Krunkwich because they love it as much as I do. I ordered Bimbimbap with Seitan along with the Kimchi Tots. Their seitan is chewier than a lot of other places, and I mean that in a good way. There’s something about the flavor and texture of their seitan that I love.
Now here’s the quick overview of what we ate at VeganFest. Not pictured but worth mentioned is the Oreo Cheesecake from This Bakery. If you ever have the opportunity to try it, I suggest you do. I pretty quickly honed in on this beautiful Lotus Seed Flower from Des Fresh Foods. It was crisp, light, and slightly sweet. I would have it again, no question.
Brightside Kitchen had advertised an Orange Walnut Scone, and it was calling my name. Their scones were cute little guys, which was smart for a place like VeganFest where people want to eat a lot of different food and not get too full from one thing. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
Chuck and I shared half of a Santa Fe Seitan wrap from Beef Cake Fuel. It was good but the seitan was too soft with not enough flavor, in my opinion. I appreciate that their restaurant offers a vegan menu.
Last but not least, we shared an order of Kimchi Mandu from Dumpling Darling. They sold out about halfway through the fest, so we’re lucky we got to them in time. The kimchi and tofu inside had a good amount of heat thanks to the kimchi. I’d be curious to try the Green Curry at the brick and mortar location.
Des Moines is a three and a half to four hour drive from where I live in St. Paul, so it’s easy to do an overnight trip. VeganFest was well organized with a good variety of vendors and speakers, and I would definitely attend again. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Iowa in May to Iowa Farm Sanctuary for their Spring Pig-nic.