Monday, July 18, 2016

International Food Bloggers Conference -- Food for Vegans

The International Food Bloggers Conference comes to the Sacramento Convention Center Hyatt Regency in Sacramento on July 28th through 31st, and I can’t wait! My name is Pam Giarrizzo, and I'm the author of Sacramento Vegan, a blog that provides information about vegan options available in local restaurants. I've been vegan for almost fourteen years, and blogging for about five. This will be my first IFBC event, and I’m excited about the opportunity to meet all of my fellow food bloggers, take excursions to local farms, learn from the workshop presenters, and sample products from participating vendors.

In case there are any vegan or vegan-curious IFBC attendees, there are plant-based options at a few of the restaurants you’re likely to come into contact with during the course of the conference.

Since many of you will be staying at the Hyatt Regency, that seems like a good place to start. Vines, the hotel’s café that’s open for breakfast and lunch, offers a couple of nice vegan options. For breakfast, you can order their vegan chorizo hash, a mix of chorizo spiced tofu, peppers, onions, potatoes, and black beans, served with corn tortillas. I haven’t tried this dish before, but it sounds wonderful. If you decide to order it, let me know how it is!

If you’re having lunch at Vines, turn straight to the “Healthy Balance” page of the menu, where you can create your own vegan meal. Choose tofu, either grilled, sautéed, or steamed, as your main course, then choose a sauce and two side dishes to go with it. The picture below shows grilled tofu with mushroom and EVOO sauce, accompanied by roasted potatoes and roasted vegetable hash. Yum!

A few of the restaurants sponsoring this year’s IFBC offer vegan options. Trendy Hot Italian makes a vegan pizza, the Muti, topped with tomato sauce, seasonal vegetables, and arugula. You can also add Daiya vegan cheese. One of my favorite things at Hot Italian, though, is to stop by for Bellinis and olives, with a side of their excellent pizza crust wedges.

Mother is a popular vegetarian restaurant that offers a couple of vegan options. Their delicious carrot nut burger with arugula, caramelized onions, mustard, and ketchup is a big hit with local vegans.

Thai Basil is an IFBC sponsor that serves wonderful Thai food, with vegan items clearly marked on their menu. But what I really want to tell you about is the restaurant upstairs, which was recently opened by the same owners. As the name suggests, VEG offers a vegetarian and vegan menu, and I've enjoyed some outstanding dishes there. My favorites are the ginger guacamole with sweet potato chips, roasted veggie crepe, and basmati rice pudding. Just typing this is making my mouth water!

Sacramento food blogger Catherine Enfield will be hosting an event for IFBC attendees after the day's activities on Thursday, July 28th, at Lucca, a local Italian restaurant. If you decide to stay for dinner there afterwards, be sure to ask for their vegan menu. I love their patchwork salad, consisting of Romaine, radicchio, asparagus, strawberries, currants, peppers, almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette, and their sweet peppers stuffed with brown rice, beans, roasted squash, spinach, and basil marinara sauce.

If you'd like to know more about restaurants offering plant-based options in Sacramento, be sure to look for me at IFBC or check out my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you on July 28th!

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