So I’ve often been asked over the past 3 Jazz Fests, “How in the world do you survive Jazz Fest being Vegan?” I simply say, “Very FULL & HAPPY!!”
This question just came up again today (first day of Fest 2009) at the Fest and again with an email request from a friend and member of the TVP List Serve Group I receive. TVP normally refers to Textured Vegetable Protein. In FabuNOLA, the TVP Group stands for the Totally Vegan Potluck Group who meet every month to . . . well . . . do just what it says. Check them out at the wiki http://nolatvp.com/wiki or email them to get on the mailing list: Tvp@lists.nolatvp.com.
Here was my response (note: now have added updated info with more places & info on 4-27-09). I hope this helps anyone in need of knowing. I’ll add more . . . or let me know if you also have any treasures (and I’m a Soy-Free Vegan so I want to keep that consistent on my Blog):
This is my 3rd year of being Vegan at Jazz Fest. First year I brought my own food (but then again, you know I work at Jazz Fest at all day and have the luxury of bringing my own food with a cooler), then started a cleanse in between the 2 weekends so I didn’t have to deal with it the 2nd weekend. Although I still bring some food and snacks, I’ve learned how to be very happy (and full) during the Fest.
Yes, my lovely friend who owns Bennachin assured me that my favorite all-time dish of Jazz Fest (since working my first Fest in 1990), Jama Jama and Plaintains are truly Vegan (although the sauteed spinach tastes so buttery). This fills me with delight every time I think of it. (Located at Congo Food area).
There’s also the Veggie Sushi and Seaweed Salad (and you can get them mixed at “The Swamp Roll”). And right next to it is Mona’s w/ Falafel Sandwich, Hummus, Tabouli and Salad (just request no Feta). They have a Veggie Platter too which include this in one. (Located at Food 2 area).
Just saw 2 new (actually one is old and back again). On the same side as Bennachin’s, I saw something listed (from a distance so I’ll have to find out who the vendor is) at Veggie Platter and they have Cous Cous. And Vietnamese Food Vendor is back (located between Jazz & Blues Tents. I used to love their Vermicelli Combo. Now, you can just ask them to add more Veggies. Always refreshing. (Updated info and locations below).
And remember the Strawberry Lemonade!! (Congo Food area next to Bennachin’s).
I’ll let you know when I find more and update the blog post when I get a chance. I just posted a bunch of new stuff for music for my friends playing (also check out when you can). Gotta run. I’m about to go dance and listen to Bill Summers (Jazsalsa) @ Sweet Lorraine’s. And I have to get up early to be at Fest again.
Happy Fest to Everyone. Come by to see me at the Jazz Tent (Big Chief VIP area).
Update on Vegan Food at Jazz Fest (4-27-09):
So much great food there this weekend . . . so happy and so FULL!! I didn’t even bring my cooler on Sunday because I didn’t finish eating the rest of my snacks ;D. Although, I was eating so much that I might have to rethink that because of the $$$$$ (it adds up y’all — oh well).
The Praline Connection has a Vegetarian Plate (totally Vegan) that is Super Yummy!! It’s Crowder Peas & Okra & Collard Greens (with or without rice). Couldn’t get enough. (This is in Food 2 area near Veggie Sushi (from Ninja’s) and Mediterranean (from Mona’s Cafe)).
Vietnamese Restaurant has Veggie Versions (essentially Raw Vegan) of their Spring Rolls & Vermicelli (just avoid the Fish Sauce because I forgot — thanks for the reminder from my friend, Erik, after I ate it ;D). Located at Heritage Sq. Food (in between Jazz & Blues Tents).
Mr. Palmer (so sweet) at Palmer’s Restaurant has Steamed Veggies (Cabbage, Carrots, Zucchini & Squash — which were really good and I’m not big on Zucchini & Squash). You can get it with or with out rice. I got it without because I was halfway through my plate of Crowder Peas & Collard Greens with rice so I just switched it all on one plate . . . YUM!! (Congo Food area)
In between Palmer’s Rest. & Bennachin is Gambian Food and they have a Veggie Pita. They also have Cous Cous with Yogurt. I didn’t get a chance yet to ask if it was pre-mixed with the yogurt or not. I wanted to get a side of it so I will do that next week. (Congo Food area)
There is a place that has Red Beans & Rice (with Sausage) and they also dedicated a veggie version. You will see it listed right next to it saying, “Veggie Red Beans & Rice.” I’ll have to get that next week too. (Food 1 area)
I saw this other place that said Fried Eggplant in big letters (then saw with Crawfish Sauce in smaller letters as you approach). Next week, I might ask for the Vegan Version. (Food 1 area)
One again, I hope this helps. Yes, it is truly possibly to happily full and Vegan at Jazz Fest. I am a perfect example of it, especially when I’m out there every day . . . all day.
I’ve got to pace myself though because I end up so stuffed from ALL of the great food. I have the luxury of spreading it out over 7 days. If you are only attending 1 or 2 days, go with a friend and share something from all of these great places so you can get a taste of it all. It also let’s Jazz Fest Food people understand that you really want more Veggie/Vegan choices.
Many peaceful blessings.
Be & Live Well,