And here's the rest — all of the things I ate in Nashville, outside of the Gentle Barn dinner and VegFest. As I mentioned in last night's post, my awesome publisher — Book Pub Co — put me and fellow author Ellen Jaffe Jones up in an Air B&B. It had a full kitchen, but I didn't have time to whip up a proper breakfast before my Saturday morning VegFest demo. Thankfully, I packed a few Straw Propeller oat cups with nut butter packets. On Saturday, I had the Peach-Berry Oats with Artisana Raw Walnut Butter and a Banana. I enjoyed this while chatting with Ellen at the breakfast table, as she also ate some oats.
I ate my lunch (and plenty of snacks at the VegFest). And then afterward, the Nashville VegFest organizers treated the speakers and volunteers to a fancy dinner at AVO — a high-raw vegan restaurant located in a shipping container.
I'd been to AVO before, and I just love this place. So I was super-stoked to eat there again AND to have a chance to chat with the other speakers. I arrived early and talked with Ellen (and some of her family members, who had driven over to see her in Nashville). And then who should walk in and sit next to me but Main Street Vegan's Victoria Moran?! She was perfectly lovely and so very sweet. And then, a short bit later, in walked Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary! And guess where he sat? Right in front of me!
Paul and I got about two hours of dinner conversation with Gene, Victoria, and the Nashville VegFest staff and volunteers. We talked veganism, running, and even neuroscience! So amazing. Definitely one of my top five most awesome vegan life moments.
As for food, I ordered the Mushroom Tartare Toast — marinated mushrooms on sourdough bread with pickled mustard seed and lemon aioli. Perfectly magical! The aioli was likely made from cashews, and it was a great match with tart, pickled mustard.
My main was the Raw Lasagna, which had cashew hempseed ricotta, raw marinara, zucchini, and spinach. This is apparently not on the regular menu anymore, but the Nashville VegFest folks asked them to make a batch for their guests. So glad they did! This was creamy and fresh and amazing.
After all that, I was stuffed. Paul had the Glazed Cauliflower Steak with black rice risotto (this was awesome, and Paul loved it!), and he was pretty full too. So we got dessert to go — a Raw Chocolate-Berry Cheesecake.
This cashew-based cheesecake was insane, y'all! But Paul, being the picky eater that he is, isn't into raw dessert apparently. He took one bite and decided he didn't like it, so guess what? I ATE THE WHOLE THING. No regrets. More for me.
On Sunday, I had another quick breakfast of oats in the Air B&B. I ran 3 miles first. Then, I had a Maple Oats Straw Propeller cup with sunflower seed butter. But I failed to photograph it. I also had Paul's leftover cauliflower from AVO.
I ate snacks and VegFest food again all day on Sunday, and then at 4 p.m., we were done! I was sad to leave the fest but also glad to get away and get some grub alone with Paul. I'm not shy, but I am totally an introvert and too much time around people wears me out. Paul and I escaped to Graze, my favorite Nashville vegan cafe!
I rarely get to eat there because they're often closed when I'm in town. But my fave thing I've had there so far was the Nashville Hot Tempeh (a vegan spin on Nashville Hot Chicken). And when in Nashville, right? So again I ordered the Nashville Hot Tempeh Sandwich — spicy tempeh with slaw, avocado, vegan ranch, and spinach on po'boy bread with a side of Broccoli and Cashew Cheese. Perfection! I also had a beer, but I forgot to take a pic.
Well, that's it! I spent Sunday night with Paul's family in nearby Hendersonville, and Monday morning, I snuck in a 3-mile run (and a quick protein bar and banana) before hitting the road back to Memphis.
Nashville VegFest was amazing, and the staff and volunteers were so generous and kind and helpful!