Although I just moved to New York City a little over two weeks ago, I somehow have my morning routine set. I skip over the seemingly endless amount of spam mail and jump straight to the 5-10 emails from almost every website out there offering coupons towards restaurants, events, and more fun deals around the city. While it’s easy to pass over many offers, one deal stood out that neither my roommate nor I could overlook. Since we both are eager to explore this city and try new things, no convincing was necessary to purchase last week’s Google Offer for two tickets to The Seed: A Vegan Experience
Since around 2004, interest in veganism has steadily been rising, due to people’s increasing awareness of how their diet affects their health, the environment and animals. While seemingly unusual and unrealistic for many, this plant-based lifestyle has found its way into mainstream, with many celebrity advocates such as former President Bill Clinton, Alicia Silverstone, Steve Wynn, Mike Tyson, Carrie Underwood, Ozzy Osbourne, Russell Simmons, and many more. Nowadays, vegan options are showing up on menus at restaurants around the country, making this lifestyle not seem so crazy, but surprisingly delicious and doable. (Not to mention the many rewarding health benefits!)
While neither my roommate nor I have adopted the vegan lifestyle, The Seed offered us the chance to further explore our interest in the vegan world, without feeling out of place or pressured. The event ran on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am - 7pm, but we needed no more than a few hours on Saturday to explore and please our palates completely. The venue hosted a variety of vegan-inspired activities, ranging from cooking demonstrations, films, and presentations by prominent vegan advocates. Even a free session of yoga was offered. While we both agreed that our favorite part of the event was taste-testing, and we greatly appreciated how nice and welcoming everyone was.
There were many treats I tried that day that I still can’t believe are vegan. Some standouts include queso, ice cream, macaroons, and even something called a chickpea fritter. Each vendor had his or her own unique story and was more than happy to share with us their journey into the world of Veganism. One story (and cupcake) in particular stood out for me.
Recently cupcakes have become quite trendy. Just look around and you’ll see new stores and TV shows popping up everywhere that are entirely dedicated to this small, but sweet indulgence. Perhaps that’s why the treat that stole the show was definitely the 100% vegan and organic cupcakes by The Vakery. Because of its popularity, I was particularly intrigued to see this pastry chef’s rendition on the classic cupcake. The Vakery, which was only founded this past March, is a dessert catering company based in New York City that provides gourmet vegan, low calorie cupcakes made from the finest in organic ingredients.
Founder Que Brandon (also known as L.A. in the vegan world) combined her passion for desserts and nutrition to bring us these incredible vegan cupcakes. She also told me how she’s been anxious to create this catering company for a while and is so happy with how the company has progressed already. She hopes to one day open her own store in the city. The Vakery’s flavors range from the classic red velvet with a homemade toffutti cream cheese icing, to loco-lime margarita; a light fluffy Lime Cupcake made from 4Copas Certified Organic Tequila, topped with a Lime Margarita Icing, but my favorite of the day had to be Peanut Butter Cup. With its super moist cake, and incredibly flavorful icing, it was hard to believe that what I was eating was guilt-free!
After tasting everything, and learning a lot about the Vegan world and why it has become such a craze, we decided to call it a day. And while we were just looking for something fun and different to do this weekend, my roommate and I both walked away from The Seed with a new appreciation for the Vegan lifestyle (and two very satisfied palates). Perhaps you will too!
Julie Mirliss is a rising Junior at the Univeristy of Michigan-Ann Arbor pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Global Media Studies. She is the advocacy chair of UM’s Challah for Hunger chapter, and is currently a summer Program Intern at Hazon. Julie enjoys getting students to give back to their community, and working to create healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities—and beyond!