Food

Beyond Meat

Vegan Restaurant Week

Attend

What: Bellingham Vegan Restaurant Week

Where: Online, and at 17 local restaurants

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WHEN: Sept. 20-27

Info: http://www.bellinghamvegfest.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Spaghetti was on the menu for our Sunday night repast, but unknown to my resident taste-taster I switched out the ground beef or turkey I typically use when prepping the dish with Lightlife’s “plant-based ground.”

The ruse must’ve worked, because he cleaned his bowl and went back for seconds. It was then I made the admission I’d mixed the homemade tomato sauce with a vegan substitute instead of meat, and that other than the feta sprinkled on top of each of our servings, dinner contained no animal byproducts.

“If that’s true, I think it’s the best meatless spaghetti in town,” he said, undeterred. “In fact, I think you should make it more often.”

I plan to. With the second annual Veg Fest and Bellingham Vegan Restaurant Week taking place Sept. 20-27 throughout Bellingham, I hope to glean more ways to integrate healthier and more Earth-friendly menu items into my cooking repertoire, and to sample fare from some of the participating restaurants to get a taste of how they do it.

The options are many, according to Selena Holmes, who cofounded the event with her husband Justin and friend Tamara Pavesi last summer. The event at the Depot Market Square coincided with Climate Action Week—which will again be happening during this year’s activities—and was a smashing success. Approximately 75 vendors shared their vegan fare with the masses, and many reported it was their best day of sales ever.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Veg Fest will look different than it did in September of 2019. Instead of a one-day blowout at a primary locale, 17 local restaurants or food trucks will be offering one or more vegan options in their menus throughout the week, and online cooking demos, discussions, special announcements, live tours and presentations will round out the action. Additionally, a daily scavenger hunt will include a number of prizes for socially distancing clue-gatherers.

“One of our goals is to create excitement around supporting local businesses that offer vegan products and/or services and to highlight local nonprofits who support animals,” Holmes says. “It’s also always a goal for us to educate on the benefits of a vegan diet. Choosing a plant-based diet can benefit the animals, our personal health and the health of our planet.”

She notes that the main things she hears from people who can’t fathom committing to a vegan diet is they think won’t get enough protein, and that plant-based diets are boring. She refutes these assertions by pointing out all plants have protein, and full-on flavor is easy to find when you know where to look.

Specials and regular menu items you can try for yourself during Vegan Restaurant Week include the cilantro lime burrito from Sage Against the Machine, vegan creek gyro fries from New Public Food Truck, cupcakes from Wild Oat Bakery, vegan tamales and posolè from New Mexico Tamale, paninis and smoothie bowls at Vitality Bowl, BLTA wraps at Leaf & Ladle, vegan nachos from Taqueria Los Santos at the Cabin Tavern, and additional fare from Aslan, Chuckanut, Overland, and Twin Sisters breweries, Good to Go Pies, Kebab Casual, Emerald City Smoothies, Maikham, Pepper Sisters, Simmering Tava, and New Mexico Tamale.

“We are excited to bring some fun to Bellingham,” Holmes says of the weeklong event merging food with facts about how to minimize your personal impact on the planet. “We know how disappointing it has been to see event after event canceled. We hope this will bring joy and help create a sense of community.”

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