NoHo Vegan Sunday: An Angeleno Weighs In

Vegan Street Fair, Uncover LA

“No, but you have to go!” Jasmine was adamant.

“Jasmine, I wear fur. I love almost all meat, including yak. I absolutely love yak… That tender yet chewy delicacy…” I trailed off, as my sentiment seemed to be lost on her.

But she was incredibly evangelical. So fine, I went to the NoHo Vegan Sunday (A Weekly Vegan Market). My initial impression was that it’d be a place where all of the pro-vegan tees are worn for the occasion, and significant others are coaxed into veganism through French fries and ice cream, and it was pretty much accurate.

On their Facebook fan page with approximately 20k followers and videos featuring “Adopt, Don’t Shop” campaigns, among many others in this same vein, they posted a link to announcing that Pepsi had granted $20,000 to Sophie’s Kitchen to develop vegan seafood. Caption: “Alright Pepsi… unleash the vegan eats upon us all because Sophie’s Kitchen is legit!” Really, vegan “activists,” Pepsi? Pepsi. Ok.

I decided to drag my boyfriend along for moral support. (He was less than thrilled at the idea, but still hesitantly willing.) I had it set in my mind that we had to prepare. After careful consideration, I woke him up at the crack of dawn to accommodate me doing a Moonology tarot reading for each of us before barely making it to an early morning YogaWorks class. (He was very much less than thrilled at this point.) Dressing afterward, I put a crystal in my pocket: Hiddenite, in an attempt to keep joy in perspective despite going into an obnoxious environment. And I put a crystal in HIS pocket: Tiger Eye, even though it’s not like he needs it. He’s already a Leo.

It took us longer to find parking than to make the trek into the Valley, as we refused to overpay for their lot. The fair itself is free, otherwise I may have been deterred, and you enter to a step and repeat, which is deterring enough.

After a quick survey, I settled on an Asian option, careful to inquire that the “Garlic Noods” were just, in fact, noodles. The heavily dreaded man replied, “Yeah, we just think it’s funny to call them noods.” It’s not. He placed my order note under a jar of kombucha so that it wouldn’t blow away, and while we waited for our food, I spoke to a young couple (the female counterpart wore a cut-off sweatshirt that read, “Vegan,” in collegiate athletic font), about what they were ordering.

The conversation detoured… She asked, “So what are you doing here if you’re not vegan?” Oh dear, was I not allowed?

“I’m writing something about it.”

Her boyfriend weighed in now, “I don’t care if you’re a vegan or not. I’m just a vegan because of the animals.” He obviously cared very much.

She pressed, “Well, have you ever tried to be vegan?”

“Closest I came was being raw for a year.”

“Oh! I follow a raw vegan,” was her response. I had no idea what to say to that. Thankfully, she broke the silence, “Wait, how were you not vegan when you were raw?”

“I ate caviar.”

Posted by Vegan Street Fair on Friday, November 2, 2018

As we dined on our vegan Asian cuisine, I overheard multiple conversations about the best retailers for vegan leather boots, and one conversation exchanging tips for how to convert friends. Once we had finished, we took a look through the clothing booths. And there were many of them… With pieces expounding slogans like, “If looks could KALE,” and screen prints of a fake Kat Von D mugshot that says, “Vegan Rebel.” No comment.

I kept seeing people carrying glass jars with fruity looking beverages topped with flowers. Admittedly, I was curious, so I did what any good vegan girl there would do, and begged my boyfriend to buy one for me to round out our trip. He did what any good vegan boy would do and obliged. I ended up with a pomegranate lavender spritzer, and upon opening the jar, was greeted with flowers overflowing. I am not one to take pictures of much of anything, let alone a street fair libation, but this was tempting.

I asked another vendor if I could have one of their straws. Feigning horror, I asked, “Are these plastic straws?”

She was quick to jump in, “Oh, no, no, no! They’re compostable. They’re made from plants.” Ah, thank goodness. So I could finally get into it, but unfortunately, it was all but too sweet to drink, and I felt sorry he spent nearly $10 on a jar.

Posted by Vegan Street Fair on Friday, October 26, 2018

As we were exiting, a woman stopped me and asked what I was drinking. I told her what was in it, where I bought it, and in a stage whisper added, “They put a lot of sugar in it, so be careful!”

She looked grateful, “Thank you so much.”

Leaving our parking space, we were cut off by a texting driver swerving in a Jeep wrapped with pink signage for The Fruit Stand: Cold Pressed “Jux.” I had had enough. The only antidote I could think of after a day at the NoHo Vegan Sunday was to go to a place with even more ostentatiously exclusive people, The Magic Castle, and eat a fat, overpriced steak. It was everything and more.