Vegan Doughnuts Forever! | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Two

VeganMoFo 2017

Week One: Changing Vegan Perspectives
Junk food forever! It’s not all kale chips and chia seeds being a vegan – show us your fave vegan junk food.

Let it be known: I am a vegan — first and foremost, forever and always — for the animals. The environmental benefits come second, followed by human rights. A distant last? Health.

Look, I don’t doubt that a plant-based diet is heaps healthier than the so-called Standard American Diet. Anyone switching from consuming lots meat and dairy will probably experience health benefits. But do I believe that veganism will cure cancer/solve the alleged obesity epidemic (ugh)/guard its adherents against every disease? Hell no. Overblown health claims are, frankly, detrimental to the movement. If you promise a would-be vegan a life of perfect health and the reality doesn’t match up to that promise, how likely is she to stay vegan? Not very. Touting overblown health benefits is not an effective long-term strategy.

Plus, my veganism isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle that aims to reduce suffering. So, all this is to say that I love vegan junk food. Unashamedly. Do I indulge in it every day? No. My own body feels best and most in balance when I eat mostly whole foods, with lots of fruit and veggies. But that doesn’t mean I will not scarf down a bowl of ice cream or half a pan of apple crisp or yes, a large portion of a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos on a Friday night. (Yes, the latter is vegan. I know.) I might eat two or even all three of those.

However, I definitely do play favorites when it comes to vegan junk food. And my ultimate favorite will-drive-many-miles-to-obtain snack? Doughnuts. Delicious doughnuts. I used to think of them as the final frontier in vegan dessert, and craved them with a sugar-desiring hunger. (See this four-year-old post for proof of my obsession! And during VeganMoFo 2011, I talked about missing them. Ha!)  Nowadays, I am #blessed to have two vegan doughnut producers in somewhat-easy reach, and I indulge whenever possible. And I have changed my mind about the final frontier: It’s angel food cake. Sigh. I miss that stuff.

Three doughnutsSo, doughnuts. My all-time favorite doughnut-slinging establishment is Glory Doughnuts, which I mentioned here. Not only does this all-vegan joint bake up dozens of creative doughnuts (those are maple bourbon, the coconutty Chewbacca, and key lime pie in the photo), but they also serve savory breakfasts that just scream “Sunday brunch!” Think tofu fried egg sandwiches, fried cookie butter-filled French toast, PBR-infused Belgian waffles… ugh. Plus, it’s a woman-owned business, which makes me love it even harder. If this place were closer to me (it’s about 25 minutes away, in historic Frederic, Maryland), I would be sorely tempted to eat there all too frequently.

Donut Alliance treatsNow, a newcomer to the Maryland vegan doughnut scene:  Donut Alliance, previously mentioned here. I’ve only had their offerings once, but I was impressed. Clockwise from top left, that’s strawberry margarita, birthday cake, Samoa, and maple bacon. YUM. I really loved these light, fluffy doughnuts! Unfortunately for me, Donut Alliance doesn’t have a storefront and only sells their goods at Baltimore businesses. Baltimore is about an hour away, so my chances to indulge in these fried treats are few and far between. But I’ll take all the opportunities I can get!

Vegan Treats doughnutFinally, my #1 choice for cake-y doughnuts: the inimitable Vegan Treats. Is there anything this mecca for sweet-toothed vegans can’t do?! VT is about a three-hour drive away, and I’ve only been there once (for my birthday!) BUT, our local Loving Hut (which is about 45 minutes away, in Falls Church), frequently has VT desserts on offer. That’s where I picked up the doughnut pictured above (and discussed, in great detail, here.) I used to brave the massively long Vegan Treats line at D.C. VegFest to get my fix, but now I’d rather just get some pho at Loving Hut and wrap it up with a VT dessert. ;)

Alas for me, I’ve never been to Dunwell or Voodoo or any of the other big-name vegan doughnuteries. One day. In the meantime, I’ll stick to my local faves. I also just became the proud owner of six individual doughnut ring pans and so far have made one baked chocolate doughnut recipe. It was… just OK. I think, at the end of the day, I’d prefer a deep-fried, totally unhealthy, professionally made doughnut. But if you’re open to homemade goodness, here are some recipes that look pretty good to me:

So. What’s your favorite vegan indulgence? And what’s the best purveyor of vegan doughnuts near you?




DC Vegfest, or, Everybody Loves Vegan Treats

Happy Saturday! We just returned home from DC VegFest, and it was loads of fun. We’d intended to arrive early to procure a swag bag, buttt… we overslept! Last night I was all, “Pshh, I never sleep past 8:00 on the weekends! It’ll be fiiine! We’ll have ample time to get there!”

And then I woke up this morning, checked the clock, and saw that it was 9:30. Holy moly! I’d heard that the swag bags went pretty fast last year (as in well before the opening time of 11:00), so we quickly gave up hope of making it in time to snag one (it’s a ten-minute drive to the metro station and then nearly an hour-long metro trip to Yard Park). When we arrived around 11:15, though, there was still a long line, meaning that there were still bags available. It was moving quickly, so we waited, enjoying the antics of all the dogs people had brought along for the day.

Overhead view of a very long line of people!

When we were about 15 or so people from the front, a VegFest volunteer informed us that they’d run out of bags. Nooooo! We were so close! Demoralized, we entered the festival, which was already packed.

We hadn’t eaten before leaving, so we made a beeline for food. There were quite a few food trucks, and we opted for the one with the shortest line. We each got a tofu banh mi sandwich from the Bonmi food truck. They were fine and filling, but nothing spectacular.

Our bellies full, we spent some time wandering the festival, checking out the stalls and snagging free samples of various “meats,” nut-based cheeses, and beverages. I was delighted to see a tent with TONS of delicious desserts from Vegan Treats, but appalled that the line was already snaking halfway down the festival grounds! Apparently, everyone loves VT as much as I do.

Me in front of the Vegan Treats tent with lots of vegan doughnuts in the background!

A smile of genuine delight.

We met up with a coworker and her husband, watched a speaker, and did some more snacking and sampling. We particularly enjoyed the Viana meats we tried; they were really flavorful. We also liked Gouter‘s raw “pumpkin spice latte” tonics made with almond milk, spices, and cold-brew coffee. Yummy!

Since the line wasn’t getting any shorter, we decided to bite the bullet and wait in line for Vegan Treats. I could NOT pass up the chance to stock up on vegan doughnuts, after all! S graciously held our place while the three of us walked around and watched part of another speaker’s presentation.

I nearly panicked when we reached the front of the line—there were so many options! We’d scoped it out before and decided on a pumpkin whoopee pie and a pumpkin creme doughnut, and then we added a pumpkin cheesecake on a stick and a speculoos (!) cheesecake on a stick! At the last minute, I asked for one of the chocolate doughnuts I fell in love with at Loving Hut so many, um, weeks ago.

Top-down view of my hand holding a half-eaten whoopee pie.We were pretty full from our snacks and lunch, so we didn’t make much of a dent in our purchases. S and I ate about half the whoopee pie and called it quits. At that point, we were all a bit tired and VegFested out, so we peaced out and headed home.

All in all, VegFest was a great event. I think they could’ve realized earlier that they’d run out of bags soon and let those of us in line know so we didn’t stand there for no reason, but that was really the only hiccup. And the fact that it was so crowded only speaks to the growing draw of the veg movement, so I can’t even complain about that. There was a great selection of exhibitors, free samples, and items to purchase. Next year, I’ll suck it up, set my alarm, and get there early!

Have you attended any vegan or vegetarian festivals?

Bonus! I forgot to post this photo of the pumpkin cheesecake on a stick. The speculoos version is just off-screen… :)

Cheesecake on a stick! It's covered in small white chocolate , regular chocolate, and peanut butter (?) chips