Happy 2017! While we can all admit that 2016 was a doozy, let’s count the ways that 2017 is going to be amazing. There’s a whole lot of stellar vegan events happening this year, such as the expansion of some of our fave vegan brands to foodie experiences that we cannot wait to attend. Here’s to staying active in causes that are close to your heart!
1. The launch of Vegan Street Fair Nights and Vegan Street Fair NYC
Yes, we’re a smidge biased on this one, but we’re super duper excited to expand the successful Vegan Street Fair, which started in Los Angeles, to New York City, one of the best foodie capitals, on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Vegan Street Fair Nights will return to LA on September 1 and 2, 2017, and if it’s anything like the annual event (which 20,000+ people attended in 2016), you’ll enjoy some tasty vegan eats from top-notch vendors. Be prepared to arrive hungry!
2. Vegan Burger Explosion
The Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger have landed at restaurants. These meaty counterparts are getting all sorts of buzz online. Impossible Burger offers a plant-based, lab-derived burger that bleeds. Famed chef David Chang offers the burger at Momofuku Nishi. Angelenos can sample the delicious and surprisingly realistic Impossible Burger at Crossroads Kitchen. Beyond Meat launched its bleeding burger at Whole Foods in Colorado (which sold out within an hour), and now the faux meat burger is offered at all Veggie Grill locations.
3. More Vegan Cinnamon Buns
We fell in love with Cinnaholic back when it opened its very first location in Berkeley, CA. These doughy, customizable cinnamon buns are topped with fun frostings and vegan toppings like mini-marshmallows, cookie dough, brownie bites, and fresh fruit. Currently, Cinnaholic has 14 locations in Georgia, California, Texas, Colorado, and Nevada, but plans are in the works to expand the number of Cinnaholics in 2017.
Chef Chloe Coscarelli rose to fame after winning Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with four different vegan cupcakes. Now, the cookbook author has opened several fast casual eateries, launched first in New York City, with a new outpost in Los Angeles. In 2017, by CHLOE will open even more locations in New York City and Boston. We’re huge fans of the restaurant’s delectable sweets, mac & cheese and crave-worthy burgers.
5. Miyoko’s Kitchen vegan butter at Trader Joe’s
Miyoko’s Kitchen makes some of the best artisan vegan cheese around. The company produces a palm-oil free cultured butter and it’s now available at Trader Joe’s on the West Coast. This rich, creamy butter is perfect for slathering on toast, baking cookies, or whipping up mashed potatoes. Hopefully, the vegan butter will hit Trader Joe’s nationwide very soon.
6. Veggie Grill plans to open in the Midwest and the South
Here in LA, we’re lucky to have a plethora of Veggie Grills nearby. With 29 current outposts, the fast casual chain has announced that they’re opening even more locations in these possible cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Veggie Grill’s chief energizing officer Greg Dollarhyde told Nation’s Restaurant News that 70 to 80 percent of Veggie Grill’s customers aren’t vegetarian and that the chain makes $2.7 million serving vegan food. It’s thrilling to see so many people enjoying plant-based eating and we can’t wait for the goodness that is Veggie Grill to spread across the US.
7. Vegan food on the rise
Condé Nast Traveler recently reported that meat-free foods will be trending in 2017, based on an annual report from culinary consultants Baum + Whiteman. With the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger debuting in restaurants; Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher, a completely vegan butcher shop in Sydney, Australia; and more meat-centric restaurants adding more fresh takes on veggies to their menus, it looks like plant-based will hit even bigger in 2017.
Jennifer Chen is the food editor at VegNews magazine and writes for women’s magazines such as Oprah, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, and more. She loves living in Los Angeles and documents all the vegan food she samples at @jchenwriter on Instagram.