This past Sunday, I had the chance to attend another Harvest Hands vegan pop up dinner. The event was hosted at 1400 Hi Line and featured plant-based comfort food from The Veg, a new restaurant that opened this past year in Little Rock, Arkansas.
With a promising holiday spread on the menu and a spectacular view of the city to go with it, it’s no wonder my friends found themselves overbooked that night! There was such a huge crowd of attendees–the appetizers were all gobbled up before I got to snap a photo or try a bite. Not to worry, the rest of the evening was worth the wait.
While I enjoyed everyone’s company inside, I also spent a good portion of my evening outside, because of the refreshing breeze and the panoramic view.
I found myself picking up photography tips from my new friend James Coreas, whom I met at the previous vegan pop up dinner in Denton. His photos of The Veg Tour event can be found here. During the evening, James also captured a really cool time-lapse of our view from above–check it out!
James and I ended up collaborating! Messy dishes like lasagna can be challenging to capture. After some struggling to photograph the lasagna in the given conditions, I took off my scarf in a moment of almost-despair (AKA creative impulse) and did some whimsical food styling. With the help of James’ hand held light, my sister’s hand modeling, and her classy phone, I think we created a rather interesting food scene. It was so much fun!
The lasagna consisted of savory layers of marinara, pasta, cashew cheese, mushrooms and veggies…it took a lot of self control for me to not abandon the photo and devour the whole plate. There was a surprising flavor element about it that mystified my friends and me. We just knew we wanted more of it but we couldn’t put our finger on what the flavor was. We talked to the chef at the end of the night and found out it was turmeric, coriander, and our beloved friend, Sriracha.
Dessert included chocolate chip-pecan cookies, freshly made donuts, cupcakes, peach cobbler bites, and my favorite bite of the night–pecan pie bites! The chewy chocolate chip crust and the buttery goodness of the pecan pie made for a uniquely addictive combination.
My sister and I stayed after the end of the event because we were so caught up in conversation with our friends and the chef, Shiem Swift. Shiem used to live in a food desert, where it was difficult to access fresh and healthy foods. He told us he never saw himself opening a restaurant, but just last year, he felt compelled to start his business to share the vegan lifestyle with others.
The increasing availability of healthy options at grocery stores (like Kroger’s Simply Truth brand) was proof to him that more and more people want to move towards a healthier lifestyle.
After sharing many hugs of gratitude with the event organizers, my sister and I left feeling touched and inspired. On the way home, we talked about how much we admired Shiem’s sincerity and passion, and our friends Courtney and Zak for hosting the night so gracefully.
I was so grateful to be there to support my friends and community, and I met some great people. What I love about the vegan community is that we are always rooting for each other, whether it be through words of encouragement, hugs of understanding…or a cheerful Christmas carol sing-along! I’m thankful to know such a wonderful bunch.
The sheer number of attendees that night shows how much the community is craving more of these kinds of events. Luckily, there will be many more events like this to come in 2016. Don’t forget to stay up to date by following The Harvest Hands on Facebook!
Speaking of supporting the community, this week I’m hosting a holiday giveaway with my friend Nikki, the founder of Cykochik, a handcrafted vegan handbag company based in Dallas. I’m so excited about this!