State Veggie Fair Draws Veggies, Vegans, and Indie Rockers

Soon-to-open V-Spot Cafe’s Toria Villreal and Shea brooks (left), Spiral Diner’s baked good drew loyal foodies (right)

Saturday’s State Veggie Fair at the open-use collective The Phoenix Project on Haskell Avenue catered (in a cruelty-free way) to all that is good and right about fair foods by showcasing a fine fried selection of treats sans animal products.

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In addition to hosting a fried-food contest and performances by local indie bands, DallasVegan co-founders Jamey Scott and Eddie Garza welcomed similarly minded local eateries Spiral Diner, Tough Cookie Bakery, and the soon-to-open V-Spot Veggie Cafe (look for them next month in a spot near The Pearl Cup on Henderson) and organizations such as the Black Vegetarian Society of Dallas, Mercy for Animals, and the Dallas Vegetarian Meetup group.

Entries in the fried food contest included:

  • Fried Bob Armstrong dip (a cheese-free queso simulator)
  • Fried tempeh reuben sandwich
  • Fried battered s’mores
  • Fried Vegan Mozzarella Sticks
  • Fried jalapeno poppers served with fried okra
  • Fried cinnamon roll
  • Fried Fugget Balls (Vegan Chicken Nuggets)

…with the winner for Best Taste being Jarrod Feight’s Monte Cristo-doppelganger tempeh reuben. Fried Bob Armstrong Dip was named Most Creative by a judging panel that included local foodies NBC’s Lisa Petty and Kellyn Curtis, Pegasus News’ Teresa Gubbins, Stephan PylesExecutive Chef Matt McAllister, and guest judge/contest winner Eric Vaughan.

Stay current on ongoing vegetarian and vegan events by visiting

Lisa Petty of NBC’s The Feast digs in as a guest judge.


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  • I continue to be amazed at the need for vegans to create “doppelgangers” for meat dishes. Why is the chicken nugget so prized that effort must be put into creating a vegetable matter concoction that resembles it? I like veggies, beans, legumes, rice… you name it, but I don’t try to create steak cylinders dyed green to look just like asparagus spears. I just eat some asparagus.

  • Brad

    I’d be willing to bet that 98% of the meals eaten by a vegan have nothing to do with faux-meats. There is an ease in using “dopplegangers” in some instances – if I eat at a burger joint with friends, I’m happy to have a “veggie” burger instead of a salad (plus many veggie burgers taste great in a totally different way than a beef burger). Meals can be as much about the socialization as they are about the food and unless 100% of the diners are vegan/vegetarian, finding common ground is just easier that way.

    I think it’s also important to note that this was a “State Fair” related theme judged by mainly non-vegans, so the crazier the deep fried item was, the better. It’s the same reason you don’t see “fried beer” on anyone’s menu – only during it’s limited, attention-grabbing run at the fair.

    Some people thoroughly enjoy the taste of meat, but choose a meat-free diet for personal moral or health reasons. Faux meats are great for those people when they miss a familiar taste or dish (say you weren’t raised vegan (most aren’t) and always enjoyed hot chili on Sundays during football season – who will it hurt to throw a little faux ground beef in that pot?).

    I don’t think you’re really confused by the subject matter, but rather wanting to interject a couple of jabs for the benefit of your BBQ site. For what it’s worth, I’ve always liked your site and have recommended it to several friends when discussing BBQ (I generally like anything that thorough and anything with that much passion behind it). I even got your Reverend Horton Heat reference as it’s one of my favorite albums.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. Add that to our disagreement on Kreuz Market – I ate there a half a dozen times in college and was never blown away, 5 star style. 4 stars tops….

  • Pingback: Texas State Veggie Fair Wrap-up | Dallas Vegan()

  • @Brad
    I’m always looking to benefit the BBQ website, and I appreciate your kind words. I just can’t stop thinking about what the inevitable vegan BBQ cook-off will look like. Instead of getting creative with an experimental smoked eggplant with a Spanish paprika rub, it’s going to he vegetable protein formed into McRib shaped patties covered in BBQ sauce.

  • Brad

    Smoking vegetable protein or even soy protein is probably a long shot due to the lack of fat needed for a low/slow cooking method (see your own article on grass-fed beef and smoking).

    There’s really only one vegan “BBQ” sandwich I can think of that’s worthy of a repeat visit (Spiral Diner) and it’s certainly not smoked (more a function of sauce than cooking method).

    If you want some killer eggplant (and your smoked suggestion would likely work), I’d hit up Fadi’s where they roast them until they’re crisp on the outside and metling within.

    Just like you wouldn’t take a BBQ novice to Dickey’s, I wouldn’t make you eat fake meat. Vegans know the finer things in their range of cuisines too (and yes, there are some finer things…)

    I am looking forward, however, to Tillman’s grilled tofu steak next week. Hoping to be surprised.