Top 5 NEW Faves from Expo West 2015
It was our first year tackling the monster that is Expo West this year- and I had a goddamn blast! There were tons of products to see, people to meet, and of course samples to eat. I spent 2 full days there and still feel like I missed seeing half the vendors. It was madness! We got bags and bags of samples, found a bunch of new products to love, and met the faces behind some of the products we already love. We dug through our goodies, used most of them, and then decided to share a few of the favorite NEW products we found at the show. Not all of them are on the market yet, so you're even getting a little sneak preview of some products that'll be hitting shelves this summer. We can't wait for Expo West '16!
1. Sriracha Sunflower Seeds from Hail Merry
Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack and I were walking around the Expo when we spotted these on a corner table at the Hail Merry booth. The ladies there were all really sweet in indulging us by opening the bag, letting us try them, and them giving us each bag for later. They were so good! I'm already a sunflower seed fan- I love the crunch and getting a little extra protein in salty snack form- but these elevated the seed game for sure. They're just the right amount of spicy, without being too greasy or sticky to eat. Of course they leave a little spicy orange residue on your fingertips- just lick it off! These seeds are low-temperature dehydrated, then covered in spicy sriracha powder. They're not only vegan but gluten-free, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly, too! These aren't on the market yet- but they'll be here soon! Kept eye out for them here.
2. Organic Soda Syrups from Organic Fair
This is one product that I knew I was going to love as soon as I saw it and now I can't wait to order more! The booth was tucked away on the top floor of the event and had some of the friendliest guys behind the booth. Organic Fair makes simple syrups for soda out of organic, vegan ingredients like raw cane sugar, spring water, citrus, hibiscus flowers, molasses, herbs + spices. They're what soda should be, frankly. And they taste way better! I haven't had traditionally commercially made soda in years- its just bad for you, and we all know it. So this was a nice treat! I was able to buy a little sparkling filtered water down at Trader Joe's, pour about a tablespoon of syrup into a glass, and add the water. Ta da! Soda. I loved the earthy, lemony lavender flavor best, and Alex was really diggin' the ginger ale. We will definitely be buying more- its the perfect cure for a sweet craving and a great thirst-quencher on warm days!
3. Haunted Ghost Pepper Tortilla Chips from Paqui Tortillas
We stumbled upon the Paqui table on Day 2. The bright green cilantro tortillas (some of the best tortillas I've EVER HAD) caught Alex's eye so we wandered over and started grabbing chips. The guy at the table was super friendly and after we chatted about our mutual affection for super spicy foods, he pointed us toward the end of the table with a scary looking black bag labeled 'HOMEMADE HORROR'. Naturally, we were intrigued and had to know what was in the bag. Turn out, Paqui is the only company making tortilla chips dusted in a heavy orange GHOST PEPPER powder. Yup, ghost peppers- one of the spiciest peppers in the world and ranking at nearly a 1 MILLION on the Scoville Scale. And that sweet sweet goodness is spread all over these bad boys! Don't get me wrong- they're super fucking hot. But if you like really spicy food, this may be just the snack to for you! Also, would make a good (and also awful) prank food for someone. We like them best dipped in a bit of cold, fresh guacamole to mellow out the spiciness. You can order them here, but be aware that not all the other flavors are vegan-friendly.
4. Cheezy Mac in 3 flavors (Boxed) from Daiya Foods
ON MAN. This one's a game changer. After trying the Earth Balance Boxed Mac last year I was left disappointed. It lacked the flavor and texture of the boxed mac I grew up with, so when we saw samples of this new shelf-stable boxed mac with cheese sauce- I was hesitant. Luckily, I'm not one to let free samples go uneaten, so I grabbed a little cup of each flavor and tiny spoon and gobbled 'em up. I liked them all, but the alfredo was the cheesiest and yummiest. They're easy to whip-up and I can't wait 'till they hit shelves this summer. They're the perfect after-school snack or comfort food to munch!
5. The Neat Egg from Neat Foods
I was pretty excited to try this product after having tried their amazing neat meat- a meat alternative made from just a couple pronounceable ingredients like nuts + beans! No weird fillers here. And the neat egg? Literally just CHIA SEEDS and GARBANZO BEANS! Can it get any better than that?! We've used it as a binder now in cookies, waffles, and a loaf of banana bread with great results. We're big fans of this eggy alternative! Look for online and in stores soon.