This past Sunday, Ant and I excitedly celebrated some huge milestones. May 1, 2016 not only marked our 11-year wedding anniversary (11 years…wow!) but also our three-year “veganiversary” (that’s three years of eatin’ vegan, baby!). But this special day also brought us something equally as exciting, if not more: our very first opportunity to stuff our faces with as much vegan macaroni and cheese as our bellies would handle. We attended the Philly MAC-Down.
The Philly MAC-Down, held at the Rotunda, brought nine competitors and their cheesy vegan creations to a hungry crowd ready to get their “mac” on. This awesome event was organized by Carmella and Carlo of V Marks the Shop, an online vegan marketplace and what soon will be Philadelphia’s first vegan convenience store.
Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Mark Mebus of Blackbird Pizza, and Sean Gorman of Dottie’s Donuts were tasked with the difficult decision of judging the entries. While they deliberated, Ant and I hung out sampling each of the competitor’s mac and cheese creations, visiting the Humane League table for Veg Dining Guides and vegan stickers, chatting with Vance Lehmkuhl of V for Vegan, and jamming to a spot-on playlist by Flufftronix, who DJ’d the event (and even played a “mac and cheese” song…yup, there’s one out there).
In addition to all that mac and cheese we ate, we also had an opportunity to try delicious and decadent Love Chunk Cookies and have our first taste of kombucha, brought by Inspired Brews. Plus, competitor Lenka Zivkovic (Vegan Chef Lenka) made incredible vegan crème brulee, which we quickly devoured despite being ridiculously full.
Throughout the day, Carlo and Carmella gave away some fabulous raffle prizes from some of our favorite veg-friendly companies, including Califia Farms, Bob’s Red Mill, and Follow Your Heart. Ant and I each ended up winning, which really helped make a great day even greater!
After a couple of hours of sampling, mingling and raffle giveaways, the judges finally announced the winners. The crowd favorite, crowned “Philly’s Choice,” were Plant Power Couple Terrence and Brittany Roche with their “Boozy Bacon Mac & Cheese” (topped with homemade coconut bacon salt, which I’ve been craving ever since).
LJ Steinig, whose “LJ’s Veganlicious Mac & Cheese” was a traditional take on the dish and a vegan version of her mom’s recipe (and which had super chunks of vegan cheese throughout, so you know I was loving it!), took home the top prize, giving her the “Golden Elbows” trophy, the title of Grand Champion, and major bragging rights for at least a year.
I can’t wait to see what else V Marks the Shop has in store for the Philly vegan community. I will definitely be in attendance at their next event, the Philly Vegan Pop Flea. Plus, there’s been some talk of a vegan chili cook-off this summer. Perhaps I’ll cook something up and enter the competition? Stay tuned!
DID YOU ATTEND THE MAC-DOWN?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!