Sunfest 2013: What to Eat, From Gator Bites to Vegan Fare

Fill your ears and your stomach at Sunfest.
Today begins SunFest 2013, West Palm Beach's five-day waterfront music and arts festival that manages to wrangle in some exceptional national and local musical talent -- and lots of food -- to the city's downtown area. The event has been known to attract upwards of 165,000 visitors each year, and with all that foot traffic it means plenty of food and drink to go around.

While Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach is always an option for food, the concession stands inside the event itself always offer up a pretty diverse selection of local and catered eats. So, when you're not rocking out to bands like Train, Smashing Pumpkins, Yellowcard and The Offspring, go stuff your face. In addition to several specialty catered concession stands, a few local spots have taken booths to offer the best of their menu to SunFest-goers. Lucky for us, it's not all the same boring stuff.

To help you navigate, we've shortened the list of vendors and broken it down into categories so you know what you're looking for after you've had a few SunFest Cruisers. This year's must-try picks: alligator bites, jerk chick, conch salad and even raw-vegan eats.

See also:
- Smashing Pumpkins at SunFest 2013
- The Dream of the '90s Is Alive at SunFest
- Top Five Picks for Local, Beach-Friendly Bands at SunFest 2013

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Learn to Grow With Farmer Jay at Whole Foods Plantation

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Courtesy of Farmer Jay
Farmer Jay wants to help you grow your garden.
Farmer Jay is a public relations dream for the local locavore movement -- a smart, personable farmer who's passionate about sharing tips on healthy eating.

You would think that between running Farmer Jay Organics and writing for New Times, the man would just want to curl up with a good book or a beer and relax.

But in his spare time, Jason "Farmer Jay" McCobb is teaching a series of growing classes at Whole Foods in Plantation.

The three classes, in honor of Earth Month, all concentrate on different aspects of growing a home garden.

Take all three and you'll have the best-tasting garden in your neighborhood.

Read Also: Hot Farmer Alert: Meet Farmer Jay

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PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door: Meatless Hotties Wanted

Colleen from Cuyahoga Falls is one of the sexy vegan contestants.
We consistently have to give PETA credit for its brilliant marketing strategies.

To make their point, they'll use any trick in the advertising playbook -- including sex, sex, and more sex.

Take, for example, their Sexiest Vegan Next Door contest, which seeks out the hottest vegan with the best bod. And, as with every year, they're looking for entrants.

Read Also: PETA Names Pembroke Pines Resident Finalist in Sexiest Vegetarian Contest

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First Look: Green Bar & Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale

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All photos by Falyn Freyman
Avocado Toast
In 2011, when nutritionist and holistic health coach Elena Pezzo, owner of Green Bar & Kitchen, learned of her brother Anthony's stroke and subsequent coma, she was devastated. Only a few years earlier, the 33-year-old New York native had lost both of her parents and had battled poor health and depression herself as a result.

Despite recommendations from numerous doctors that Anthony's family pull the plug, insisting he would remain a vegetable, Elena did not give up, and instead turned to spirituality and her holistic health food background to help bring back her brother.

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Field of Greens Gets a Makeover, Moves to Clematis Street

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All photos by Nicole Danna
Field of Greens (or FOG, for short), Palm Beach County's healthy salad and sandwich shop offering nutritious, made-to-order dishes, has relocated its original location to downtown West Palm Beach, and made a few improvements while they were at it. 

The family-run business began in 2003 when owners Debbie and David Steinhardt opened their FOG in City Place. They wanted a lunch spot that would give people healthy, homemade eats that also offered vegan and vegetarian dishes, and soon expanded to open locations in Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens.

Now in downtown West Palm Beach off Clematis St., their newest location means a few changes to the winning formula, with new menu items and a better way of doing business.

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The Veggieducken: How to Make This Vegan Thanksgiving Masterpiece (Video)

Categories: For Vegetarians
Cooking Channel
Behold! The Veggieducken!
Let's just say it -- vegetarians get screwed on Thanksgiving. Frankly, on a holiday nicknamed "turkey day", you've got a problem if you're not into tucking into a golden roasted bird.

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Restaurants Serving Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinners in South Florida: Darbster, Sublime, and Le Bistro

WishUponACupcake via Flickr Creative Commons
If this is the only turkey you plan to consume on Thanksgiving, we've got some dining suggestions for you.

For people who'd prefer to coddle, not cook, a turkey, Thanksgiving can be hell. Yeah, yeah, it's nice to see the family and wine is fun and all, but there's only so many helpings of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie one can handle (trust me, I've tried, and the number is much smaller than one would hope or imagine).

A smattering of restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach Counties have your vegetarian back this holiday season by offering meat-free Thanksgiving Day feasts. Be sure to make reservations, stat. These places are likely to fill up.

See Also:

- Trader Joe's Turkey-Less Roast is "New and Improved" for Your Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

- World Vegetarian Day is Monday, October 1: Five Sexy Celebrity Vegetarians

- South Florida's Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants

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Trader Joe's Turkey-Less Roast is "New and Improved" for Your Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

Trader Joe's
There's no gobbler slaughter required for this holiday roast.

A family-centric holiday like Thanksgiving requires copious amounts of wine. As such, perhaps you've been planning a little road trip in the next few weeks to visit the Trader Joe's store in Naples. After all, TJ's is home to one of the country's most celebrated bottles of $3 red wine (that would be Charles Shaw, aka. Two-buck Chuck, for the uninitiated).

In addition to loading up on cheap booze, vegetarians and vegans may want to cruise by the frozen foods aisle refrigerated section in Trader Joe's to pick up the store's revamped turkey-less stuffed roast.

See Also:
- Trader Joe's Replies to Palm Beach Gardens Rumors
- Trader Joe's Fan Starts Online Petition: Come to Broward

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How to Make a Vegetarian-Friendly Oktoberfest Feast

It's true traditional Bavarian cuisine has not traditionally been the most vegetarian-friendly, but times change, and now that Oktoberfest shares the month with Vegetarian Awareness, we might as well incorporate some German-inspired vegetarian dishes so the animal loving/health conscious among us don't have to miss out.

Sauerkraut is one of the signature dishes for a traditional Oktoberfest feast, and it's already vegetarian all by itself. Not only is it delicious and nutritious -- thanks to its vitamin C content, sauerkraut prevented most of Europe from developing scurvy through long, dark winters -- but kraut is ridiculously easy to make at home. Just shred a head of unwashed organic cabbage and put it in a glass jar with plenty of sea salt. As the salt draws water from the cabbage, press the shreds down with your fist to keep it submerged. Throw a towel over it to keep the dust out, and two weeks later the brine and the bacteria combine to ferment the cabbage into kraut. You can liven things up a bit by using red cabbage or throwing in other sliced-up veggies. You can even add shredded apples to sweeten it.

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Summer Green Market Every Saturday in Palm Beach Gardens

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Store Self Storage via Facebook
Veggies galore are offered at the summer green market at Store Self Storage.
Sometimes it seems like South Florida packs up for the summer, not realizing that there are people who live here year 'round. Many green markets close for the season, partly because of snowbirds flying north but mostly because the growing season is over and many farmers either take the summer off or migrate to farms north.

Luckily for us, Store Self Storage in Palm Beach Gardens starts its annual green market just as others are packing up in anticipation of the hot weather. 

Though you won't find many local greens, you will find a ton of other organic and local products from about 40 vendors that offer their wares every Saturday from now through September 15.

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