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Woodstock Weekend Part 1: The ThanksLiving Feast

Yesterday was my favorite day of the year: ThanksLiving, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s yearly celebration in honor of the turkeys, and of all the animals who are raised for food. It’s a day to hang with the critters, meet vegans from all over, listen to great music, and, of course, eat amazing food. And what a beautiful day it was! Saturday’s rain gave way to comfortable temperatures and sunny skies (until after dinner, anyway). Yesterday was also the first chance anyone had to check out the farm’s new B&B—a lovely, quaint, yet spacious-feeling little house across from the main field. I can’t wait to stay there! But that’s a topic for another post; right now we have food to discuss.

While the guests perused the silent auction items and strategically placed their raffle tickets (I walked away with a set of Woodstock Chimes and a gift certificate to V-Note), booze from Frey Wines and Stone Brewing Company Beers flowed (until the red wine ran out). And then came the appetizers: I really enjoyed Regal Vegan’s Faux Gras Crostini and the Buffalo Bites from Blossom; my favorite restaurant apparently also donated Cape Cod Cakes, but they went so quickly, I never even saw them. Also making the rounds were Faux Beef Medallions with Béarnaise Sauce, which might have been better if they’d made it out hot; on the cool side they were a little chewy. That said, their flavor almost resembled the meatiness of Primal Strips, so they might be good dehydrated.

Then it was time to sit and eat, and listen, but just a little: This year there was no lineup of speakers, just founder Jenny Brown greeting the guests and thanking the staff and volunteers, who included the chef from Jivamuktea Cafe; David Silver, the former owner of Second Helpings (and one of my housemates); and vegan dynamo Terry Hope Romero, who was at the kitchen’s helm. And dinner was an impressive array: Chipotle Sweet Potato Bisque with Cashew Crema, Cornbread Sofrito Stuffing with Veggie Chorizo, Massaged Kale Salad wih Raisins and Toasted Almonds, and the much-anticipated Savage River Faux Chicken Rajas in Orange Garlic Mojo.

The ThanksLiving spread: Chipotle Sweet Potato Bisque with Cashew Crema, Cornbread Sofrito Stuffing with Veggie Chorizo, Massaged Kale Salad wih Raisins and Toasted Almonds, and Faux Chicken Rajas in Orange Garlic Mojo.

The soup was deliciously rich and hearty, and I love, love, love my greens, so I didn’t leave a speck (or drop) of either behind. I didn’t finish my stuffing, though, because I got the gluten-free version, which meant all the tasty stuff—the cornbread and the chorizo—were left out. As for the chicken, well, this was made with Savage River’s new gluten-free soy and pea protein mock meat, which isn’t on the market yet. While I’m happy there’s going to be a new alternative out there, I have mixed feelings about it: The “chicken” was gently and tastefully seasoned, but the texture of the stuff was a little dry, almost grainy; even Terry’s Mojo couldn’t save it. What did make it more palatable, though, was the cranberry sauce; once I began to pair the two, I enjoyed the mock meat a whole lot more. Maybe it’s because the food didn’t make it out piping hot, or maybe Savage River still has a few kinks to work out with their recipe. But I wasn’t overwhelmed by the new “meat,” and I really hope they improve upon it before they release it in stores.

As always, the desserts were from Vegan Treats. And as always, they were incredible. I forwent my usual Peanut Butter Bomb fetish and instead sampled the Baklava Cheesecake (ridiculusly flaky and delicious) and Cannoli—a perfectly crispy shell encasing a not-too-sweet yet delectable cream topped with chocolate chips. But the selection didn’t stop there: There was also pumpkin cake, pecan pie, apple pie, brownies, and cookies. This was a veritable feast of sweets. All hail Danielle Konya!

What is there to say about Vegan Treats? Delish.

So overall, the day was a blast and the meal was really good. While Savage River’s faux chicken can stand a little fine-tuning, it’s nice to know new altenatives are on the horizon. Who knows what surprises will await us at ThanksLiving 7.0?

This is Part 1 of my Woodstock Weekend posts. Check out Part 2 and find out what other gastronomic delights await you in Ulster County.


  1. Comment by

    JL goes Vegan

    on #

    Great recap! It was a wonderful event and we had so much fun at your table! Here’s to next year (and here’s hoping I can stay in an airstream trailer…)

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Wowza! That food sounds and looks amazing. Baklava cheesecake?! DROOL.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I was at Thanksliving and I have to disagree. The faux chicken was amazing. I had no idea it was gluten-free. I’m gluten-free but I was willing to cheat for Terry’s meal. In fact, I thought it was seitan and that it was the best I’d ever tasted. Maybe it varied from plate to plate but at our table it was tender and delicious!!!! Can’t wait for it to come on the market.

    Thanks for the review!!

  4. Comment by


    on #

    This was our third year at Thanksliving and this was the best food so far, we thought. I ate my soup and both of my kids’ soups too :) (The flavors were a bit mature for my 4 and 8 year olds, but it served as such great inspiration for new recipes in our house)… Let’s go, Savage River!! Can’t wait!! Thank you, Terry, Jenny and Doug. See you all next year!!