Just in time for the big game, park + vine offers up vegan goodness

written by Ilene Ross
photography ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

There’s no doubt about it, Cincinnati is a chili town. We all know this. Queen City natives spend countless hours arguing about which is their favorite place to go for chili, while newcomers scratch their heads in curiosity, wondering how this unique concoction came to be called chili in the first place.  Indeed, it’s a topic of great debate.

These days, another huge debate is that of meat consumption in our society. Here at 513{eats} one of our favorite books is Michael Pollan’s perfectly written, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. It shows us how our eating choices not only affect our health, but that of the environment that sustains life on our planet. Pollan offers answers that have profound political, economic, psychological and moral implications for us all. Most important of all is that we need to drastically cut back on our eating of meat.  We think that this book should be required reading for all school children. If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend you do so now. It is powerful stuff. You will never look at your food the same way again.

This past weekend, we were pleased to participate in helping to organize Park + Vine’s Second Annual Vegan Chili Contest. If you are not familiar with vegan foods, they differ from vegetarian foods in that they are completely plant based with absolutely no animal products such as eggs or dairy used at all. Vegans get their protein from combining grains and legumes. Twenty contestants offered up some of the most delicious chili we have ever tasted. Indeed, no two were alike, but they were all wonderful.  Local celebrity judges Colonel De Stewart of Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices , Honey pastry chef, Summer Genetti, Wine Me, Dine Me blogger, Julie Gosdin, and Cincinnati Councilmember, Chris Seelbach agreed. The event was a wonderful gathering of folks looking to expand their culinary repertoires as well as share an afternoon with good friends. It was cozy, warm, and full of love. Dan Korman, Park + Vine’s proprietor was a delightful host. We were pleasantly surprised to find that a few of the entrants were not vegan or even vegetarian at all, but omnivores who regularly enjoyed meatless meals. Michael Pollan would be proud.

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