Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An Ode to Tofu

We spent Sunday in Little Tokyo, celebrating our favorite Los Angeles street fair: The annual Tofu Festival. It was hot, and there weren't quite as many free offerings as last year... but we still had a great time.

Why do we love the Tofu Festival? It's the food. 45 booths offered just about every variation on the tofu theme (and plenty of alternatives for meat-hungry patrons). There's also the novelty factor: A tofu festival? For those in the know, it makes perfect sense. But I told plenty of people last week about the event -- and a majority just didn't get it.

What can I say -- it's their loss. The tofu festival seems to grow each year, and this edition -- the 11th annual event -- was no exception. Check out this crowd:

Still, the food lines moved quickly. Maria and I spent $20 on tickets ($1 per ticket; most entrees were two tickets) and immediately started scouting the booths.

Above, one of our favorite picks, the Tofu Meatball Sandwich (which included some turkey), at just 1 ticket, from the House Foods America Corp. Also, a lettuce cup with flavored tofu and walnuts (2 tix), from Maggi Taste of Asia.

Other picks included: Gourmet tofu delight (including a tofu nugget and shu mai) from Soyafarm USA; tofu pate in a bread bowl, from Toby's Tofu Plate; Spicy Stir Fried Basil Tofu, from Thai Tofu Nirvana; and one of our faves, Grand Marnier Marinated Strawberry and Fresh Mint Julienne on Tofu, from Maison Akira (below).

Disappointingly, Curry House wasn't serving my favorite from last year, the Curry Chili Tofu Dog. And we were also disappointed that House Foods wasn't passing out free soy milk, as it had last year (when we took home several half-gallons). Still, there were bargains to be had. The best came from WholeSoy, which was selling full pints of their frozen yogurt (made with soy, natch) for just two tix. We took home two pints: Strawberry, and Lemon Ginger.

Sadly, we didn't hit several booths we hoped to try, such as the tofu tostadas (above).

We also didn't make it to the Saturday night Blackalicious concert; we were there on Sunday afternoon, in time for the 66th Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival parade, which took place on 3rd Street (below).

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