When I became a vendor at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, I had no idea what the other vendors would be like. We’d done some other farmers markets and most of the people were very nice, but you never really know what you’re in for. So driving over to Hollywood that morning, I was pretty nervous. You have to see these people each week, and in a way it’s sort of like starting a new job. We were so lucky to end up next Johnny and Ricky of Chili Addiction, who couldn’t have been nicer. We’re on a side street of the market known as “Gourmet Alley”, where all the vendors were incredibly welcoming to us. When we left that first day, I felt silly for having been so worried about it.
So for a couple weeks, we were next to Chili Addiction, and I was getting high off of the smells that were coming from their stand. Since we figured it was all probably meat based, we didn’t even bother to ask if they had any vegan options. Turns out, they do, and once we found this out, we were really excited to try it. That first week we had the three bean chili, and it was so delicious! The following week, they made a wheat berry version, pictured above and absolutely amazing. As you can see, you can choose to have it over pasta, which is also really tasty. The guys never used to advertise that they had vegan options, but that was before they had a vegan baked goods booth as their neighbors! We really try to make sure to let our customers know that they have vegan choices, because I think it’s easy to assume that when you see meat that there must not be anything for you. Just like we did.
In addition to the amazing chili, the guys also sell homemade mustard and hot sauces, and my favorite – sauerkraut! The first time I tasted this sauerkraut I could not believe how delicious and flavorful it was. Then I had my mind blown again when Johnny told me that rather than using cabbage, they use onions! You would never have any idea from the taste, which is so intense and multi-dimensional. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but I don’t know how else to describe it.
We got some of the kraut and told the guys we were going have with it Tofurky Beer Brats. They make all their own sausages, and told us that they actually used to make a vegan sausage but stopped because no one bought it. Homemade vegan sausage, cooked up by experts?! We were begging them to make some again, and I bet they will if they see enough demand for it. It’s a good lesson in remembering to let non-vegan businesses know that there is a demand for vegan food, and it’s worth their time to provide it.
Last week they made a pumpkin mole chili and also a super intense raw chili. Here are the descriptions on their menu. Both were delicious, as usual. We’ve been so happy to find so many vegan options at the market, and it’s been great see Johnny’s excitement in creating new vegan chilis each week. If you’re in the LA area, you should definitely stop by their booth, and be sure to ask them to make some vegan sausages. We’re dying to try them!
UPDATE: The Chili guys are no longer at the market as they’ve opened a restaurant at 408 N La Cienega Blvd. Head over there for these and other great vegan products!