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On Saturday I trekked to McCormick Place to check out Green Fest–and I’ll admit up front that my experience of the ginormous event was colored by the crushing irony of celebrating Earth Day, the first hands-down gorgeous day in months, in a loud, crowded, windowless convention center. So, well, I didn’t last very long.

There was a lot to see and do, and buy: hemp dresses, organic cotton baby clothes, yoga mat totes, some very cool reusable water bottles with a filter built into the cap. But frankly the highlight was the vegan mac and cheese from Soul Vegetarian East, a heaping $4 plate of creamy pasta and soy cheese. I generally like my mac and cheese with a heartstopping amount of melted dairy, but this version was revelatory. Apparently whipped within an inch of its life, the cheese bore no relation to cheddar or gouda and was a slightly off-putting beige, but it had a smooth texture and a rich, surprisingly complicated, totally addictive flavor. My friends and I sat on the convention center floor with our biodegradable plates and forks and wolfed it down. Later, I went back for seconds.