vegan vacation: los angeles

a few months ago i had this great idea to take a birthday trip to los angeles. i’ve been hearing more and more good things about the vegan scene and decided it was time to check things out. what an amazing city full of delicious plant based restaurants. although i would never want to live in LA (traffic / desert heat) it is DEFINITELY a great city for any vegan to visit! after a 5 hour flight (but a 9 hour fiasco — our plane was broken, fixed and turned back to the terminal several times) i was famished and ready to tear up some dinner! i made a quick trip to whole foods in studio city (uhhh not what i was expecting – super small & lacking variety) to grab some grub for my jet lagged belly. i didn’t take a photo but my first night in LA i grabbed a frozen candle cafe mac & cheese (what? don’t judge – this whole foods didn’t have a freaking salad bar!!!!) and some beyond meat strips to throw on top! it was actually very satisfying!

SCORE! first time trying the earth balance chips! YUM!!!
SCORE! first time trying the earth balance chips! YUM!!!

a few of my other necessities included earth balance chips (yayyyyyy florida doesn’t have these yet!), justin’s vanilla almond butter, some local jelly, some sprouted bread & tom’s coffee (a child gets fresh water with every purchase – i’m always down to support a good cause!), califia toasted coconut almond milk (also not available in florida) and some dates. for breakfast most mornings i spread the justin’s almond butter inside the dates. SO DELISH – natures candy! 🙂

ready for coffee!
ready for coffee!

so good. we enjoyed our coffee every morning of our week-long stay! instead of paying the high rates at a swanky LA hotel, we opted to find an air b&b space. we rented the CUTEST little studio in atwater village (near weho) which was central to everything we wanted to do. only a few blocks to griffith park, downtown & west hollywood. PERFECT! it was also SUPER adorable! day one we drove to huntington beach. we stopped along the way for lunch – i found the famous veggie grill. man i wish we had something similar in south florida. in fact, i wish the veggie grill would replace all the mcdonalds and taco bells off the interstates all over the country. i thoroughly enjoyed every morsel of food i inhaled and vowed to return before departing.

lunch day 01 - the veggie grill
lunch day 01 – the veggie grill

at the cashier’s recommendation i ordered the crispy chick-un sandwich but as a wrap. i also ordered a side of quinoa kale salad, onion rings and of course i had to try something for dessert. my friends had decided to go for tacos at another restaurant in the plaza but when they showed up and looked around at everyone’s plates they wished they had gone along with me! 🙂

lunch day 01 - grilled chocolate chip cookie. oh my nom!
lunch day 01 – grilled chocolate chip cookie. oh my nom!

after a day of frolicking on the beach in huntington we strolled through a street art fair… and my friends decided to go out for italian for dinner.

huntington beach, ca
huntington beach, ca

there was nothing vegan friendly on the menu so i walked over to a juice bar for some dinner. i originally wanted to try bodhi tree (next door to juice bar) but it was closed on tuesdays unfortunately. 😦

beets / carrots / ginger / apple
beets / carrots / ginger / apple

day two we woke up and went hiking in griffith park ~ may 14th ~ my 35th birthday! 🙂

griffith park - los angeles
griffith park – los angeles

we stopped at the nearest vegan joint for lunch. it happened to be green leaves vegan near griffith park. the menu was very interesting. sort of reminded me of vietnamese restaurants in the bay area. very random menu items. we ordered a variety of breakfast, lunch & dinner.

breakfast: pancakes lunch: noodles dinner: fried chickun with potatoes & veggies
breakfast: pancakes
lunch: noodles
dinner: fried chickun with potatoes & veggies

the food was pretty tasty but nothing i felt i needed to try again. i probably wouldn’t go back if i lived in LA. i was just happy to have a vegan lunch! after manis & pedis we ventured over to hollywood to see the hollywood walk of fame… touristy stuff… birthday dinner reservations at crossroads kitchen in west hollywood – chef tal ronnen! how exciting. and guess who was cooking my birthday meal? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Crossroads Kitchen
Crossroads Kitchen

we ordered the lentil flatbread with 3 spreads, kite hill cheese plate, “crab cakes”, hearts of palm calamari, and the parpadelle bolognese (homemade pasta). everything was seriously delicious but i didn’t realize how small the portions would be. the meal was amazing but i don’t think my non-vegan friends were impressed. i loved it and i’m glad i got the chance to try it! 🙂 i had the strawberry shortcake for dessert. happy birthday to me!

day three my best friend flew in from chicago (she had some flight complications and couldn’t make it for my birthday dinner) and we enjoyed some vegan birthday cupcakes and the best dinner ever.

so much yum!!!!!!
so much yum!!!!!!
happy birthday to meeeee!
happy birthday to meeeee!

after a photo session i had with her younger sister we stopped in burbank for some cupcakes. it wasn’t a primarily vegan bakery, but they did offer a few vegan options. 🙂 yummy cupcakes after a trip to the hair salon and a long drive back to atwater village, we went to dinner at real food daily. we were both in heaven. first of all we wanted to order one of everything. the menu is amazing. i really do want to try every single thing. so we ordered an obscene amount of food and shared everything. yay us! happy be-lated birthday to meeee!

caesar salad
caesar salad
caribbean quesadillas
caribbean quesadillas with mango salsa and plantains!!!!
little dippers
little dippers

these little dippers were our favorite. they were super simple little sammies with daiya havarti cheese, avocado and the crispiest tempeh bacon i’ve ever had. BEST SAMMIES EVER. served with tomato bisque. i love.

sea cake
sea cake

we really really really really enjoyed real food daily. i can’t wait to go back. for dessert we tried the creme brulee.

real food daily!
real food daily!

day four we took it easy for breakfast grabbing some cold pressed juices on our walk around atwater village. for lunch i met up with another friend (a flickr friend i never met in person before) at flore vegan in weho. the menu reminded me of a deli. i ordered the pastrami sandwich and a pbj shake. pretty tasty! the potato salad was really yummy too.

gotta love any sammy on rye!
gotta love any sammy on rye!

afterwards we took a short trip down the street to sage for some vegan gelato! i had the cappuccino flavor. super yum. we walked around a farmers market that was popping up on the same street. so much fun! later on that evening i grabbed some dinner with my travel mate (who i barely spent any time with solo). we chose hugo’s tacos which had vegan options – and was in walking distance from our studio! it was decent but i don’t think i’d ever go again. i actually think chipotle is better. the food wasn’t very hot nor tasty. i didn’t even finish it. (those who know me, know my appetite!)

grilled veggie quesadilla and nachos
grilled veggie quesadilla and nachos

day five started with brunch at real food daily. yayyyyy. i’m in love with this restaurant! it wasn’t crowded at all as i suspected it would be – probably because all the vegans had tickets to the vegan beer festival. (i couldn’t go to photo shoot obligations). brunch was totally worth it! yummmmmmm.

the weekender. tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, hash browns
the weekender. tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, hash browns
...with a side of french toast.
…with a side of french toast.
no brunch is complete without a french press of coffee <3
no brunch is complete without a french press of coffee ❤

i had a shoot down in anaheim at disney land so we made the trek south and ended up at healthy junk for dinner after the shoot. i’m glad i found a place with a vegan menu, but i probably wouldn’t eat here again either. it was okay. i ordered a fresh juice, a salad & a philly cheese steak with sweet potato curly fries. everything was tasty but it was very “fast food” like. i appreciate their effort. the menu sounded really awesome. maybe i should have ordered something different.

healthy junk in anaheim
healthy junk in anaheim

day six i had another photo shoot scheduled – this time in rancho cucamongo – a good hour long drive from hollywood! i stopped at organix in eagle rock after reading the rave reviews on yelp about their deli. i ordered the “big mac” as recommended by other yelpers. so much yum. i had to eat in the car on my long drive but man oh man did that burger rock! (although it was a tad too spicy – i think they gave me the wrong sauce – oh well still good)

yay mac daddy!
yay mac daddy!
big mac & zucchini fries
big mac & zucchini fries

i’m in love with the zucchini fries. they were freaking OUTSTANDING. i would definitely go back and try more yums from organix while in the LA area! yum yum yum yum!

since it was my last night in los angeles i stopped at real food daily againnnnnn but this time at the pasadena location since it was on my way back to hollywood. my last supper was delicious. i’m truly a fan. i would eat here on the regular if i lived in LA.

real food daily - banh mi
real food daily – banh mi
country vegetable miso soup - very hearty & delicious!
country vegetable miso soup – very hearty & delicious!
feeling run down so i ordered an apple / carrot / ginger juice. yum!
feeling run down so i ordered an apple / carrot / ginger juice. yum!

i ordered a faux-stess cupcake to go – i am NOT a chocolate cake person but this cupcake was to die for. yum. i love real food daily. it’s like no other restaurant i’ve ever been to. definitely a SF/NYC caliber vegan restaurant!

day seven was our last few hours in LA- we packed up the studio and headed to the airport. of course i had to stop for lunch before getting on a plane for 5 hours. i went back to the veggie grill for my last lunch and it did not disappoint.

dear veggie grill - please come to florida ASAP!
dear veggie grill – please come to florida ASAP!
the last lunch - the veggie grill - kale caeser topped with blacknd chick-un. NOM.
the last lunch – the veggie grill – kale caeser topped with blacknd chick-un. NOM.

LA was full of vegan goodness. there are still so many vegan joints i want to try. guess i’ll have to save my appetite for my next trip. i’m sure it won’t be too far off as i’m planning on moving back to the bay area very soon! have you traveled to LA? what were your favorite vegan places? 🙂

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3 thoughts on “vegan vacation: los angeles

  1. So much good food!

    I went to LA some ten years ago and I have a hard time remembering what I ate. I remember having a vegan hotdog with fries near the walk of fame, but other than that, it’s a black out!

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