Hello there, friends! I am finally settling back into a normal sleep and work schedule after getting back my first-ever trip to the West Coast this past weekend! Specifically, we spent 3 whirlwind days in sunny Los Angeles.
I’ve always imagined L.A. (and Cali in general, I suppose) as kind of a vegan utopia with an avocado tree in every backyard and a farmer’s markets on every corner. I’m still not sure whether or not my vision is accurate, because the main purpose of the trip was not, for once, to stuff my face, but in fact to attend the Christening of H’s godson!
We did also manage to pack in a bunch of sightseeing and great eating too (for a spoiler alert, see the post title). Unfortunately, I ended up not taking as many pictures as I would have liked, mainly due to the fact that my phone perpetually seemed to be on the verge of dying. I guess that’s what happens when you travel somewhere where GPS is needed 24/7! But I did capture the main highlights of sightseeing and vegan awesomeness, so enjoy!
H and I hit the road at 3:30 on Friday morning to get to the airport for our 6 a.m. flight. It was a bit miserable, but it did mean that we got a full day in LA because we were out of the plane by 9:30 a.m. Pacific time.
The first thing we did was to check out the Santa Monica pier.
Love the selfie photobomb going on in the corner…
It was fun and reminded me of Coney Island, except with a different ocean! We dipped our feet in the Pacific…
…and saw some cool birds!
Then we drove out to Pasadena to meet our friends at the Golden Road Brew Pub, which has a fantastic vegan selection! It was really hard to choose, but I ended up going with the Fried Roman Artichokes:
And the Tostada Salad (that’s jackfruit carnitas on top!):
Plus H got to meet his godson for the first time :)
How cute is he?! (The baby is okay too I guess…)
We spent the majority of the rest of the day with our friends, then we checked into our hotel and I was passed out before 7 p.m. PST.
I woke up at 4 a.m. (BOO jet lag!!!) and poor H wasn’t far behind. We decided to drive out to San Dimas for a little pilgrimage…
Strange things are afoot…
And then headed into Hollywood to see the stars and sign.
It was fun and I’m glad we did it even though I usually prefer WAY less touristy things.
After that we checked out the Hollywood Farmer’s Market briefly. I got a giant deli pickle!
Then we headed down to San Pedro to meet up with H’s great-uncle and aunt at a waterfront dining spot. No pictures because my phone was dead by this point. Next it was back up to Pasadena to watch some World Cup with our friends. At their house, I opened up the gorgeous (and EXPENSIVE) dragon fruit that H and I bought at the farmer’s market.
I love dragon fruit! I haven’t had any since I visited Vietnam in 2004 so I was extremely excited to see it for sale at the farmer’s market.
Saturday was another early night so that we could be well-rested for the main event—godson’s baptism!—on Sunday.
Well as you might expect, the majority of Sunday was spent with our friends and their beautiful new son, first at church and then at their friends’ house for a party with lots of gorgeous vegan platters!
Avocado and veggie sandwiches! (Note: some of the sandwiches had a sprinkle of cheese but most were vegan.)
BUT…I went easy on these because I was saving room for my most-anticipated part of the trip—our dinner reservation at Crossroads Kitchen!
OMG you guys. This was just as good if not better than I imagined. Here’s what H and I had:
I had heard that the cocktails here were not to be missed. H had The Escapist and later the Moscow Mule.
I had The Humble Braggart.
They were so different than anything we’d ever had before, thoughtfully presented, and so delicious!
Lentil flatbread with 3 spreads (leek pate, fava bean spread, and spicy tomato banana pepper jam).
All were delicious (and the pepper jam was spicy!) but we both liked the leek pate the most.
I had the Cream of Fava Bean and English Pea soup.
H had the Spiced Chickpeas.
I enjoyed the soup very much, and H liked the chickpeas, though we both agreed I make equally delicious chickpea dishes at home :)
H had the Risotto Stuffed Banana Pepper.
I had the Crab Cakes (made from hearts of palm).
Both of these entrées were stunning and outstanding. The risotto was incredibly creamy, and really complemented the spicy, tart banana pepper. The crab cakes had the most perfect texture, and the beet and apple topping was, again, a perfect complement. That was one of the biggest things I noticed about everything we tried—it just seemed like an amazing amount of care and attention had gone into creating every dish to make sure that the balance of flavors and textures were just right.
We shared the Ginger Beer Float. They make their ginger beer in house!
It was a lovely, refreshing end to a perfect meal.
I was seriously sorry that we couldn’t try everything on the menu. H even asked if I was sure I didn’t want to order one or two more small dishes to share, since who knows when (if ever) we’ll be back. But we were beyond stuffed and I think we ordered the right amount of food.
Well, after Crossroads it was time to drive to the airport for our trip home, which left at 10 p.m. (arriving back in Boston at 6 a.m. EST Monday morning). Monday was a day to catch up on much-needed sleep! Frankly, so was Tuesday…
Hope everyone is having a great week!