Traveling While Vegan: Los Angeles, California
Traveling while vegan is when you truly put your vegan skills to the test. Do you know how to order something vegan in a non-vegan restaurant? Is your bag filled with vegan snacks so you don’t get hangry while you try to find a vegan option on the road? Have you searched Yelp, TripAdvisor and/or Happy Cow for your vegan restaurant options?
These are your tools and they are vital to vegan survival.
Well, they are vital unless you’re in Los Angeles, California, that is.
Easy Veganism In L.A.
L.A. is a vegan mecca. First of all, it’s in California. Being on the West Coast, California is the stereotypically healthy US state and L.A., with all of its beautiful people, is particularly focused on fresh, nourishing food.
With all of its sun, water and hiking, L.A. easily encourages people to enjoy their lives and not drown their poor bodies in food trash. (too much?)
There are farmers markets in maybe every neighborhood and, of course, health food grocers all around. Especially, Whole Foods. Oh, and you will trip over vegan restaurants they are so plentiful!
Here are a few to entice you to The Golden State.
Crossroads: Fancy Vegan
In terms of super healthy food, L.A. is known for its green juices but my main vegan food goal for my time there was something quite different: a big juicy burger.
That’s right, L.A. is one of the few cities debuting the Impossible Burger. Don’t be alarmed, this thing is vegan. It is made entirely from plants and even, whoa, “bleeds”. Plant heme is the key ingredient to get this effect and it really works.
The company, Impossible Foods, is slowly introducing the burger, probably to build the hype and, well, it’s working. They’re really trying to focus on winning over non-vegans because the burger tastes so similar to a meat burger but, for the L.A. crowd, they did introduce the burger at the fancy vegan restaurant, Crossroads Kitchen.
The burger is currently only available for lunch at Crossroads and, apparently, they sell out of them if you don’t get your order in fast enough!
Luckily, I was able to get my teeth on one and, man, it’s been a long time since I’ve tasted that taste. Just like a meat burger, to my recollection. It was pretty greasy tasting, but isn’t that what a burger is all about? I loved it.
They even serve it with Kite Hill cheese melted on top — such a classic American meal now truly available to vegans!
Veggie Grill: Fast Food Vegan
Speaking of something classically American… L.A. has a vegan fast food chain!
Veggie Grill is really more of a “fast-casual” chain. Entrees are all over $10 and include burgers, sandwiches, bowls, salads and plates. The company is based out of California but they already have restaurants in Washington and Oregon as well and are planning to expand nationally — woohoo!
Again, with Veggie Grill, I was tunnel visioned on vegan meat innovation. This time, the company behind the burger is Beyond Meat. Veggie Grill uses Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger (Impossible Food has an Impossible Burger — guess vegan burger innovation is a little predictable in terms of names?).
Now, there was no vegan “bleed” with this particular burger, but, I gotta say, it sure did remind me of those McDonald’s days (in a good way). This is a great comfort food option and the fries weren’t bad either!
Blue Star Donuts: Sweet Vegan (Portland Import)
I was lucky enough to travel to not one, but two very vegan-friendly places recently. And, because I went to Portland after L.A., I realized the place was lousy with Blue Star Donuts (they’re even at the airport!). I went to L.A. first, though, and was very happy to venture to Venice to get my vegan donut fix.
Blue Star Donuts is a not just great because it lets us vegans eat some donuts, it’s great because they are creative with their flavors. I tried the mimosa donut in L.A. and it was orangey and yum.
What a treat having a grown-up vegan donut option.
When you eat vegan, you get excited when a city is stereotyped as full of “health nuts”. These are our people! Creative, whole foods-loving health nuts. Bring ’em on.
While it’s possible to find vegan food everywhere (more to come on that), it’s nice to have the best vegan food in the world handed to you on a silver platter.
Thanks, California, for being such a reliable stereotype.
Originally published on Plenty Vegan.