California Dreamin’ (SmartGirlVeg style): Part 1

By: Rachel

Let’s be honest: California VegHeads tend to have it easier than non meat-eaters in the rest of the country. The state leads the way in produce production—nearly half of the vegetables, fruits, and nuts grown in the US come from California.

As for the rest of us—the state is a fantastic place to visit.

On my recent California coast road trip, I made a number of excellent veg-friendly stops. Some are featured in The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian; others were new to me. Here’s a quick travel guide:

Real Food Daily

www.realfooddaily.com

With three locations in Los Angeles and one at LAX airport, Real Food Daily was a groundbreaker in the vegetarian food world when it first opened in 1993. The menu is completely plant-based (ie vegan), but the meat eaters in your party won’t miss a thing thanks to the innovative, fresh, and delicious (not to mention mostly organic) menu.

I had the Kung Pao:

 Kung Pao: Stir fried vegetables, lotus root, marinated tempeh, spicy ginger garlic sauce, pineapple fried rice, toasted cashews.

Kung Pao: Stir fried vegetables, lotus root, marinated tempeh, spicy ginger garlic sauce, pineapple fried rice, toasted cashews.

And finished up with a shared piece of vegan chocolate cake (OK, fine, I polished off most of it myself. Sooo good!):

 Chocolate Fudge Cake, oh my!

Chocolate Fudge Cake, oh my!

And if you don’t plan to visit Los Angeles soon, you can check out founder Ann Gentry’s cookbook Vegan Family Meals for a taste of her food.

 

Café Gratitude

www.cafegratitude.com

More of a newcomer on the California vegetarian food scene, Café Gratitude first opened in San Francisco in 2004. It now has locations in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Kansas City, MO. In addition to the standout fresh vegan, organic food, you’ll notice the creative menu: For breakfast you might choose “OPEN HEARTED,” or “FREE,” while for lunch I chose to be...

COMFORTED

 COMFORTED by roasted garnet yams with a side of coconut mint chutney.

COMFORTED by roasted garnet yams with a side of coconut mint chutney.

and...

TRANSFORMED

 TRANSFORMED by two corn tacos stuffed with butternut squash, black beans, avocado and more, with a side of Mexican coleslaw.

TRANSFORMED by two corn tacos stuffed with butternut squash, black beans, avocado and more, with a side of Mexican coleslaw.

No doubt, I was also SATISFIED. 

Hungry yet? Later this week I'll post more about the amazing roadside food I found on the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and the delicious veg-friendly stops I made in SF. For now, I'm already planning my next trip. What veggie food should I get to on my next trip to Los Angeles?