Thursday, October 3, 2013

Being Vegan in L.A.

...is the best. When I was vegan on the East Coast, I got those weird looks when someone found out. San Diego is pretty vegan-friendly (Thanks, California) so I love that servers in restaurants actually give me awesome vegan substitutes and suggestions when ordering off their menus. But L.A. has a plethora of straight up vegan restaurants. On Saturday, I decided on only two after doing some extensive research and Yelping.

For lunch, we went to M Cafe de Chaya off Melrose. Awesome, clean, bright vibe immediately upon entering as I was greeted with a smile, which is always nice! I had looked at the menu already online so I had a general idea of what I might order. I decided to take a gander at what they had behind the display glass. And let me tell you... I saw vegan sushi and desserts galore. Hold me back!


After asking for a recommendation (and seeing those Yelp pictures) I went with the Macro Burger which also came with the freshest, most delicious sweet potato fries I have ever had. Ever. And that sauce? My mouth is watering. Here's the description of the delicious burger in case you're not already hungry: house-made whole grain brown rice & vegetable patty, special sauce, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion, and alfalfa sprouts on a toasted whole wheat bun. I've had a lot of veggie burgers in my day and this was... the best! Hands down.



To top it off, I also had the choice of which green tea or lemonade I wanted. I went with the most popular choice, the watermelon mint lemonade! Are you kidding me? Talk about refreshing! Angels were singing after my first sip. I wanted so badly to try one of their green juices but I had plans for later... And I was pretty full after that meal!


After spending the afternoon in Hollywood, there was one more vegan stop I had to make before heading Downtown for Dane's show. Ladies and gentlemen, Cafe Gratitude! I had seen this place all over Instagram thanks to some of my fellow green juice junkies and enough was enough, I had to try it for myself! There are four locations in California and we went to the L.A. location, on Larchmont Blvd. This building is absolutely gorgeous. I didn't get a photo of the entire outside, but I was able to find a beautiful image that a photographer captured.


We were seated out on the eclectic deck where our server greeted us with the "Question of the Day." I was in love already. Another reason why vegan, raw foodies put the biggest smile on my face. So, the question for us to ponder was:

"What are you overcoming?"

I wish you could have seen how bright-eyed I got in that moment. My mind was flooded with thoughts and ideas of things that I was currently (and still am) overcoming, as life had quickly taken a turn recently.

After we ordered, I just started to take it all in. I looked inside where I saw the chalkboard with the question written on it. I looked at the other patrons on the deck; some with their dogs, some with friends, some with dates. I noticed the pretty lipstick shades the two ladies next to me were rocking and the fun outfit of another girl nearby. There I was, in the middle of the City of Angels. A city so large with people from all walks of life. There's truly something for everyone there and I found my place. In those moments, as the sun sunk down into the California horizon and I excitedly anticipated my order, I felt at home.

It's crazy how you can find "home" in so many different cities. But not every city.
Certain cities speak to certain souls.

Finally, the drink I had been talking about for days arrived for me at my table. And again, angels sang. He got the Marvelous (I think) and I got the Cool. (The way the menu works is that each item is named a different adjective and it starts with I Am... So, when you order you say: "I Am Cool.") Pretty fancy, huh? :)


This delicious treat that I had been dreaming about was a mint chocolate chip milkshake with Vitamineral green and raw cacao nibs (100% raw, vegan, and delicious of course!) I loved how the mint was REAL mint, not the mint syrup you get at most other places. It was so absolutely tasty that I tried my best not to inhale it but, well, you know how that goes...

Sigh. I am grateful for Cafe Gratitude and their positive vibes all around. Even their vintage milk jars filled with water with the words "Love & Gratitude" etched into them were a beautiful added touch.

Moral of the story: I can't wait to live in Los Angeles. Job well done.

2 comments:

Siri Baxter said...

Wow that looks so delicious! :)

JBean said...

I am not vegan but I do enjoy a lot of vegan, raw foods and I eat dairy-free because of lactose intolerance. I am also an East Coaster who one day dreams of living on the West Coast for their healthier lifestyle and cleaner food. This post made me soooo hungry :)