Until about six months ago I never so much as entertained the thought of voluntarily going to Los Angeles. I've been to all but three of the fifty states and have traveled extensively within many of them, but Southern California did not register on my interest list. I'd already seen 90210.
Beer changed my mind. Beer and food. I co-organise London Vegan Beer Fest, so it seemed only reasonable to attend the vegan beer fest to end all beer fests: LA Vegan Food and Beer Festival. I was in the country anyway (albeit 3,000 miles away), so what the hell?
I won't be wordy. For once. Lots of photos below, but none of Crossroads because it was dark and anyway it was one of the worst and most disappointing dining experiences of my life (although management recognised my poor experience and fully comped what little I had).
Viva La Vegan Grocery Store
LA was having a crazy heat wave while I was there, so I thought I'd walk a few miles from Venice Beach to Viva La Vegan in Santa Monica under the gaze of the direct sun. The store's air conditioning was broken, but the sight of three freezers of vegan ice cream made me feel better, even if I couldn't have it all. I would keep this place in business if it existed in London.
Flore Vegan Cuisine
I'd heard a lot about the brunch here, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Biscuits and gravy sadly haven't caught on in the UK, and nor has the brilliant concept of savoury and sweet breakfast food on the same plate. Naturally I had cheesecake for dessert.
Locali Conscious Convenience
I'm not sure whether MSG or the reuben sandwich are my soul food, but I'm certainly not going to turn either one down. This Locali sandwich is massive and also sells half portions, but who on earth would want to do themselves out of all the reuben?
Sage Organic Vegan Bistro
Another favourite from this trip, the beer garden at the Culver City location is welcoming (and they have decent beer). I could eat these tacos every single day for the rest of my life and be happy.
Stuff I Eat, Seed Kitchen, and Doomies
Stuff I Eat was my first stop after leaving LAX, and it was a nice welcome to the city. Soul food is the ultimate comfort food, so it's hard to be disappointed by it.
The burger from Seed Kitchen was 10000% better than I expected after seeing all of the macrobiotic information posted about the place. Maybe I ought not judge based on that, but I was sort of expecting a meal of bland on bland and it was anything but. Highly recommended if you're in Venice.
The big mac from Doomies is the ultimate in holy shit this exists and it's vegan and OMFG how am I going to actually eat all of this? I had half for dinner and half for breakfast. Doomie deserves an award.
LA Vegan Food and Beer Festival
An event to remember, I can't put into words how wonderful a feeling it was to be surrounded by so. much. food. and. beer. And that every single thing was vegan. My only complaint was that I wanted it to last for a few days instead of a few hours, so I could have a fair chance at trying it all (but don't worry, I made a solid effort).