Last year I ventured to LA as a graduation gift to myself. I decided that I would go solo (despite originally planning on having friends go with) and eat all the great food I’d seen on Instagram. I eat the best of the best & met the best people along the way. So this year I wanted a Round 2. I opted to do a shorter weekend trip instead of 5 days because #adulting but I still enjoyed every second of it!
I flew from Raleigh (RDU) to Los Angelos (LAX) that morning. My best friend is an actress in LA and she said it was cool for me to stay with her for the duration of my trip. Her, another friend from Charlottesville and I went to Topanga Mall to eat a late lunch at Veggie Grill. They never knew they lived so close to an amazing place!
I ordered the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin sandwich and the Carne Asada Burrito! Both were heftier servings than anticipated but that just meant I got my money’s worth.
The sandwich had THE FRESHEST guacamole on it and the proportion of bun to filling ratio was perfect.
This burrito was the realest non-vegan burrito I believe I’ve gotten a chance to eat. It was grilled, had the meaty texture and creamy textures, it was flavorful. It was the best. It came with a side of salsa and cheese sauce. Dipping my tortilla chips in the cheese...wow.
The girls agreed that it was a perfect meal and that they’ll go from now on! Because it was our first time going the server lady said we could get free drinks, so that also made us happy! After that meal, I went to YogaWorks for a Vinyasa class. I had to go because it was International Yoga Day! I went for free because i signed up to do a free trial. Amazing class all around. I felt very cathartic considering I spent most of my day on a plane or car.
Naturally we slept in. Then I pulled myself together to get hype for the festival. The Eat Drink Vegan Festival happens in the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Unlike last year, I had friends to met up with and I knew exactly what I wanted to eat when I got there. So here are the top bites that I had (I had so many more but that would make this a very long blog post)!
Best Savory Bite:
Fried Shroom Bao from Man Eating Plant
I never had a bad before going vegan so I was mainly trying it for fun sake. But like I was shook. I LOVE mushrooms and that had the BEST batter on it. When you bit into it, the mushroom meat was white and tender kind of like cod. They put a little sauce on it too that gave me that good spice. Each bao was 7$ and I would GLADLY pay that again.
Best Sweet Bite:
Planet Earth Ice Cream Cone from Van Leeuwen
For me, vegan ice cream is either a hit or miss. Some have after tastes or not the right texture. This was not the case at all with this cone. I have wanted to eat this ice cream for over a year now. Worth the wait because it was smooth, creamy, pleasant to all the senses. The ice cream is a vanilla almond milk base dyed blue with spiralina and mixed with chunks of matcha tea cake to look like planet Earth! Despite the fact that it tasted the best, the person who made it for me pressed that ice cream deeep into that cone and gave me a hefty scoop on top. What an experience.
Best Bang for My Buck:
Reuben Sandwich from the Original Herbivore
I can tell you it’s easily been like 8-10 years since I’ve eaten a Reuben. Used to get them with my mom because we love them (and sauerkraut a lot). For 14$ I got a restaurant sized basket of food. They were very generous towards me (possibly because I was the first person to order it that day) and stuffed that sandwich full of seitan pastrami. Cheesy, saucy goodness oozed out. They put the right amount of kraut not to overtake the sandwich. It was on the proper seeded bread. All along side a bed of fries. That was the first thing I ate and I was about to tap out afterwards!
Heartstrong from Bless-ed
This kombucha had a flavor profile of strawberry, vanilla, cardamom, hawthorn berry and motherwort. I drink a lot of kombuchas on the regular and I can’t tell you one that’s better.
Best Coffee Drink:
Turkish Delight from Modern Times
I think Modern Times is most well known for their beers but goodness gracias was this iced latte drink they had divine. You know I’m a coffee snob since I used to work as a barista. So if I’m saying it’s the best, it’s the best.
Best Alcoholic Drink:
Rosé Cider from Anna’s Cider
Nothing to report here other than two things. Number 1, I don’t ever want to drink another rosè cider again. Number 2, they sold out of it half way through the festival. I will be looking into ways to order this online for sure.
This was the 10th year of this festival and apparently the last year it being done like this/done ever? That’s a mystery. Knowing this, I’m beyond grateful for committing to going this year. I saw allllll the beautiful people that I met last year like Sophia and Jenna and new people I had made friends with via Instagram like Amanda Sevilla and Tabitha Brown. Catch me next year visiting LA just to eat again.