Hi my friends! I’m so excited to be back to real-time blogging. I really appreciated a few days off to enjoy time with my family and I hope you enjoyed the flashback recipes.
Now I’m in Portland and, wow, I’m in love. It’s so green here! I had dinner with a friend last night and could see Mt. St. Helen from the window in the back of his house and Mt. Hood from the front window. Stunning. I’ll be posting more about Portland, and Vida Vegan Con, over the next few days. Today I wanted to recap my vegan eating in Southern California!
Last Saturday I flew to L.A. to attend my brother’s wedding on Sunday.
It was lovely.
Monday was a very vegan day. I made a curry tofu scramble for my aunt and uncle, who were my gracious hosts for the long weekend.
In a skillet I heated olive oil and added shallots and green pepper from their garden. I tossed in a little curry and added the tofu, crumbling it in the pan. I browned it and then added some celery to lightly saute (I wanted it to have a crunch) and then I added 4 handfuls of kale plus some salt and pepper, lowered the heat and covered for a few minutes. I then added a diced tomato (also from the garden) and heated for just a few minutes. I served the scramble with raw, chopped green pepper.
They liked it!
Later I had a lunch date with an old friend. Twenty-nine years ago, the summer I was about to turn 16, I stayed with my California family and got a job at a mall (so not glamorous, think stiff, brown, polyester uniform ala Orange Julius). I met a girl who became one of my best friends. We hadn’t seen each other since 1994 so we were pretty excited.
Still two peas in a pod!
We met in Costa Mesa at Native Foods and we both ordered the Yo Amigo Taco Salad
with chipotle dressing.
My friend is not a vegan and she loved this salad as much as I did. Huge, filling and oh-so-delicious!
Though too full for dessert, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat a vegan cupcake. I asked what kind they had. She described three flavors. I got one of each: one for me, my aunt and my uncle. We divided them three ways (the next day).
Monday evening I drove into L.A. for dinner with two fabulous, authentic, fierce vegan bloggers, Bess and Arielle. We met at Cafe Gratitude (woot!) and started with drinks at the bar and moved outside for dinner on the patio. It was a gorgeous night, just starting to cool down, so the heat lamps were welcome. As we began to consider the menu I looked up to see this:
Mind you, I’ve seen it a zillion times on business trips to L.A. but these things always excite me.
We had so much fun talking and getting to know one another but finally we focused on the menu. We began with I AM PRESENT.
This was wonderful! They had to substitute the bread but it still worked. That “mozzarella” was surprisingly delicious.
I had tofu for breakfast, seitan for lunch and I was craving beans. I ordered I AM TRANSFORMED
Perfect choice for me! The “sour cream” was light and complimentary to the hearty beans. Ah, notice the tiny bowl on the right? I ordered a side of the coconut “bacon”. Arielle has a friend who orders the tacos with the bacon. I can see why. The bacon is spicy and perfect with the tacos.
The sun went down, we ordered dessert and the flash on the camera had to come out.
Wednesday my uncle modified one of his favorite bread recipes to make it vegan.
Two pieces of this nutritious, multigrain bread (one with peanut butter and the other with olive oil) and I was full until 3:00 p.m.! (I had a carrot-orange juice from Jamba Juice to tide me over to dinner.)
On my final evening in Southern California we gathered as much of the family as possible for dinner at BJ’s Resaturant and Brewhouse in Brea. I had many questions for the server about the menu. (Is the pasta vegan? No. Is the veggie burger vegan? No.) She returned from the kitchen with this news “the kitchen says we just don’t have a vegan friendly menu.” I asked if she and the kitchen were ready to work with me. They were.
I ordered the Santa Fe Salad, hold the dressing, hold both cheeses, hold the chicken, add the black beans from another salad and let’s do a balsamic on the side.
I also ordered a baked potato with veggies (hold the cheese, hold the alfredo sauce, hold the butter and please provide a little olive oil).
Which was also very good.
It was a lovely family dinner.
I miss them already.
Now I’m heading out to walk / run along the waterfront in Portland. Back tomorrow with a glimpse into some of the outrageous, fabulous vegan food I’m eating as I count down to Vida Vegan Con!