So I’ve been in LA about a week now. It’s so nice to take a break from work and Korea. I love Korea, but about once a year I need to escape… I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about! So yea… I’m just happy to be back.
Actually, the main reason why I came to LA was to celebrate my sister graduating with her masters degree in Interior Architecture! The ceremony was a few days ago and I was so glad to be there on this special occasion. I’m just so proud of her and all the hard work she put into it. :) Aside from that, ofcourse there are a few other things I’ve been up to, such as driving around, hanging out at cafes, eating good food, doing a little shopping (for myself and some people in Korea), soaking in all the gorgeous sunshine… you know, vacation stuff.
And what’s dis??? Vegan pho, at last. The day after I arrived, my sister and I hit up Pho Cafe in Silverlake because I’ve been craving good pho for almost 2 years. You can’t see the noodles in the picture because it’s buried under all the tofu and mushrooms. The soup had really clean flavors, and I loved the addition of fried tofu and mushrooms, as opposed to wheat meat. The soup wasn’t quite as deep or flavorful as I remember Hoa Sen‘s pho to be, but that could just be my failing memory, and it still totally hit the spot. My sister ordered the vegetarian vermicelli rice noodles with vegetarian egg rolls, tofu, and mushrooms. Also super good.
Brunch at Rialto Cafe in downtown Fullerton. I ordered a vegan soy chicken salad sandwich and coffee with soy milk. The sandwich was delicious! When I was still an omni in college, chicken salad sandwiches were one of my favorite cafeteria foods, so I was happy to indulge in an old time favorite, but without the cruelty this time around. The coffee was great too and I loved that the server was so generous with refilling the mug– something you don’t often get in Korea.
A friend and her cutie pie baby. She’s actually my sister’s long-time close friend but I know her from when I was living in OC for a bit. She was so kind and actually bought lunch for us– thank you Susan! xoxo
This past weekend, we also checked out the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Main St. There was so much awesomeness in one place, I could hardly contain myself. Such abundance of organic, local veggies… my kind of heaven. I bought a loaf of Whole Grain Oat bread from the all-vegan Secret Goldfish Baking Co. They were so nice and all the samples were yummy!
For a light lunch, I ordered a ‘Smash it up’ salad from the Homegirl Cafe & Catering booth. The lady threw in all kinds of fresh veggies including mixed greens, radishes, cucumber, bell peppers, mushrooms, beet roots, jicama, roasted corn, grilled onions, cactus, edamame beans, nuts and seeds, and some other things that I can’t recall. Everything got smashed/shaken up with some spicy dressings to create a really vibrant, healthy salad. It was perfect.
Had a grilled veggie and pesto sandwich at Urth Cafe. Juicy-good. When the server came around with the food, half of the sandwich accidentally fell off the plate and onto the table, so we had to wait a bit before they made a new half-sandwich. hehe. In Korea I don’t eat sandwiches very often, but it seems that I’m getting my fill of them here. :)
My sister and I have also been eating a lot at home because going out for every meal here would just be crazy-expensive. Every day for breakfast, I’ve been having toast with pb and apple butter. Simple but good. For one lunch, I sauteed some sweet potatoes, onion, broccoli, garlic, and kale together and enjoyed it with a slice of sprouted whole grain bread, sweet peas, and carrots. It’s definitely nice to have access to a working kitchen when you’re away from home. And last night I bought a bag of vegan doritos (the Spicy Sweet Chili flavor) just because I miss Doritos and they don’t have this flavor in Korea.
I bought these edamame-shaped crisps and they were addicting. Whenever I return to the US, I go through a little bit of culture shock all over again. Especially when I walk through the aisles of supermarkets and see entire walls of breakfast cereal or nutrition bars. I get overwhelmed just looking at them that I just stand there for a bit, staring and trying to decide what I want. Same goes for the restaurants here with all their vegan options. Being vegan in LA is so ridiculously easy that I’m once again reminded of how far Korea has to go in that department.
Last but certainly not least, today I had the vegan shawarma at Mendocino Farms for dinner (as per a few lovely readers’ suggestion!). So. freaking. good. It was rich, creamy, filling, flavorful and satisfying. My omni sister totally loved it too. If I ate this every day, I might block an artery though.
So that’s about it for the past week. This week my sister and I are driving up to SF! I’ve been to SF twice before, but not as a vegan, so I’m sure it will be a different experience this time around. And then the following week, guess what, I’m going to PORTLAND!!!! EEEHHH~~~! I’ve been wanting to go to Portland for soooo long and I wasn’t sure if I could afford it this time around, but I just decided to DO IT. Who knows when my next trip to the US will be and I think it’s time I make this dream a reality. If there are any SF or Portland peeps out there, let me know what you think are absolute must-sees and eats (preferably not too expensive). Gosh, I’m going to be so broke after this west-coast trip! Ta ta~~