Vegan Eating in Southern California

I’m sorry my posts have been infrequent lately. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a lot of time to try out new recipes and put together new posts. But, I had a half day at work today, since we’re coming up on a three day weekend. It’s nice to have a little break, and a chance to do a new post.

I was in LA a week ago for work, and while I was there, I tried out a vegan restaurant in Ventura. It was called Mary’s Secret Garden. It was a cute little place! It was nice out, so we decided to eat outside.

Their specials included a coconut cauliflower soup that had a curry flavor as well. It was really yummy, though I didn’t get a photo.

For the main courses we ordered the Syrian Falafel Wrap and the Tofu Pad Thai with a side of grilled pita, and a pot of tea. Everything was really tasty! I would definitely recommend this place if you find yourself in Ventura.

Most of the trip I was in Pasadena, which seems to have a lot of vegan/vegan friendly restaurants. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of the food I ate at other places, but they’re all worth mentioning in case anyone finds themselves in Pasadena.

One place I tried was called Tender Greens. They are mostly not vegan, but they have a vegan salad which is actually really yummy. I ended up getting it twice during my trip. It has farro wheat, cranberry and hazelnut quinoa, cucumber, green hummus tabbouleh, and greens. I like that they put some thought into their vegan salad and took the time to make it yummy.

I also tried out the Himalayan Cafe, which also isn’t all vegan, but they have vegan options. They were really friendly there, and the food was really yummy. The chef even came out to ask us how everything was and seemed proud of his food and happy that we were enjoying it. We had vegetable momos, which are like gingery dumplings – very yummy! We also had Aaloo Kauli, which is a cauliflower and pototo dish, and Aaloo Paratha, which is thin bread stuffed with mashed potato and served with a mango chutney.

It’s not always easy to find vegan food when you travel, but in Pasadena and California in general, I usually find plenty of yummy food to choose from!

On a completely different topic, before I wrap this up, I’d like to make a recommendation to anyone planning a barbeque over Labor Day weekend. If you’re looking for a vegan hot dog that is actually good, try Field Roast Vegan Frankfurters. They are so much better than any other vegan hot dog I’ve ever tried.

Other brands are okay, but usually a bit rubbery. These taste much better and have a better texture than any other brand I’ve tried. They’re really good when you saute them in a little olive oil because the outside get’s crispy. They say they can be grilled too, though I haven’t tried it myself. I bet they would be really good right off the grill though! Hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend!

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Pasadena Day Trip: Green Earth Vegan and Huntington Botanical Gardens

It’s been a while since I posted last…busy week! But I have more to share from my trip to California a couple weeks ago. I ended up taking a day trip to Pasadena for work, so I decided to check out a vegan restaurant while I was there. Pasadena seems to have a decent number of vegan options. This one was called Green Earth Vegan.

It was a cute place with a nice ambiance, and the food was good. I had a really hard time choosing what to order, so I asked the waitress what her favorite thing on the menu was. She said the Classic Burger so I choose that to end my indecisiveness. I normally wouldn’t order a veggie burger at a vegan restaurant, but since it came with a recommendation I went for it. It was actually pretty good! I didn’t get a photo though…guess I was too hungry! I did get photos of the other things we ordered though… Spring Rolls, Chow Mein and Crispy Chow Mein.

Overall, I liked this place and I would go back if I found myself in Pasadena again. They have an eclectic menu and a lot of other dishes that look pretty yummy.

While we were in Pasadena, we also took a trip to the Huntington Botanical Gardens. We only had a couple hours there, so we focused on the Japanese Garden and the Cactus/Desert Garden. It was a good excuse to try out my new Lens Baby.

They also have a variety of other gardens such as Australian, Chinese, Herb, Jungle, Shakespeare, etc. It’s a pretty big place! I would like to go back someday and explore some of the other gardens that I missed.

The Desert Garden fed my growing obsession with succulents and cacti. I’m slowly gathering a small collection on my kitchen windowsill. They’re just so cute and the only plant I can seem to keep alive! The two little pots with jade plants are cuttings from my sister’s backyard.

Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara

One of the restaurants I like in Santa Barbara is Sojourner Cafe, which is downtown on Canon Perdido off of State Street. They have vegan and non-vegan food. Everything is labeled if it’s vegan or gluten free, which makes it a good choice if you’re going out with a group that has different food restrictions.

We tried the Vegan Jumbo Pasta Shells, Split Pea Soup, Cornbread Muffin, and Chili Tempeh Tacos.

I’ve had the stuffed shells before, and it’s where I got the idea to try a vegan version of my own. The garlic bread that came with it was also quite tasty.

The split pea soup was also good, and I’d like to try out a recipe at home. Does anyone have a good vegan split pea soup recipe?

The chili tempeh tacos were on the spicy side, but yummy. The cornbread helped cool down the spice.

We couldn’t leave without trying out the vegan chocolate cake. Sometimes icing on cakes in stores and restaurants isn’t very good, but this icing was pretty yummy…almost like a light chocolate mousse. Yum!

If you find yourself hungry in Santa Barbara, Sojourner’s is definitely a good choice. They also have started composting, and they purchase produce from local growers, so you can can feel good about your yummy meal!