L.A. Part 1: The Beach Town Eats
- I tried to find the “right time” to post this but with everything that happened this year, the “perfect time” never happened but I still wanted to share my thoughts and experiences about L.A.
Visiting L.A. in the depth of the Chicago winter (January) was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in life. It wasn’t tropical weather, but the copious amount of sunlight, mildly warm weather, and gorgeous palm trees helped me forget about the winter I was escaping from.
L.A. has a reputation of being an obnoxious place for fake people and while that is true in some parts of L.A., it felt like a normal city that just happened to be very spread out placed in the middle of gorgeous nature. And the greater attention paid to health, plant-based eating, and tea made L.A. an extremely charming city for me. I feel like being healthy and plant-based is scoffed at sometimes in Chicago, but in L.A. it’s mainstream – what’s not to like about that?! See below for my L.A. Part 1: Beach Town Eats blog post.
For the first part of our trip, we explored the gorgeous and relaxing beach towns. Were they cool or the center of culture in L.A.? No, but they had breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains. I will never forget those sunsets. And they also have delicious food that you can snack on while appreciating these gorgeous views. So let’s get into the food and drink highlights in L.A.!
- This eclectic, hip brewery has a charming rooftop patio that you can enjoy in January, how exciting and foreign for us Chicagoans!! We came here for their brunch and they had a really fascinating collection of plates. Their tater tots were perfectly seasoned with Togarashi and crispy. I’d come back just for these tots. For our mains, we ordered the Buddha Belly Feast and Soft Baked Eggs.
- Their Buddha Belly Feast had a compilation of different components, which came with Szechuan style eggplant stir fried with crunchy vegetables, zesty kimchi, jasmine rice, and chilled soba noodles. All of the components were seamless together. The Soft Baked Eggs were also insanely delicious. The eggs were basking in a savory tomato ragout, sautéed spinach, and light cream sauce that was reminiscent of a gravy over the eggs.
Uncorked, The Wine Shop
- A Hermosa Beach adventure is not complete without a wine tasting! We did the $15 wine tasting at Uncorked, which featured 5 diverse wine samples from France, Italy, Argentina, and California. I loved the relaxing vibe here and we definitely took some wine back with us to Chicago. It’s also dog-friendly I might add.
- Being big fans of Indian food, we had to try L.A.’s Indian food so we enjoyed some take-out from Spice Six. I was really excited to see that they had Tofu Tikka on their menu, which you don’t see at most Indian restaurants in Chicago. This way, vegans can try some delicious Indian flavors that are traditionally prepared with paneer or chicken. Their menu is vast ranging from curries to wraps. We started with the Samosa Chaat – featuring their flavorful chana masala on top of a well-made Samosa.
- We ordered the Eggplant Bharta and Paneer Tikka Masala. The Eggplant Bharta was a vegetarian delight with the tandoor roasted eggplant. The Paneer Tikka Masala stole the show because the sauce was mouthwateringly delicious with peppers and onions. The tomatoes had more of a prominent flavor than other butter masalas I have had. The portions were large and we were quite satisfied.
- Venice Beach has a plethora of places to eat at but I had to try Butcher’s Daughter as a 100% vegetarian restaurant! First of all, it looks straight out of a picturesque ad for why life in L.A. is heavenly. Secondly, they have so many healthy drinks in addition to their vegetarian food. And they have brunch till 4pm so what’s not to love about them. I am a late riser and like to take my time getting up.
- We ordered the Surfer’s Breakfast and Avocado Toast Benedict with a side of their Impossible maple and sage vegan sausage. The Impossible maple and sage vegan sausage was absolutely heavenly, it was the highlight of the meal. The surfer’s breakfast was hearty with scrambled eggs, avocado, pinto beans, cheddar, and green salsa. It was a fulfilling wrap.
- The Avocado Benedict also had a generous serving of avocado spread, perfectly poached farm eggs, and hollandaise on top. The rosemary hashbrowns were subtle but pleasant. I think the hollandaise could have been more exciting but it was overall a good benedict. I’d love to try their dinner as well and one of those large kale salads I saw people having.
Vegan Ice Cream at Salt n’ Straw
- Salt n’ Straw is a West Coast favorite but I’ve never been that into ice cream so it doesn’t excite me the way it usually excites my travel companion. Considering that ice cream is dairy and I try to not eat too much of it, I was thrilled to see that Salt n’ Straw has 6 vegan flavors! How incredible?! I got the Rocky Road with Aquafaba Marshmallows and it tasted like regular ice cream to me. It was rich and sweet and who doesn’t love Aquafaba marshmallows!
Four Sigmatic Shroom Room
- Where can you go and celebrate legal mushrooms? In Venice Beach of course. We visited the Four Sigmatic Shroom Room, a tiny store in a narrow outdoor alley. They will make samples for you and have all kinds of beverages celebrating mushrooms to help with energy, relaxation, and sleep! We purchased the Mushroom Cacao Tea, which is supposed to help with relaxation and sleep and it sure helped me with that. I fell asleep within 30 minutes of having it and slept for a long time. It was glorious and magical.
- Quite a few people had recommended this spot to me so I had high expectations and boy was I not disappointed! It’s hectic and crowded here but they do have a delightful garden to feel relaxed after getting through the scary line. You have to get a ticket, wait your turn, and then order at the counter. You can do a picnic selection of bread, veggies, cheese, fish, or order something off the menu.
- Since we were there before 2pm, we were able to try their brunch options. They have so many gorgeous looking salads so we ordered a Greek Salad, which was divinely made. They also had a toothsome vegetarian Croque Madame with a sultry mornay sauce, gooey gruyere, fried egg, luscious greens, and tomatoes. If you do eat fish, then try their smoked fish as it comes with their exquisitely made bread and grain mustard. Gjusta was easily one of the best restaurants I went to in L.A.
Alas, it was time to leave the sleepy and beautiful beach towns for L.A’s hipster paradise: Silver Lake and Echo Park. Check out my blog post next week for some glorious food and beverages we had. For other travel blog posts, click here!