This past week I went down to my home ‘town’ (population: 13 milion) with my lovely boyfriend. Initially I was concerned about how my friends or family would react to my dietary requirements and if I would, well, starve. My fears were silly after all; I was pleasantly surprised all week!
After a couple of bacon jokes and my parents’ small nervous breakdown over what I would eat for breakfast (bagel with hummus and avocado, btw), I found that everyone was very accommodating and supportive. My Dad found a lovely Greek restaurant, Cafe Graikos, for Lunch one day. It indicated Vegetarian and Vegan options (everyone chose a vegan meal!) such as Vegan Greek pizza, a falafel wrap, pasta with eggplant, and of course some delicious hummus and fresh pita. If I was still living there, I would become a regular- check this place out if you’re ever in the San Fernando Valley!
Also in the Valley was Blu Jam Cafe which was great for brunch. Similar to Cafe Graikos they also had vegan, vegan possible, and gluten free options, indicated with a key on their menu. I got this Veggiewich and it reignited my love of beets. They were the first thing I threw in my grocery bag when I got back home!
Our plan was to go to a couple of amusement parks, Knott’s and Disneyland. I wish I had thought to do more research beforehand because a quick Google search told me that Knott’s Berry Farm is very vegan-friendly! Apparently they serve ‘chikin’ tenders and ‘mac and cheeze’ but it’s not on any of their menus. I just brought along some Clif bars and granola and we were both satisfied for the few hours that we were there.
I think Disneyland was the easiest by far! Not only do they have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies on the carts around the park, I found out that their veg gumbo was vegan as well as the dole whip (as of 2013!!!)!!!! DOLE WHIP. Let me say this again: DOLE WHIP IS VEGAN. I could’ve sworn that this was soft serve ice cream.
Anyway, after a long day of rides, shows, and throwing back a couple of adult beverages, we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. I am always extremely excited to see vegan options that exist without me having to say “no cheese, no mayo, no milk, sub this, sub that” etc, etc. And Rainforest Cafe had my back with their Natural Burger! Completely vegan chickpea burger loaded up with all the good stuff plus some guacamole.
The biggest surprise was definitely Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Many of my friends know that I am a big Forrest Gump fan. I think I could recite that movie from beginning to end, line for line, even after several shots of tequila. So I think I was absolutely floored to find out that this restaurant, known for smuggling shellfish into every one of their dishes, had a separate vegan menu. YES! They even had a tofu scramble breakfast option!
I got the tofu scampi and it was actually quite good. I think tofu prepared in a different way would perhaps be better (it was baked), but the lemon, white wine sauce, and capers more than made up for it! I may try recreating this dish on my own, too!
I realize I should have taken more pictures of my food, but who has time for photos when you’re having so much fun?! In conclusion, vacationing as a vegan was as easy as [vegan] pie.
Now where can I find some dole whip in Vancouver..?