A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the land of movie stars, endless sunshine, and juicing. For people who love to eat right, get outside, and have fun, L.A. is nothing less than a sprawling, expansive playground. As a vegan, I spent a weekend dining at the most haute plant-based restaurants and shopping at the chicest cruelty-free boutiques. Here’s what I did on my weekend getaway in the city of angels, from dusk till dawn:
This vegan donut shop opens at 7AM and is a great way to start off your weekend. I recommend grabbing a small hot coffee and the Polar Berry Club donut. It has a lemon glaze, fresh berries, and freeze dried raspberries on top of a raised donut. The mint leaf was a refreshing garnish and made the presentation beautiful. You can also build your own donut with toppings and fillings. There are dozens of pre-made donuts to choose from and thousands of build-your-own combinations. With outdoor seating, this is a great wakeup call and welcome to the city.
Just down the street from Donut Friend on the way to Griffith Observatory is this organic, vegan, cold-pressed juice shop. The Juice is a staple of the Highland Park neighborhood it calls home. It just would be so not-L.A. to not go in. Grab a juice to go or one of their raw snacks for nibbling. The décor is cute and bright and totally made my morning.
This stunning observatory is the best spot to view the L.A. skyline and the Hollywood sign. Parking is free and available 24/7 to the public. Many people come here to hike and walk around. It’s on the side of a mountain overlooking the city. It’s best to go early in the morning because the L.A. smog settles later in the day and you won’t be able to see the skyline. This was the perfect place to snap a few photos and admire the gorgeous deco architecture of the observatory itself before it got too hot. The winding drive up to the parking lot put me in the perfect vacation mood and I rolled those windows down, sunglasses on, mood tunes set. The lawn in front of the observatory is a great place for a picnic, too, and you can bring food on premises. There are lots of people walking their dogs and enjoying the rocky, Mediterranean dessert feeling terrain. So L.A.!
Musician and animal rights activist Moby opened this super hip all-vegan 100% organic restaurant to raise money for animal rights. All proceeds go to the nonprofit Mercy for Animals, which makes indulging so very easy. We tried the lemon poppy seed pancakes and the tofu scramble. The pancakes lemon-forward flavor balanced out the rich coconut whipped cream and paired perfectly with the savory and flavorful scramble. Iced tea is a must, and you can also get kombucha by the glass in flavors like rose tea. You will totally feel like an ‘in’ member of Vegan Club after this visit. We recommend the patio for the full experience. Reserve your table a few weeks ahead of time when you book your flight so that you are sure to get a seat. There is consistently a wait.
After brunch, head west to Venice Beach for some sunshine and a true California experience…
Venice Beach is where health-conscious yoga-loving fun-in-the-sun culture fully blooms. Park anywhere you can find a spot and walk up and down Rose for the most laid-back experience. We stayed away from the main strip along the beach and over on Rose Avenue. Hit up Moon Juice, another great vegan juice spot. Their pre-bottled juices are so pretty and come in interesting and pastel-hued flavors. Definitely worth a peek.
Spend the late afternoon hanging out in Venice Beach. When you start to feel peckish head here:
Across the street from Moon Juice is Café Gratitude, an all-vegan restaurant. It’s one of three locations by the same name in L.A., but this one is my favorite. It’s closed patio and all-around glass make it a bright, light haven for healthy foodies. They have a made-to-order smoothie station and an expansive bar for sipping a leisurely plant-based beverage. The shops around this location are cute and not overcrowded with tourists so you can relax, blend in, and go with the flow.
This vegan boutique is the only one of its kind in the world, and it’s between the beach and Café Gratitude. Off the main shopping roads, the small but packed shop is a fun place to pop in a snap a cute outfit or even just a new nail polish shade.
Read on for the place you absolutely must go for dinner, and more…
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