California Eatin’

Greetings from not-so-sunny California! Never fear – the reason it’s not sunny is because it’s barely 6:00 AM. I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight back to Madison (via good ol’ Minneapolis) after spending a couple days in Laguna Hills on a work trip. Okay, that’s a lie, because I started typing that last Wednesday and didn’t finish it until now. Truth be told, I’m sitting on my lazy butt here in Madison. Cough. With that out of the way, let’s resume the narrative, shall we?

Said work trip was rather frustrating (Kelly + inefficiency = RAAAGE), but at least I got to make up for those annoyances by seeing my grandfather and his wife and eating delicious food. On my second night in California, my grandfather and his wife picked me up at my hotel and we went out to dinner. I very rarely see them, so I was quite excited when I realized that my work trip serendipitously took me very close to their area of residence. I wasn’t sure how they’d feel about the vegan restaurants I suggested, but they weren’t fazed at all and it took it in stride. My step-grandmother had just read a book about veganism, and she asked all sorts of great questions. Hallelujah!

I was so excited to discover at least three all-vegan eateries within 20 minutes of my hotel, and at the rather exuberant recommendation of the hotel desk lady, we hit up the Veggie Grill at Irvine Spectrum. I didn’t realize that VG was so fake-meat-centric, but as it turns out, fake meat is just the ticket to convince omnis that a veg-based diet is totally doable! My grandfather wasn’t super hungry, but he ordered some “chicken” tenders that he said were pretty indistinguishable from their fowl-based brethren. My step-grandma enjoyed a portobella burger, and she couldn’t stop raving about it! I had a chipotle BBQ burger, featuring strips of faux beef, and I was quite surprised to find that I really enjoyed it – normally, I can take or leave fake meat. But this was just plain tasty, and I got to talk about the merits of veganism with receptive relatives, so I’m calling the whole experience a success (even if I didn’t get any pictures).

Another success: vegan pizza! There were only a few restaurants in the vicinity of my hotel that delivered there (I didn’t have a rental car), and I was a bit concerned that I’d have to order a salad and french fries for dinner one night. But a quick internet search led to this post, which taught me that BJ’s Brewhouse has easily veganizable deep dish pizzas. Hallelujah!

"Friday was pizza day, the best day of the week...!"

This crust was seriously tasty. I was initially a bit wary of deep dish pizza, because the only other time I’d had it was in Chicago in my pre-vegan days, and it was so damn cheesy and heavy that it sat like a brick of dairy in my poor tummy for hours afterwards. But this crust was perfectly light and chewy and everything I could have dreamed for in a delivery pizza. I got it with artichoke hearts and tomatoes and a side salad, and ate the whole damn thing in one sitting with no ill effects. Woo!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’m also super excited because I’ll be back in RI on Friday to attend my little bro’s college graduation, yay! What exciting things have you done lately?

Oh, and happy day of the mothers to any moms who might be reading! I can’t wait to see mine later this week. :)

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2 thoughts on “California Eatin’

  1. Great post, Kelly. I always love your stories. And YAY for your grandfather and step-grandmother for being SO awesome! That pizza looks SO good! I just ordered a vegan pizza to be delivered, LOL!

    xoxo,
    LJ

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  2. Isn’t it fun finding good vegan restaurants all over the country? Looking forward to our lunch date at The Garden Grille in Pawtucket, RI this week, Kelly! Thanks so much for The Happy Herbivore cookbook for Mother’s Day:) Can’t wait for your visit home!

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