☼ My California Adventures: FOOD ☼

This post is overdue. I went to California, fell in love with it, left, and now I'm going back to MOVE THERE. I thought I would do a few posts dedicated to all the crazy adventures that happened while I was there. This post specifically? Food.

I love traveling because the food is always so different. You can travel a mile out of your hometown and the food is STILL different. Even fast food chains in different states / countries serve different dishes. It's crazy. California was great because it's super accommodating for vegetarians. Almost every restaurant offered vegetarian options instead of just salads. Jackpot. Not to mention, they are also super accommodating for spicy-food lovers. I'm not going to be able to cover everything, but I'll do my best. Now, let's talk about the specifics!

I heard about this place a year or so back. It was created by the CEO of Chipotle and it's the exact same concept just for southeast Asian food. Uhhhh, yes please! The only thing is not everything tastes good together, in my opinion. At Chipotle, you can put whatever the hell you want in your bowl and you know it will taste good. Some of the spices weren't compatible at Shophouse, but overall, it's worth a shot. California is big on Thai food. If you're trying to get into it but don't know where to start, I recommend Shophouse. The employees are knowledgable of the company and will answer any questions for you. I got noodles, tofu, charred corn, peanut sauce, and I don't remember what else. It was pretty good but I recommend the rice instead of the noodles. They also have a wall of sriracha bottles you can actually use. That's when I fell in love.

At most stores, you will have flamin hot cheetos and hot fries. But here? Hot funyuns. Hot puffs. Hot chips. Hot fritos. Baked hot cheetos. XXTRA flamin hot cheetos. Hot cheetos with limon. You never have to search or wander. Every single flamin hot product is EVERYWHERE and it's always fully stocked. I honestly couldn't stop eating the XXTRA flamin hot cheetos. I first found them in maybe 6th or 7th grade in Ohio and became obsessed but they stopped selling them on the East Coast. So..this was quite a moment for me.

So much deliciousness comes from this place. If you are vegan, or if you just want to eat healthy / organic without settling for boring vegetables, this is the place to go. Nachos, chili cheese fries, pizza, burgers, and so much more. When driving by, it looks like just a small cafe but it's a must! It has this beautiful outdoor patio that looks like it came out of a Kardashian's backyard. Eat outdoors and try the nachos. It'll change your life.

Homemade Avocado Toast
In the backyard eating the best avocado toast I've ever had. I swear to God, Andrew is an expert at it. This freshly made toasted multigrain bread with pesto, California avocados, and tons of crushed red pepper? UGH, to die for. It tasted like pizza. I never am eating another breakfast again.

Well, isn't this a given? I will forever regret not being able to try one of their hamburgers before I became a vegetarian but whatcha gonna do. However, the freshly cut fries are still worth the trip. The drive thru line actually had a guy there taking orders in advanced because the line circled around the place a couple of times...but everyone was patient and the fries were SOOOO mouthwateringly delicious. 

I've recently fell in love with sushi more than ever. It was quite simple: white rice, seaweed, sesame seeds, cucumber, avocado, carrots. But it taste amazing! At Shojin, the sushi is no where near simple, so make sure you order something you know you're gonna like. Located in the mall in Lil Tokyo, this place is actually kind of hard to find. So remember: it's in the mall! A tad on the expensive side, but the employees there want to make sure your experience is over-the-top. And I almost forgot to mention: everything here is 100% vegan. The ramen, the sushi, the drinks. No need to worry about chicken broth, eggs, or meat accidentally being in your food. Vegan but love japanese food? You have to stop by Shojin. Just do me a favor and don't order the green tea mojito. Just trust me.
Cafe Gratitude
This place had a lot of hype to me. Don't get me wrong, the food was great. But the service? Not so much. From what I've read in newspapers and what I've seen on food shows, eating at Cafe Gratitude is really an experience. But every encounter I had with an employee was negative. It took them 20 minutes to take our order when the restaurant was basically empty, they barely gave us the time of day or looked us in the eye, and they were giving more attention to people who appeared to be wealthy. Little did they know, I'm a REALLY good tipper. I always go above and beyond. ;P I just get really disappointed when a company doesn't stay true to it's values. "Raw vegan food! We should all be grateful for life! You are magical and amazing!" I'll visit again, because maybe it was just the specific location. But just giving you my two cents.