We have been out of Micronesia and in the USA now for about two and a half weeks. We have being doing a lot of on-the-go eating, most of which has been pretty lackluster, but we’ve also had some great meals at the many many many veg eateries around. Apologies for the lack of photos – at first I kept forgetting to keep it with me.
We spent just two nights in Waikiki, so didn’t get to try out everything available, but we did have some great food.
We had dinner on the first night at Simple Joy, a local all vegan restaurant. We felt like we had just wandered out of the desert and into a huge, lush oasis when we saw the menu – it seemed like forever since we had vegan cheese or mock meat of any kind, or even tempeh. We ate their quesadillas as a starter, which were perfectly warm, melty, and so wonderfully cheesy that I may actually have shed a tear. Even Mr got excited about them and said something along the lines of, “You should remember to mention them on the blog-thing”.
For mains I ordered the lemongrass tofu and Mr had the sizzling pancake. The tofu was fantastic, but I wasn’t so sold on the pancake. It tasted good, but I didn’t like the texture much- it felt too gooey to me. Mr loved it though. All in all it was a very nice welcome-back-to-the-land-of-good-vegan-restaurants meal.
The second night in Waikiki we decided to try out Loving Hut. The service was good, if a little overwhelmingly helpful (something I’ve come to expect in the US), the menu had a good range of healthy and not-so-healthy options, and the food was quite cheap. Unfortunately, by time of writing, we have been to so many Loving Huts that I can’t remember what we ate there, except that we got the pot stickers, which were a little bland.
Our next two nights in Hawaii were spent on the North Shore of Oahu, cooking for ourselves in a backpackers, so no reviews except to state that supermarkets have such a good range of vegan stuff here in the USA. Melbourne is well served by the Radical Grocery, of course, but my former non-city dwelling self in very jealous of American vegans. All supermarkets should have peanut butter zig-zag chocolate fudge vegan ice-cream (to eat on the beach).
To say that we were tired when we got to LA would be a serious understatement. After a few big weeks before we left Pohnpei, and a hectic few days in Hawaii, we just about slept the whole time we were there. Don-t worry, we’re going back in a few weeks, so we’ll see things then.
We did do a little eating out though, with our friend Mike, who kindly put up with us staying with him.
First, we went to Scoops, the famed non/vegan ice creamery. There were four vegan flavours when we went and, of course, we got all four between us. They were Almond and amaretto (fabulous), Oreo peanut butter (good), Oreo and vanilla (ok), and melon and pistachio (clear favourite).
On another night we went to a vegetarian restaurant in Silver Lake called Elf. It was supposed to be very very good, and we heard it talked up by a lot of vegetarians before we went, so we were excited. It was fancy, and had prices to match (though still reasonable in comparison to Australia). We got a starter of vegan fondue to share. It was really creamy, deep-flavoured and everyone loved it.
The mains were a little less inspiring. The non-vegan mains sounded and smelled divine- pasta bakes, and many cheesy offerings. The vegan mains sounded good, but we were a little underwhelmed by the results. I ordered a main of risotto, which was to come with chillies and a mole sauce. It was ok, but not great. Mr ordered a vegetable tagine with summer squash, which came out as a huge serving, but wasn’t very flavourful at all. In all the atmosphere was great, the service was good, the fondue was fantastic, but the mains seemed a lot like they were made by a vegetarian convinced that living without cheese must be horrible, and vegan food can’t be tasty.
Last stop of note in LA was Kind Kreme Ice Cream, a raw vegan* ice cream spot. I’ll start by saying the ice cream was really good. However we were surprised to see that they were selling honey, and had honey in some of their flavours. When I asked the woman behind the counter which ones were honey free, she went into a diatribe about how the honey was ethically farmed by her father and cell phones kill bees, so its totally fine and vegan to use honey.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t care a lick what you choose to eat or not eat, or sell or not sell. I just mind when people try to redefine vegan as being whatever they feel is ethical, as opposed to what it is – no consumption of animal products. None. I’m happy to hear discussion about whether honey is ethical, and I’m glad to hear she has thought about the bees involved in her products, but it still isn’t vegan. Free range eggs aren’t vegan, freely given milk isn’t vegan, bone char from cows who died naturally isn’t vegan, and honey from bees, no matter how happy they are, isn’t vegan. Just because you consider yourself vegan, but like something non-vegan, doesn’t mean that product becomes vegan.
Phew. Glad that rant is over, aren’t you?
Stay tuned for an update about the totally wonderful vegan wonderland that is San Francisco and the Bay Area.