The last stop on our recent trip was Los Angeles. I was there as a child and it was just as amazing as I remember it to be. I just love this city, something about it’s laid back charm just sucks me in. The one downside was here was a nice little heat wave going on when we were there in July which meant having to spend a fair bit of time indoors, but hey ho! We still enjoyed our time here and I would certainly love to head back one day, once I see the rest of the world lol!
Before heading to LA I did a fair bit of research on where best to stay and actually booked to stay down Venice Beach. However, looking at the vegan restaurants I wanted to go to, I changed my mind and instead booked The Chamberlain in West Hollywood, as obviously all holidays revolve around food. When I got there I realised just what a great spot it is though. Even if I had not done my research it would have taken a matter of minutes to find somewhere different every day for food. There are clearly marked vegan restaurants and shops and I even got vegan ice cream from regular ice cream shops, and I mean ice cream, not its lame friend sorbet! If you are a foodie and want to eat in a different vegan restaurant each night, I really highly recommend this location. If we had stayed elsewhere I just would not have got to these places as it turned out it was too hot to walk more than a meter and we could not connect to the internet to get a taxi or Uber anywhere! If something else was the priority on the trip, I would have stayed closer to the locations for that, but if you are a (vegan) foodie, you will not be disappointed staying in this area!
As for the hotel, it was really nice. We had a gorgeous big room with a living and sleeping area. This turned out to be a godsend when it was so hot we just needed some time indoors watching the TV. The hotel also had a pool on the roof, which was small but nice. We spent the 4th July up there with a few drinks and it was a great location to watch the fireworks. The décor was a gorgeous art deco style, the bar was my favourite area. We didn’t really see much of the staff but what we did they were friendly and helpful. My only complaint would be it took forever for the lift to come each time and I never found the stairs…..
Los Angeles has such an amazing vegan scene. Before heading there for my holidays I did as I always do and looked up all the restaurants and was amazed by just how much there is. However when I got there I was actually even more surprised by how busy these vegan places are! Every single place we went was full! It really was great to see such well supported vegan restaurants. I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of the clientele were not vegan either, which is even more awesome!
Before going here I read a lot of hype. It worried me it may not live up to it and even more so it may just be a bit pretentious and wanky. One review even said if you are not famous don’t bother going. I was genuinely nervous upon arrival of what to expect, but I needn’t have been. The food and service were fantastic. The place was really busy, so it was definitely slightly slower service than a lot of places, but not to the point I felt abandoned. The server was really willing to explain everything on the menu, which was great. She didn’t judge us for not knowing what things were, which can be an issue in some places of this nature (I can’t be the only one who has ever been made to feel a fool for not knowing what some sort of fancy food was). We ordered all the food, starters, mains, sides and desserts and it was all fantastic.
The flavours were all well combined and balanced. The portions were also great sizes. I am not sure what more you can ask for! The sweets were a bit too sweet for my taste, but that is my problem not the foods. My husband really enjoyed them and he is the real sweet tooth so his opinion is worth more than mine on that! Surprisingly, one of the best things in the meal was just the coleslaw which came with my husbands main. It was just so delicious, really fresh. When we got the bill I had to take a double check. We had eaten more than we ate anywhere else, yet it was practically half the price of others meals. I couldn’t believe it. A huge big thumbs up from me on this place, the food, atmosphere and service were all fab. And try the cactus, they made it up for us as a side portion to try, despite it not being on the menu!
This is the perfect place for a couple like me and my husband as there are options for both omnis and vegans. The vegan menu does have more options I think though. There are too many to choose from and you can make your own pasta and bowls, so the possibilities are pretty much endless. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal which I had here. The pasta was cooked to perfection and sauce was very tasty. I really wanted to try the Mac and Cheese but other options were too tempting, if you ever eat it, let me know how it is!
Paul had the vegan burger and was underwhelmed by it, which was a shame (and yes I did pick an Omni restaurant specifically for him and yes, he did eat vegan anyway *facepalm*). So my advice if you go, avoid the burger but all the rest was really nice. Just the novelty of eating pasta with so many options was enough for me!
Real Food Daily
Real Food Daily is open for breakfast and lunch all week. There are the usual pancakes and omelette options, but then there are a few wraps and salads to have for lunch as well. The great thing is they serve brunch until they close, so when you need waffles and bacon at 2pm in the afternoon, they will make them for you. I have to be honest and say this was not the best food I had in Los Angeles, but it was good. If you only had a day, I would recommend any of the other restaurants on the list, if you have a week, go here!
Doomies Home Cooking
OMG, take me back. The jalapeno poppers were everything I hoped they would be after almost 2 years of not having them. The burger was absolutely spot on too. As was my husbands pulled jackfruit. It was just all fantastic. Nothing was healthy, there are pretty much no vegetables in sight, but my god is this just the best vegan junk food. I really want a Doomies in Edinburgh!!! In case anything I wrote before now did not already put the idea in your head, if you are ever in Los Angeles and you like junk food. Go here. That is all I have to say!
Night + Market
Night + Market was such a find. It is a pretty small and kind of dingy looking restaurant from outside (I actually thought it was closed). But inside, it is bright and open, although does resemble a couple of tables at a street market (but I assume that is intentional!!). For me the mixture of flavours and spice was just amazing. The food was pretty simple and cheap, but just incredible! As with Hugo’s the other great thing is they serve meat and vegan options, so for those who have both in the group, this is a perfect place to come.
My noodles were cooked to perfection and the flavour was out of this world. It was on the spicy side, but they leave the spice on the side of your plate so it is possible to make it spicier or less so to your own taste. I must admit the service was not amazing but not enough to put me off. I think they really just left you to it, which is fine by me! My drink was never empty and my food was prompt. If I lived in Los Angeles, I am pretty certain this would be my most visited restaurant! Almost every day since we have returned from our holiday when my husband asks what I want for tea, the reply is Night + Market, that is how good it was.
Top Places to Visit
There is so much in LA it really just depends on what you are in to. If we had more time we definitely would have done a theme park too, but we enjoyed just wandering about in the different areas with the time we had instead. So really I just have a couple of recommendations, other than the usual spots like Hollywood, downtown, the observatory, Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills…….
Museum of Death
This may not be for everyone, but I loved it! It was not what I expected, it is pretty small and there did not seem to be much in the way of “artefacts” more just insane amounts of information. Some of the most infamous killers in America have a room or corner devoted to them. Most of the information was new to me too which is generally not the case with serial killers (I know I am super morbid…). It is a bit expensive for what it is, but for us it was a great way to spend an hour, least of all to get out of the insane heat.
I know everyone says it, but this is a must visit. A walk along the boulevard really makes you feel like you are in LA. It is also just so eclectic and there is some great street art on the buildings too. We walked from Venice Beach to Santa Monica and back, it was a perfect stroll. My only advice, don’t go to early because it can feel a bit intimidating without other tourists there. Close by, the canals are well worth a wander too. There are some super quirky houses and boats to discover and it gets you away from the crowds at the beach.
Cruelty Free Shopping
The Detox Market
This was a great little shop, it looks really fresh and simple and is full of cruelty free products. They also seem to have fairly regular product launches and reps in too. If you want to find new cruelty free brands, def give it a look.
Another great cruelty free shop, it was a bit more shop and less pretty, but a good choice of products all the same. The other bonus was each brand was clearly marked vegan if it was too. We came away with a lot of products from this shop due to this novelty alone.
Have you been to LA, did I miss any must visits??