Yesterday, I mentioned all I wanted to munch on during my upcoming trip to Los Angeles… and my friends at the Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference #LBNC15, now in its 5th year, sent me a little note telling me – “Hey Madelyn!!! There is MORE veggie-friendly goodness in your munching future. Please check out these collaborators…” And here they are:
Amara Chocolate will be providing goodies in the form of Venezuelan Arepas with all the traditional fixin’s. I hope they bring along some of their gluten-free corn-based arepas filled with cheese, black beans and sweet plantain. To me that sounds like a great lunch!!! And for a little something sweet, they’ll make churros with a variety of dipping sauces, like dulce de leche, condensed milk and my favorite, guava sauce!!! Note to self – must bring exercise clothes because I might gain some pounds on this trip.
And then… to appeal to my junk food side, Dirt Dog LA will be making their authentic hot dogs to our conference. I’ve been told that if you’re in Los Angeles and you don’t eat a hot dog, you didn’t really visited Los Angeles. And in true Cali form, Dirt Dogs LA has Veggie Dogs!!!!! They serve them with grilled onions, red and green bell peppers over a variety of buns. In all honesty, I like my veggie dogs with just a squirt of ketchup and mustard, but I am willing to give these LA veggie dogs a try. And have you ever heard of Horchata Ice Cream? I haven’t and I hope one is in my near future…
And my friend Diana, now living in Sonoma County, is working as the pastry chef of Sam’s Social Club in Calistoga alongside Chef Kory Stewart. We spoke yesterday and we already made plans to taste the great creations she and Chef Stewart are offering. Let me tell you a bit of what I already have in mind – the house-made black truffle and white bean tortellini with rainbow carrots, cipollini onions and Piave Vecchio cheese sounds really good or the leek pancakes with avocado and jalapeno, hold the crab please!!! And I would like to finish with Diana’s churros topped with dulce de leche whipped cream. Or just give me the dulce de leche and the whipped cream on the side and I’ll be a happy girl. Can you believe the churros are also served as a breakfast menu item??? Decadent indeed…
Bueno people… I need to actually pack my bags now. Will keep you posted as soon as I arrive on the West Coast.
For years I’ve been meaning to travel again to California. I have been there several times – once with my family when I was about 15 years old and then a few more times in Los Angeles and San Francisco for work. But the last time I set foot in Cali soil was almost 10 years ago… and it’s just been way too long.
For a few years now, California has been calling my name. Reading magazine articles about the farmer’s markets in Los Angeles, looking at pictures on Pinterest on the latest and greatest veggie-centric restaurants in San Francisco, watching on TV about the vegetarian food trucks, chatting to other Cali-based bloggers on how many vegan options are there in menus and how knowledgeable the chefs and servers are about what a vegetarian is… all those things and a few more is what has been luring me to visit.
When I learned about the Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference (#LLBNC15) in Los Angeles, organized by my online friend and blogger, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco, I knew it was the perfect excuse to do some blog-related work, networking and to live, even if for 10 days at least, the California experience. And like I said to my friend Diana, now living in Sonoma Wine Country… I am coming to California TO EAT!!!! So let me tell you a little bit about the experience I am going into at the conference specifically:
The Corner Bakery Café will supply the breakfast… I am very much looking forward to trying their Chilled Oatmeal, or as they call it in Europe, Muesli. And I like that on their menu it’s labeled as Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Low Fat. Three pluses!!!
Fresh Brother’s Pizza will be providing our lunch… and in true California fashion, their menu includes a MegaGrain Crust Pizza, which I am interpreting as an ultra, heavy duty whole grains crust; not the usual white, semolina flour crust here. And they also have a gluten-free crust made from rice, tapioca and potato crust. Hello!!?!?! Which pizzeria in Puerto Rico advertises openly they have gluten-free crust and are actually proud of it!?!? They even have vegan cheese and sausages available… although I have a feeling, I will go for the real cheese one. I am very much looking forward to this…
For the cocktail parties, Anepalco’s Café will be sharing their creations on the appetizer front. Looking in advance at their menu, I hope they come up with some true vegetarian (as in no fish or seafood) options for me. If they can bring an appetizer version of their salads – like the Colorada Beets or the Snow Arugula – I’ll be a happy camper. Besides, I’ll be too busy talking and networking to be eating… NOT!! There’s always time to taste test!
I am also looking forward to visiting a few spots in LA, Sonoma and Napa:
I want to try chef Roy Choi’s new veggie-centric restaurant Commissary where my Puerto Rican friend Monti works sometimes… maybe all the time. I’ll learn more about it when we actually meet in person for a bite or two in the next few days.
I was also dreaming to sit down and enjoy the fabulous Vegetable Tasting Menu at the French Laundry by chef Thomas Keller, but unfortunately for now, the kitchen is currently under renovation. Chef Keller and I will have our rendez-vous on a future trip to Cali or maybe at Per Sé in NYC. Time will tell… in the meantime, I’ll continue salivating over their menus online.
The rest… I am not planning too much. I decided this would be a trip to “go with the flow”. I will be in Los Angeles during the Oscars, so I may or may not be able to meet any celebrities or even a vegetarian/vegan Academy-Award winner. You know who you are… It’s all up to Karma and the Universe. But be certain, I will share as much as I can with you all. Deal??
Are you familiar with Los Angeles and San Francisco and would like to recommend your favorite vegetarian fare or restaurant??? Please share with me in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter. Gracias!!!