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!!!
I’m here!!! I’m here!!! I have not fallen off the face of the Earth!!!
The first part of 2013 has been incredible to me… I had the chance to visit so many places – India, Panama, Peru, Miami… those you already knew about. But I just got back from a trip to Spain doing the Camino de Santiago and a week in Paris. Collectively, I think in the first 8 months of 2013, I’ve only been in Puerto Rico for about 3 months total. I told ya once… be careful what you wish for, because just like the Daughtry song says, “you just might get it all… and then some you don’t want”.
I have been craving some normalcy… some time at home, by myself to write and share with you all the wonderful experiences I’ve had. But doing 3 spiritual trips in less than 6 months takes a toll on you. My mind has not been in the writing mode. That’s why I’ve been kinda quiet lately. If you follow me on Facebook, at least you’ve gotten a chance to check out some of KarmaFree’s recipes from our archives… But my spiritual guru told me it would be like this for a little while. Trying to get a grasp of normalcy while all the experiences and blessings of all these spiritual trips actually sink in. Please bear with me…
I’ve already shared with you some things about Peru – what to buy when you visit and my experience drinking Coca Tea in Cusco. I’ve also shared some of the experiences in India – about sugar-coated fennel seeds or the many ways Indians eat their lentils. But I have not had the chance to tell you about the awesome natural treatments we did in Panama, some of the great vegetarian restaurants we went in Peru or some of the delicious recipes I learned while in India. Let me tell you… I got sweets you will looooooooove!!!! You’ll hear about the experience and the recipes in the weeks to come.
You’ll also learn about my experience of walking the Camino de Santiago or St. James Way… If you’ve seen the movie The Way with Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen, you know what I am talking about. This was my 3rd trip to Spain and I keep learning so much and discovering this country’s gastronomy has to offer. I will also try to show you how I handled walking 114kms in 5 days on a vegetarian diet!!!
And Paris!!!! My lovely, lovely Paris!! If I was in Spain, how could I not hop over to visit my beloved Paris?? This time around I went by myself and got to eat and experience some of my old favorites, but also got a taste of some new things I have been meaning to try… like those lovely falafels at L’As du Falafel that everyone raves so much about.
Thanks for sticking around… thanks for being patient with me. I promise I had all you guys on my mind wherever I was… India, Paris, Spain, Miami, Panama, Peru and even here in my lovely kitchen in Puerto Rico. I will try to make you all feel like you were all there with me…
Bon virtual voyage!!!! Bon Appetit!!!