Sospeso is a mom & pop restaurant nestled up H St NE, the Atlas District. Their two story eatery is flooded with natural light, exposed brick and simple tables. Their food pulls flavors from across the mediterranean, especially Turkey, and old family recipes.Read More
I am absolutely in love with Los Angeles. So much so that during our last trip, Maxim and I decided (on a total whim) to cancel our flight home and extend our trip. We ate almost exclusively at all-vegan restaurants, walked way more than an LA local would feel comfortable with and soaked up every last drop of Vitamin D. While a little (lot) extra at times, I've fallen in love with the vibes. Scroll through for my favorites spots to hit up for drinks, food and a little sweat sesh.
WHAT TO EAT & DRINK IN LOS ANGELES
A cute, 100% plant-based restaurant hip to celeb spotting and outdoor seating. Their batched cocktails are worth the Uber alone, but the real draw is Mexican inspired menus that stay away from processed vegan ingredients (like vegan cheese shreds). Their spicy margarita was everything I wanted in a refreshing cocktail, but it's the chorizo tacos that left me hot and heavy.
This coffee shop (and perfect place to answer emails) is nestled right in Koreatown within The Line Hotel. They serve Pressed Juicery, great coffee, chai pudding and other breakfast basics. The real draw is the ample seating — especially booths — and a bar at the opposite end of the light-drench room. With daily happy hours.
An uber trendy 100% plant-based restaurant with locations all over town. Their food is SO GOOD — so much so that we went back two more times before leaving. They're catering to an instagram audience, with light drenched locations, endless plants, and marble tables. Instead of ordering meal names, you state an affirmation (which is then repeated back to you). For example, you can be Eclectic and you'll receive the buffalo cauliflower.
Right downtown in WeHo, Coffee for Sasquatch is a clean line, ultra modern, v minimal type of LA coffee joint. Their coffee isn't above and beyond, but the location is strong enough to keep you around — and snap some instas.
Insanely trendy (just check all of their locations on insta) and perfect for snapping a few pics. Their pumpernickel bread is vegan, FYI, and a total must order. I also swear by their match tea.
Their brunch is not super vegan, but honestly, though their location is reason enough to make a trip. Get your weekly fill of instagram content while sipping on one of their many cocktails. Grab a spot at the bar or along the communal tables.
*Named best vegan brunch in America* — a fact I do not take lightly, which had me running from spin class straight to one of their outdoor tables. I tried their burrito, beet burger and potato wedges with vegan mayo. I returned to them at LAX for one of their basic bowls with tofu and noodles. Try their treats, as well, like their insanely good chocolate chip cookies or a slice of their pie.
Maxim (self-proclaimed labrador puppy when it comes to his eating choices) called this one of this top 5 favorite meals ever. And he's not alone — this über popular spot tucked off Melrose is a mediterranean inspired tapas joint where everything is made from plants. Some of the popular dishes in this constantly changing menu? Calamari with hearts of palm, taquitos made with impossibly foods meat and lasagna with ricotta cheese.
A kitchy little cafe near Y7 Studio Silver Lake. It's the perfect place to grab some java after your yoga studio.
THEY SERVE THE IMPOSSIBLE BURGER AND THAT'S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. Maxim and I got different burgers, but according to you guys, the truffle burger seemed better.
Last time I was in LA (for 24 hours), we made sure to eat here for dinner. Justin Beiber loved the place, and the dimly lit restaurant and amble floor cushion seating was the exact vibe we were looking for. But it was the food — INCREDIBLE INDIAN FOOD — that sealed the deal and left us begging for more. Unfortunately, the location has since moved to Sunset Blvd, downsized the seating, installed sterilized lighting and cheap, cookie cutter interior and completely ruined the place. If you're getting takeout, this is a must. If not, definitely don't.
Ultra trendy spot for amazing people watching — we had drinks and apps, while watching the world go by on a Thursday night. Also where I famously freaked out more about seeing Ken and Giggy than Lisa Vanderpump. So much so that I yelled for a picture, to which he obliged.
A cute coffee shop that's probably no bigger than 200 square feet — if you're in the north of west hollywood, it's a perfect neighborhood spot to walk to on Saturdays. (Can you tell I'm already planning out our move to LA?)
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN LOS ANGELES
If you're a fan of comedy in any capacity, you HAVE to check this out. Multiple shows a night in the heart of Hollywood where heavy hitters (think: Dave Chapelle, Ali Wong, Tom Segura, etc) just so happen to drop-by. There's a minimum two drinks per person order and almost every seat is a good one.
Get the best views of LA. Go at night, bring a bottle of wine and thank me later.
Hollywood Tour Bus
I remember when I was a little kid, my parents would take us into downtown DC on the weekends to play tourist, take those duck tours and see the city from a tourists point-of-view. In the weirdest way possible, it was one of my favorite things ever. — So continuing on this love, I believe everyone needs to do the Hollywood Bus Tour. It's literally the cheesiest thing you'll ever do, but omg it's so worth it. You get to sit in an open-air bus with ridiculous headphones and listen to someone spit out facts and tidbits about the city of entertainment and Kardashians.
WHERE TO MOVE IN LOS ANGELES
Y7 originally started in Brooklyn as a fun, little side hustle pop-up from Sarah Levey. But the hip-hop yoga class (in a nutshell) quickly gained a cult following, expanding out to Los Angeles. Their indoor-outdoor location in Silver Lake is GORGEOUS, but I went to their WeHo location alsmost every single day I was there. The format is simple, too: Three sets of flows, set to music (lots of hip hop), each done three times. The first round is slow. The second is set to your breath — and the third is a free flow, meaning you add in or takeaway whatever feels good to you. It's in a heated room with candles and "a tribe called sweat" plastered across the walls. And each class left me begging for a studio in DC (hint, hint @Sarah). ALSO MEGHAN MARKLE APPARENTLY GOES TO Y7 WEHO.
I mean, have you really gone to LA if you don't get a selfie mid-hike? But walk to Griffith Avenue and then follow the stream (honestly, though) of people walking up the sidewalk. You'll get to the entrance (with a honor-based mini market for water, etc) and can then decide to do either the East or West path. It's a good hike, too, so don't do it in flip-flops too like a certain person tried to convince me to do.
A local spin studio with two locations — but hit up the WeHo one. It's nestled in an alley off of Melrose Avenue and right next to Alfred Tea Room. Their classes are crazy hard — think out of the saddle runs and heavy climbs every other song. Their facilities rock, their swag is INCREDIBLE and they offer eucalyptus towels after class.
*Pro tip: Take Erin's class.* Her class is easily one of the hardest spin classes I've ever taken with my bike. Bonus points for coming up to me in the middle of a song and adding on weight until I could hardly cycle.
I mean, obviously. A lot of people recommend this place for the celebrity spotting, but tbh it's just an insane workout and I love going to SoulCycle wherever I am.
In the spirit of the holidays and holiday cooking, I partnered with Devils Backbone Brewing Company to come up with the perfect cookie recipe to pair with a beer (aka the perfect present for your dad or boyfriend).Read More
Being one of the only (if not the only) plant-based persons at holiday gatherings can be tough. I've been the only one at Thanksgiving with my family since I stopped eating meat about a decade ago. And back then, vegan was not trendy in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Ahem —aow a-days, there's an annual vegan Thanksgiving. )Read More
If you're a Washingtonian, you know that there's been a huge scene for #madeindc in recent years, including the incredible Union Kitchen — a food accelerator that's helped to launch some of DC's (and my) favorite brands — think Pinch Dumplings, Takorean, Swizzler, 'Chups and Compass Coffee. They even have two grocery stores in the District, just to help these brands land in the hands of customers.
Meet The Makers is their bi-annual (I think) meet and greet event for the general public, food buyers, press + #madeindc businesses. You may have remembered that I went last winter to bring you guys a round-up of every veggie-centric food business to look out for. Aaaand we're back again!
Side note: Scroll to the bottom to see Maxim's amazing name tag for the event.
TRUE MADE FOODS
OKAY. I'm starting off with this one because I only had a taste but I REALLY need to get my hands on a few bottles (hint hint). True Made Foods makes a bunch of sauces and condiments that are 100% made from vegetables. Their Veracha instantly stole my heart — it's vegetable sriracha.
They're in the middle of launching (but follow their insta for updates). They're a drink company that makes "superfood waters" like collagen blends, tumeric mixes, etc.
A long time favorite of mine. When Sasya Foods was just launching last winter, I fell in love with their spreads. And now they've added rice lentil chips to their line. Truth be told — I bought two bags at Taste of DC and have already crushed them. Keep an eye on them, because they're going to be a big player in the DC Food Scene.
Available here and at union kitchen grocery.
Another fan favorite of mine — Jrink is a popular juice + health foods place with locations across the district. Their newly released Pumpkin Chai is to die for, but any of their juice cleanses are transformative as well.
Think: Pork Rinds without the pork. 100% vegan, 60 calories per bag and available throughout the District. But be warned: They’re super addicting. I can eat an entire bag in one setting.
Available from all these locations.
DON CICCIO & FIGLI
A 5-year-old startup dedicated to bringing gourmet, handcrafted, Italian liquor to the District. Their classic limoncello is a fan favorite. But if you love something earthy + heavy, look at Luna Amara.
Super yummy "treats" — aka balls — made from nutritious ingredients. They're filled with things like raspberry, coconut, dates + chocolate. Also: sugar-free, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.
Healthy. nut-free granola company, all available online for now. Their Caribbean Delight is the only vegan flavor — but it's really good.
Another food startup that I've loved watching grow and totally prosper. When I first met LaoBan Dumplings, they were in their humble beginnings and within a few months started popping up around the District. Less than a year later, and they're getting ready to open their first store front — CONGRATS! Veggie + meat options, too.
Amazing, healthy(ish) sorbet and ice-cream . They don't use sugar — their pomegranate pear sorbet is sweetened with apple juice. And you can really taste all of the fruits, instead of tasting the syrup-y substitute with a lot of sorbets.
I meaaaan, if you're not already a huge fan of Republic Restorative, get ready to be. Republic Restorative is a female-founded, female-run distillery. They made waves during the election for creating "Rodham Rye" and actually presenting it to HRC herself. Their newly launched Borough Burbon is wicked smooth — one of the only liquors I've ever wanted to drink straight-up. Also try their spiked lemonade (yum).
You guys know that I'm madly in love with Swapples — the gluten-free yucca waffle. Their founder, Rebecca Peress, famously went from concept to store-shelves in just six weeks. Read her story because she is a total bossbabe.
Available from: Mom's Organic Market, Union Kitchen Grocery.
WatUSee is a vegan foods company. They make these amazing "chickpea puffs" in flavors like zesty ranch + caramel sea salt. But they're not really in startup phase anymore — they're available all over grocery stores. But still delish.
Maxim likes to do what he calls "The Bonus Fry" — basically his pick of the day or event.
The Bonus Fry Blue Ribbon Winner
"EatPizza because they have accomplished modern-day culinary sorcery to create a delicious pizza that can be made in 10 minutes at home, is frozen, but tastes fresh, is organic and non-GMO, and is only 540 calories for the whole pizza."
But also a huge shoutout to these foodie businesses that are also making local, vegan foods + drinks a reality. Make sure to give them all some social media love, and look out for them in local food stores!
- Vegetable + Butcher
- Modern Bar Cart
- Compass Coffee
- Shrub District
- Port City Brewing
- Crepes Parfait
- Atlas Brewing