Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cross-Country Road Trip - Part 4, Los Angeles

My final stop in the US before arriving at the final destination of San Francisco was Los Angeles, California.  I have a cousin there and I heard there were a lot of good places to eat.  So I headed to my cousin's apartment in Culver City.

I hadn't actually seen my cousin Eric in many years, but he's grown up to be just delightful.  He's so incredibly funny, I must have spent the entire evening when I arrived cracking up.  Remember that, in Omaha, my host Tim gave me a loaf of French bread?  Well, I never quite got around to eating it.  Sitting with Eric, I remembered about it and said, "Oh my gosh, I have a loaf of French bread in my car that's probably pretty stale now!"  Eric looks at me with a straight face and goes, "Why are we still sitting here?"  We retrieved it from my car and he made like Hulk and broke it into parts that were small enough to fit into the toaster oven and we cooked it and ate it with hummus.  I talked with him a lot and I do believe I've convinced him to give veganism a "college try."  I bought him The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, but I don't know if he's started it at all at this point.  Hopefully!  His mom had read The China Study and was leaning plant-based the last time I saw her but I don't know if she's still doing it.  I sure do wish I could spread the joy of being vegan to my whole family, as I do believe that I, despite not having been born a very happy or positive person, have only been able to achieve happiness, positivity, and health as a result of my everyday decision to live compassionately.  We'll see what happens with my family.

It was actually Eric's birthday (when I was in Las Vegas, it was Daryl's birthday, too, and in Omaha, Tim's birthday had been just a week earlier), so he had plans to go to a casino with his friends the day after I arrived.  I guess he's big on gambling.  He says his friends keep him in check and stop him from making bad decisions, but, of course, I cannot help but worry because, as I mentioned in my last post, I really don't approve of gambling.  I would have loved to hang out more with my blood relation, but it was not to be on this particular trip.  No big deal, though, I woke up early in the morning and decided to go to LA Vegan Crepe, a fairly new entirely-vegan creperie.

Even though I had every intention of getting, you know, a crepe from the creperie, I failed in that because I got all distracted by them having a croissant sandwich.  Pre-vegan, I LOVED me a croissant.  Many times, I've thought about making them myself, but I have never done it because even if I use Earth Balance, there is just nothing healthy about these light, buttery, crispy rolled breads.  There's a part of me that feels pretty "Good riddance to you, croissants!" about them.  Still, there it was on the breakfast menu: Tofu & Cheese Croissant.  I got it with added "bac'on."  I don't know why "bacon" is spelled like that, but maybe it's because the owner of the place is French and has a thick accent and seems confused about some stuff (more on that soon).
I enjoyed this breakfast, but I would not say the croissant was quite up to par.  There's a part of me that really believes I could do better myself.  This was just a little too hard, not light and buttery enough.   As tempting as it was to get this croissant, I maybe should have gone for the Veggie Lovers dinner crepe.  It's a creperie, after all.

The owner was quite chatty, and I said something about my being diabetic and he told me I could cure that by going vegan.  Arrrrrrrrgh!!!  That's what you say to me if you want to piss me off.  I explained that I am, indeed, vegan, and that I do not have type 2 diabetes, which is curable with diet, but type 1, which would require some sort of cell regeneration combined with immune system-suppressing drugs to cure. No one has reversed their type 1 diabetes, not even those people who eat only raw food but no fruit or other carb-heavy raw food who do not give themselves insulin.  They may not be injecting insulin, but if they ate any carbs, you better believe they'd still need to give themselves insulin for it.  He told me that his wife is a holistic health practitioner, or something, and she said it was curable, and I got prettttttty sick of listening to him and went back to chewing angrily.

I do believe that being vegan will help with various medical conditions, especially if you eat a diet of varied veggies, fruit, and whole grains while eating very low in fat.  I recommend it for the health of anyone.  And although I do believe it is easier to control my blood sugars as a result of eating vegan, my blood sugars still require constant attention through testing my blood multiple times a day and responding to everything I eat with an injection of insulin.  It's true that if you eat a very low calorie diet of raw low or no-carb vegan foods like greens and other veggies and nuts, you can reduce your insulin injected to very little.  That is, in fact, how type 1 diabetes was generally treated before anyone even knew there was such a thing as insulin.  No doubt, should there be some sort of catastrophic world event and I managed to survive but was unable to obtain insulin, I'd switch to the starvation diet that type 1 diabetics in the days before insulin used to do to extend their lives.  Right now, though, I have insulin and I don't want to be any skinnier than I already am and I want to eat fruit and grains and enjoy life, so I'll eat and give myself insulin, just like non-diabetics do naturally. 

A bit later, I met up with my friend Kedar to go to The Veggie Grill, which is surely the most important restaurant chain there has ever been.  They have 16 locations along the west coast of the US (although none yet in the Bay Area) and, judging by how crowded the Santa Monica location where I met my friend was, I'd say this entirely-vegan restaurant is very popular with omnivores.  Why?  Because it's fast food!  Except that it's delicious vegan fare that is far better for you than eating at Quiznos or wherever else omnis usually go for a fast meal.  It's got the same appeal as, say, Panera Bread, in that it's fast but fresh food that is relatively inexpensive, and although I enjoy Panera's Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich and their veggie soup, this is way better because it's ALL vegan and there are just so many choices.  Kedar and I got three things to share.  They all involved vegan meats, so if you don't like that, this is probably not the best place for you.  But it's pretty great for people who think there's no replacement for animal meat!  It's not something I eat a lot, but I enjoyed this meal.
Here was the Thai Chickin' Wrap with a side of their Mac-n-Cheese.
This was the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin', which I understand is maybe the most popular item on the menu.  On the side is the Cauli-Mashed Potatoes + Gravy.  And, last, we got:
The Crispy Chickin' Wings, buffalo style, with really excellent ranch dressing.

Even though we'd eaten SOOOOOO much (and I took quite a bit of it with me for the road), Kedar thought we should make room in our tummies to go down the street to this small place called Interim Cafe for their homemade, organic, sugar-free, vegan soft-serve ice cream.

I'd been hesitant, all like, "I don't know if I can fit that into my belly right now!" but when I saw that sign, I could not resist.  What's a little 3oz serving?  Well, probably about 2 units of Humalog insulin, but what of it?
This was truly excellent!  I definitely recommend it, even though the restaurant itself is not even vegetarian and serves fish.  I'm glad they have all these vegan and gluten-free options, but I still cannot help but feel a bit upset when I see sea food on a menu, as it's so incredibly destructive to catch fish.  But still, pretty damn vegan-friendly.  No disrespect.

After that, I drove to San Francisco.  My car is still fithy from the drive, despite SF's "rainy season."  The rainy season here is akin to Pittsburgh's dry season, but still, my little car with a bumper sticker that says "Love People, Cook Them Tasty Food" appears to have been washed with dirt.  I'm so excited to get back to my usual style of blogging, which is about the food I make myself.  Every day, when I eat the healthy, vegetable-heavy food I've cooked, I feel so happy and energized.  My little sister's kitchen is now stocked with all my cooking gear that I brought in my car from Pittsburgh.  I took my spices, my Costco bags of grains, and anything else I could fit.  This is the start of a new life for me.  I just have to find a damn job!  I will, though, I just know it.


  1. You really managed to pack a lot of fun and food into your drive — sounds like the trip was manageable, if long. We have a veggie grill here _ two actually — and even though I'm not a big fan of fake meats unless I make them myself and know what's in them, I've been to the veggie grill quite a few times. I usually get tempeh instead of fake meat, and am always happy with my meal. You can go there with just about anyone and they will like it, which is handy.

    My son and his gf live in SF.

    1. Ooh, it sounds so good to get it with tempeh instead of a wheat meat! I dig wheat meats (seitan), but I know it's not a whole food.

      Do they now? What neighborhood? Are they veg?

    2. I think seitan is fine. It's the mystery chicken that worries me. Yes, they live in lower Haight. They are veg but eat vegan most of the time.

    3. Haha, I can understand that because it's chicken's meat-like enough to be a bit spooky, butttttt, I'm pretty sure it's a chicken-style seitan, with vital wheat gluten and veg broth and other light-colored flavoring foods like garlic and onion powder and probably chickpea flour or other chickpea-sourced things.

      That's awesome, maybe someday I'll meet your son and his girlfriend just coincidentally. It's a small, big world.

  2. Girl, ain't no such thing as a Diabetes Interlude! It's the whole damn sonata.

    Truly though, more carbs less BG spikes? I am in sister.


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