L.A Story

Los Angeles, California

LA is probably my greatest love in this world. I have always known since spotting a picture of Mary-Kate and Ashley on a sunny red carpet sporting some hideous 90’s attire in a trashy magazine, that I wanted to be where they were -I was 7 or 8?? I soon learned this was the land where everyone paid for spray tans regardless of the year round sun, dodgy earthquakes, traffic for days, diet fads and plastic surgery obsessions – none of which took my interest.

L.A Story, Steve Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker
I was  more focused on the old Hollywood history and film and television studios.  I will admit my obsession with Marilyn Monroe, old movies, aswel as 90’s sitcom nostalgia definitely romanticised my definition of “Hollywood”…

 

Friends, warner brothers studios 

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Marilyn 
…but like every other girl my age, I’d watched The Hills so I wasn’t naive that I would walk into a magical land of cinema….although that show did seem to make it look like everyone got their dream job just by clicking their fingers,


at least we have Vanderpump Rules now to bring us back to earth and everyone can see majority are just working in restaurants.

Anyway, my point is I always knew I wanted to live in LA …and I did! In 2012 to early 2013 I lived in Sherman Oaks, California while attending a full time acting program. I always return to LA for visits and hope to move back properly in the near future…but for now I am just going to reminisce as I think of some of my favourite and vegan friendly places the city has to offer.

 

 

Veggie Grill- ๐Ÿ”๐ŸŸ๐Ÿช

I love Veggie Grill!! …I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest option out there, but it’s not too bad! (Obviously a healthier option then In n Out). Veggie Grill has burgers and fries, Buffalo wings or salads. My pick would be the Caesar Salad and the Chill out Wings.

Multiple locations in California: http://www.veggiegrill.com

@luxuryvegan

 veSTATION ๐Ÿœ๐Ÿฑ

This was my go to while I was attending classes in LA. Its Asian style vegan food and on the healthier side. I always order the exact same thing every time…satay skewers with relish w/ a side of 1/2 quinoa, 1/2 brown rice.

veSTATION: 14435 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, USA

                                                            

Crossroads -๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ

When I walked into this restaurant I thought I had died and gone to vegan heaven ๐Ÿฆ„โ˜๏ธโ„๏ธโœจโ˜„

Crossroads is an upscale vegan restaurant on Melrose. I felt so hazed when I walked into this establishment (although that could have been because I’d been drinking at a rooftop Australia Day party earlier that day), with the mood lighting and classy decor, it is refreshing to see a vegan restaurant that hasn’t gone for the typical rustic vibe.

I ordered a carbonara (that tasted legit! bacon flavour I have not had in a very long time) and my friend had gourmet pizza, all was amazing! Dessert was a chocolate ice cream sundae- amazing beyond words!

You must definitely go to Crossroads, take all of your non vegan friends because you can completely convince them it is not a vegan restaurant; and then at the end tell them and they will all convert to this crazy plant based lifestyle.

Crossroads Kitchen: 8284 Melrose ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046, USA 

         

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@veganlens
            

The Beverly Hills Hotel โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿท๐Ÿธ๐Ÿพ
When I was a vegetarian I had high tea here when my sister came to visit me, at The Polo Lounge. Although the high tea is not suitable for vegans (as far as I know) I still love it here ..so maybe not the greatest vegan visit, but definitely still a fave of mine in LA.

You can order a pot of tea…

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Saving Mr Banks, filmed at Beverly Hills Hotel
…or order a Think Pink cocktail ๐Ÿธ at BarNineteen12. (low cal, of course-this is Beverly Hills) 

The Beverly Hills Hotel: 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210, USA

                                                      


 

The Grove-  Where L.A. Comes Together ยฎ๐Ÿ•ถ๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ‘›๐Ÿ‘ 
The Grove is my favourite place…probably ever๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ If I could live at The Grove, I would! I would rent the sofa in the bathroom of Nordstroms to sleep on if I knew I’d be waking up at The Grove everyday. 

The Grove is a Disneyland-esque shopping, dining, entertainment complex in West Hollywood. My favourite store is Anthropologie, which carries clothes, cosmetics, bags, shoes, homewares, books; some of which are vegan and cruelty free.

I am obsessed with book cafes so I usually head upstairs in the Barnes and Noble and order a soy latte from Starbucks. The only problem with the grove is (if you can believe there is any) there’s no real vegan dining options available in the complex,

(at least I found that last time I was there in Jan ’16) 

but no need to worry because there is Veggie Grill in walking distance on Fairfax Avenue. ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ

The Grove: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA, 90036, USA |  www.anthropologie.com

                                                


 

Barry’s Bootcamp- โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™

Now if you take to Veggie Grill’s burger and fries a bit too much then this is the place to burn it off!

Barry’s Bootcamp is a really great place to go to knock you out of your comfort zone, and not just in fitness, but in life!

Barry’s is an hour long group fitness class with some of the best personal trainers in LA. It is basically 30 minutes weight training and 30 minutes treadmill cardio, it’s interval training so the 30 minutes can be in 10-15 minute breakups of cardio and weights or sometimes you find yourself in quick 3 minute intervals. It’s amazing, it teaches you just how much your body can actually do.

Barry’ Bootcamp, Sherman Oaks: 14622 Ventura Blvd #201, Sherman Oaks, CA, 91403, USA | multiple locations: http://www.barrysbootcamp.com

 

Halloween class 2012
Disneyland- ๐ŸŽ ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿญ
Disneyland is the happiest place on earth and that is partly because they have cruelty free options. I was only vegetarian, all the times I have been to Disneyland, so I didn’t always focus on the dairy free options, but I can vouch for the vegan burger at Carnation Cafe in Disneyland Park.
I also heard that the Pineapple Dole Whip is now dairy free; which I always crave, but like the “It’s a Small World” ride, I never get around to trying it. ..next time, next time …

more veggie Disneyland options here…

http://disneylandnews.com/fact-sheets/2015/04/30/vegetarian-and-vegan-food-options-at-disneyland-resort-fact-sheet/

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒดLove and Palm trees ๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒด,

      Michaela ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ’—xxx

P.S

MK&A circa 1995
I cannot confirm this was the exact picture that inspired me all those years ago, However I can confirm the 90’s outfits are hideous๐Ÿฌ








Photo credits: some my own- @luxuryvegan, some google image & @veganlens

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Casa Veganย 

Once upon a time there were 3 young actresses who moved to Los Angeles to pursue the seemingly impossible dream, although they trailed from 3 very different places Brighton, (UK) Bourne End, (UK) and Perth (Australia) they soon found each other as “valley girls” residing in the community of Sherman Oaks.

They quickly learned that late night acting classes led to late night snacks at the many Mexican restaurants in L.A, for the class of out of work actors a place where there was free chips and dip and cheap margaritas suited just fine!

Having 2 vegetarians in our party the menu was to suit, but as one transitioned to vegan the menu got a lot smaller; and chips and dip were the only option and not just by cheap default.

I love Mexican food, but it can be unhealthy if always eaten out. I find it’s become quite a staple for me in my vegan diet as rice and beans is an instant complete protein, so I’ve tried to make healthier options while retaining the flavour and Mexican feel.

So here is one of my ideas I have used when I feel like I want to add a bit of spice to my life and feel the nostalgia of late night L.A talks about acting, annoying people in class and how we shouldn’t be eating the chips because we’d been at bootcamp all week and wanted to keep our “bootcamp bods” intact. -but that conversation is for another post…

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Burrito Bowls!

So this is one of the healthier and simple options for Mexican….

Beans, Rice, salsa, veggies and guac!

 
Burrito Bowl …
– As a base I use kale or spinach (slightly steamed)

– cooked Rice and/or Quinoa -add paprika, garlic powder

– Steamed Black or Kidney beans

– Steamed Corn

– Homemade Guacamole – mash an Avocado with a fork, add fresh finely diced clove of garlic, finely diced 1/4 of a red onion & (diced tomato, jalapeรฑos, salt & pepper -optional)

– Homemade Salsa – tinned diced tomatoes, add paprika, Mexican chilli powder, garlic powder (to taste)…can add real chilli if you like it hot ๐Ÿ”ฅ (I use this because store bought salsas etc have a lot of added sugar …I save my sugar for chocolate ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿซ) (can add tomato paste if you want it thicker)

– Cashew Cream Aioli (recipe click on link) https://luxuryveganstyle.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/cashew-cream-4-flavours/

– Melted Vegan Cheese (optional – bio cheese is best)

 
This recipe is low sugar, is a complete protein, has magnesium and iron, aswel as other benefits; and you can have some cheeky chips to scoop it up aswel if wanted!

 
Shout out ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป to Casa Vega ๐Ÿ’ƒ and El Torito๐ŸŒฏ in Sherman Oaks – the restaurants we frequented whilst living in L.A.๐ŸŒฎ

 
More Mexican to come…
**watch this space**image

Love and Chihauhas,

Michaela ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ

 

 

The Snowman Cookie


It was a crisp New York day, as two sisters fled their toasty hotel room, a rush of cold air filled their cheeks, scarfs wrapped and jackets on – it still didn’t feel like enough!

After a day spent walking 5th avenue, Central Park and roaming Times Square they decided to slow down on their way back and get some tea, a craft we noticed Americans had struggled to pick up!
(Sorry, but how hard is hot water before the tea bag?)

As we stopped at “just another” Starbucks, but also a brand that was a luxury for two girls from Perth, my sister noticed a snowman cookie;
seeing as we had already had sweets that day she said she shouldn’t and dismissed it from her order.
She kept peering in the glass case at the last snowman cookie, the same way we were looking at the diamond collection in Tiffany’s earlier that day.

“Just get the cookie” – I said. “Oh, it looks so good how the icing is so smooth…no I won’t!”.
We left Starbucks with her still talking about it; and when returning to the many Starbucks we would see, we didn’t see it again!

Until this day she still talks about the Snowman cookie she wished she bought in New York. – just a funny story! but should tell you, to live in the moment because
what you want isn’t always there when you go back!

Luckily I lived just a hop, skip and a jump away from Gelson’s in L.A, and they too sold similar cookies and she was all over that come Thanksgiving!

These cookies always looked great to me, but when I did try them they tasted a little plastic and too processed, especially the icing ….so I made my own Sugar Cookies …Vegan Friendly- of course!

 
Sugar/Shortbread Cookie Recipe:

190-250 grams Dairy Free Butter – I use Nuttelex (I add more as I go, as needed)
2 Cups Flour
1/2 cup Caster Sugar (I know some vegans aren’t happy with the use of white sugar-most sugars should suit)

Almond meal (optional) -replace 1/2-1 cup flour with almond meal
Vanilla Extract (optional)

Pre heat oven to 170 FF
Mix with hands to shape dough, when it’s at the right consistency – roll out and cut to desired shape – place on cooking tray.
Cook for 12-25 minutes or until golden, I like to avoid them going too hard or crunchy.

Icing sugar ….make baking paper piping bag for decorating 
and without being facetious to my American friends…

How to make Tea:
Boil water, preferably in a kettle
Add tea bag to cup/mug and pour, or place teabag or tea leaves in a teapot
Leave bag or leaves to brew for 2-5 minutes (depending if you like it strong)
Milk before or after is your call (Fun Fact: they say back in the day people who put milk in first meant their class level was on the lower spectrum, as they were wary not to shock their cheap tea cups with hot water to avoid cracks)

but for vegans I’ve only found soy or oat milk sits in tea right, but I prefer mine black.

Love and red cups โ˜ƒ๐Ÿช,

Michaela 

photo credit: https://news.starbucks.com/multimedia/file/7944

            

         

     

                 

             

Michaela Hiley