Southern California Recap

On a side note: Oh hey there wordpress, you’ve changed! Sporting a new black side bar, you look good! All fancied up I see πŸ˜‰

Hookay so I guess I didn’t have time to blog the past week, but I took lots and lots of pictures! I’ll try not to bore you too much! But this trip was eye opening for me, in a life-path-changing sort of way. More on that later though. ONTO THE RECAP!!

Ironically, this was a college road trip, yet I did not get a single one of those token “Incoming Student at the Campus Sign” photos. Just a couple random shots of like, the library and the window haha! Food on the other hand I kept track of for you!

Day 1

We spent all day in the car, driving down to Santa Barbara, not much to interest you there! But once we *finally* got to Santa Barbara, I was impressed to say the least!

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What a gorgeous view!

For dinner we stopped at Sojourner Cafe, which had a lot of vegan options. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too satisfied with what I ordered, but my mom got the (delicious!) special, a Morrocan chickpea stew with a sweet chutney and pita bread. I ended up sharing that with her, plus we got vegan corn muffins on the side that were awesome in the stew!

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We bopped around downtown for a bit after dinner, before going back to the hotel for a good nights sleep -We had colleges to visit the next day!

Day 2:

For breakfast we hit up a place called Backyard Bowls, which was like a smoothie/oatmeal place and I got my first (of three) acai bowl ever! I was in love…

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An acai bowl is basically a thick smoothie made with acai and other things, topped with fruit, granola, and honey or agave. I got the green bowl (banana, acai, broccoli, spinach, lime juice, soy milk, and something else I think) topped with granola, berries, and I asked for bee pollen because they had it and I wanted to try it. Yes I am a vegan, but I still eat honey and bee pollen was novel to me so I had it. I liked it! It was really sweet and made me feel all cool and stuff πŸ˜‰ haha

Then it was off to UC Santa Barbara! I really loved this college, everyone was super friendly and the campus was right on the beach and I started to feel like I was really an upcoming college student! I feel old now haha!

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend that long in SB because we had a 1:00 tour in Malibu at Pepperdine that we had to make! Lunch was an in the car affair, of sweet potato soup from a cafe plus oatmeal and an apple haha

The view from Pepperdine:

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I could get used to that…

Pepperdine was very different from UCSB, it is a private christian college so everything is smaller and more inclusive. The class sizes are tiny, the professors know everyones name, you know. I fell in love with this one too!

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Plus their chapel has the biggest Stained Glass window west of the Mississippi! Gorgeous! Everyone here was super friendly too, and the overall atmosphere was very scholarly and, well, christian, which I liked.

After Pepperdine we drove to LA to meet up with my cousins for dinner and a fun evening.

We went to Real Food Daily for a late (read like 8:30 pm) dinner

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I got one of their specials: Island Quesadillas -which was coconut lentils, spinach and caramelized onions in a WW tortilla with a cilantro lime coconut creme, guac, mango salsa, and grilled plantains. This was delicious and I was stuffed after only 2/3 of the ‘dilla! Of course, everything else was pretty much demolished πŸ˜‰

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My stepdad got their kung pao tempeh dish, which I tried and it was awesome but too spicy for me!! I’m a wimp πŸ˜‰

After dinner we headed down to the Santa Monica Pier for a little late night fun

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The view from the Ferris Wheel

When we finally got back to the hotel at like 12:30, I was exhausted! Straight to bed I went!

Day 3:

Breakfast was nothing crazy, we made oatmeal in our hotel room with apples that we cut using a plastic knife ontop of the free notepad…guess that had to be thrown away πŸ˜‰

My stepdad went and rented a car to go visit a Navy Ship Museum in Long Beach, so my mom and I were on our own for the day! We went to UCLA first and while it was a beautiful campus, it was too…big and scholarly for me. If your interested in being a doctor or a lawyer or something it would be perfect, but I’m not. I just got the feeling that it wasn’t right for me there, I wouldn’t be getting the personal experience I want. I felt like a little fish in a big giant sea there. Ah well!

My mom and I left UCLA and ventured downtown for lunch. We ended up at Native Foods

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We split two salads, because we both wanted to try each

photo 4-71The Carribean Jerk Tempeh salad, which had kale, mango, blackened tempeh, avocado, and coconut among other things

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And the Racchidal (spelling?) salad, with veggies, potatoes, corn, crispy onions and marinated tofu.

Both of these were delicious! We got BBQ sauce on the side instead of dressing because my mom is sensitive to a lot of nuts and oils that usually make up the dressing base, but they were still awesome!! The tempeh was almost creamy which was crazy! And the flavors worked very well together. Nice job Native Foods!

Even though their desserts looked delicious, we skipped on those because Happy Cow told us something else was nearby

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An all vegan ice cream parlor and cafe had just recently opened, so of course we had to check it out!

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I was a little excited about this

photo 3-77My mom got Bananas Foster and Almond Brownie Fudge, and I got the Cookies and Creme and Cheesecake. Both of the almond milk based flavors were a little more on the sorbet side (thats true with alot of almond based ice creams though), but the almond brownie and cheesecake were divine! Super creamy and delicious, almost like gelato! yumm..All of the flavors are made in house, and more options will be on the menu as they develop the store!

We went back to the area of LA we had stayed in, bopped around Target for a little while and then picked up my stepdad at the rental place. For dinner we went to a Pizza Place where they were debuting a new healthy vegan menu ala Chef AJ, so we had a nice healthy, free (after this trip, free is good πŸ˜‰ ) dinner and got to say hi to Chef AJ before we left for San Diego that night. Oh yeah, long drive!

Day 4:

We woke up in San Diego (well, La Jolla), got ready for the day and went to go find breakfast. There was a little natural foods cafe across from our hotel and I got (surprise surprise)

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Acai Bowl #2! This one was sweeter and not as thick as my first one, but was still good. Only downside: It was overcast, I ate outside, I was cold.

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Decaf Soy Latte to the rescue!

Next up was UC San Diego! I was super excited about this one, it was my top before we left and it remains my favorite afterwards!


Okay,Β one cheesy picture by the mascot (Triton). It was really bright, aren’t IΒ preeetttyyy ;pΒ hahaha

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Look at their library!!! It is 6 stories above ground and another 2 below. Its gigantic, and was also the inspiration for the building in Inception!!

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Its the Theodore Geisal Library (aka Dr. Seuss!)

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Do you see the house? Itssocool!!!!

Even though the campus itself is big (there are like, 3 olympic sized swimming pools, an entire gymnastics gym and dance studios, two student commons, stores, a bajillion buildings etc.), it is separated into 6 colleges so you still get the personal, small college feel while getting the experience of being at a large university. Plus its PETA’s #1 most vegan friendly college! Our tour guide was awesome too! UCSD was definitely my favorite πŸ™‚

We had to make a quick trip from La Jolla to San Diego for a 1:30 tour at the University of San Diego, a private college. My mom and I stopped for a quick bite to eat (no pictures) at a place called Naked Cafe, funny story though! As we were driving through SD to find the cafe using the Maps app, we passed one or two strip clubs. My mom started freaking out a lotΒ little. Then we passed by Casual Male and she was all “SEE?!?! I bet you this place isn’t a cafe! Its in a strip club! We are going to a strip club!” And I was all “Mom, Casual Male is a clothing store. Its at the mall. And Happy Cow wouldn’t send us to a strip club.” Needless to say she was very relieved when we finally found the restaurant. And that it wasn’t a strip club.I was just trying not to laugh πŸ˜‰

USD was really, really pretty, but it just felt like a private UCLA to me. I didn’t get the right vibes. It wasn’t so much college-y as it was country club.

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Like I said, really pretty, but I couldn’t picture myself going there. (Sorry if anyone is partial to this school, this is strictly my own opinion). You know in The Social Network movie the Winklevoss twins? That was the aura I got from this place…not my style.

After this I was hot and tired (Literally on Thurs I toured colleges for like, 3-4 hours, walking in the sun). So my mom and I got ice cream…again πŸ˜‰

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GUYS WE FOUND VEGAN SOFT SERVE! I was so happy! When I first went vegan, soft serve/froyo was basically the only thing I missed. Sorbet doesn’t cut it. The sweet, softness is awesome. It was at Paradise Yogurt. We got the peanut butter flavor, and I got mine with carob chips, berries and toasted coconut. I asked for a medium in a large cup (toppings, duh) but she gave me a large in an XL cup. I ate it all (well, almost all, I had to relent to a sugar stomach ache towards the end) But it was sooo good! And bonus! No ED thoughts! Whoop!! The only thing I was sad about was that I didn’t get it in cone form, because a soft serve ice cream cone is the bomb dignity. Oh yeah, I said it. You know it too. πŸ˜‰



Finally chillaxin’ πŸ˜‰

We finally ended our day at the nicest hotel ever. My stepdad found the room for a reasonable price (for downtown San Diego, I mean) online and when we got to the hotel we found out they were booked so we had the biggest room in the hotel!!! 7th floor, on the corner, with a separate living area, slightly separated ‘bedrooms’ and a gigantic bathroom. It was a suite basically. Yes.

My stepdad went to a Padres game that night but my mom and I were beat so we stayed at the hotel, and I worked on an application for a summer camp (more in another post). We finally ventured out for dinner around 8:00, but by the time we had walked to our destination it was like, 8:30. It was the most interesting night,I’ll tell you that. Note: Don’t walk in the Gas Lamp District near the salvation army at night. Its scary and there are lots of drunk people. We ate at a grungy little mexican place that had good reviews on Happy Cow, and at the end of the meal my mom and I had to laugh because we felt so out of place there -you now, dark lighting, dusty, loud rock music, those inappropriate bumper stickers all over the walls -the works. Haha!

We sortaΒ ran walked really really fast back to the hotel afterwards πŸ˜‰ Then I introduced her to Say Yes to the Dress and made tea while we waited for my stepdad to get back and going to bed.

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In case you didn’t know: At hotels I always make tea with the coffee machine -you just add the water but don’t put any coffee in, and stick the tea bag in the cup. The tea brews while the mug fills up!

Day 5:

We were very relaxed getting out of the door (don’t make us leave the fancy room!), but we shouldn’t have been because of the long drive ahead of us!

We stopped at Whole Foods for brekkie, and I was excited because this WF had a juice and smoothie bar!

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Any guesses? I’ll give you a hint-its my new favorite thing. I have to say, flavor wise it was my favorite smoothie (called the Farmers Market, and it tasted like Jamba Juice!), but other than that it wasn’t my fav bowl. The smoothie was too soupy (the first bowl I had was thick like ice cream) and the toppings were just okay. My favorite bowl was the first one, with the bee pollen.

Then we got on the road for our 10 hour car trip! Whoo.

We finally got home at 8:30 pm, and boy I was glad to be back! As nice as hotel beds are, your own is always the comfiest πŸ™‚

Needless to say I did not do a single thing on Saturday.