My recent trip to Los Angeles was a story not unlike ‘The Alchemist’. I went in search of something only to realise (again) that everything I’d been looking for I have right here in Ibiza… without the jet lag! Especially food wise, as almost everything I found in the healthy LA eateries I already have in my own cafes and can find in some new healthy spots on island. But I wanted to go and ‘change the air’ a bit, have some time away, far away, in the sun and experience healthy vegan food on tap. I don’t always eat only vegan food but when you’re in LA, it’s super easy as it is on every corner so I like to take advantage of that fact.
Having healthy food readily available when I travel is really important to me, so made sense to go and spend some me time in LA. But this was the best part, the availability of it. Quality wise, I was hugely disappointed on this particular trip. Maybe when I previously went there most of these foods were hardly available anywhere else. I myself was jumping on the raw vegan wagon at the time and I thought that everything was great, but now I know so much about it and can make it myself, this bubble of some foods and places I thought were great, has burst.
I went to so many places and was enchanted by the choices and all of the interesting things on offer but once those foods hit my palate or I would just scan the freshness of it or see how much attention and finesse they were (or weren’t) made with, the excitement would fizzle out. Particularly disappointing was a popular vegan place I went to with my friend, who is an amazing chef and cookbook author, only to see stodgy dishes being served all over with five ingredients such as sweet potato, corn tacos, guacamole, black beans and cashew sour cream in 36 different combinations! Of course, it didn’t help that on this trip I was trying so hard to stick to my sugar-free diet and what this entire ‘health orientated’ restaurant offered was sugary carbs.
My friend was even less impressed than I was, hardly eating any of her food as it was totally lacking in… love and passion (her words). Another of my favorite cafes in LA that now has a few locations has also gone kind of industrial and mass produced, bland, not fresh and with one particular highlight that was the bill appearing instantly from behind the server’s back when you say you do not want dessert, with a circle around the highest option for 25% recommended tips with hearts drawn around it, kindly asking you to fork out $15 in tips for a really average meal and just two trips they made to your table. Uh, I didn’t like that.
There were few other mishaps in other places I visited but hey, let’s concentrate on positive! Mind you, overall I was expecting more from the Mecca of healthy and conscious eating, but when you expect a lot you can expect to get truly disappointed too. It’s part of the game but the good thing is that I did enjoy few highlights too.
I thought that the raw cheese board at Plant Food and Wine was out of this world. So was their chick pea frittata. Rawvolution served me with the best coconut yoghurt ever. Au Lac simply blew my mind with vegan ‘shrimps’. I had to ask the waiter twice to confirm that what I was biting into were not actual shrimps but chef Ito’s magical creation. This is not what you call cooking, this was magic! I really loved a place called Moon Juice, with all kinds of raw vegan and high integrity ingredient-based goodies and great cold pressed juices. Another two places that served mean cold pressed concoctions were Make Out Everyday and LA Juice. Lush!
But after all vegan food galore, more often healthy but not delicious, I was craving some good old (well, not literally old!) scrambled eggs. And a good night’s sleep. The jet lag was brutal both ways! It’s nice to travel and do something different but when you have your own kind of Santa Monica (aka a long strip of sandy, beautiful Ibiza beach) outside your apartment, sunshine all year around, amazing quality produce like we are blessed with here, and soulful healthy cafes on your own island, including those where you can take your your dog with you, it is not a surprise we Ibiza residents are very hard to please elsewhere.
Peace, love, organic scrambled eggs and Ibiza.