Monday, February 12, 2007

My Fabulous Foodie & Yoga Trip to San Diego!

I returned home this afternoon, after a long weekend in San Diego. I went down for a yoga workshop, which was really really amazing. The whole trip was absolutely perfect and fun and flawless. I stayed with my friends Laura & Chris, which was super fun. I feel so blessed to have such kind friends. I always keep in mind that my choice to be vegan can be weird and inconvenient to others, but all my SD friends were so gracious and made sure to welcome me with loads of vegan tastiness. Thanks friends!!

On my first night in town, Laura and Chris started off by taking me out to a veg restaurant they knew of : Jyoti-Bihanga. It's operated by devotees of Sri Chimnoy, and is all veg, with loads of vegan options. I'm sure all you fellow vegans know how bizarre it is to actually have options when you go out! It was hard to choose! I finally settled on their vegan "Neatloaf" with a side salad.The neat loaf was neat indeed! It was made with grains and tofu, and had a nice flavor, especially with the dark, sweet sauce on top. It came with some crazy-good mashed potatoes and gravy, and some yummy toast. This is a fun thing to order out, because I don't often make something like this for myself. Those of you following my mushroom-adaptation-program will be interested to know that this was mushroom gravy and was insanely delicious. Hoorah!
And of course - dessert! It was a chocolate mousse pie with almonds. The crust was some sort of date-almond raw crust thing. It was very good, although not a great match with the mousse, which was also extra great. So, I took to eating the crust and the mousse in separate bites... and was quite happy indeed.

After dinner, Laura & Chris even took me out to the symphony with them - it was so wonderful!

Last month's issue of VegNews had a travel feature on San Diego and I used that as a guide for a lot of fun things to do and eat on my trip. The natural food coop and deli "People's" was close to my conference, so I went there both days for lunch. I had to eat early, and lots, in order to have stamina for the afternoon segment of the workshop.

On Day One of the workshop I got a vegan BLT, some bananas, a juice squeeze, a "mineral rich salad" (with chard, hemp seeds, and other deliciousness), and some seasoned tofu patties for a post-class snack. The patties were a little plain (but I still ate them!), but every thing else was downright yummy!
After class, I had just enough time to sneak over to an **awesome** store called "All Vegan"!!!!! How cool is that!? It's a retail store selling tee shirts, shoes, books, bumper stickers, chocolates, treats, videos, buttons, purses, wallets, and so on... all vegan! I was so happy I could hardly control myself. Luckily for my bank account, I had a time restriction - so I only walked out with three tee shirts, a box of vegan caramel chocolates, & two stickers. The owner was super nice, and took a picture of me in front of the store... see how I am beaming with joy?

That night our fellow friends Megan and Chris had us all 3 over for dinner. It was a wonderfully fun dinner party. First we played with their super sweet little twins, and after bedtime we had our dinner. Megan was so sweet and made a traditional lasagna as well as a vegan lasagna. (*side note: every year I make a little cookbook with some of my favorite recipes of the year, and give it to my friends and family... this lasagna recipe was from one of my past cookbooks and is probably one of my very most favorite meals of all times. It was a REAL treat to have someone else make me my own favorite dish!!). Here's my piece. I had two, actually!
Megan even got me a vegan cookie and some Soy Delicious for dessert - such a sweetie!

On day two of the workshop I went back to People's again and this time got some scrambled tofu with roasted potatoes, a cup of split pea soup, and some outrageously good Spinach-Hazelnut salad. The spinach salad was the clear winner that day. YUM.

And that night, Laura and Chris took me to another veg-friendly spot they knew: "Rancho's" This was also featured in the VegNews article. I can only say this : WOW!!!! What a freaking amazing place! They have a huge menu, and at least half the items have a (*V) symbol next to them, meaning that the item is or can be vegan! It's a mainly mexican food spot, with very fresh ingredients. They had so many veggie choices it was just awe-inspiring: shitake, tofu, tempeh, vegetable, avocado... the list goes on. I finally settled on an avocado-blue corn enchilada and a tempeh ranchero enchilada, both with red sauce, and a side serving of beans. Oh man, it was a truly delicious menu. I can't wait to go back.

This morning I got up early, since Laura and Chris were headed off to work, and decided to go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Park. Torrey Pines is one of my favorite places anywhere, and it was especially lovely on a quiet, cool, cloudy morning. It was so beautiful just walking around with the sages, cacti, and cliffs... ahhh.

After that little walk, I headed over to "Rancho's" other location - which isn't too far from the airport. Last night I had noticed the breakfast part of the menu, and that they made vegan pancakes! Shockingly, there is nowhere to get good vegan pancakes in all of Santa Cruz. Dharma's does make vegan corn "pancakes" - which are essentially just large disks of cornbread. Most unsatisfying. So, I ordered some vegan multigrain pancakes - and added in blueberries and bananas. You can't tell from this picture, but these were FULL of blueberries and bananas (on the underside). I also paid the extra $.95 for organic pure maple syrup. Oh yum yum yum. These were the fluffiest, hugest, and most delicious pancakes I have had since becoming vegan over 5 years ago. They were THAT good. I couldn't believe it. I literally left the store skipping down the sidewalk!

Just a quick note for those of you are fellow vintage kitchen ware fans... I only had about 10 minute to stop by my favorite vintage pyrex antique spot in the world. I was in such a rush, I didn't have much time to decide about purchases (I got one small refridgerator dish), but I did snap some pics of this lady's booth - it's just so beatiful. She groups all the dishes by color in some very enticing displays!

Lastly... my eating schedule was all weird on account of my flight today, so we ended up getting burritos at about 4:30 today. As a result we weren't too hungry for dinner. So, I just made us a big fruit salad. I broke down and bought plenty of non-local, non-seasonal, and a few non-organic fruits. Oh well. :) The salad had fuji apple, red d'anjou pear, manjo, fresh pineapple (very good one too!), blueberries, and oranges. mmmm. a nice treat.

Hope you all had a great weekend! Be sure to check these places out if you ever make to San Diego!


  1. Yay! That sounds like the most amazing trip. All the food looks so good (pancakes! I'm there) but I especially like the store "all vegan"- that would fit in nicely in vegan world, wouldn't it?...

    Nice collection of pyrex too. I love that pitcher thing on top. Never seen one.

  2. Anonymous6:14 AM

    Wow! What a great trip! These days I get to SD about every 2 years for a conference and I usually just stick around the Gaslamp/convention center area but next time I'll definitely have to explore some more.

  3. Wow, looks like you had a wonderful trip and some delicious food! It all looks so good...and of course I have to say thanks for posting a picture the Pyrex booth. What an amazing selection to choose from :)

  4. Anonymous2:43 PM

    Sounds like you had a great time with a lot of wonderful food. My grandma lives in Carlsbad so I'll definitely be flying out there one of these days. I'll make it a point to drive down to San Diego and check out some of these vegan eateries.

    You have some great friends! Can I borrow them when I get to San Diego?

  5. I've only been to San Diego once, but I really liked it. I was at 3 of the places you mention: Jyoti-Bihanga, Ranchos, and Torrey Pines. The restaurants were great, and like you I loved Torrey Pines. It sounds like you had a great trip!

  6. Wowie! What a trip!!! :) That pyrex booth is just AWESOME! And what a beautiful hike! I would have chosen the meatloaf too, yum yum! Oh, and can I be one of the friends you send your recipes to? That lasagna looks divine!

  7. Sounds like you had a blast! Who knew San Diego was such a vegan friendly place?!

  8. Sounds like you had a really great trip. It's awesome that everyone was so accommodating for you, and that you were able to find so many tasty vegan treats. Even though I am not vegan, I appreciate how hard it is to find really great pancakes, and those ones look fantastic.

  9. Wow, I would love to visit a store called "All Vegan!" Incredible! All in all, it sounds like your trip was excellent. Everything makes me wish I could go there too. I can't imagine being able to order vegan pancakes anywhere!

  10. What an awesome eating and shopping experience! Don't you love to go to a restaurant where you can't make up your mind what to get? How often does that happen!

  11. I would really like to email you about yoga. Would you mind sending me your email address? veganruthie AT yahoo

    Thanks :)

  12. Hi Bazu,
    Yeah... I guess that in VeganWorld, ALL the stores would be "All Vegan"!!! :)

    Oh Cool Chris,
    That's neat that you go to SD with some regularity. I definitely encourage you to check out the vegan sites!

    Hi Emmy!
    Yeah, I included this picture for you and Ruthie! This is only one tiny section of the larger display... it's so overwhelmingly fun!

    Hi VivV,
    Cool that you also get to SD/Carlsbad. I like Carlsbad a lot. And yes, you certainly can borrow my friends! :)

    Hi Susan!
    How super fun that you've been to so many of the same places in SD that I went. Isn't Torrey Pines just amazingly beautiful? That combination of desert scrubs and cactuses... with the ocean!? It's so cool.

    Hi Vegan Ruthie!
    I actually sent cookbooks to a few blogger buddies this year at xmas... I'll do more next year! And I'm so glad you liked the Pyrex pic - so many beautiful dishes, and only one carry-on bag for the flight home! ha ha

    Hi Theresa,
    Yeah, who knew??!! :)

    Hi Judy,
    What a sweet comment :) It's true - vegan or not, good pancakes are a special thing to find!

    Hi Laura!
    I wish all my vegan blogger buddies could have come with me... it was so exhilarating going to all the fun vegan spots.

    Hi Diann,
    oh yeah! I sure do love it when there are so many choices you can't decide... it's crazy fun!

    ps ruthie,
    sure thing! ;)

  13. Oh man...I wish I had known about all these places when i visited San Diego in November. I was there for the day and for lunch the best I could find was a (vegan)veggie burger...pah! Now I really want to go back and try out those places and definitely visit the vegan store!

  14. Awesome post. I live in San Diego County. I need to go to All Vegan for sure. My DH and I used to go to Torrey Pines in our early dating years all the time. It is a beautiful place.

  15. What a great trip you had! Torrey Pines looks beautiful. And what a cool pyrex display that shop had! I love it when stores arrange items by color. I must get down to San Diego one of these days, if not for the vegan food, then for the "all vegan" store! Gotta love that!

  16. I am a vintage kitchenware nut and I must admit that the pyrex picture made my heart skip a beat. The food looked great too!

  17. Hi ScottishVegan,
    You gotta go back! There's so much to see (and eat!).

    Hi Veg-a-Nut,
    You are so psyched to live in SD County. I was really impressed with all the veggie offerings. :)

    Hi Kati,
    I agree! Arrangements-by-color are extra beautiful. And, obviously, I really recommend SD. It's fun & tasty!

    Hi Kellimezzo,
    How fun that you are another vintage kitchenware fan! :) Nice to meet you!


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