L.A. Green Festival 2014!

This weekend was the L.A. Green Festival and I was lucky enough to be able to go again this year. My friends and I had a total blast.

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

We started our day at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro. I was pleased to note that they had a LOT of gluten-free options, which I hadn’t paid attention to my last few times there. I was craving an “eggy” breakfast, so I ordered the Chilequiles:

chilequile

These were amazing! Hit the spot perfectly. My buddy ordered the Spinach Avocado and Walnut Sausage Florentine, subbing out the baquette for gluten-free biscuits so I could eat some (isn’t she the best!?) and we both agreed that the dish was even better with the biscuits:

florentine-sausage

After our amazing brunch, we went over to the L.A. Convention Center for the festival!

L.A. Green Festival

The L.A. Green Festival this year seemed smaller than last year, but we didn’t feel that the quality was less. We had a blast trying out products, eating tons of food samples (so many gluten-free options this year!) and talking to vendors. Some highlights:

Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

Gardein had black bean burgers out to sample and they were delicious. Even more exciting (for me) is that they were gluten-free and the people working the booth told us that Gardein is working hard on a whole line of gluten-free options!

gardein-black-bean-burger

I love their “chicken” products but I can’t eat them anymore, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed they are able to create gluten-free versions that are as good.

EcoCork

My attention was immediately grabbed at the EcoCork booth – they make high-end handbags and accessories from Portuguese cork, worked in a way that it resembles leather.

ecocork-handbags

My friends and I were stunned when we touched the bags how silky soft and pliable they were. They are expensive, but as a high-quality leather alternative, well worth it. They are cool and gorgeous and well-made, well worth the dinero, yo.

Kevia LLC

Another booth that stopped me in my tracks was the Kevia LLC handcrafted jewelry stand. These earrings kept speaking to me until I caved in and bought them:

kevia-metal-earrings

Kevia is jewelry made from 100% recycled metals. They also make items from leather remnants (the little bits that the leather industry discards in the tons every year) and reclaimed ebony that they finish with linseed oil instead of chemicals. As if this wasn’t amazing enough, their prices are extremely reasonable!

NibMor Chocolate

Gluten-free chocolate! And it’s GOOD! The NibMor Chocolate stand made me so happy, all the flavors I tried were amazing:

nibmor-chocolate

Best of all, their chocolate is vegan, gluten-free, organic, Fair Trade and non-GMO. An indulgence you can feel good about!

Shojin Vegan Sushi

We ended our day with sushi at the reknowned Shojin vegan sushi restuarant:

shojin-love-collage

We LOVED the food and were again stunned by all the gluten-free options. I will say that I did not care for the service – Shojin has a quirky adorable decor but the service is very formal and stuffy. This is just a matter of taste, the servers were polite and knowledgeable, I just didn’t like having my napkin put on my lap or my purse put in a box under my seat. I would certainly deal with the formalities to eat the Dynamite Roll again!

The perfect to end to a fun, exhausting, awesome day.

Garden Grill in San Diego Brings the Yum

Que-sa-dillas saved my life!
– me, singing to the tune of Hip-Hop Saved My Life (hey, wait, where is everyone going??? Guys, come back!)

Garden Grill at the Hillcrest F armers Market in San Diego

Garden Grill Menu Board of Yum-ness

Garden Grill Chick'n Sandwich, Steak n' Cheese, Quesadilla

There’s a new booth in town, baby. Garden Grill has opened up at the Hillcrest farmers market in San Diego and it is a very, very good thing.

In Garden Grill’s own words: all ingredients are 100% plant based Vegan. No MSG, no GMOs, no refined oils or sweeteners. They use local organic ingredients whenever possible.

To that, I’ll add that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the owner, Joseph Aguirre, a little bit and he’s a really cool guy – a genuine, passionate vegan who wants to spread the love through quality vegan food. His staff at the stand are warm, friendly people that I love talking to every week. It’s the kind of place you feel good about spending your money at and the kind of place you look forward to going to because of the entire experience, not just the food.

I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a lot of the food on the menu and it’s all scrumptious, but for me the highlights are the crispy chick’n sandwich, the breakfast tacos and the quesadillas.

Dear lord, the quesadillas. They are running them as a special right now, made with squash blossoms, carmelized onions and two kinds of magical sauce on top. A friend and I had just been talking about how much we missed quesadillas since going vegan, and then come along Garden Grill’s quesadillas, like a wedge-shaped piece of heaven fallen to Earth. Dramatic? Perhaps. But, I tell you, I almost cried with joy at the first bite :)

So, if you are a local or find yourself in San Diego on a Sunday, get over to Garden Grill and smash some heavenly vegan yumness in your face.

Peace babies,
Nic