A Whistle-stop View of my USA Vegan Tour

Many of you will know that I set off on quite the adventure in May to the USA to meet, visit, stay with a number of wonderful people who I have virtually met along my blogging journey – fellow bloggers, vegan facebookers, instagrammers, cookbook authors, recipe testers, and just wonderful people in the very kind and supportive online vegan community. I didn’t get to meet them all unfortunately, funds and furries at home limited that, plus the fact that you guys are global. But, I did get to meet some of my nearest and dearest friends, those who I have connected with in a capacity beyond just veganism or blogging, those who inspire me and I look up to and who make my days a little brighter. I covered 2 states (Utah and California) and at least 20 cities and counties from Salk Lake City to Springdale, San Francisco to San Diego. It was a trip of a lifetime. Here’s a whistle-stop view:

UTAH

IMG_6345Fotor0618215351 So I arrived in Salt Lake City on the Monday night with a little extra baggage than I had planned – a bladder infection. Wonderful Somer met me at the airport armed with essential oils, vitamin C, painkillers and bicarbonate of soda. After arriving at her beautiful home in Lehi, she freshly prepared for me the best vegan pizza that ever existed and a pretty pink smoothie which definitely filled the void in my tummy after hours flying with nothing but a smoothie from Jamba Juice at Philadelphia airport.

Fotor0618215922Fotor0618220143IMG_6365Fotor0618223120 Tuesday got off to a great start with a breakfast treat of fresh from the oven cinnamon rolls, a green smoothie and delicious granola from Vegan Finger Foods Cookbook. We lunched at Oh Mai (which is my ultimate favourite place that I ate at the entire trip) with friends then stopped in Whole Foods where I tried my first kombucha. We then dined with another friend at Sages’s Cafe ‘all you can eat’ pizza night (!) and even shared a peanut butter brownie before walking it off through the beautiful heart of Mormonism in SLC, Temple Square.

IMG_6395Fotor061823236IMG_6465Wednesday included some good old retail therapy in the Gap outlet before a delicious Mexican tortilla salad for lunch at Costa Vida along with the best horchata ever. We then went to the super fun Museum of Ancient Life and hung out with some dinosaur fossils then Somer made my special request mint choc chip ice cream which made my life complete.

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Friday was an eventful day where we set off on our 280 mile road trip from Salt Lake City to Lydia’s Canyon, Glendale to stay with Somer’s parents. We made coconut bacon for the road trip along beautiful terrain and arrived where I got to hang out with pussy cats, beautiful chickens and dogs along with all sorts of wildlife like lizards and chipmunks. We had a delicious dinner of spiced lentils, homemade chapatti and salad.

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Friday began with tofu scramble before heading out to Kanab to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary located in the most incredible picturesque Angel Canyon. We had a buffet lunch which included the best ranch dressing I’ve ever tasted and delicious vegan banana bread. We met lots of long term residents, those awaiting rehoming and local wildlife such as turkeys before heading back home for some family classics such as Somer’s dads’ Cowboy Beans and her brother Abe’s fried potatoes.

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Sunday was a visit to Zion National Park and surrounding areas, it was so beautiful and like nothing I’d ever seen before. We were lucky enough to get a good view of bighorn sheep, effortlessly strolling along the rocky desert mountains. We snacked on Nutter Butters and ice lollies before getting home to a feast of transformed leftovers – leftover spiced lentils in tacos and cowboy beans topped with coconut bacon, finished with fruit salad doused in coconut milk. We then finished our day of fun snuggled up watching Free Birds.

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Monday began with an amazing breakfast of tofu scramble, fruit salad, Somer’s mum’s cornmeal pancakes with homemade almond coconut butter and coconut yoghurt. We then set off through Red Canyon, stopped for a salad bar lunch before arriving at Bryce Canyon (which was my favourite of the sites) where we saw wild prairie dogs and the most beautiful rock formations that ever did exist.  We then set off home to Salt Lake ahead of my flight out to San Francisco the following morning. I tried an apple beer on the road and we grabbed a last-minute-before-they-closed dinner at Mountain West Burrito where I tried Daiya cheese for the first time (which was gross) and delicious fizzy Sangria.

CALIFORNIA

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So come Tuesday I had flown across the beautiful Salt Lake and into Long Beach to end up in San Francisco where I met a wonderful friend, Eve. We talked and talked as we wondered the streets of San Francisco before heading out to Loving Hut for a #vegansofig meet up organised by lovely Eve which was the most warming (and delicious) welcome I could have wished for. We ate great food, had great laughs and enjoyed the company.

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Wednesday was a jam packed day full of fabulous fun! Eve and I walked into Golden Gate Park where we went into a rainforest in the Academy of Science and the Living Roof before heading over to the De Young Museum to see a view of San Francisco like no other from the observation tower. We lunched at the Plant Cafe where I experienced the best veggie burger I have ever eaten in over 17 years as a vegetarian. We walked along the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge where I (excitedly) saw Alcatraz island. We then went to the windiest street in the world before heading home where we had a great time cooking together and made a colourful salad and hummus soup.

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Thursday was a special day. We began with a delicious breakfast of the Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie from the Vedged Out Green Smoothie Challenge and oatmeal with homemade hazelnut milk and hemp hearts. We then set off across the bay over to Lafayette where we went to our friend Jenn’s house for a wonderful lunch also with another friend Tami and her husband, Tom. It was a really beautiful experience and we dined in style with stunning food. Jenn made us the Shiitake Banh Mi from Isa Does It, crudites, roasted almonds and hummus, fresh watermelon juice, iced tea and incredible mini chocolate cakes for dessert with chocolate sauce and mint choc chip ice cream (which is my all time favourite); Tami and Tom brought along a delicious quinoa salad and Eve a colourful fruit salad so we feasted like nobody’s business. We then snuggled with some kittens Jenn was fostering before Eve and I set off into Berkeley to visit the amazing Republic of V where we bought some vegan treats and I stocked up on things to take home such as Mac and Chreese and vegan peanut butter cups (yum). We headed home to make our last dinner together of Dreena Burton’s Mac-Oh, Geez! with soy and ginger braised broccoli – an untypical combination that really worked!

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Come Friday I was on another airplane to land in Orange County where I was met by the glowingly beautiful Celeste and her husband Paul. It was maybe a year or more ago where I told Celeste how I wished I could be nearer to meet her and she said ‘if you ever get out here, you can stay with me’. I dreamed of the possibility but never thought it would actually become real. We met through her dog, Mambo (my new pal) after she posted inquiring about vegetarianism in dogs. There’s just always been something about Celeste’s blog that I love so much, it’s uplifting and inspiring and just fun, I love how varied the content is. In real life, Celeste is just as I imagined, good fun, bright and just so lovely.

So we met at the airport and then the adventure began. We went for lunch at Seabirds Kitchen (one of the last things Eve said to me before I left SF was to try and go there!) where I had BBQ jackfruit sliders – my first slider and my first try of jackfruit. It was the best start to a great visit. We left there on to the Camp, an incredible funky-eco spot like nowhere I have ever seen before, even the car parking spaces were inspiring. We headed home before Celeste and I took Mambo around the local stunning resort where we caught up on my trip so far and chatted in the sunshine. We then ate a beautiful meal prepared by Celeste; we nibbled on cherries and bread with Whole Foods freshly ground almond butter, An Unrefined Vegan’s cream cheese and my first try of Earth Balance before digging in to gorgeous lasagne and Cheery Cherry Kale Salad. We walked this off across a part of Laguna Beach at picturesque sunset before curling up with Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies, Trader Joe’s Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with fudge sauce and pecans and watching vegucated (for me, the first time).

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On Saturday, Celeste and Paul became the ultimate tour guides of LA, starting with a vegan latte at the Hedgehog coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard. We drove deep into the Hollywood hills to see the famous ‘Hollywood’ sign and have a look at The Observatory. We then went to Hollywood Boulevard to the Hollywood Walk of Fame before lunching at Real Food Daily. We shared the best nachos ever and I then fell madly in love with Reuben sandwiches and washed it down with kale and cucumber lemonade which was so refreshing. After this we headed to Beverley Hills which was beautiful, we admired some art sculptures and walked in Julia Roberts’ shoes along Rodeo Drive. To top it all off, we stopped via Native Foods on the way home to pick up an Oatmeal Creme Pie to bring home and add to the remaining cookies and ice cream.

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Sunday began with a mocha at Crank and Grind at Dana Point before heading to San Clemente where I had my first Acai bowl at Active Culture and loved it. We then got on the road to San Diego where we met Celeste’s sister, Michelle and her wife, Linda and went to the Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike which was hilariously funny. After this we headed to University Heights to Muzita Bistro where we had the most amazing Ethiopian meal ever.

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Monday began with an iced latte from Crank and Grind before trying to find me some breakfast in Dana Point but the servers understanding of vegan as gluten free did not fill me with confidence so we moved on to Active Culture at Laguna beach instead for my second acai bowl and a green smoothie. We wandered around the funky shops at Laguna Beach and grabbed an afternoon smoothie and my first try of wheatgrass at Nekter. It tasted, unsurprisingly, like grass. We then discovered that the few vegan friendly restaurant options were either closed down or passed opening hours so we found ourselves explaining our dietary needs to a very nice and accommodating Italian chef at Romeo Cucina who served us a plate of delicious marinated and grilled vegetables and pizza without cheese for Celeste and I and a gnocchi with tomato sauce for Paul. It was here that Celeste tried her first espresso, and was not impressed.

We then went to Whole Foods which was quite the experience, I bought a load of Whole Foods bags with city names on and then got to the check out and there was a pile of little ones with owls on and I bought six, I was so excited that they were so cheap. I was also on the wrong side of the check out. Silly English person. It was a laugh. We got (So Delicious?)  ice creams and Uncle Eddies peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies to indulge in when we got home.

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Tuesday began with a wonderful oatmeal breakfast prepared by Celeste with all sorts of delicious toppings like coconut yoghurt, mango and pecans and a big cuddle with Mambo before setting off to LAX to return to Salt Lake City. I was met by Somer and kids as well as Annie which was wonderful. So we went and raided Trader Joe’s and Whole Food’s (of course) where I used my strongest willpower to resist anything I didn’t NEED, WANT SO BAD I MIGHT DIE WITHOUT IT, OR COULD GET BACK HOME. I was happy with my purchases which included Field Roast sausages which we froze so they’d be chilled throughout the long journey home.

We also indulged our taste-buds at City Cakes where we tried a whole range of vegan and gluten free delights such as soft serve ice cream, glazed donuts, peanut butter and chocolate bars and cupcakes. All before we met all the wonderful people I had had the pleasure to meet in Salt Lake City for a very memorable and special farewell meal at O’Falafel Etc. with fantastic company and the best falafel sandwich. Ever.

Then, after an evening cramming stuff into my suitcase and an early night, we set off as the sun rose the following morning and I began my journey home to England where I suffered miserable jetlag whilst baking a bakery’s worth for a charity bake sale. Reality check.

So, a very short and sweet thank you to all who made my Vegan Tour and trip of a lifetime such a precious experience. You all touched my life in some way that I will forever cherish and I can’t wait to see you all again. To my readers, thank you for all of your support, well wishes and for being patient with me whilst I compiled this post.

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52 Responses to A Whistle-stop View of my USA Vegan Tour

  1. Cowgirls & Collard Greens says:

    What a wonderful and incredible tour Poppy! Thanks for sharing and, thank you also for the ping back on the Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe. Hope our vegan paths cross at sometime in the near future. Yeehaw!

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment! That ice cream is a dream, have you tried it yet?! 😀

      • Cowgirls & Collard Greens says:

        The ice cream IS a dream…come true! I did try it. While I don’t have an ice cream maker, a local friend who owns a ice cream shop decided to make it and sell it in her shop so I have tried it there. YUM!

      • Poppy says:

        Oh my goodness that is so incredible!! 🙂

  2. MamaD1xx4xy says:

    So glad you enjoyed your trip. I am jealous of so e of the places you went, especially Bryce! Whole Foods is indeed a fun supermarket, I could spend so much time there, assuming I didn’t have three hungry boys with me!

    • Poppy says:

      Haha yes, I’m sure the three hungry boys are probably doing you a favour really! I could buy almost everything in there! I hope you get to see Bryce someday 🙂

  3. Oh Poppy, this sounds like the most fantastic trip! I’m so pleased for you and I love the fact that you go to meet Celeste and so many more of your friends. Awwww, it just sounds an all round awesome experience! Welcome back home 🙂

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you so much for such gorgeous words! I bought a bit of English vegan to the States on behalf of all of us 😉 hehe!! xo

  4. evesfca says:

    What a wonderful write-up! (I think I need to visit Utah and Laguna Beach now — they look beautiful!) I am so happy to have been part of your amazing trip. I will never forget the time we spent together in SF, and I know we shall meet again. Much love to you, Poppy!

    • Poppy says:

      Such gorgeous words Eve and such precious memories! Thank you for everything!

      Laguna Beach and Utah (Bryce!) is a must! Add it to the travel wishlist 😉

      xoxo

  5. Fabulous!! I’m so happy to see these wonderful photos and get the scoop on all the things you packed into your tour. Incredible! And I feel so lucky to have spent time with you – you’re an absolute treasure. ❤️❤️ Next year, girl, are you up for it 😄??

    • Poppy says:

      Hell yes!!

      I’m still processing it all even now – so much amazingness packed in to a short space of time!! Ahhh, good times!

      Loved our day of fun and indulgence and good laughs Annie 😀

  6. I wish I could have been on this entire trip with you chica!! Still, I’m delighted to have been part of your amazing USA vegan adventure. I had such a blast with you Poppy! You are a joy to be around and everyone in SoCal loved you!! I hope you come back again and visit us in our new house. Yes, we sold our house and have put in an offer on a new house – I’m SO excited! I plan to visit you one day too. Celeste 🙂

    • Poppy says:

      Oh my goodness Celeste! You did it! You sold the house! I am SO HAPPY for you guys! Well now I HAVE to come back to see the new pad (and, ahem, Mambo).

      I hope you come and visit England too, I got home and realised I’d been mean about it, it’s very beautiful really when you look beyond the politics (and tax bitterness!!) but that’s the same anywhere right? And I thought of you the other day when I decided, inspired by you, to go into a little coffee shop at a train station and ask them about non dairy milk. The lady told me they had soya milk and I was so shocked! I think times are changing and I’m not keeping up – now to have a bit more faith!! 😀 Ah, life lessons eh?

  7. Sophie33 says:

    A fantastic trip in the USA! Lucky you, to have met Somer, Eve, Celeste & Anne! A great wonderful read & so interesting too! You did a lot on your American tour & had really good friend-guides! 🙂 Awesome! xxx

  8. Emilia says:

    Fantastic trip!!

  9. Good gosh Poppy. I’m tired just reading about your adventure. So glad you had time and energy to do and see all that! And glad you’re safe back home again.
    Must have been great to feel your own bed again after all that travel too 😉

    • Poppy says:

      Haha Angela! Yes, it was a brick wall of tiredness when I got home and stopped for a split second before life switched back on! Wew!
      But, it was so worth it! Thank you for all your kind thoughts as always ❤

  10. Lauzan says:

    Oh wow, Poppy!! What a f a n t a s t i c trip!!! thanks for sharing all these photos with us, I felt like traveling with you, just a bit at least! 🙂 So happy for you!

  11. Wow! Looks like a fabulous trip, you did so much!!

  12. All the food looked great. What an adventure! So glad you to got to meet fellow bloggers!

  13. Tami says:

    What a wonderful recap of your big American adventure! I was so happy to be a small part of it and be able to meet you in person. I hope you get to come again one day. You are a charming young lady and I see a wonderful future ahead for you.

    • Poppy says:

      Tami, what beautiful words, thank you so much! You were a BIG part of it and I have such wonderful memories of our fabulous day at Jenn’s. 😀

  14. Debbie Spivey says:

    What a great adventure. Love the cat t-shirt and the mug. Looks like many memories were made! Enjoyed this posting.

  15. I loved following your adventure on instagram and fb! It really looks like it was an amazing experience. You all are so lovely, I know it! Your photos are great -wow, what a food experience it was, huh!? I’m hungry! XOXO

    • Poppy says:

      Sophia I am so glad you came on the adventure with me via IG and FB! We had fun didn’t we?!

      Serious food experience, still can’t get over the vegan options in the States! And most importantly I discovered new food loves (ahem…reuben sandwiches). But, none of that would have mattered without such gorgeous company!

      Wish you were there!! ❤ XOXO

  16. Kayse says:

    I loved reading this, Poppy! I’m so glad you got to come to the U.S. for a visit, and got to try so much delicious food! It sounds like it was a lovely trip, and that you had excellent friends to visit. Thank you for sharing the details, I was glad to read every word 🙂

  17. April @ Simplify Your Health says:

    What a great read! And oh my god, THE FOOOODDDD!!! Sounds like you had an amazing trip. Ummm where did you get that cat t-shirt?! I needs it! Xx

  18. Erika says:

    I’m so happy for you! What an amazing adventure it must have been!

  19. Wow! What a fun-filled trip! This post must have taken you forever to put together, but what a great read. I love, love, love that mug and also that you were on the wrong side of the check out at Whole Foods. 🙂

  20. elisabetta says:

    What a wonderful experience! Thank you for bringing me back to the states and especially to Salt Lake city…I’ve spent many happy days there! (Yes, I’m a mormon too and so glad you liked it!)

    • Poppy says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Elisabetta! I’m sure SLC is a very special place for Mormons around the world so I am glad you have been able to experience it 🙂

  21. Pingback: Amazing Vegan, Organic, Fairtrade Beauty Product Review PLUS Massive Giveaway and Offers! | Bunny Kitchen

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