The US West Coast has a reputation for being big on veganism and it caters for those looking for something a little different. From a vegan butcher, to vegan vending machines and vegan drive-thrus, the West Coast, in particular California, Oregon and Nevada, has an array of standout spots that aren’t to be missed.
All Things Vegan in Portland, Oregon
Portland is the vegan mecca, which is why it tops the list. Vegan options are plentiful, from 12 course tasting menus at Farm Spirit, to vegan BBQ food carts and even vegan-friendly shoes from Pie Footwear. Portland is also home to the world’s first vegan minimart, Food Fight!, which prides itself on serving creative produce like fish-free tuna and coconut bacon to both vegan travellers from all over the globe and to its neighbours, many of whom are omnivores drawn by the high quality of produce. For information on travelling to Portland visit Travel Portland.
Raw Treats in South Lake Tahoe
On the California/Nevada border, the town of South Lake Tahoe is experiencing a raw food revolution. 22 years ago in South Lake Tahoe, a small coffee shop first created a vegan snack called the Tahoe Trail Bar. Today, the creators continue their commitment to provide fuel for outdoor activities with their vegan bars. They offer new dark-chocolate cherry and mango coconut flavours and have been awarded a Whole Foods entrepreneur grant. Elsewhere, Lake Tahoe’s Simple Bliss Vegan Café creates raw pastries, brownies and cheesecakes from scratch. Vegan visitors will find an abundance of vegan options at other South Lake Tahoe spots - the local community are enjoying the benefits of getting creative with fruit and vegetables and adding raw foods to their diets.
Vegan Ice-Cream in Sacramento, CA
The capital of California is perhaps best known for kick-starting the California Gold Rush in the 19th century, but today, Sacramento is making a name for itself in the vegan community. Vegan restaurants with menus inspired by South America, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Mexico have popped up across the city. For an American staple, check out Burly Beverages, who have teamed up with Sacramento’s vegan gelato shop, Conscious Creamery, to create delicious cream soda floats.
Vegan Wineries in Sonoma County
It may come as a surprise that not all wines are vegan. Some vintners use egg whites, gelatin or even fish during production. On the south end of Sonoma County lies Ceja Vineyards, a superb vegan winery producing Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a red blend called Vino de Casa, or house wine. Ceja offers tastings at the weekend.
Vegan Vending Machines in San Francisco
San Francisco based leCupboard is bringing nutritious, affordable vegan meals to the city through all new, vegan vending machines. You will be able to purchase delicious plant-based meals including courgette noodles with walnut pesto, lentil salads and chia puddings in areas of the city that lack healthy eating options. The vending machines, a newcomer to the San Francisco’s vibrant foodie scene, will certainly give LA’s cupcake vending machines a run for their money.
It All Started in the 60s - Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz pioneered the 1960s vegan movement with vegetarian Whole Earth Restaurant, which opened in 1970, using produce from a UC Santa Cruz student-led garden project. Whole Earth sparked a wave of vegan eateries, many of which can still be enjoyed today, including Saturn Café which opened in 1979 and Dharma’s which opened in 1981, both taking advantage of the 700 farms that surround the city.
Healthy Vegan Eating in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is known for its stunning setting in wine country and the spectacular views of the hillsides and the ocean. It’s also a vegan hotspot, with many vegan restaurants arriving across the county. Green Table in downtown Santa Barbara has a mission - to create the most delicious organic homemade foods and drinks, while balancing the body and bringing alive the flavours of your favourite foods. More than just a vegan restaurant, Green Table educates visitors on the healing properties of food and drink, offering superfood cleanses and lectures around the significance of Matcha green tea.
Vegan Celebrity Hotspots in Los Angeles, CA
The surging popularity of plant-based diets is huge in Los Angeles, where vegan and vegetarian restaurants are drastically changing the dining landscape of the city. Vegan restaurants can be found in every neighbourhood. Cafe Gratitude helped pioneer the vegan movement in Los Angeles and opened its first restaurant just south of Hollywood on Larchmont Boulevard. Cafe Gratitude’s aim is to create a menu and environment that supports health and sustainability for the community and the earth. Its popularity has been spurred on by the increasing amount of celebrities that enjoy the Raw Mexican Lasagna or the Mole Abuelita Enchiladas, amongst the other vegan delights on offer.
A Vegan Butcher in SoCal
Kerry Song is SoCal’s local plant-based butcher. After spending a year developing plant-based meat recipes, Song turned a hobby into a full-time career. Today, The Abbot’s Butcher is based in Los Angeles and produces a wide range of vegan meats, such as beef and turkey burgers, herb-roasted chicken, Italian meatballs, pastrami and chorizo. The taste, texture and flavour of the ‘meat’ is so good that even meat-eaters will want a try!
24/7 Vegan Donuts, Huntington Beach, CA
The Donuttery, a quintessential Orange County experience, has been serving up sweet treats to Huntington Beach since 1978, making it on to multiple lists of “America’s Favourite Donuts”. Much to the thriving vegan community’s delight, they also serve excellent vegan donuts, with a variety of raised, cake and ‘fancy’ options. They’re also open 24/7, meaning that it’s almost impossible not to fit in a stop.
Vegan Drive-Thru in San Diego, CA
When we think of a drive-thru, it’s often burgers and chips that spring to mind, but not in San Diego. The city is is well ahead of the game when it comes to vegan dining and Evolution Fast Food, the original vegan fast food restaurant in San Diego, even has a drive-thru option. Customers can pull up to the window and order from vegan baja fish rawcos (raw tacos), raw ginger cinnamon truffles and a selection of burgers. Most of the food is made from scratch in-house, they even use biodegradable packaging for the ketchup and ranch dressing.