Viva La Vegan!

Monday 25 July

After my AR Conference adventures, Peter (from Voice of the Voiceless) and I left the hotel, and went to Native Foods for lunch. Peter had the Chili Cheese Fries: seasoned potato fries smothered in homemade Native Chili, topped with Native Cheese and diced red onions. US$ 5.95. Here's a photo of Peter with the fries as he wanted to "be in my blog" Cutest.


I had the Greek Gyro: thinly sliced Native Peppered Seitan sautéed with shallots on quinoa, steamed vegetables, and kale with lemon garlic sauce and hummus. Served with grilled flatbread. US$9.95:


I also had their Lavender Lemonade and a Chocolate Love Pie: thick and lustfully creamy chocolate filling in a delicious spiced almond crust US$2.95 to takeaway:


Then we went to Whole Foods to buy some snacks, headed back to the hotel to pick up Sheila after her and a lot of others had attended the UCLA demo organisedby SAEN. The three of us then drove towards Denis' place in downtown LA to go to Karaoke with Jasmin and Mariann from Our Hen House and some other friends.

Karaoke took place underneath my favourite restaurant in LA: Shojin (see the previous LA blog for my meal) near a games arcade. Peter showed Sheila and I how to play Pac-Man correctly at the arcade and then we went to meet everyone to sing karaoke! Now, I love karaoke and I love singing. Years ago my friend from school Michelle and I would go to karaoke most Friday nights. Shelley would pick me up from the music store I managed at Indooroopilly, we'd get takeaway noodles and alcohol (not that I condone this behaviour now - see information on straight-edge) head over to my sister, Lou's place with her housemate, Carla, get ready and then join the others who would sign karaoke. Shell would never sing, she'd just watch me. My favourite karaoke song is Stop Dragging My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. We did the karaoke every Friday night for ages...

Karaoke is a great time for me to pretend I'm Stevie Nicks, so I love it! Not only were Jasmin and Mariann there, but also Nathan from Mercy for Animals, Jackie from Alternative Outfitters, Mikko and Ari, Justin plus some of Ari's friends along with Sheila, Peter and I. Jasmin, Ari and Sheila sang a heap of show tunes and musical numbers, I sang a few Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks songs, plus Tracy Chapman's classic Fast Car with Ari and Jasmin, and my fave Vanessa Carlton song, White Houses (Lindsey Buckingham plays guitar on this song!) that I have only seen in one other karaoke place.

Justin took the following photos from our karaoke night. Here's a photo of Nathan and Jasmin getting into the song. Not sure what song but it's definitely a show tune when Jasmin gets this animated!


Denis and Andy ended up coming along later as they'd been filming some scenes for the latest SHAQ7 documentary that Denis and his buisness partner, Casey are working on. Peter had gotten over his stage fright when Denis and Andy arrived and he had started to warm up and was willing to sing. I think this may have been Go Your Own Way:


Here's a cute photo of Denis and I:


I LOVE this photo below of Sheila, Peter, Denis and I! When Justin first sent me his photos from Vegan Karaoke I laughed SO much at this! This is Sheila and Peter singing the Hillary Duff song The Beat of my Heart. They also unfortunately sung La Bouche's Sweet Dreams and Bananarama's Cruel Summer. I hope you feel for me sharing the car with these two on our road trip from Seattle to LA! Anyway, I love this photo because Sheila and Peter are engrossed in singing Hillary Duff, I'm just, you know, posing, and Denis face shows that he's unsure of what exactly he has joined. Such a fun time!


I also did Heart's Alone where I impressed myself with getting the high notes! The night ended up being quite expensive and I think we were there for about 6 hours!  We ended up heading back to Denis' where Sheila, Peter and I hung out with Justin, Christina and Hal, Andy and Denis until I went to sleep - tomorrow would be an early morning.

Here's some cute pics of Denis and Sheila with Denis' dog friend, Zelda:

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Tuesday 26 July

Very early in the morning, Peter and I dropped Sheila off at the airport and then we drove to Santa Monica where Peter dropped me off so I could catch up with Eric from Happy Cow who I had met at the AR Conference a few days ago at my talk about Promoting on the Internet. Eric's wife, Diana made me some banana and nut butter muffins with blueberries and strawberries for breakfast:


Eric and I talked shop for awhile before walking to the Santa Monica promenade and then walking back along the beach:

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On the walk back I met a SQUIRREL! What a poser ;)

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Eric and I both caught up on some computer work before walking to lunch at Euphoria Loves Rawvolution where we shared the Red Endhilada $US12.50: chili ancho wrao with oregano cashew cheese, mango salsa on a bed of romaine:


I also had an amazing Mango Smoothie, Eric and I also shared teh Indonesia Noodle Affair US$11.50: kelp noodles in cashew coconut chili sauce topped with garlic paprika drizzle, nori and red bell peppers:


These meals are both Eric's favourites and they are a great choice! After lunch, Eric and I walked back to Eric's and did a bit more computer work before Denis picked me up to go to his office and get ready for the Our Hen House pot luck party. Before the party, we set up tables and chairs and I also helped Denis film an intervew with Carol Glasser from Vegina that is trying to rasie awareness to a court case Carol and some other activists are involved in against the UCLA Police.

Most of my friends in the US live in LA so I always like to attend events in LA as I'm always going to know a heap of people - and if by chance I don't, I will by the end of the night! Jasmin and Mariann organised a potluck to celebrate them being in LA. There was SO much food, I couldn't eat everything, but I did try. It was a great night, with great people and great food. Here's some photos Justin took for me. See below for the pic with Erin and I. Erin has a photography business called Pixie Portraits that you should definitely check out:


Here's a photo of Andy and I:


Love this pic of Kezia, myself, Gary and Heather below. Gary and Kezia run Evolotus PR company and Heather runs Live Natural, Live Well. I have interviews with both Gary and Heather on my YouTube channel.


Some pics below from Cameron who takes amazing photos that you can see on his Yogatography website. This is Cameron and I:


This is Alicia and I:


After a great night,I said goodbye to Peter as he was heading off on the road again and said goodbye to my other LA friends. I don't plan on coming back to the US next year, but that's what I said last year! Then I went back to Holly's to hang out with her and her cat friends for a few days.

Wednesday 27 July

Kezia and Gary took me to Cafe Gratitude for lunch where I ran into an Australian vegan living in LA, Andrew Gunsberg (also known as Andrew G when he hosted our Australian Idol). Andrew and I have a heap of friends in common and have been email and FaceBook friends for years, plus Andrew had my first Viva la Vegan! Recipe Calendar (now recycled recipe cards) back in 2006 but we've never actually met before. So it was quite bizarre to run into him at a restaurant in LA. Andrew now lives in LA with his beautiful wife, hosted Paula Abdul's Live to Dance plus continues to host the Hot Hits in LA live from LA to Australia each Saturday night. Here's a cute photo of us:


I started with the I am Luscious smoothie US$8 Almond milk, fig, date, raw cacao and vanilla bean smoothie:


I also had the I am Nourished live sandwich US$13 with almond pate, seasonal vegetables, avocado and mustard sauce on live curry bread:


Gary had the I am Knowing live nachos US$12 with cooked black beans, guacomole, salsa fresca, nacho cheese and homemade crackers:


Kezia had the I am Extraordinary BLT sandwich US$11 with sautéed maple coconut, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato and avocado. Served with chipotle aioli on toasted Panini bread:


Then we had to have the desserts as they looked amazing. Gary had the I am Super, Dark Chocolate Nugget US$3.50 An intense, bittersweet nugget of ground cacao nibs, almond butter & maca,minimally sweetened with low-glycemic yacon:


Kezia had the I am Magnificent Chocolate Mousse US$8 A light, smooth and creamy raw cacao mousse:


And I had the Raspberry Chocolate Layer Cake which matched my dress really well - it is all about accessorising after all ;)


I love this photo of the three of us that our waitress took. She's also a photographer!


Then the three of us went to Wholefoods to try to find some vegan product for my hair. I shaved my head in March and I've never had it this short, so I'm not sure exactly what to do with it. We didn't find any good hair products, though Kezia and Gary gave me a good vegan tour of the store! They dropped me back home where I caught up on some computer work before Holly got home. That night Holly and I were excited to watch our actor friend Nik Tyler on TV. He was starring as a photographer on the Joey and Melissa show, a family friendly show that is not a very funny with a lot of canned laughter, but it was still exciting to see Nik on TV! Here's some stills I took:

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You can check out some of Nik's other parts HERE. Then Holly caught me up on the True Blood episodes I had missed and we stayed up too late chatting. Love this gal.

Thursday 28 July

Holly and I met Jackie from Alternative Outfitters at her store in Pasadena where Jackie sells vegan shoes, bags, accessories, makeup, clothes and more. Here's Holly, myself and Jackie:


Here's the interview I did with Jackie:

Then we caught up with the young and inspiring vegan baker, Clara who has a cupcake business, Clara's Cakes that she runs when she's not at school, as well as her blog Clara in Veganland. Here's my interview:

Here's some lovely photos of Clara and I and Clara and Holly:

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Then Holly and I went to M Cafe de Chaya at Melrose for a late lunch/early dinner. I had the 3 signature salad combination for US$9.75 Beetroot Quinoa, Kale with Spicy Peanut Dressing, Sesame Soba Noodle Salad:


As well as the Shiitake-Avocado Roll (2 pieces) $2.25 sweet soy-glazed shiitake, avocado, cucumber, & toasted sesame seed plus the Garden Hand Roll US$2.25 avocado, cucumber, chives, carrot, braised tofu, umeboshi paste with fresh shiso leaficy. I love my photo below:


Holly had the The California Club sandwich US$11.25 a triple-decker of savory tempeh “bacon”, lettuce, tomato, avocado, carrots, sprouts & soy-mayo on multi-grain bread:


The food at M Cafe de Chaya is magnificent and I made sure I got enough food so I could take some away for my flight to New York tomorrow. Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth was at the cafe as was a guy from Entourage so obviously it's the place to be seen at. Holly and I then went home, caught up on computer work and stayed up way too late chatting.

Friday 29 July

I rose way too early at 4am for a 6:10am flight from Burbank airport. Holly dropped me off at Burbank and we said our goodbyes. I ate my takeaway food from M Cafe de Chaya on the plane, we stopped at Phoenix, Arizona and I slept on plane. I arrived in New York at 6pm where Ethan met me at the subway.

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