I can't quite pinpoint why I had such a hard time blogging about my trip to California this time last year, maybe it was because I got back just after VeganMoFo '13 had ended and I'd exhausted my blogging mojo or maybe it was because going straight from California sunshine into a rainy dreary British autumn didn't do great things for my mental health. Seriously, that's enough to make anyone feel depressed. Either way I have all of these photos of amazing food that I still need to share with you and as it's Mac & Cheese Monday it seems like the perfect time.
Hella Vegan Eats was somewhere I was super exceed about trying, I'd been following them on social media for a while and their outrageously awesome food looked too good to miss.
We found them at Eat Real Fest in Oakland which was a buzzy outdoor event crammed full of traders and people wanting to get a Sunday afternoon food fix.
First I tried the Lusty Lovers Taco because how could you resist mac & cheese in a taco?! It was hella hot thanks to the spicy cornflake crumble and the BBQ chicken so I'm glad it was tiny, I shared it with Nick so as not to have an epic allergic reaction to the chilli that was clearly lurking within!
Obviously I knew I'd be heading straight back over for order two because doesn't a Mini Doughnut Burger Supreme just sound supremely amazing?! It was utterly ridiculous and awesome and if I believed in that stuff I'd go as far as to call it heavenly.
The beet patty was sandwiched between two sugary doughnuts and topped with pickled red onions (my first ever time enjoying them!), kale (for health!) and a scrummy secret sauce that brought the whole thing together. Uuuuugh, just looking at this now is making me wonder if I can fly from Austin to the Bay Area to eat this again. I suspect I can't but one day... one day this will be mine again.
Our next stop was Fat Face Popsicles which I know doesn't fit into the cheese or chocolate theme at all but whatevs', they were freaking yummy and just what we needed on a day that was heating up fast. I grabbed a Lime & Avocado one just before they sold out and Nick went for Strawberry Lemonade.
I happily sampled them all and took advantage of a deal on three bars taking home red, grey and black sea salted bars that were all delicious in their own way. Sea salt chocolate is probably my favourite chocolate ever and I'll have to review my favourite UK brand later this month.
Eat Real Fest is a free event and it takes place again in two weeks time so if you're in the area be sure to swing by and check it out.
As I'm always on the lookout for mac & cheese I knew I had to swing by Homeroom, a mac & cheese spot with a vegan option on the menu.
We both went for the nutritional yeast based vegan option with broccoli and peas mixed in and breadcrumbs on top. I see that the breadcrumbs are listed as buttery on the menu now so if you visit do be sure to double check they're still vegan. Whilst we loved the atmosphere and cute design of the restaurant we weren't huge fans of the mac, it was okay but a little too salty for our tastes. I also wished that there was more than one vegan option to go alongside the ten or so non-vegan options, how cool would it be if vegans could pick between nooch based, cashew based or faux cheddar based and mix in some hot dogs and veggie bacon too?!
This next spot was somewhere I was drawn towards because of the desserts but after seeing them posting a mac & cheese lunch special on Instagram I couldn't resist heading to all vegan hotspot Timeless Coffee for lunch immediately. The whole country was gearing up for Halloween when we visited hence the Vampire Proof Mac!
This was a small but totally delicious bowl of mac and cheese. The creamy garlic sauce was a wonderful additions and this is, in my mind anyway, the perfect lunch special.
Timeless have you sorted on the chocolate front too with brownies, Twinkies and homemade salt caramel chocolates.
Every single one of these chocolatey desserts hit the spot and I bought more of the little sea salt caramel chocolates to take on the road with me. Not a chocolate person? Never fear, Timeless Coffee have you sorted there too. Nick tried the Strawberry Shortcake one day whilst I enjoyed a slice of the Pumpkin Swiss Roll.
These were as delicious as the chocolatey treats we'd enjoyed the day before and I was left wishing we lived way, way nearer to this awesome spot.