Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Day I Ate Out 3 Times

...and also saw 5+ wedding venues.

I'm visiting John in Irvine this weekend and we've been trying our best to find a place to get married. I've lost count of the venues we've seen, but I know there were at least 5 yesterday. Of course, all the venue hunting requires some fuel.

I like visiting Irvine because it's so close to the coast and there's a lot to do out here, but there is an unfortunate drawback to John's apartment. He lives with roommates who are perfectly nice, but through some inexplicable force of chaos, somehow they leave his kitchen a constant, sticky, mess. John's one of the cleanest men I've ever met and any space he's in charge of is going to look awesome, so I know it's frustrating for him too.

It's literally not safe to walk barefoot through it. I don't even want to think about cooking. We'll sometimes prepare breakfast (with dishes he keeps safe in his cupboard, separate from everything else) but we pretty much eat out when I'm here.

So that brings us to yesterday. It can be a challenge to eat out vegan, but I would say we made some good discoveries:

Breakfast: Oatmeal at Sidestreet Cafe in Costa Mesa. It's a casual atmosphere, lots of signage on the walls and different types of people. The three women next to us were chatting away about one night stands like an episode of Sex and the City. Apparently her best intimate experiences were not with either of her long-term relationships. I'm not sure that's something I wanted to hear, at least before coffee. Service was good even though it was really busy, and I really appreciated that my coffee mug was very attentively refilled. The oatmeal is made with water (vegan-safe) and comes with banana, brown sugar, raisins and milk (though I told them I didn't need the milk). I ordered a side of berries instead of toast. And coffee. Always coffee.

French toast for John.

Post-Breakfast our venue hunting led us on a tour of California beach cities. We drove through Long Beach Port, and a ways up the coast, stopping a couple places until we met up with some college friends for lunch.

The port. 

I love bridges. Not as much as John though. Every time we see a good one he makes sure I take a proper look.

Redondo Beach Historic Library

Long Beach Museum of Art

Wayfarer's Chapel (Beautiful, but won't work for us. Too small/not a reception site as well.)

Lunch: Eduardo's Border Grill. Grilled vegetable salad. I wasn't so sure about the ingredients in the dressing so I kept it on the side and just used salsa. 

It was great to catch up with some friends, and post-lunch we went to see a few more sites.

Did we find our wedding venue? Hard to say at this point. 

This house has a tennis court - on a cliff. What?

Somehow on the way back we ended up on a driving tour of LA's tourist spots. Sunset, Rodeo Dr. etc. When we got passed by a red Ferrari, I wasn't fazed, but I did wish I had at least washed my car. 

Dinner: Somehow with the amount of traffic we hit, it was past 8 pm before we made it somewhere for dinner. We ended up at Diamond Jamboree, which was craaazy crowded and contains almost entirely Asian restaurants, all of which had lines out the door. We picked Tokyo Table, a Japanese restaurant with a substantial sushi menu, but also many other options. The waitress was pretty knowledgeable about what could be made vegan. 

Genmai tea, edamame to start, and stir-fried udon noodles with homemade tofu in the vegetarian ginger sauce with extra vegetables. Beef yakisoba for John. We both saved half of these enormous plates for later. 

The homemade tofu was amazing. We agreed it was the best tofu we'd ever tasted. 

This table was so cool. We got to sit next to each other instead of across even though it was just a little booth.

I'm happy with the food we found, but it was honestly a relief to just make some breakfast on our own this morning. Especially given my dietary preferences, eating out at every meal starts to feel like too much.

And now we're trying to get some studying in at a Starbucks. I have my surgery exams starting in just a week, and I certainly have lots to learn. It's a little overwhelming, but I'd best go study something today.

Have a southern California wedding venue suggestion for me? I'd love your input. 

How do you feel about eating every meal out?

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