From North to South: The Final California Vegan Street Journey

Foggy coastlines and sandy seashores. Towering redwoods and vineyard-covered hills. Historic vistas and swaying palm bushes. California’s coast is world-renowned for its numerous landscapes and jaw-dropping cliffs that give method to the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. This summer season, skip the worldwide jet setting, hop within the automotive, and take a vegan meals tour of this stretch of roadway that winds from the quiet and misty city of Mendocino to bustling and sunny San Diego.

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It’s a freeway voyage filled with unbelievable getaways into nature and a few critically nice hidden plant-based gems (suppose an all-vegan hillside eco-resort, chocolate biscotti-topped oat milk cocktails, and plant-based burritos on the world’s most stunning Taco Bell). 

The place to eat and keep in Northern California

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Begin your drive within the quaint cliffside city of Mendocino. With a inhabitants of lower than 1,000, this tiny city is perched on a headland and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean crashing at its cliffs. Its unbelievable vistas have made it a vacation spot, not only for vacationers, however for movie crews and artists alike.

Nestled into the hills of the winding roads by means of this city lies Stanford Inn by the Sea, an all-vegan, environmentally minded resort full with pine and redwood-paneled rooms, wood-burning fireplaces, an upscale vegan restaurant, rolling vegetable gardens, and a holistic wellness middle that treats friends to massages, tai chi, acupuncture, and yoga. A morning dip within the solarium-enclosed pool and sauna, dripping with lush trailing houseplants, gives a world of calm earlier than embarking on the remainder of your journey. 

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As you head again onto Freeway 1, proceed right down to Bodega Bay and make your method to the Bohemian Freeway. Tucked into the inexperienced hills dotted with grazing cows and purple barns, you’ll discover a vegan carb-lovers dream.

Wild Flour Bread is a hole-in-the-wall bakery specializing in rustic French-style sourdough baked in big wood-fired brick ovens that has made a reputation for itself far and broad. The loaves are something however primary: Greek olives are kneaded into the olive loaf earlier than being topped with a beneficiant dusting of nigella seeds and za’atar seasoning, whereas the Dragon Loaf is infused and twisted with jalapeños, garlic, polenta, and cornmeal. Be sure to get there within the early hours to snag a hot-from-the-oven vegan scone (with ever-changing seasonal add-ins resembling rhubarb, nectarines, marzipan, figs, and pears) to sip together with your alt-milk latte. 

Vegan eating within the San Francisco Bay Space


Only one hour additional down the Pacific Coast Freeway, you’ll be crossing the long-lasting Golden Gate Bridge into the town on a hill that’s San Francisco. From Peruvian tiger’s milk-jicama ceviche, silky vanilla coconut panna cotta, and butterfly pea aloe cocktails on the stylish eatery Wildseed to buttery garlic knots and wood-fired pizza at Matthew Kenney’s upscale Italian eating spot BAIA, a fast detour into this numerous metropolis is value a day (or two) of exploration.

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And whereas the town is stuffed with nice vegan eating places, don’t miss the nighttime pop-up scene the place you may catch The Vegan Hood Chefs—the marinated papaya poke bowls with vegan crab or the lion’s mane “steak” Surf and Turf fries are well worth the journey.

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With San Francisco’s foggy hills shrinking in your rearview, sit up for the sleepy metropolis of Pacifica, simply 20 minutes south. Time your arrival right here fastidiously—don’t come after a heavy meal in San Francisco, as you’ll wish to go away house for an absolute staple of highway journeys: quick meals.

Pacifica is residence to probably the most stunning Taco Bell on this planet. Situated proper on the seaside with a beautiful out of doors patio, fireplaces, and even spots for beachgoers to park their surfboards, this internet-famous location has drawn friends worldwide. And, fortunately, the chain could be very vegan-friendly! Order objects with out cheese or queso and sub with pico de gallo salsa. Plus, with the choice so as to add potatoes to black bean-style Crunchwraps and burritos, there shall be lots to go away you feeling fueled in your drive. 

The very best spots for vegan meals within the California Central Coast

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Ninety minutes later, pull into the seaside city of Santa Cruz, identified for its aggressive browsing and crowds of vacationers who flock to the historic boardwalk each summer season. Pull as much as mom-and-pop dumpling spot Mo’s Dumplings and order the crispy, sticky rice balls filled with purple bean paste, the spicy kimchi noodle soup, and at the least a pair orders of the vegetable-tofu dumplings in chili oil broth with candy potato noodles.

If you happen to keep the evening, get up and head downtown to Veg On The Edge, a very vegan West African fusion eatery, for a Roasted Scramble Stack with fluffy tofu scramble, juicy Past Sausage, roasted potatoes, and a drizzle of West African-style pumpkin seed-based sauce.

Staying for the day? A cease at Akira Sushi is greater than well worth the time. The vegan choices abound with rolls named after popular culture references such because the Silence of the Yams (with mango, tempura yam, spicy sesame miso aioli, and wasabi French dressing), or the Veggie Gaia (with spicy tofu, tempura yam, inexperienced beans, and unagi sauce). 


As you allow city, rapidly cease in neighboring Capitola for a meal on the beloved vegetarian hotspot Dharma’s Restaurant. Based in 1981 as a meatless, fast-food-style spot, the family-owned eatery has served plant-based meals to hungry faculty college students and beach-going vacationers for over 4 many years. The big menu boasts all kinds of cuisines spanning the globe: housemade tempeh burgers with pineapple and grilled onions; platter-sized tofu rancheros with vegan cheese; 5 totally different variations on tofu scramble; curry plates with papadum and fruit chutney; butternut squash ravioli; and old-school-style macro plates. Come hungry, go away glad.

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The subsequent leg of your tour will carry you thru ritzy Carmel-by-the-Sea, which hugs the awe-inspiring Huge Sur shoreline, and previous Ragged Level (a landmark also known as “the Million Greenback View”).

An hour later, you’ll arrive in San Luis Obispo, identified for having probably the greatest farmers’ markets in all of California. Each Thursday night, greater than 120 distributors promote regionally grown produce, freshly made hummus, vegan cheese, and loaves of recent bread.


After selecting up a number of staples, head over to the city’s cherished vegan spot Ziggy’s for Korean-style fried cauliflower with gochujang; housemade black-and-pinto bean burgers with vegan pepper jack, guacamole, and charred jalapeños; and Not possible taquitos with bitter cream.

Desire a lighter possibility? Attempt Bliss Cafe, a plant-based restaurant and market with an Ayurvedic twist, the place you may take pleasure in dishes resembling protein Buddha bowls with almond nutritional yeast dressing, quesadillas filled with sautéed kale, and feel-good golden milkshakes with a kick of turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom. 

The place to wine and dine in Southern California’s Wine Nation


You’ll know you’ve entered Southern California while you stumble upon picturesque Santa Barbara—buying and selling the rocky, ocean-sprayed bluffs of the north for broad sandy seashores and swaying queen palms.

Discover your method to Oliver’s, Santa Barbara’s premier plant-based fine-dining establishment. Its menu is spectacular, replete with smoked almond goat cheese apple salads, shredded hearts of palm artichoke crab truffles, and heirloom zucchini-tomato towers with macadamia ricotta and pistachio pesto.

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In a city identified for its wine, a go to to a vegan-friendly pure wine bar is a should. Satellite in bustling downtown serves their native pours alongside farm-to-table tasting objects resembling filet de hongo with polenta, seared shiitake mushrooms, and herbed chimichurri; gigante beans with harissa, garlic, and hemp seed pesto; and roasted broccolini with creamy vegan parmesan, basil, and vegan bagna cauda (an Italian sizzling dish historically made with anchovies).

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Twenty minutes off the freeway is the quaint, getaway city of Ojai―the place celebs the likes of Britney Spears, Emily Blunt, and Tom Selleck have known as residence―and it’s well worth the detour.

Famend for sunsets that paint the encompassing mountains in dusty pinks and pale purples, this scenic spot is the place you will discover the vegan gem that’s Hip Vegan. Situated proper off the principle downtown road, this old-school eatery’s tree-shaded patio is at all times bustling with prospects having fun with dishes like jackfruit carnitas tortas, South Indian dal with spicy cashews, bánh mì with marinated tofu and cashew “laughing cow” cheese, and piles of Gunpowder Fries tossed in seasoned salt and served with spicy ketchup. Seize a number of of the huge chocolate chip, strawberry hempseed, or herbed cheese scones to go.

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From Ojai, wind your method right down to the jaw-droppingly stunning Malibu shoreline and into Los Angeles’ seaside enclaves of Santa Monica and Venice. Swing by Margo’s Bar + Kitchen in Santa Monica for a next-level brunch of Jumbo French Toast sticks constructed from custard-soaked brioche and seasonal berries; Frittata Española with vegan eggs, soyrizo, caramelized onion, and pickled peppers; and an enormous Breakfast Pizza loaded with buttery cashew mozzarella, spiced sausage, scrambled vegan eggs, and a maple syrup drizzle.

And if that pie kicked off a pizza craving, head right down to Venice for acclaimed vegan chef Matthew Kenney’s Double Zero to nosh on slices of rosemary potato pizza with cashew cream, vegan-egg-yolk-topped, four-cheese pizza, and wild mushroom truffle pies. 

The very best spots for vegan brunch and extra in Southern California

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Together with your journey practically at its shut, roll down the home windows and benefit from the heat coastal air as you traverse among the many cliffs of Palos Verdes into the town middle of Lengthy Seashore. There you’ll discover the brilliant and enjoyable, woman-owned must-stop The Wild Chive. Arrive early to discover a seat within the bustling eatery, or get your meals to-go and stroll 5 minutes to the waterfront for an ocean picnic. Dig right into a sweet-and-savory Monte Cristo: grilled cheese and ham stuffed into caramelized potato French toast with recent strawberry jam and maple syrup. Or the favored Chick’n & Waffles with crispy beer-battered rooster over Belgian-style cornbread waffles served with habanero-strawberry jam, chive butter, extra maple syrup, and a dusting of powdered sugar. 


It’s time to hit the freeway once more in your ultimate vacation spot: the at all times pleasantly heat San Diego. Roll into city, and head straight to Kindred, a whiplash-inducing conflict of a bar and restaurant the place parts of French gothic, heavy metallic, and ethereal pink and gold are expertly blended to create a very one-of-a-kind house.

Slide into your seat on the marble-topped bar to sip down refreshments such because the strawberry-rhubarb-key lime Spinal Faucet with gin and tiki bitters or the coffee-chocolate-oat milk White Noise with vodka, biscotti, and vegan marshmallows. As you sip the delicately crafted tipples, dig into bar snacks like chargrilled seitan skewers napped in chimichurri, harissa, and horseradish aioli or every thing bagel-spiced puff pastry knots with togarashi pub cheese.

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And in case your candy tooth beckons, head to Split Bakehouse to select up containers of ever-rotating pastries resembling strawberry pistachio frangipane tarts, pandan coconut cookies, and matcha rose scones. 

For meals and pure magnificence lovers alike, this highway journey will show unforgettable. And with greater than 650 miles of excitingly numerous terrain, blissful climate, and world-class vegan meals, it’s an expedition that may be returned to repeatedly with infinite alternatives for exploration. So subsequent time you’re itching for an journey and unable to resolve between a beachy escape, a mountainous hideaway, or a metropolitan escapade, simply block out a number of days on the calendar, pack the automotive, and do all of it. The coast awaits.

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