Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Los Angeles Day One: WorldFest

“Toto, we are not in Kansas Pittsburgh anymore.”

Last week was my fourth trip to Los Angeles. Every time I go to LA I like it a little bit more. Each trip changes my opinion a bit more. You see different things. You experience the culture. You learn the language.

Los Angeles is like a different country to me. I don’t know what it is about LA, but there is something about it that feels foreign compared to all of the other places I have been in the USA. Maybe it is the culture of celebrity perfection. Perhaps it’s the free spirited way of life. I don’t know really. Whatever it is, life in LA amazes me.

I am dividing my trip into two posts, one about all the amazing restaurants and another about my first trip to WorldFest.

It is totally ironic that I ended up in LA on the same day as WorldFest, which is billed as Los Angeles’ largest Earth Day festival. Sign me up!

My trusty travel partner and I hopped into our rented Prius (so LA) and hit the freeway, venturing to Woodley Park on the outskirts of LA. Driving on the freeway is enough to make me want to take out a second life insurance policy, but nothing is going to get in my way of this festival.

Here is my Chubby Vegan recap of WorldFest

I have never seen that much vegan food in my life.
There were at least 12-15 food stands, each serving exclusively vegan food. In fact, WorldFest requires that only vegan food is served and sold at the festival. The craziest was the line at the Southern Fried Vegan BBQ, which served made to order fried loveliness. As delicious as that sounds, I was not about to wait in the enormous line. So…

I may have had the best Indian food ever.
Now, take this statement lightly because it’s been far to long since I have had any Indian food. I love Indian food. Sadly, most of the Indian places in Pittsburgh are buffets that use dairy. Boo! This plate, which doesn’t look very appetizing, was incredible. I don’t even remember what was on it, except that one of the sections was jackfruit. Who knew jackfruit was so good?! Plus, this may have been one of the best samosas I have ever had. Makes sense since the place was called Samosa House.

I saw Nathan Runkle from Mercy for Animals and he is definitely NOT a chubby vegan.
Don’t know why this is important, but I just felt like sharing. If you don’t know who he is, visit Mercy for Animals and read about him. He is a really cool guy, but I feel like I need to invite him over for dinner. I may get Italian grandma on him… "EAT! EAT!"

The whole festival was powered from solar energy.
I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty freaking cool.

LA vegans folks are not quite the same as Pittsburgh vegans folks.
Don’t get me wrong; I think we could be great friends. But I literally walked in and looked at Kelly (my travel buddy) and said, “Well, we certainly are not in Pittsburgh anymore.”

There is just something about life in LA that is different. Part of me loves it and part of me is horrified by it. Remember that whole East coast, West coast rap feud? I think it started for a reason.

More from WorldFest after the jump…

I am thankful for activists.
I really don’t consider myself an activist, although some might disagree. When I see people that are spending their whole lives rescuing animals and actively working on animal welfare legislation; I call them activists. There were so many incredible people at WorldFest who are doing such important work and I am so grateful for them.

This may be the most brilliant thing I have ever seen.
I bought one of their t-shirts and you should too. I will also gladly accept one as a gift. It pretty much is the cleverest thing ever and sums up so many of my opinions on animal welfare.

Evidently there is magic in LA.
I really don’t know what these people were doing and I shouldn’t judge them. However, I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw this.

Cake Pops = AWESOME
Take one look at this delectable dessert from Luscious Organic Desserts and tell me you don’t want one. Although I was bummed they were out of vegan ding-dongs, I gladly accepted this cake pop instead. YUM!

I saw Bill Maher.
It was awesome….

If you are looking for a small rescue dog, go to LA.
There are dogs in need of a home wherever you live. Trust me. But, I am always amazed at the amount of small dogs in the LA shelter system. I am sure there are a million reasons for this, but it is always something that has been particularly interesting to me. I was particularly impressed by Dharma Rescue, which exhibited at WorldFest. They specialize in senior and special needs dogs. Visit them. Give them money. Anyone who takes in special needs dogs is amazing in my book.

I am so thankful I had the chance to visit WorldFest while I was in LA. It was such a cool festival and was probably the first time in my life I had been around so many other vegans. It is like the first time you go to gay pride and look around to see so many other people like you. It is nice not being alone.

Los Angeles is crazy. But there is beauty and love in its craziness. Beauty, love, and the best samosa I have ever had…


  1. Ha! Didn't even see Bill Maher.

  2. Great review. Being an L.A. vegan, I'm just curious how we're different than your hometown?

  3. Hi Anonymous... :)

    I think it just the carefree culture in LA that is so different. Pittsburgh (where I live) is really old school and old fashioned. It is much harder to find vegan options and people are far more "meat and potatoes." I love the attitude in LA, but when you aren't around it often, it is rather surprising. I will say, however, it is surprising in a good way.

    I do love LA!

  4. It's great to hear about the different scenes concerning veganism. It seems like you do a lot of traveling. Good reporting,sir :D

  5. Ooops, didn't mean to post as anonymous. Glad to hear you had a good time at WorldFest. You should plan your L.A. visits around WorldFest from now on. It just gets better and better every year!


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