As the sun sets, numerous crowds of people walk on the sidewalk, admiring the scenery and tasting various styles of food, and simply having a good time, and many of these merry makers are having this good time without meat! Many people have thought that the idea of being vegan was “intimidating” or “too much commitment,” which is why only 0.5% of people are committed to being vegan. To prove that idea wrong, I’ve brought along locals Kiandre Springer, Denise Ilano, along with fellow journalist and foodie Jessica Lau, who have never tried or considered going vegan, to taste meatless delicacies from food trucks in Highland Park.
The night begins in an unusual way, starting by consuming a sugary coated dessert instead of a savory main dish. The small stand at the end of York Boulevard sells vegan finger foods for cheap, including seven churros for five dollars and a whole bag of fresh and fried potato chips for two dollars. The churros are prepped in the traditional way, being fried before turning golden brown, and they include bananas in the batter.
The four of us smile gratefully as we are able to enjoy the small, toasty snack in the surprisingly chilly Los Angeles summer evening. Looking at it, the churro is thin, and covered in cinnamon and sugar. Overall it looks like a normal churro, and the group agrees. Taking a bite, it is steamy and tastes like pure bliss. Jessica Lau immediately comments that it is “crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I don’t like it though, mainly because I’m not really into sugar.” And though I am one to disagree, though it does have a plethora of sugar that intensifies the taste and leaves an incredible impact on my taste buds.
Moving forward, we stopped by an illuminated truck that could be noticed for miles. It’s brightly painted and somewhat crowded, and this is a good sign. The air is filled with chitter chatter and the divine smells. After a painstaking twenty minutes, our order is called out and we rush to it, our mouths drooling. The mac and cheese that we ordered looks absolutely delightful, filled with "cheese" and mushrooms and peppered "steak." If anything, it tastes like regular mac and cheese, if not even better! Denise hums in delight as the blistering mac and cheese is dancing on her taste buds, and everyone is exceedingly happy with the mac and cheese from heaven. Their reactions speak for themselves though; as there seems to be more of a skip in the critic’s steps and big smiles reach their cheeks. Their energy seems much more lively, and it makes me smile too.
As our night draws to a close, we end up in Scoops, a Highland Park ice cream parlor, filled to the brim with strange and unique flavors that not many could possibly think of, such as burnt bread and limoncello. The colorful walls are sure to keep you on your feet, and the overall parlor radiates with an energetic vibe. For our vegan eaters, they change their flavors almost every day, so if you would like to try their ice cream, the locals highly suggest it. We ordered an almond date and miso burnt sugar ice cream to satisfy our palate. Kiandre mentions that "the ice cream is a bit chalky due to the oatmeal used," but other than that she is satisfied with the creation. Denise also adds that, "the ice cream is a tad sweet, so the oatmeal complements it perfectly."
Amidst the hipster world of Highland Park’s York Boulevard, I introduced three avid meat eaters into the world of vegan food, and they were nothing short of impressed. It was nothing like they thought it would be, and the mac and cheese was certainly a fan favorite. Though they wouldn't go vegan permanently, they were satisfied with today and would definitely try more vegan food in the future. Though only one million people in the world are vegan, it is nice to be able to spread the word on veganism and help show people it isn't that bad.