Vegan Date Night in the Inland Empire!

April 17, 2018   /   byrunningwhilevegan  / Categories :  Food, Running, Travel

Back in December, Mike and I moved to the Inland Empire from Los Angeles, or more specifically, Santa Monica. Of course I get asked why we would leave, but the truth is, we had no choice. I moved in with Mike in July, and shortly after that his building was sold, and we were asked to leave in October. The new building owner gave us a severance check of sorts and gave us til December 1st to move out. We were about to head to France to the Nice Cannes Marathon, where I would be representing LA Marathon; a lot was happening at once. I would like to tell you we handled it all with ease and finesse, but it was a stressful, emotional time. I wanted to stay in Santa Monica, but we couldn’t afford it. And the more we looked, we realized we couldn’t afford much. Mike had been let go in October as well; his unemployment checks still brought in more than my serving checks and tips.

We got back from France with a new mindset. It was such an incredible experience. LA Marathon took care of my flight, lodging and marathon; I took care of Mike’s airfare and he took care of food and our lodging after the marathon was over. Being so far from home and what was comfortable reminded us just how big and beautiful this world is, and in the grand scheme of things, we were going to be ok no matter where we lived. It was bonkers to me, how terribly my time in LA had been going, to then meeting Mike and falling in love with each other, to getting to France. I had so much negativity and anxiety constantly flowing through me, and that November my world opened up so much. I realized this was what I wanted to do, I wanted to travel the US and abroad to run half and full marathons! To make this dream a reality, we needed to adjust our lives and so we made the decision to move to Claremont with Mike’s parents, who welcomed us with open arms.

Expert travelers!

There have been times I’ve missed being a city-dweller, but to be honest, we like Inland Empire living. We’re close enough to LA to go for special events, races and run clubs, but far enough that the traffic is removed! Out here, it takes us five minutes to get to the store! There’s parking! People are patient, and friendly (like when I’m running and they let me have the right of way). The running has been great and the trails are down the street. This was never intended to be a permanent move, but at this point in time it’s been about four and a half months. I just got a new job in the area, and Mike JUST got a job in Long Beach. That’s going to take some more adjusting and reconsidering our lives and where we are going to live, however he just got his dream job after diligently applying and interviewing for months and different places, and I got my job in the fitness field, which I am so excited to dip my toes in and pursue!

Mexvegana at Guasave Roll – where friends gather! Mike and I with Cinthya (Mexvegana herself) and Cesar!

One of the things that has surprised me the most is how much vegan food is down here! There aren’t a bunch of restaurants, like in LA, but instead there are a lot of creative folk hosting pop-ups and vegan markets. I discovered Mexvegana via Instagram, and after my commute home from LA one night, I told Mike we were going to her pop-up! She hosts pop-ups in Ontario, in a restaurant called Guasave Roll, which also has vegan options. She serves Mexvegana food when Guasave Roll is closed, Tuesday and Thursday nights. She also hosts a vegan market there on Sundays once in a while and I think she serves brunch there on the weekends when they are open. I’m not sure because I haven’t attended one yet!

Chipotle jackfruit nachos!

After that first night, where we ordered pretty much everything off the menu, we were hooked! We’ve been back countless times! The food is phenomenal, it’s so flavorful! We’ve gone twice a week at times, and even considered going twice a night a couple times (still haven’t hit that status yet, but it’s not off the table, ever).

Carne Asada street tacos!

So what to do after a delicious dinner with Mexvegana when you live in the IE?! There are some super fun and cheap options!

Hummingbird roll! Mock crab meat, eel sauce, cucumber, spicy mayo, avocado and a stuffed, tempura jalapeno on top! DELICIOUS!

Tequila Hoppers on Taco Tuesday is so much fun, as long as you get there early. I’ve never been one for clubs or crowded bars, but if that’s your scene, you’ll love it after about 9pm. Mexican bottled beers are $2.25, Mexican draft beer is 50% off and well tequila is $2. They also have a sweet happy hour, and tons of delicious craft beers.

A couple tequila shots later at Tequila Hoppers.

If the bar isn’t your scene, West Covina (Mike’s birth place!) has an Edwards Theater where all movies are $6.75! The movies tend to be second run, but if you don’t see them on the first run then they are still new to you! We saw “I, Tonya” there and enjoyed the movie, the theater, and the ticket prices! It’s a big fancy theater! I appreciate smaller, art house theaters too, don’t get me wrong. I love movies and am happy to watch them pretty much anywhere, but the West Covina theater is niiiiiiice!

Since I don’t have any theater pics, another Mexvegana pic! Here is her potato cheese quesadilla!

There you have it! Being vegan in the IE has not been the difficult task we thought it would be! And there’s a lot of fun to be had, minus the traffic of LA!

 

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