Hi everyone, I’m so glad you’re here!
Welcome my first EVER Coffee Chat, coming to you all the way from California!
This project has been a while in the making, so I’m over the moon to finally be posting! I wanted to start a monthly Coffee Chat as a way to connect with you guys, and give you a glimpse behind the scenes at The Plant Riot HQ. These posts will be a way for me to share the stuff that doesn’t go on Instagram – the candid, personal, tid-bits behind the Plant Riot brand.
Life Happens (Coffee Helps)
First things first, why are we calling this little segment a Coffee Chat? The answer is simple: having a chat over coffee is one of my all-time favorite things to do. Like, ever.
If coffee was a food group it would form the base of my pyramid. Enjoying a nice, hot mug (or two… ok, or three!) at the start of the day gets me ready to rock, and often if I find myself needing some downtime I’ll take it over a coffee.
I keep my coffee order simple – you can keep your half-sweet non-fat caramel drizzle! My dream cup looks like:
Brew method: French press or drip
Consistency: Smooth + creamy
Milk: Oat milk!
During the holidays I’ve also been known to indulge in some dairy-free seasonal creamer.
Sooo, now that’s cleared up, let me tell you what the heck I’ve been up to these past few months. Warning: there’s A LOT.
For the past four years my husband Andrew and I have been living in the Boston area. We’ve been super happy there, and it’s allowed us to do lots of things we wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to. Andrew works as a cancer research scientist, and I’ve found it a great base for running The Plant Riot.
However, I have to admit that those long, snowy winters have been a real challenge for us. Being from Australia we’ve definitely missed the sunshine and waves. Harsh winters + Aussie kids = serious seasonal blues.
So, when Andrew’s employer told him that his research facility would close at the end of July due to Covid, we decided it was time for a major rethink.
Before moving to Boston we lived in San Francisco, so the Golden State has always held a special place in our hearts. So since I work from home and Andrew was job hunting, we figured there were worse places to look than California.
Hoping for the best and ready for a little adventure we started packing up our home for the move. Turns out we have A LOT of stuff. Some we sold online, and the rest we donated to GoodWill. Safe to say it took several trips… We also donated all our unopened food to the local food bank.
Of course one of my major packing tasks was my photography studio (aka the guest room where I take all my photos and store my props etc). After collecting mugs, glasses, and plates for years, it’s amazing how many you accumulate. So it was time to be ruthless and cut the collection down to the essential few.
Even though moving sucks, I have to admit that I felt lighter after the clear out.
We stored all our stuff in a moving Pod and left it in Boston, not knowing when or where it (or we) would finally end up. Then, feeling a little bit emotional, we waved Boston goodbye and began the long journey west to California.
How often do you find yourself able to take a three month road trip across the USA? Not very often right? Since we had the luxury of time (and my ability to work remotely) we decided to take the opportunity to explore some places we’d always wanted to get to know.
Now, obviously travelling in the middle of an international pandemic isn’t ideal. We had to take A LOT of extra precautions to keep ourselves and others safe, and the experience was a very different one than we would have had if Covid-19 wasn’t happening. We wore masks everywhere we went, only did activities outside, swabbed our AirBnB and Hotel rooms with cleaning products, and washed our hands at every opportunity. It was nerve wracking, but we were determined to complete the road trip.
New York City
It’s always been a dream of ours to have an extended visit in NYC, so for our first long-stay we booked four weeks at an AirBnB in Manhattan. Truth be told we would have loved to stay longer, but with the city being closed due to Covid-19, we figured one month was plenty.
My days were spent developing recipes and taking photos, while Andrew was busy looking for jobs. Cesar made the most of being in the city that never sleeps by… well… napping on top of pillows.
Evenings and weekends were filled by exploring parks, seeing the sites, and of course, scouting out delicious restaurants. The city’s food scene is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and if you visit NYC, I highly recommend these places for some seriously delicious vegan food, plant based ice cream, and creamy oat milk lattes!
Favorite NYC hangouts
- Spicy Moon, locations in the East Village + West Village
- Seasoned Vegan, Harlem
- Screamers Pizzeria, 2 locations in Brooklyn
- Bluestone Lane Coffee, multiple locations
- Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, multiple locations
East to West
After New York we set out on the long drive from East to West. We took the southern route, which allowed us stop offs at some seriously awesome cities:
- Washington DC
- New Orleans
We took turns driving while Cesar napped on our laps, and racked up more than 60 hours of road-time by the end of the trip! We got to see so much of this beautiful country, and it made us very grateful to live here.
When we finally arrived in our new home state of California we were super ready to sit still for a hot second. We found a dog-friendly AirBnB in San Diego that fit our budget and had a kitchen, and we’ve been hanging out here for the past few weeks now.
We fell in love with San Diego pretty much instantly. The beaches, the weather, the incredible food scene. It just felt like home. Deep down though, I think we both believed we would end up moving back to San Francisco, due to the high number of science jobs there.
But last week we got some incredible news. After months of searching, Andrew got a job offer here in San Diego! Safe to say we are delighted. In these crazy times we feel very privileged to be closing this chapter on a happy ending.
So what’s next?
After months of adventure we’re thrilled to be settling down in San Diego. The apartment search has started in earnest, and we’re already planning for our Pod to be brought over from Boston. Hopefully I can share an apartment tour in my November Coffee Chat!
If you’re from San Diego or know the area, I would LOVE to hear your recommendations. Comment below with your favorite vegan/vegan friendly restaurants, dog friendly beaches/parks, and of course, coffee bars! So far we’ve been to Kindred and Modern Times Cafe for coffee. YUM!!
It’s been an intense few months moving around, and I’ve tried my hardest to post recipes regularly for you all on Instagram and The Plant Riot.com. There are so many exciting things in the works right now (including this little project!) and I can’t wait to share more details with you soon.
As ever, I love hearing your thoughts, comments, and questions, so please do post them down below. Let’s keep connecting through this unprecedented time.
Until our next Coffee Chat,