I'm not a huge Thanksgiving person. To be honest, I'm not a huge holiday person in general. I love my family though and I enjoy when we are all able to get together, because with the exception of major holidays and one annual family-sponsored golf tournament, it doesn't often happen. And that's just my family in Iowa. I don't get to see my Dad very often as he's way out west in California and I see my extended family--cousins and all, even less often than that.

This year, instead of spending the holiday close to home, I decided to fly out to California for a week.

And I'm so glad I did. I got to experience a whole new set of traditions that I had never been let in on before. The holiday started with my extended step-family and ended at my cousin's home.

Somehow at our first location, I ended up stuffed though I only ate a kale & pomegranate wild rice dish I made up and a slice (or two...and a half) of vegan pumpkin pie.

But my wonderful cousin, Mary, made vegan green bean casserole, fried brussel sprouts, and bought the mascot of vegan Thanksgiving mockery, a Tofurkey, for me to munch on.

If you have never seen a Tofurkey, be warned: they are not appetizing creatures. This was in fact, my first, though I couldn't tell you how many years it's been since I had actual turkey. My opinion of Tofurkey? It looks like a piece of sporting equipment and tastes like how I remember hot dogs tasting. Not that it's a bad thing, just not a convincing center piece when you've already eaten so much delicious food.

I didn't eat for two days after.

All-American Monday

Just a week ago, my Dad and I hopped into his project car, a 54 Chevy, and cruised along PCH before making our usual breakfast stop: Harbor House Cafe (well, usual for him as in he goes weekly, usual for me as in I go whenever I'm in town). I used to love Harbor House, it was seriously the culinary highlight of my trips out west. I'm not sure why, it's just an old diner that serves typical American fare but I always loved it. It might be their inclusion of avocado in almost everything on the menu.

But for this trip, I stuck with green tea (and a few stolen tomato slices and french fries from my Dad's plate).

This was our All-American Monday. With the exception of baseball, I'm not sure if there is anything more American than getting in a vintage car to drive along one of the greatest highways in the country for a breakfast at a beach-side diner in the great state of California...

...unless Tom Petty is simultaneously playing on the radio.

Which he was.