Sunny Days in LA

California is my home but Los Angeles is somewhat new to me. In June, I stayed in Los Feliz and explored Silverlake with my dear friends, Eddie and Chris. They proudly showed off their neighborhood and a few of it's local gems while we caught up on each others' lives. The pace of life in LA is slow yet the city is rushed, the scenery is bright with an urban edge. This photo story is high contrast and pops with color - I hope you enjoy discovering LA with me.

explore travel Los Angeles LA Los Feliz Silverlake hipster neighborhoods discover photography travel California CA Faye Lessler

Exploration and soaking up the clear Southern California sunshine were at the top of my to do list. I looked at the city with fresh eyes and what I saw was blindingly bright. Blue skies, whitewashed walls, palm trees and power lines define LA. To me, the atmosphere is perpetually sunny and colorfully adorned. Suburban-feeling neighborhoods are bordered by busy thoroughfares and a leisurely stroll will be punctuated by honking horns and diesel fumes. Nevertheless, residents in Los Feliz and Silverlake clearly appreciate a good flower garden. Below, you can see this little corner of the city through my eyes.

Bougainvillea, succulents and orange trees set the mood in Los Feliz while bold signage, hipsters and quiet shops summarize Silverlake. There is definitely a retro-industrial vibe happening here with white letters and graffiti-esque paint, but something new-age is also taking place. Spices, crystals, vegan food and thrifting were obviously on our agenda. Visit Painted Bird LA, the Spice Station, Spellbound Sky and the Bowery Bungalow with me below.

It was peaceful and inspiring to see what Eddie and Chris had to share about their neighborhood. The bright blue backdrop of the SoCal sky coupled with pleasant company made for a great mini-trip. I can't wait to return to Los Angeles and explore more of this sunny city. Who can resist a place so filled with sunshine, fresh pressed juice, cacti and chill people? Until next time, LA.

All photos taken by me. Except for the ones of me, those are taken by Eddie Heinrich.

Eddie and Chris' - Vegan Lentil Soup

 
Ingredients for vegan lentil soup. lentil soup ingredients. lentil soup recipe.
 

I would like to introduce a new recipe master duo; Eddie and Chris.

Eddie is an artist, graphic designer and entertainment professional living in Los Angeles with Chris, and puppy, Dewey. He chases music, appreciates craft and likes when things are done right. Sustainability, progressive ideology and creativity are among his top priorities in life. 

Chris is an entertainment marketing wiz who is passionate about music, special events, and food. He has a knack for graphic communication and music festival content development. Creativity, success, his BF Eddie, and pitlab Dewey are his top priorities in life. 

Did I mention they are besties of mine? I will be sharing some of Eddie and Chris' recipes with y'all in the future. These boys are great cooks who appreciate simple ingredients and beautiful plating! I love their cooking and I'm pretty sure you will too. 

Bread and lentils. Sliced bread. Red Lentils. Ingredients for vegan lentil soup recipe.

Vegan Lentil Soup

Cook time - 45 minutes

Ingredients for about 4 servings:

  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 4 slices stale bread
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vegan bouillon 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dried rosemary
  • dried oregano
  • olive oil (for cooking)
Garlic and onion. Ingredients for vegan lentil soup recipe.

Directions:

  1. Wash and drain lentils in a strainer. Sift for rocks or unwanted foreign objects.
  2. Peel onions and garlic, chop, then set aside.
  3. Pour lentils into a pot and add 3 cups water. Turn on high, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, turn down to medium-low heat and let sit, stirring every few minutes to keep from burning. At 15 minutes, add a half cup of water and stir into what should be a mashed goop. At 35 minutes add another cup of water. At this point, the lentils should be done cooking down, appearing as a soupy, single consistency.
  4. Ten minutes before the lentils are done, set your oven to 400 degrees. Then throw your chopped items into a saucepan with olive oil. Sauté on medium for 12 minutes, covered. Agitate occasionally so as to avoid burning. It is important to cover the items as they cook to trap in moisture. The goal is to come out with browned pieces that will mush easily.
  5. Throw sautéed garlic and onions into the pot of lentils. Add cumin, salt, pepper and bouillon. Beat with a whisk or stir quickly to infuse all ingredients into an almost single consistency.
  6. Turn off heat and cover. Lentil soup comes in all consistencies! Leave it thick if that's your thing or add more water if you'd like it to be more soup-ey. 
  7. Prepare bread to make croutons. Cut bread slices into small cubes and douse in olive oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, rosemary and basil. Spread out on cooking sheet and bake until golden/dark brown (about 12 minutes).
  8. To serve, ladle soup into a bowl. Garnish with croutons and cilantro and serve with de-seeded lemon wedge on the side. Enjoy!
 
vegan lentil soup recipe. quick easy recipe.
 

Vegan lentil soup is surprisingly satisfying! You can eat a lot as a hearty meal or have a small cup as an appetizer/side dish. I really like to make extra and either eat it for lunch or force feed it to my neighbors. Make sure you allow the soup to cool down to room temperature before sticking it in the fridge - this way it will last for up to three days. Glorious, glorious leftovers!