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Natural Products Expo West: March 3-7th, Anaheim, CA

EXPO WEST BABYYYYYY!!!

Tips, Tricks + local coffee shops and restaurants

Ok Peeps, my FAVORITE time Of the year is just around the corner and I could not be more excited. Honestly, this is like my Disneyland, better than Christmas morning for all my fellow foodies like me!! 

EXPO WEST BABYYYYYY!!!

This year will be my 3rd  year attending and 2nd year as a Registered Dietitian living in the Orange County Area- So I’m finally feeling A bit more comfortable with this crazy event and know how I like to navigate it. 

First things first, everyone likes to navigate this event in their own way… be it only going 1 day, eating a full b-fast/lunch… only going to a few booths.. Etc…. I’m going to tell you what I do, and what I like! You always do you boo! 

Here we go:

First off, if you do not know what Expo west is, it is the largest natural, organic, and health product trade show in the world (or at least this country) that only happens one time a year in Anaheim, CA in March (there is a smaller version- expo East, in Baltimore in September), with over 3,600 companies on display. There is everything from ice cream, granola bars, protein powders, baking goods, beauty products, CBD/health products… pretty much any wellness brand you can think of or know of is at this show…and you get to try any and all of them and also take samples home (I probably walk out of that weekend with at least $300+ worth of goods)! 

And let me tell you when I related this to Disneyland, it also wasn’t that far off- there are probably more people, more lines, more crowds, more walking at this event than at Disneyland. If you are coming, you have to mentally prepare to be overwhelmed, get a little pushed around, get lost, and be extremely tired by the end of the day- but IT’S WORTH IT! 

As for the point of going to the expo- it’s up to you. Some go to network, some go to connect with brands they partner with, some go to get brands to partner with them, some go for work, and some go for fun; there is no right or wrong reason to go. As for me- yes I may pass around a few business cards, talk to a few brands I really love and or am interested in working with, but ultimately I go to connect with foodie friends, have fun, and true new brands/foods/products that I would never otherwise try. And yes, I try A LOT! The tummy ache at the end of the weekend is well worth it (I mean it is a once a year experience, I got to take advantage).

Tips

  1. Wear COMFY AF shoes (I’m telling you no matter what your feet are gonna hurt)
  2. Dress comfortably- unless you’re there for work you’re not trying to impress anyone, your comfort is most important, believe me!
  3. Download the app- browse all the vendors and pick just a few you MUST see, other than that just walk around and discover new products. 
  4. Mentally prepare yourself- you want to be able to enjoy the weekend, so take a deep breath, do not let yourself get overwhelmed, go with the flow, get enough sleep, and let loose a little bit.
  5. Do not go with a large group, stick to 2-4 people- believe me, you will get lost/cut off from them- plan coffee meet-ups before the event and dinner dates after the event, because during the event is CRAZY. 
  6. Try EVERYTHING- but really though, allow yourself the freedom to eat all the foods that look yummy/interesting to you; you may not ever see or get the chance to taste it again- the possible tummy ache is well worth it. 

Coffee/restaurants to  go to/try near the event center:

Coffee: (there is honestly no great coffee in Anaheim) I’ll name the best shops close by..

  1. Tustin: Morning Lavender Cafe, Oliboli donuts (amazing donuts and great coffee)
  2. Santa Ana: Hopper&Burr; Huskins coffee
  3. Costa Mesa: Neat coffee, Moongoat, coffee dose
  4. Newport: Daydream surf shop, KIT coffee

Food

  1. Sidecar donuts Costa, Mesa
  2. Oliboli donuts Tustin, CA
  3. Cultivation Kitchen Anaheim, CA
  4. True foods Newport, CA
  5. Playground Santa Ana, CA
  6. Habana – Irvine or Costa Mesa, CA
  7. Seabird Kitchen Costa Mesa, CA
  8. Chaak Tustin, CA
  9. Vaca Costa Mesa, CA
  10. Lido Bottle works Newport, CA
  11.  Folks pizza costa mesa, CA
  12. 2145 pizza costa mesa, CA
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