Do you want a good vegetarian meal? Are you having trouble getting someone from your family or friends to join you for a meal? In Orange County, California, you can “have your cake and eat it too”! While I may not be a total vegan (a girl sometimes has to eat a good barbecue rib), I prefer to eat a vegetarian meal most of the time. The problem is that my family and friends think that this type of cuisine is not something they want to share with me! They think of soy-based foods as something meant for me and me alone.
Fortunately, I have found great restaurants in our wonderful Southern California home that go out of their way to cater to all concerned. So carnivores take a seat, you will even find something tasty in these fun places!
Mother’s Market and Cafe-Mother’s have a wonderful vegan menu, but since they are also a full market for organic and healthy foods, the cafe also serves fish and chicken dishes. At least it was on the menu that I went to at Laguna Hills, which is one of the smaller units. Mother’s has multiple locations throughout the county.
Rutabegorz-This restaurant has a warm place in my heart. Before it grew to the 3 locations it has today, it only had Fullerton’s. Okay, this was in the 70’s and I was just a young college student, but I liked healthy eating even then! The reason I love Rutabegorz is that the atmosphere is laid back, the baked goods are made on the premises (low fat, low / no sugar and tasty too!), The menu is eclectic and my husband doesn’t mind the tuna dishes and salads. When I went there “a long time ago,” my college dance partners and I could feel good eating the whole wheat bagel with avocado, tomatoes, and tofu. Wish they still had it on the menu! Besides Fullerton, they also have one in Orange and Tustin.
Zinc’s Cafe and Market-Laguna Beach. Great breakfasts. Fabulous baked goods. Salads are wonderful. Some very interesting lunch options. The menu always changes, but the coffee is gourmet and smells wonderful.
Native Foods, the new kid in town, so to speak. Located in Costa Mesa, this is fast becoming a wonderful destination for vegans. Exclusive and semi casual menu, they have some fake meat dishes that from what a couple of diners said, if someone had ordered their meals without telling them what kind of restaurant this is, they would never have guessed they weren’t eating. “the real thing”.
Veggie and Tea House – This is just what it says, mainly a tea house that serves vegetarian dishes. While this place is charming and the food pretty good, in all honesty this is probably the least likely of all the recommended places that could fit in with the meat-eating crowd.
Other suggestions? Most Asian restaurants are pretty vegan / vegetarian! Jade Palace in Aliso Viejo will substitute tofu for any meat in any of their dishes.
So fellow veggie lovers cheer up, we can go out to eat with our fellow carnivores and we can all enjoy ourselves!