The Veggie Grill: A Restaurant Review

This past weekend I indulged in some delish fare from The Veggie Grill, located in Irvine California at the Irvine Spectrum.

Strolling through the overly crowded outdoor mall on a Sunday can be a draining event, so as my stomach began to rumble I decided to take a lunch break at The Veggie Grill.

The Veggie Grill is an all Vegan restaurant, offering even the most squeemish eaters a delicious introduction to the world of soy meat and vegetables. Here, even the most manly of men can order a crispy ‘chickin’ sandwich with a side of fries (SWEET POTATO FRIES THAT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL THEYRE SO GOOD).

Anywho, I walked up to the counter and ordered my chinese ‘chicken’ salad and a side of sweetheart fries, took my number and sat down at a fabulous table outside in the sun. My salad came and though I was a little skeptical to try the ‘chickin’ I was VERY pleasantly surprised with the texture and overall taste. As you folks know, sometimes the vegan stuff can taste like absolute cardboard….not very good press for those promoting healthier eating.

The ambiance is a little stark but they do a nice job to keep the atmosphere as warm and friendly as possible. And honestly, the line is constantly out the door, something I found quite surprising considering vegan food isn’t the most tempting cuisine for those who aren’t gastro-curious.

Overall Review? 4/5 stars.

  • Great Service
  • Great Food
  • Close to my house (always a plus, less carbon emissions from my car….)

It’s not an upscale place, but a great place to grab a casual bite to eat.

For more info check out: The Veggie Grill

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Native Foods: A Restaurant Review

This past weekend I decided to do the vegan thing and eat at Native Foods, located in glorious Costa Mesa, California.

First of all, this restaurant is located at The Camp shopping center, full of outdoorsy places to shop (think REI but more bohemian), buy your nalgene’s and eat some hippie food.

The Native Foods architechture is also particularly interesting, It looks like a big tin can from the outside, complete with a large propeller fan(interior) which I assume is some type of energy saver. (even if this addition is only for aesthetics, it does the trick to attract their target demographic.)

Interior of Native Foods Costa Mesa
Interior of Native Foods Costa Mesa

Native Foods prides itself on preparing food that is kind to environment (low carbon b/c it is Vegan) without compromising taste. You aren’t going to find a white slab of tofu on rice at this place, even though the majority of menu items are high in soy content.

I ordered the Greek Euro Hot Bowl which came to me complete with Gyro “meat” (seitan, a wheat gluten compound that has a meat-like texture) steamed veggies, and rice. Honestly, it was very good. I usually am not a huge fan of the fake meat thing, but this place does it right, it’s all about seasoning folks.

Native Foods Hot Bowl
Native Foods Hot Bowl

The meal I ordered was a little pricey ($11) but I suppose that is the price you have to pay these days for a restaurant that is committed to using the freshest and highest quality ingredients…however the architechture saves them a lot on their utility bill so I’m still a little skeptical..

The only downside? The restaurant was chock full of pretentious vegan hippies that will rip your heart out for so much as HINTING you MIGHT be interested in eating an animal product.

Here, you get the feeling that you’re not actively destroying the environment with your meal; however who knows if the ingredients they use are coming from local sources. Either way, at least eating here decreases your carbon footprint a shoe size or two 😉

The restaurant’s mission statement is as follows:

  • A commitment to promoting greater human health, compassion to all living beings and environmental preservation with the utmost integrity.
  • To serve and set the standard on what delicious, fresh, organic and artful vegetarian / vegan meals should be and to make them convenient and affordable to all.
  • Ultra clean and stylish presentation of food, people and products.
  • Utmost customer service by enthusiastic and hard working individuals while creating a respectful “family” of staff and customers.

The final verdict? Native Foods is good at what they do, but you do have to pay a price. This restaurant is for the person who is too lazy/busy to prepare these types of vegan/vegetarian meals at home…