OC Restaurant Week at 118 Degrees

OC Restaurant Week is going on this week and is offering wonderful discounts.  Luckily for vegans, we have some options.  I went to 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa for a $10 lunch special.  118 Degrees is an all raw-all vegan restaurant (although I think they might have bee products in some smoothies).

Their Restaurant Week lunch menu included:

CA Pear and Walnut Salad (Organic Mixed Greens with Crisp Marinated Pears and Walnuts, topped with our famous Sweet Mustard Dressing.)

Choice of:

Sicilian Focaccia on our house made sprouted buckwheat crust topped with onions, olives, sun-dried tomato
and sweet macadamia cheese.

Or

Fried Avocado Hand-Helds in a Nappa Cabbage Leaf with our Tahini Cheese, Chopped Organic Spinach, Diced Cucumber, and Flax Rolled Avocado.

Dessert Duo, Daily Selection of Dessert Bites from our House Selection of Popular Desserts

My dining partner and I got one of each entree and ended up splitting them.

118 Degrees OC Restaurant Week 2

$10 Lunch Special with Fried Avocado

The salad was simple and the pears added a nice bit of sweetness.  I love the “fried” avocados at 118 Degrees so I was excited to get it in a handheld.  Although it didn’t end up being eaten in handheld form, it was still delicious.   The daily dessert duo ended up being their brownie and apple cobbler.  The brownie was more like fudge.  I loved the texture, but I find raw chocolate to be too bitter for me.  I also wasn’t a big fan of the apple cobbler.  I love baked apple cobblers, but since this was a raw dessert, I’m assuming they dehydrated their apples.  I was never a fan of dried apples, which is why I could have passed on this dessert. The crust was good, though.

118 Degrees OC Restaurant Week 1

$10 Lunch Special with Sicilian Focaccia

As far as the sicilian focaccia dish went – I actually didn’t have high hopes for this one.  I was concerned that the crust was going to be bad (I’ve had bad experiences with raw items trying to replace bread).  I ended up really liking their focaccia.  The topping of greens was also wonderful.

If you are in the area, I’d highly recommend stopping by for this fantastic deal.  They have a separate dinner special for $20.  You can get all the information at the OC Restaurant Week’s website.  The deals end March 3rd, so you better get over there!

Note: Avanti Cafe also is having OC Restaurant Week deals and includes some vegan options. See their options here.

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Killer Breakfast Sandwich at Seabirds Food Truck

Holy Shih-Tzu!  I went today to the SoCo Farmers Market and got the breakfast croissant sandwich at Seabirds Food Truck.  So good.  This thing was made with homemade (by Seabirds!) croissant, tofu egg, heirloom tomato, avocado, and basil pesto aioli.  This croissant was amazing.  Super fatty (in a good way) – not dry like some croissants sold.  Vegans out there know how hard it is to find vegan croissants.  Thank you Seabirds for filling that void.  I hope to see it on the menu again!

Seabird's Breakfast Croissant Sandwich

Breakfast Croissant Sandwich – $7

But of course I wanted to try something else, so I got the Chipotle BBQ Jack Tacos.  These babies are loaded with grilled jackfruit and topped with cabbage slaw.  They were kind of too spicy for me (I’m weak), but still oh so good.  I would have loved these without the “chipotle.”  The jackfruit was perfectly marinated and the creamy slaw was a great balance to the spicy and sweet BBQ.

Seabirds Chipotle BBQ Jack Tacos

Chipotle BBQ Jack Tacos – 2 for $7

It’s only noon, so you still have 2 hours to get over there and get one!

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Vegan Vietnamese at Thuyen Vien

In 2007, OC Weekly gave Thuyen Vien the honor of Best Pho.  This is not among vegetarian pho only – it’s out of all the places that serve pho!  I can tell you from experience, their pho is very tasty (although I’ve never had conventional pho and can’t compare it to that).  My trips to Thuyen Vien always come with the dilemma of ordering their amazing pho, or ordering one of their many other tasty dishes.  This trip I went with the latter.

First up were the Steamed Jicama Rolls served with Peanut Sauce.  I love non-fried rolls drenched in peanut sauce and these did not disappoint!  I don’t remember if there was tofu or some kind of fake meat in the middle, but also included were jicama slices, carrots, and greens.  Yummy and refreshing!

Thuyen Vien Steamed Jicama Rolls

Steamed Jicama Rolls – $5.50

For my entree, I ordered the Crispy Soy Fish with Ginger Sauce.  I’ve had this before when I dined with a large group and everyone I was with absolutely loved this one.  It has an interesting texture and is covered in seaweed.  I’m a big fan, but I can see why it might not be for everyone.

Thuyen Vien Crispy Soy Fish with Ginger Sauce

Crispy Soy Fish with Ginger Sauce – $7.95

I also had a taste of my fellow diner’s entree: Garlic Chicken.  The chicken was chewy and the dish was a bit spicy, but all-in-all, it had a great flavor.

Thuyen Vien Garlic Chicken

Garlic Chicken- $6.95

I also ordered their BBQ Shredded Tofu and Eggrolls Vermicelli with Grilled Pork (that’s a mouthful!) to-go for my vegan guy.  Turns out, this one has lots of onions (something my guy avoids for personal reasons), so he didn’t eat it.  I ate it the next day and thought it was just ok.  This type of dish isn’t something I’m a huge fan of and wouldn’t order it on my own.  The noodles were plain and the rest had some flavor, but had gotten mushy while sitting in the fridge overnight.  It came with a very liquidy sauce to pour over the noodles, but it just wasn’t enough for me to really enjoy it (I’m a fan of thicker/more flavorful sauces on my noodle dishes).  If you are a frequent orderer of this particular “vermicelli noodle with egg roll” type dish, then you might like it, though.

Thuyen Vien Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork

Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork – $6.95

Thuyen Vien is all vegetarian and mostly vegan (any non-vegan dishes are marked “NV”).  The sign outside says “Pho Veggie” so look for that. The parking lot is smaller, but I have never had a problem parking in it.  It is located at:

1740 S Euclid St
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 490-0242

Mon:5:00 pm-9:00 pm
Tue – Fri:10 am-2:30 pm and 5 pm-9 pm
Sat – Sun:10 am-9 pm

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Valentine’s Special at Native Foods

I heard about the Native Foods Valentine’s Special and had to get it.  Luckily, a new location had just opened at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, which is a lot closer to me than the locations in Costa Mesa or Tustin.

The Valentine’s Special included vegetable lasagna layered with tofu ricotta, roasted portobellos, greens, and a fresh marinara and topped with Native cashew parmesan.  It was served with a Caesar salad and garlic bread.  I loved the garlic bread – it was the best part.  The Caesar salad was also good.  The lasagna, on the other hand, was slightly lacking on the flavor.  I found that the large pieces of portobello mushrooms and kale took over and I had wished there were more cheese and spices.

Native Foods Valentine's Special

Valentine’s Special – Lasagna, Garlic Bread, and Caesar Salad – $9.95

The tiramisu wasn’t how I remembered tiramisu.  Prepared with espresso soaked vanilla cake with vegan mascarpone and shaved chocolate.   The vanilla cake was what I remembered angel food cake to be – kind of spongey and light on flavor.  The espresso made the edges of the cake soggy – not good.  The mascarpone reminded me of marshmallow fluff – thick and sticky.  It was smooth, but the texture threw me off.  Not creamy how I remember the real stuff to be.  The whole thing was just ok.  It was a lightly sweet dessert for those who like that sort of thing.

Native Foods Tiramisu

Tiramisu – $2.95

All in all, I’m not sure if I’d order this again if it appeared on the regular menu.  I am still very excited about the new Fashion Island location.  There are a few new items that I am wanting to try and will definitely be back to order these.

Native Foods has been opening new locations all over the place.  Check out their website to see if one is near you.

Vegan Cookies at Robeks

I had heard a few years ago that Robeks juice was offering vegan cookies.  Since I never go there and there aren’t many locations near me, I never checked it out.  I finally came across a Robeks and decided to try these vegan cookies.  They are made by Lenny & Larry’s and claim to be a healthier cookie.  You can see the nutrition information at their website.  These cookies are quite big and very filling- a great steal at only two bucks.

I went with the Peanut Butter and the Chocolate Chip.  Also available were Lemon Poppyseed and Oatmeal Raisin.  I thought the peanut butter had an off flavor – maybe it was the peanut butter they used?  The chocolate chip was much better.  I didn’t taste any off flavor in this one.  They both were very soft, so be careful if you are packing these guys away – they break apart easily.

Robeks Cookies

Cookies at Robeks 

Cheezy Pizza in Colton

I love that Daiya has made it so easy for pizza places to add vegan pizzas to their menus.  Cheezy Pizza in Colton has done this and more.  They are not a totally vegan establishment, but their vegan menu is huge!  In addition to vegan pizza, they have vegan appetizers, salads, calzones, and even desserts.  I recently went and got some food to feast on with my family out in the Inland Empire.

First up was the garlic cheese bread and the potato wedges.  The garlic cheese bread was a nice thick and soft piece of bread covered in Daiya cheese.  It came with a small container of marinara sauce.  The bread was delicious, but I wanted more marinara for dunking.  The potato wedges were also delicious.  They were perfectly seasoned and not too greasy.  They came with a side of ketchup.

Cheezy Pizza Garlic Cheese Bread

Garlic Cheese Bread – $4.60

Cheezy Pizza Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges – $3.68

In addition to the two appetizers, I ordered two different kinds of pasta.  Their pasta menu lets you choose a shape of pasta, pasta sauce, and up to four toppings.  I ordered Fettucini Alfredo with vegan chicken and mushrooms.  Their alfredo sauce is one of the best vegan alfredo sauces I’ve ever had. It’s super thick and creamy – I wish they jarred and sold this.  The second pasta dish I ordered was the Penne Pesto with sun dried tomatoes, black olives, and mushrooms.  At first I thought it looked dry – that the pasta baked too much in the oven – but it definitely wasn’t.  The pesto had just the right amount of spices and oil.  The topping of Daiya was also a great way to add more of a cheesy flavor to the pesto.  I’d order this one again.

Cheezy Pizza Fettuccini Alfredo

Fettuccini Alfredo with Vegan Chicken and Mushrooms – $7.99

Cheezy Pizza Penne Pesto

Penne Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Black Olives – $7.99

The two pizzas I ordered were the BBQ Chicken Pizza and the Margherita Pizza.  The BBQ Chicken pizza reminded me of my favorite California Pizza Kitchen pizza back when I was an omnivore.  The BBQ sauce was the best part –  nice and sweet with a little bit of tang.  The Margherita pizza was simple, but not lacking any flavor.  The fresh tomatoes and tons of basil made this pizza so refreshing.  The crust at Cheesy Pizza is a one-size-fits all – not too thick and not too thin.

Cheezy Pizza  BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza – $16.56

Cheezy Pizza Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza – $13.80

In keeping with the “two of each” theme, I picked up two vegan cheesecakes for dessert.  These are pre-packaged cheesecakes made by a third party.  The two flavors I got were Caramel Apple and Peanut Butter.  Neither of these cheesecakes were very good.  They both tasted kind of dry- especially the crumbly crust.  The best part of these was the dollop of frosting on the peanut butter cheesecake.  This was the only really creamy part of it all.

Cheezy Pizza Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake – $4.75

Cheezy Pizza Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Cheesecake – $4.75

They also recently started bottling their ranch dressing.  I hope it makes it to the stores.  It is just like the “real” thing!  So thick – not runny like other vegan ranches I’ve had.  I dumped this stuff like crack onto my pizzas.  It’s worth the drive to Colton alone.

Cheezy Pizza Ranch

Creamy Ranch from Cheezy Pizza – $6.50

The biggest downer of Cheezy Pizza is that I only found out about it after I moved away from the area.  Everything Cheezy Pizza makes is fantastic.  A note about their vegan sauces:  apparently they prepare these on Mondays.  I came on Monday and got the last bit of vegan alfredo.  If you are making a special trip on a Monday, I’d recommend calling ahead to make sure they have the vegan sauce that you want.

Cheezy Pizza

Cheezy Pizza

Cheezy Pizza is in a random area (in my opinion).  The neighborhood is mostly residential and a block away from an elementary school.  It has easy parking and is not too far from the freeway.  There is seating inside for about 20 people.

Cheezy Pizza is located at:
299 West Olive Street
Colton, CA 92324
(909) 370 -2644

Sun-Thurs: 11AM – 9PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM – 10PM

Au Lac in Fountain Valley

I recently went with a group to Au Lac in Fountain Valley.  This restaurant is great, because it has a huge menu with Vietnamese style cooked foods and extravagant raw foods.  It is also great for people living in Orange County, because it is centralized within the county.

I started off with the BBQ Pork Rolls with rice paper, barbecued soy pork, chive, pickled daikon and carrot, and served with a peanut sauce for dipping.  This thing was stuffed with fake pork, so don’t order it if you aren’t into the fake meats.  I liked that it was sliced for sharing (I was with a group, after all).  I love peanut sauces, and this one did not disappoint (although I do wish they gave a bit more).  As for the roll, itself, I liked it, but I actually think I would have liked a tofu-based roll instead.  It was too fake-meaty for me.

Au Lac BBQ Pork Rolls

BBQ Pork Rolls – $4

For my entree, I ordered the Stir-Fried Soy Seafood Noodles with yellow noodle, soy seafood, stir-fried bok choy, snow pea, napa cabbage, and shiitake sauce.  The menu declared that the noodles were crispy, but I guess I wasn’t expecting the “bird’s nest” style noodles.  Luckily, after sitting in the sauce for awhile, the noodles softened up.  I like that this dish is not just vegetables and not just fake meat but a hearty combination of both.  I still wish it was a soft, non-fried noodle, but the flavor was still excellent.

Au Lac Stir Fried Seafood Noodles

Stir Fried Seafood Noodles – $10

Because I was with a large group, we ended up ordering a few desserts and sharing them.  All of their desserts are raw and all are perfectly sliced for sharing.  Our group went with Choconut X-tasy, Donut Holes, and Rainbow in the Sky.  The Choconut x-tasy was my favorite (it’s also the one I always order when at Au Lac).  It is described only as pecans and cocoa powder, but I’m sure there is more to it than that.  It is served slightly cold and tastes like a kind of creamy ice cream-type dessert.  The donut holes were a recommendation by a friend and contain a healthy dose of spirulina, coconut, and macadamia nuts.  I personally liked them, but I can see that they might not be for everyone (maybe on the account of the spirulina taste).  It’s a doughy ball with a gooey chocolate filling and coated in a very fine coconut sugar.  The advice given to me before eating this was to not inhale when putting this ball into your mouth – as the fine coconut sugar will get stuck in your lungs.  Lastly, the Rainbow in the Sky might have been my least favorite, but still very good.  It contains blueberries, spirulina, jackfruit, raspberries, dates, and pecans.  I’m less of a fruity dessert type of person, which is why I liked it least.

Au Lac Choconut X-tasy

Choconut X-tasy (Raw) – $7

Au Lac Donut Holes

Donut Holes (Raw) – $7

Au Lac Rainbow in the Sky

Rainbow in the Sky (Raw) – $7

Au Lac is in a small complex with a hodge-podge of businesses.  It looks very generic from the outside, but inside they have renovated it to be very sleek.  They have gone with a black and red theme with modern porcelain tableware and low lighting.  Once inside, it’s a very sexy place to take your date.  Some of my group are mostly raw in their personal diets and they raved about the raw menu here.  Au Lac also has a large elixir menu to help fix any of your aliments.  The parking is very easy and the location is close to the 405 freeway.  A definite must for anyone in the Orange County area.

Au Lac

Au Lac

Au Lac
16563 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
714-418-0658

Tuesday-Sunday
Lunch 11:33 am – 3:33 pm
Dinner 5:33 pm – 9:33 pm