Native Foods – 1, Big Ag – 0

I have this friend that was once a vegetarian for many years and is no longer.  Doesn’t it make you so sad when you see a vegetarian/vegan turn back to the dark side?  I mean, you’ve seen them thrive on a veg diet, watch them eat delicious veg food, and then ultimately go back to eating meat.  Why?  I don’t know – but it breaks a little piece of my heart.

So back to this friend.  Whenever I have a visit with him, we always go to a vegan restaurant.  He knows veg food is good, so why shouldn’t we eat it when he comes to town?  In honor of his latest visit, we went to Native Foods.  I think most vegetarians in California know about this place.  They are popping up everywhere these days.  And, since the founder has stepped aside, the new owners have expanded to even more places out of state (Oregon, Illinois, Colorado…).  It’s a very exciting time for Native Foods.

The menu is quite large at Native Foods and it keeps changing (which can be good or bad, depending on if your favorites get removed or not).  I once had an amazing burger one week, and the next week it was gone.  One menu item that never seems to go away is the Native Chicken Wings ($6.95).  And there is good reason these don’t go away – they are really delicious.  They are lightly fried and not too heavy.  The ranch dressing that they come with is also super good.

Native Foods Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings

The Saigon Roll ($5.95) was once a special, but came back as a smaller appetizer version.  No matter what the size, I love this roll.  It is prepared with lemongrass tofu, pickled daikon, carrot, brown rice, cucumber, cilantro, and basil.  And my favorite part about it is the peanut sauce.  I love peanut sauce!  This is also a good dish for omnivores that like tofu and are weirded out by the fake meats (like some former co-workers of mine).

Native Foods Saigon Roll

Saigon Roll

My friend got the Portobello and Sausage Burger ($9.95) with a side of sweet potato fries.  This burger is prepared with grilled portobello, homemade seitan, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, salsa, pumpkin seed pesto, and mayo.  I think he liked the burger.  I remember his one comment was that it was very garlicy.  I’ve tried this before and thought the seitan was rather chewy.

Native Foods Portobello Mushroom and Sausage Burger

Portobello Mushroom and Sausage Burger

I went with the Twister Wrap ($9.95): greens, avocado, salsa, chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy or grilled chicken.  I really like their chicken and I love wraps, so this one is a no-brainer.  It’s good.  I went with the regular fries as my side, since I’m not a huge fan of their sweet potato fries (I think Veggie Grill’s are better).

Native Foods Twister Wrap

Twister Wrap

And how could we not complete this fabulous meat-free meal without my favorite Native Foods dessert??  The Peanut Butter Parfait ($2.95) always hits the spot.  Creamy and full of delicious goodies – I wish I knew the recipe!

Native Foods Peanut Butter Parfait

Peanut Butter Parfait

So maybe the meal didn’t turn my friend back to forgoing the dead animals, but at least this one meal didn’t need to kill anything.  Now I need to work on the other 1,094 meals this year.

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