Friday, January 12, 2007

Restaurant Review: Native Foods (Costa Mesa)

I never told you about our latest trek to California. I took Julie Hasson, Vivacious Vegan, and Bazu's advice and ate at Native Foods (Costa Mesa). Thank you so much for that tip! What an awesome restaurant! Its: 100% vegan, organic, waste conscious, animal loving, good cooking restaurant! With our California connections (Art's a CA native, UCI alumni, and I lived there for 13 years) it's hard to believe this was our first time eating here. We have a lot of eating to catch up on at Native Foods, and this is how we begin...




First, here's a weird thing about my husband, If a restaurant has a Veggie Jerk Burger on the menu, Art will always order it the first time he eats there. Native Foods does have a
Jerk Burger ($7.50) on the menu, and this was our first time at Native Foods, so to the left you see The Jerk. If I remember right, he ordered the Thai Coleslaw, but they gave him french fries instead. I shared my salad with him and he celebrated the "mistake" with some Organic Annie's Ketchup. Art liked his meal, though he said he'd probably order something else next time. He always does.


As for me, I'm not just a jerk, I'm full-on Seitan. With that in mind, I ordered the California French Dip ($8.95) Thinly sliced roast seitan, caramelized onions, avocado on an organic French roll with au jus to dip, and I ordered the Thai Cole Slaw (gratefully received!). I was never a fan of French dip sandwiches as a meat eater, and don't miss them, but I really enjoyed this sandwich. The bread was soft and warm and held up to several dips in the au jus pool. The salad was fresh and tasty. I browsed through my newly purchased Native Foods cookbook as we waited for the food whilest sipping a Native Iced Tea (yeaah, that recipe is also in the cookbook!)

This last photo is included for Teresa, who suggested I go to Follow Your Heart Cafe in Canoga Park. Another big thank you for that suggestion. It's one of the last remaining co-ops in LA, and has a Cafe that was voted one of the 8 best restaurants in LA by Vegetarian Resource Group. A special award (& thanks!) goes to Bazu for the longest list of LA vegan restaurant recommendations (I printed it & keep it handy in my purse). The biggest disappointment of the visit was that we ran out of time and couldn't go South to visit Kleo -- next time, it's Kung Food or bust!
Remember, you are what you eat! :o)


25 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Oh, that looks so yummy! I bought their cookbook for Hibi (vegan daughter) and we've enjoyed the Elephant Cake recipe. I've never been to the restaurant, though. But I'll be in S. Cal in March--maybe I'll have opportunity to go there. I also like Rutabegorz (I think that's the name--weird name, in any case!) in S. Cal.

Vicki said...

hi Elizabeth! Elephant Chocolate Cake, pg. 279 -- awesome, my daughter's birthday is this month, so I'll test drive this one. Did you know that most people love elephants and chocolate? :o) & I'll look up that restaurant thanks for the tip & your visit! Oh, Hibi is the absolute cutest name!!

laura jesser said...

Wow, that's totally impressive. Funny about Art and the jerk burgers!

meesh said...

I looked at the last pic in your post and was like "Hey, I know where that is!" I asked my parents to take me to Follow Your Heart for my birthday dinner recently. It was wonderful and I think they really enjoyed it too. My step-dad even did a little grocery shopping there and my mom bought a pair of hand knit gloves after dinner.

I haven't been to Native Foods in Costa Mesa. It sounds great. I used to really enjoy a French dip sandwich, so your lunch looked pretty good to me. :) Thanks for telling us about this place!

theONLYtania said...

Ooh your sandwich is looking very good to me.. I will probably never go to California! >.< I should cook me up some seitan soon.. it's been a while!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you hit a couple of my favorite restaurants on your recent trip! Follow Your Heart is probably about 7 miles from my house (I'm an L.A. county native) and I am fortunate enough to be able to eat and shop there frequently. :-) There is a Native Foods in Westwood by UCLA (on Gayley) for those of you who are L.A. residents and hadn't yet heard of it. Thanks so much for this post!

vegyogini

Elizabeth said...

Hibi, short for Hibiscus, chose her own name. :-) Following closely in the tradition of her parents! We both have changed our names, too. So the compliments have to go to Hibi! :-)

I made the Elephant cake for Hibi's 12 birthday, last March. It was so good! Perfect for a birthday cake. And we didn't tell anyone until after that it had tofu in it. :-)

Julie Hasson said...

I'm so glad that you liked Native Foods. It was one of our favorites. I miss getting my NF fix.

I just realized that you live in Boise Vicki. Have you lived there long? We lived there for 6 years, up until a few years ago.

Julie

Vivacious Vegan said...

You have me now dreaming and drooling of getting back to So Cal. I am trying to make it back there this spring or summer. Glad you enjoyed Native Foods. I should get their cookbook. I can't believe I don't already own it.

Tanya Kristine said...

wow. i used to LOVE LOVE LOVE french dips...i neever even thought of making one that way. ther'es only one follow your heart LEFT? i didn't know we had even one let alone they're closing. that's really sad. as a new very fancy mcdonalds opens up down the street.

Brooke said...

I have the NF cookbook, but have yet to make anything....that french dip is making me drool! I will definitely visit the restaurant the next time we are in CA (which hopefully will be this summer...).

bazu said...

Hi Vicki,

It's so good to see you back! I'm glad you guys had a good time in CA, and liked Native Foods. That's so cool that Art is a UCI alum, I'm currently a UCI student- solidarity.

I'm also proud to say that the first time I bought Follow Your Heart Cheese was actually from Follow Your Heart. Isn't it cool that they have survived for so long?

You had me laughing my butt off with this line:

"I'm not just a jerk, I'm full-on Seitan"

lol!

Urban Vegan said...

I want to make another trip to LA just to try Native Foods. I remember Mumbia Vegan (whose blog is now by invitation only...:() used to eat there every night. Who could blame him!

Emmy said...

That's really cool you went to Native Foods. I have their cookbook. Your lunches looked really tasty.

funwithyourfood said...

You went to NativeFoods?

I <3 that place and go about once a month. If you're ever out here again you need to try the SOUL BOWL. I swear it's one of hte best dishes on the menu


teddy

aTxVegn said...

That's great you got to eat at Native Foods! I'm dying for the cookbook. The food looks fabulous!

Melody said...

the food looks great... I have the cookbook... one of these days, I should actually try to follow one of their recipes..

Catherine said...

Hey Vicki! Happy New Year! (Did I get here and say that yet? Sheesh.) Fun trip, and as always, your girls are adorable -- I love the photos of Liv washing dishes. I'm trying to be a better blog-visitor these days, since I think I'm finally recovered from the holidays!

Vivacious Vegan said...

On the fry dipping sauce, that was actually my 4th time making it. I'm hooked. I don't think I can eat yam fries any other way now!

Harmonia said...

Oh! Here you are! Sorry I haven't noted the move sooner! I'm back bloggin' - same place! I would love for you to post this review on Veggin' Out!

Miss ya!

Pixie said...

Wow, that place sounds awesome. And okay, those sandwiches are huge. I wish we had places like that here. Glad to hear you enjoyed.

Jody from VegChic said...

Man, I am so jealous or all the veg options you have on the west coast.

Both sandwiches look great.

The kids making gingerbread bears are so cute.

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

I broke a tooth on food served at Native Foods in Costa Mesa. They did not take responsibility, so I can only assume that there is no incentive to improve their business practices.

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