Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Restaurant Review: Native Foods (Costa Mesa)

I took the sisters to Native Foods because we were hungry and in the area already to visit Centennial Farm (I'll share more about that later...) Art and I have eaten here once or twice before, but this was the first time for the girls.

It's always a challenge dining with "the monkeys" because Abi is at that phase where her main goal is to clear the table, climb on top, and squeal in victory. (This
is just a phase, right?) Anyway, I forged ahead because I wanted to share this experience with them, and fortunately,we didn't cause too much of a scene!

They enjoyed seeing the framed photo of the turkey on our table. And the free stickers...

I love the fact that the entire menu is non-dairy, and their goal is to be 100% organic. Today, we wanted to experiment with the kid's menu and side items. Too bad they were out of 'Fruity Hooty' $3.75 Sliced fruit (mango, banana, apple) with oranged flavored creamy dipping sauce.

Here's our 'Edamame' $3.75 Organic steamed soy beans dusted with sea salt.
'Native Seasoned Fries' $3.50 Fried in vegetable oil and seasoned with a Native blend of fun spices. The lady behind the counter offered to leave the spices out for the girls, which I really appreciated.
'Trees and Roots' $4.00 is off the "Green Kids Rule!" section of the menu, and is steamed broccoli and raw carrots with Ranch.

I recommend the edamame, if you need to keep little hands busy so that you can sneak off to refill your 'Native Iced Tea' $2.35 -- Which is a lemony hibiscus tea lightly sweetened with apple juice. I order the refreshing tea every time, and you can find the recipe in Chef Tanya's cookbook.

Native Foods has four locations to choose from: Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Westwood, & Costa Mesa. We were at the Costa Mesa location @ 2937 Bristol St. 714.751.2151 And, they are open 11-10 7 days a week.

Native Foods exudes messages of conscious living. Outside, on a Prius, I saw this sticker. Inside, I took one of several pamphlets available. It's titled "Think you can be a meat-eating environmentalist? Think again! If you care about the planet, go vegetarian."
On the back of the flyer is a concise list of "
Did You Know?" facts, and since I'm fairly quick on the keyboard, I thought I'd just type them here to share. Most of my readers already know, but hopefully this message will be found by somebody with the courage to try something new! Here are some reasons why you should...

Pollution: The meat industry causes more water pollution in the United States than all other industries combined because animals raised for food produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population does - 86,000 pounds per second. A typical pig factory farm generates a quantity of raw waste equal to that of a city of 50,000 people, but without the sewage system. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the runoff from factory farms pollutes our rivers and lakes more than all other industrial sources combined.

Land: Of all agricultural land in the United States, nearly 80 percent is used to raise animals for food. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals. Twenty times more land is required to feed a meat-eater than to feed a pure vegetarian.

Water: Raising animals for food consumes nearly half the water used in the U.S. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat. Also, the EPA reports that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

Global Warming: Meat production causes global warming. The massive amount of animal feces produced in factory farms is the largest source of airborne methane in the U.S. According to the EPA, methane traps heat in the atmosphere more than 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide does.

Energy: Raising animals for food requires more than one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. Satisfying our appetite for flesh requires fuel to produce fertilizer for the crops that are fed to animals, oil to run the trucks that take them to slaughter, electricity to freeze their carcasses, and much more.

Animals: You can't be concerned about the environment without caring about our fellow inhabitants, the animals. They're made of flesh and blood, have complex social and psychological lives, and feel pain, just as humans do. More than 27 billion animals are killed by the U.S. meat industry each year, and they're killed in ways that would horrify any compassionate person.

"If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you can do."
---- Sir Paul McCartney

For a free vegetarian starter kit (and the sources for these facts), visit or call 1-888-VEG-FOOD


Vegan_Noodle said...

What a cool restaurant! Looks like a great place for kids and adults alike. I have often wanted to place flyers on all the priuses (and every other car for that matter) at the whole foods parking lot that belong to "happy meat" eating yuppies. If they only knew.... thanks for getting the message out!

Veg-a-Nut said...

How fun! Someday I am going to take a road trip and venture to Costa Mesa. The girls looked like they enjoyed the trip. I love popping edemame.

Great information. I have read it many times and the statistic never cease to amaze me. I am glad I am vegan!

Anonymous said...

Hi Vicki! From the looks of your restaurant reviews, it sounds like you are having a marvelous time in California. I'm so sorry we didn't get the opportunity to meet up. I was just catching up on some of your older posts and I can't wait to make your tamales. They look wonderful and remind me of a different time in my life. Your herb garden looks so lucious and I love the stepping stones in your regular garden. I'm excited to see what you've got planted in there.

Shananigans said...

I feel like I’m on a nostalgic tour of my favorite Cali vegan restaurants. I used to go to the one in Westwood pretty often, the bar up the block was our Badger football viewing headquarters. The Philly steak sandwich there is so good, as is the Moby Dick. Heck, everything I ever had at NF was delicious. Do you have a California Vegan review up your sleeve next?

laura jesser said...

Wow... great stuff here, Vicki! I am glad that you typed up these "did you know"s for someone to stumble upon--and I totally agree with the Paul McCartney quote there at the end. Oh, and I'm sure the climbing on the table thing is just a phase! :)

Carolann said...

Great stuff! I love the Did you knows. Do you mind if I put it on my website and link to you?

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

i agree, vegan noodle.

hi veg-a-nut, the stats shock me over and over again.

hi vivacious, very cool to see you! i hope you make the tamales, i'd love to see what you do with them. and i need to post some garden shots soon...

hi shan! no, i don't - wish i did. that's it for the reviews for a while. i'll have to visit california vegan next time, thanks for the tips! :o)

hi laura! thanks for your encouragement! :o)

go for it, carolann! i'd love it if you did. thanks for your visit.

bazu said...

Thanks for all the great info- what a valuable resource. I miss native foods! I miss native iced tea! and their condiment bar! I remember reading on a box of their chicken wings- "you just saved 12 chickens' lives." If that doesn't bring the point home, I don't know what does.