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Orange County California, a Veritable Vegetarian’s Delight!

Craving a really excellent vegetarian-based meal? Having distress getting anyone in your family or line-up of friends to join you in a meal? In Orange County California you can “have your cake and eat it too”! While I may not be a total vegan (a girl’s gotta have a excellent BBQ’d rib sometimes), I do prefer eating a vegetarian meal most of the time. Problem is my family and friends reckon this type of cuisine is not something they wish to share with me! They reckon of soy based foods as something meant for me and me alone.

Fortunately, I have found mighty fine restaurants in our wonderful Southern California home that try very hard to cater to all concerned! So meat-eaters take a seat, even you will find something tasty in these fun places!

Mother’s Market and Cafe-Mother’s has a wonderful vegan menu, but since they also are a complete organic and health food market, the cafe serves up fish and chicken dishes as well. At least it was on the menu at the one I went to in Laguna Hills-which is one of the smaller units. Mother’s has several locations throughout the county.

Rutabegorz-This restaurant has a warm place in my heart. Before it grew to the 3 locations it has today, it had just the one in Fullerton. Okay, this was in the ’70′s and I was but a young college student, but I was into healthy eating even then! Why I like Rutabegorz is the atmosphere is relaxed, the baked goods are made on the premises (low stout, low/non sugar and tasty too!), the menu eclectic and my husband doesn’t mind the tuna and salad dishes. When I went there “way back when”, my college dance buddies and I could feel excellent eating the whole wheat bagel with avocado, tomatoes and soy cheese. Wish they still had it on the menu! Besides Fullerton, they also have one in Orange and Tustin

Zinc’s Cafe and Market-Laguna Beach. Fantastic breakfasts. Terrific baked goods. Salads are wonderful. Some very fascinating lunch choices. Menu is always changing, but the coffee is gourmet and smells wonderful.

Native Foods-the new kid in town, sort of speak. Located in Costa Mesa, this is turning into quite a wonderful destination spot for vegans. Semi-casual, upscale menu-they have some faux meat dishes that from what a couple of diners said-had someone ordered their meals for them without telling them what kind of restaurant this is, they would have never guessed that they weren’t eating “the real thing”.

Veggie and Tea House-This is just what it says, mainly a tea house that happens to serve vegetarian dishes. While this place is charming and the food quite nice, in all honesty, this is probably the least likely of all the recommended places that might pass muster with the meat eating crowd.

Other suggestions? Most Asian restaurants are quite vegan/vegetarian friendly! Jade Palace in Aliso Viejo will substitute tofu for any meat in any of their dishes.

So fellow vegetable lovers take heart, we can go out for a meal with our carnivore mates and we all can delight in!

Carine Nadel is on The Reader’s Advisory Panel of Woman’s Day magazine and has had numerous articles and recipes published both on various websites and print publications. To read more of her work, log onto: Carine-whatscooking.blogspot.com Carine-whatscooking.blogspot.com

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