You’d think after following a plant based diet for several years I wouldn’t panic when traveling to a town I’ve never been before. A small(ish) town, famous only, as far as I know, for being the home of Raging Waters, one of the oldest and largest water parks in Southern California. A town that Happy Cow, that favorite website of vegans everywhere, draws a blank on (a little artistic license here, there are a few choices in the surrounding area). After all, it’s not that hard to find vegan food.
Yet I still do. Not panic exactly, but worry, studying my options before we go, checking addresses and maps. Eating vegan in a non-vegan restaurant means I have to ask a million questions, quiz the servers, who in turn quiz the chefs. All this for one little overnighter in San Dimas. So you can imagine how happy I was to find a restaurant with a vegetarian menu, that was not only within walking distance of our hotel, it also served Mexican food, a win/win as far as I was concerned.
Casa del Rey assures customers on their menu that no lard is used in their food prep. They also assured me in person that their rice was made with water not chicken broth. So I was able to easily take the vegetarian menu and, simply by removing the cheese, make it vegan. I had the vegetarian tacos, which were pretty good. We took our food back to the room (after our Dog Rescuer experience). I also ordered a burrito, but it was so huge I saved it for the next day. It was good too, but I forgot to take a picture.
On Saturday, we left San Dimas to visit our family in Orange County. Vegan eating in Huntington Beach is much easier. We picked a standby, The Bohdi Tree, which is completely vegan, even though you can’t tell by the menu. All items on the menu are called after their real meat names, like chicken, pork, fish, or even lobster. Kind of a weird feeling but the food is good.
Of course, that made it easier to convince our grandsons, who came with us to dinner, that they were eating “real” food. Before you call us out for lying to them, it worked, so there. They had the Sloppy Joe Sliders.
Alan and I started with the Thai Coconut Soup, and I had a coconut water to drink. That is, coconut water out of a real coconut (it tastes so much better that way!).
I had the Jackfruit Salad (my new obsession..I need to find it and try cooking with it myself!), and Alan had the Lemon Chicken with Rice.
They were both good. The salad was served on some crispy air puffed things (I have no idea what they were) that tasted too much like pork rinds for me to enjoy.
The next day, after my 10 mile run, I thought I’d earned a treat. There are several Native Foods in Orange County, so we decided that was where we’d have lunch. I also wanted to go to Whole Foods (our desert location won’t be finished for a year or so), because it would be my opportunity to pick up some Beyond Meat.
If you’re not vegan you may not know this, but Beyond Meat has been praised as the first meat substitute that has actually fooled meat eaters into thinking they were eating the real thing. I had heard about Beyond Meat, but didn’t realize that it was on the market until I read a review over at Vegan Miam. That sent me on a hunt for the product, which is basically only available at Whole Foods and a few other places, none of which are anywhere near my home.
Thus the desire to stop at Whole Foods on the way home. I felt very fortunate to find out that Native Foods in Tustin is right across the street from Whole Foods! So that’s where we went to lunch.
The Chicken Run Ranch Burger was on special, so that is what I ordered. Alan had his favorite, the Scorpion Burger. What can I say? Lunch at our favorite restaurant. Everything was delicious.
We sat out on the patio, which is much appreciated coming from the desert where we won’t be sitting outside for a few months. It was a bit of a dangerous experience, though. About 100 feet away a swarm of bees were, well, swarming above a restaurant across the way. Neither of us have allergies, so we didn’t panic, but there were a few people hiding inside the restaurant.
If you click on the picture you get a little better view of the swarm.
After lunch we made our stop at Whole Foods, where I picked up two packages of Beyond Meat. How did it taste? Well, you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow for that review along with a recipe for Peachy Quinoa Salad with Beyond Meat.
Did you have any interesting “food” experiences last weekend? A new restaurant, an old favorite, a new recipe? I’d love to hear about it.