5 Must-Try Vegan Options in Orange County »
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: while LA is undoubtedly the vegan Mecca in Southern California, Orange County isn’t far behind. Orange County is located between Los Angeles and San Diego, roughly an hour from each, and has amassed quite a collection of excellent vegan restaurants that are definitely worth the visit.
Since it would probably take at least a few dozen paragraphs to tell you about all the vegan options in Orange County, I’ve decided to spare you a wall of text and instead recommend restaurants based on meal-times throughout the day, from brunch to a late night snack [Ed. note: can we organize everything like this always?]. A lot of people will be coming to town this upcoming weekend to attend the Natural Products Expo, not to mention those who visit for the beaches or Disneyland on a regular basis, so now is the perfect time to recommend the best vegan options for those on a tight schedule or for those that may only be visiting Orange County for a day or two. I’ve only included restaurants that are unique to Orange County so you can maximize your time and try new things!
Pictured above: The vegan Huevos Rancheros at Seabirds Kitchen
Brunch: Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA
There used to be limited options for breakfast or brunch for vegans in Orange County, but no more! Though there are several options for vegan brunch, my number one go-to is Seabirds Kitchen. Seabirds started off as a vegan food truck in Orange County (you probably saw them on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race), but recently opened a brick and mortar location in Costa Mesa. I am a big fan of all their menu items at any time of the day, but you can usually find me there for their weekend brunches, which feature seasonal mouth-watering creations like huevos rancheros, waffles, breakfast quesadillas, breakfast bowls and the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted (bonus points: it is served with fried pickles as garnish!). If you have room, make sure to try their chaffle, a decadent half waffle, half churro creation topped with coconut sorbet [Ed. note: HOLD THE PHONE! I NEED A CHAFFLE STAT!]. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm.
Pictured above: The vegan torta with Soyrizo at Tacos Cancun
Lunch: Tacos Cancun in Costa Mesa, CA
Tacos Cancun is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that has a whole separate vegan menu. Not only that, but they also have a separate grill for preparing vegan food. They actually get it, guys!! They have all sorts of vegan dishes you can order with soy “beef”, Soyrizo or even vegan “chicken.” My favorite is the torta, which I order with Soyrizo, and is kinda like a Sloppy Joe (dare I say Sloppy José?). I’m also a fan of the vegan nachos, which are HUGE, and topped with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, beans, and all sorts of other goodies. You also HAVE to get the vegan horchata, which is served in a fancy wine goblet so you feel all fancy. If you happen to be there on a Mondays, also ask them about their vegan special, which in the past has included homemade tamales or chile rellenos. Don’t forget to order their vegan fried ice cream, too! A quick tip: you need to specifically ask for the vegan option when ordering since they aren’t a strictly all-vegan restaurant.
Pictured above: A snack of vegan chili cheese fries and vegan corn dog from Vegan Pizza
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove, CA
The perfect place to grab a mid-afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner is located in Garden Grove, about 10 minutes away from Disneyland. And the perfect snack? Vegan corn dogs! Though the restaurant name is Vegan Pizza (and their pizzas are delectably delicious), my favorite item on the menu is the corn dog, made with a veggie dog that’s dipped in some kind of magical batter that gets deep fried to glorious perfection!
Pictured above: Au Lac’s spring rolls served with peanut sauce
Dinner: Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA
If you are looking for a memorable dinner, look no further than Au Lac in Fountain Valley (just outside of Huntington Beach). It may not look like much from the outside since it is situated in a strip mall, but once you step inside you are transported to an opulent dining room with deep red walls. The menu is all vegan and offers an array of Asian-inspired cooked vegan dishes as well as a full raw menu. While there are many Asian-inspired vegan restaurants in Orange County, Au Lac’s flavorful and elegant dishes make them stand out big time.
Pictured above: A variety of vegan donuts from The Donuttery
Late Night Snack: The Donuttery in Huntington Beach, CA
Have a hankering for vegan donuts at 3 AM? The Donuttery in Huntington Beach has you covered! They are open 24-hours and though they aren’t an exclusively vegan eatery, they have quite a selection of vegan donuts that keeps growing and growing! Their newest vegan flavor is blueberry, but they have plain, glazed, chocolate, maple, lemon and so many more. This is the perfect pit-stop after a late night on the town, an early morning treat or anytime you want vegan donuts (which is pretty much any and all the time for me!).
I hope to see you at one of these fine vegan or vegan-friendly establishments soon!
Sarah Jahier is The Spooky Vegan, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her site, The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her daily esoteric ramblings on Twitter.
A Very Late, but Very Delicious Homemade Thanksgiving »
The hubby and I celebrated Thanksgiving with my Dad at my sister’s house this Tuesday after a weekend of fighting a flu. This homemade vegan Thanksgiving was the perfect medicine. (L to R) Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Mash, Bean and Rice Tamale, Stuffing, and Fresh Corn.
I also made an Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie!
- Veggie Angie
The Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but funnily enough, they have a word for it: Erntedankfest (literally “Harvest gratitude festival”). For the past three years I have been sharing one of my favorite holidays with a few American friends also in Berlin, as well as bringing the Germans (and other foreigners) in on this tasty (vegan) secret.
This year’s menu consisted of:
Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks
Caramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts
Mashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Apple, Sausage, and Sage Sourdough Stuffing
Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots and Sesame Seeds
Pumpkin Coconut Soup
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
She’s My Cherry Pie
Moar Vegan Thanksgiving »
Our vegan Thanksgiving spread! This is my 17th meatless year, and 6th totally vegan. My husband is vegetarian, and the rest of our family is omni, to quote my uncle mid-meal last night, “You’ll make a vegan of me yet!”
Roasted Brussels sprouts, Roasted Cauliflower & Red Skinned Garlic Potato Mash (cauliflower roasted with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, roasted garlic, and boiled red-skinned potatoes, mashed with earth balance, a little soy milk, lots of nooch, sea salt, and pepper), and my husband’s favorite - Tofurky! Marinated with olive oil, soy sauce, rosemary, and thyme, and surrounded by roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and sweet onions.
Happy cruelty-free Thanksgiving everyone!!!
Happy Thanxvegan from Midcoast Maine! »
For the past two years my husband and I lived in San Francisco and attended a “Thanxvegan” dinner that our friend held for 30 to 40 guests. This year, after a cross-country move to Maine, we made our own holiday vegan dinner … for just us two. We had Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/34832597089695343/), homemade cranberry sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes made with nutritional yeast and Tofutti Sour Cream (http://www.tofutti.com/dairy-free-cheeses/sour-cream). My favorite dish was the sausage, sage, and apple stuffing made with Tofurky Italian links (http://www.tofurky.com/tofurkyproducts/sausages.html). We enjoyed vegan pumpkin pie and coconut whipped cream for dessert. Happy Thanxvegan, Sadie & Jeremy Roberts
Vegan Thanksgiving in Columbus, OH »
Potato bread rolls, carmelized sweet potatoes, cheesy potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, Gardein holiday roast (one with Gardein gravy & one with homemade chickpea gravy), stuffing in the middle. We also had 2 pumpkin pies and a peanut butter ice cream pie with chocolate on top.
Vegan Thanksgiving for Two in San Francisco »
Gardein Holiday Roast with sides and Panil Barriquée sour ale
Everything on a plate. The cranberry sauce and rolls are homemade and the potatoes are loaded with Earth Balance, TJ’s soy creamer, and Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise.
After dinner we made some hot wassail with Madeira, baked apples with brown sugar, California brown ale and winter spices. This glass features some bonus vegan marshmallows.
[AMAZING - Ed.]
I didn’t plan very well this year so I just made up a few recipes day of and it turned out surprisingly well! I had maple glazed sweet potatoes and apples, roasted brussel sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, and some kale with leftovers from my work. (I work at Veggie Grill, oh and I used some of our mushroom gravy for my potatoes) Hella tasty
My First Tofurkey!!! <3 <3 <3 »
My first tofurkey!! Ive been a Proud Vegan for just about 5-6 years and Ive never made tofurkey. It came out delicious, my non-vegan family member and boyfriend absolutely loved it. Its a pleasure to see enjoy my plant-based creations.
Even though I was the only vegan in the room, I had plenty to fill my plate!
kale salad with lemon vinaigrette
ginger & garlic sautéed green beans
balsamic roasted brussel sprouts with toasted pecans
sautéed onions & bell peppers
I also made a vegan & gf pumpkin pie (pie crust from this recipe from Oh She Glows)