5 Places to Eat in OC If You're Dating a Vegan

Categories: Life on the Veg

2. Native Foods

fries and pizza.jpg
Photo by Javier Cabral
Spuds! Real spuds!

If VeggieGrill is the veghead's McDonalds (and boy, is that a loose analogy), Native Foods, another SoCal chain, is the Red Robin.

Yeah, their décor is a little weird (and, the social justice-minded readers among you might think, a little culturally appropriative), and their baked goods are nothing to cry home about, but they've got some serious quality going on. Using an extensive variety of soy and plant protein products to craft sandwiches (Meatball sub? Sausage Po' boy? You betcha), salads, and other perfectly edible treats, Native Foods also has one incredible feature that few other vegan eateries can match: French fries. REAL French fries made out of real potatoes.

A little warning, though? If your herbivorous sweetheart recommends the Oklahoma BBQ Bacon Burger because they "couldn't even tell the difference," don't listen to them. It's nothing like a burger. Not even close. (Sorry.). Find your nearest Native Foods at www.nativefoods.com

1. Wheel of Life

spicy chicken.jpg
Photo by Grace Le
"Chicken." Very good "chicken"

Of all the soy-saturated, veggie-slinging eateries in Orange County, none comes closer than Irvine's own Wheel of Life. An environmentally friendly take on Thai and Chinese, here you'll find favorites such as "beef" and broccoli, sweet and sour "chicken," and even satay skewers--all of which taste pretty much like they're supposed to. Most importantly, Wheel of Life even manages to get the texture pretty close to correct - the orange chicken has the consistency of a fried hot dog...which, I'll admit, sounds a kind of gross, but beats the hell out of a big, soggy chunk of soft tofu. And don't forget the owner who shakes your hand as you walk in

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Location Info

The Wheel Of Life

14370 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant


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27 comments
coloneloftruth
coloneloftruth

I've been going to Wheel of Life since the week it opened, and on every visit I had always been greeted by owner and chef de cuisine Victor Lim, a warm and congenial man who never seemed to age and never failed to ask about my family.  But a couple of months ago I was instead greeted with a somber hug by Victor's wife, Kim, who informed me that Victor had passed away.   I always figured Victor would live forever and was shocked at the news.  It was the result of an accidental fall.

Although the task must be extremely challenging given Victor's role there, Kim and their children are hanging in and keeping Wheel of Life going strong.  I've been back several times since Victor's passing and it hasn't missed a beat.  For those of you who knew and loved the Lims, their food, and their congeniality, please continue to support and grow Wheel of Life and its community. 

For those of you who haven't been, you've been missing something special. 


jzur84
jzur84

Au Lac!! You're forgetting Au lac!

Ben Jimenez
Ben Jimenez

Or: 'My editor made me write an article on vegan restaurants so I picked 5 from my yelp search'. Thanks for the comments on the more authentic, hole in the wall spots!

Yvonne Botti
Yvonne Botti

Native and Veggi Grill are the same chained restaurants not even exclusive to CA. Don't take yer girlfriend there if you wanna show that you've done some freakin research. And yuk- over salted, greasy, modified soy made #1? I'm Chinese! and I can't even eat that shit.

veganbot
veganbot

Veggie Grill and Native Foods are the same chained restaurants not exclusive to OC or even CA for that matter! Would you put Olive Garden as a delicious Italian restaurant to dine at in OC? Where's Bohdi? Avanti? Au Lac? Or OC's famous Mother's Market? You're obviously not really dating a vegan. Also, which vegan lives on modified soy products like that of WOL's menu and calls it healthy? 

defactotriste
defactotriste

whats the restaurant in the first pic with the bbq tempeh???? looks yummy

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

It's a list of five, not 10!

Contrarities So
Contrarities So

At lease you guys put native foods before vegi grill thats good. You guys missed 118 in Aneheim, Soul Free Cafe in Tustin, and of course All Natruraw in Downtown Santa Ana.

mhip
mhip

Uhhhhhh.....

I miss Secret Spot so much. Used to live right around the corner, and ate there so much that the owner knew my voice over the phone.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

I dated a vegan for years and on our first date she told me she was one and I told that I ate vegan all of the time...Boom!  Some vegan food was quite tasty and some was as nasty as the restaurants it was served in.  Don't ever try and make tofu into something that it's not.  Serve tofu as tofu, not as turkey, beef or chicken.  

If you eat vegan food you should check out bitemekitchen.com, they are in Costa Mesa.

Alicia Friedman
Alicia Friedman

As a vegan, I second Alex's notion. HEAR, HEAR! Furthermore, Healthy Junk in Anaheim needs to be added to this list.

Thomas Obungen
Thomas Obungen

Or Thuyen Vien in Anaheim. This list needs work. Makes it seem like OC has no vegan options.

Alex Cassidy
Alex Cassidy

How on EARTH did you guys miss the Secret Spot in Huntington?

Mimi Arcala
Mimi Arcala

I'm vegan, it's not a phase. Been vegan for years.

Gerardo Robles
Gerardo Robles

The hell I will, if she doesn't eat meat chances are she won't eat mine

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@Gerardo Robles  

Perhaps if you asked her nicely...but I don't know if it's Vegan to swallow...;-)

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