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VegiLicious All Natural Vegan Cafe, Huntington Beach

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My parents have been going to the same accountant for years. In fact, before they went to him, they went to his father. When I was little, I used to play on the floor of his office during their appointments. As I started working, I used to handle my taxes myself, but once I got married and started writing off educational expenses and dealing with family trusts, they became too complicated for me, so I started tagging along on their annual appointments.

We have sort of made it a tradition to go on a Saturday and have a lunch out, just the three of us, which I really enjoy. For this year’s lunch, my mom searched for restaurants ahead of time, since we aren’t that familiar with the area. She came across VegiLicious All Natural Vegan Cafe, which apparently just opened a few months ago.

VegiLicious, Huntington Beach | A Vegan in Progress

They are tucked back into the courtyard area of a shopping center, so it’s a little difficult to find. The decor is simple and inviting and I loved the ocean breeze that we got from the door that was left open.

VegiLicious, Huntington Beach | A Vegan in Progress

I really liked the little cards on every table explaining “why vegan?” and concluding, “in short, you can make yourself and others happy!”

VegiLicious, Huntington Beach | A Vegan in Progress

It’s so nice to be able to order anything you want from the whole menu… it’s a serious treat to dine at an all-vegan restaurant. After some trouble deciding, I ordered the Signature Curry with Oven Baked “Chicken” Tenders and asked for shelled edamame to be added in the curry. The meal comes with jasmine rice and a side salad.

VegliLicious - Curry with "chicken" tenders | A Vegan in Progress

The side salad was delicious… the dressing was just perfect. I also loved the way that they prepare the curry. They present you with a bowl of mild curry and a side of rice, as well as a small pot of spicy sauce to mix in at your discretion. I was able to make the curry as spicy as I liked, but I’m sure this was also good for diners who like their curry mild.

VegiLicious - Side Salad | A Vegan in Progress

The chicken tenders were great for dipping in the curry, but I’m pretty sure they were just Gardein brand and not house-made. I’ll take well-made store bought meat replacements over bad house-made ones any day.

My parents both got small cups of the Miso soup, which they really liked.

VegiLicious - Miso Soup Cup | A Vegan in Progress

My mom ordered their Tofu-N-Radish Salad…

VegiLicious - Tofu-N-Radish Salad | A Vegan in Progress

and my dad got the Grilled Teriyaki “Chicken” Sandwich with a side of edamame.

VegiLicious - Grilled Teriyaki "Chicken" Sandwich | A Vegan in Progress

My dad was very impressed with the sandwich and kept asking, “you’re sure this isn’t chicken?”

After thoroughly enjoying our entrees (we practically licked our plates clean, we were so pleased with the meal), we ordered a couple of slices of the Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake to share.

VegiLicious - Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake | A Vegan in Progress

It was tasty, but I was pretty disappointed. As you can plainly see, this is not chocolate cheesecake, it’s chocolate chip cheesecake. I don’t like regular cheesecake nearly as much as chocolate cheesecake. Plus, this was obviously store-bought and still frozen in the center. My mom and I were sharing a piece and couldn’t finish it, but my dad loved his, so to each their own.

The service at VegiLicious is something that must be commented on. They had only one waiter who was extremely friendly and attentive. The owner also came by more than once to see if we liked what we had ordered. The service and entrees alone were plenty to have me saying I would be back whenever I am in the area.

However, the prices were a little steep for the portions we received and I was put off by the dessert. I hope they work on those things, because this was a great restaurant!

Native Foods, Costa Mesa + Native Foods, Santa Monica

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I have already talked about Native Foods, but I thought that I could do multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about Native Foods.

Every Spring, my parents and I make a joint appointment with our accountant to take care of some tax preparation.  They have been seeing the same accountant since I was a kid and used to play on the floor of his office during the appointments.  We always make lunch plans while we are in the area and last year we went to VegiLicious All Natural Vegan Cafe.  While we loved VegiLicious, we decided to try something different.  We had made plans to go to Seabirds Kitchen, but at the last minute, I listed some items on the Native Foods menu and my dad was pumped to try it.  The Native Foods in Costa Mesa is located in a shopping center called “The CAMP.”  It was so cute how every parking space had a little message of affirmation painted on it.

There were a lot of eco-friendly stores, restaurants, juice bars, and other cute establishments.  I really wish we had more time before our appointment to explore.

To start, we shared the Butternut Polenta Bites, “pesto baked polenta topped with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions and toasted pumpkin seeds in balsamic over arugula.”  They were tasty, although a little tough to eat without making a mess.

Butternut Polenta Bites - Native Foods, Costa Mesa | A Vegan in Progress

I ordered the Twister Wrap with Crispy Native Chicken.  I had been eyeing it on my last few visits and I was excited to try it.  It was perfect.  I could eat that weekly if I had the budget.  I also got my favorite Lavender Lemonade.

Twister Wrap with Crispy Native Chicken - Native Foods, Costa Mesa | A Vegan in Progress

My dad ordered the Bistro Steak Sandwich and got a cup of the Watermelon Fresca.

.Bistro Steak Sandwich - Native Foods, Costa Mesa | A Vegan in Progress

My mom ordered the Southwest Chipotle Chop and really enjoyed it.

Southwest Chipotle Chop - Native Foods, Costa Mesa | A Vegan in Progress

I don’t see how we can get away with trying a new restaurant next year, because they both really loved Native Foods.

I popped into the bathroom before leaving and saw that they use Further soap, distilled from the waste grease from their kitchen.  That’s so clever, I don’t know why more places don’t do it.

Further Soap - Native Foods, Costa Mesa | A Vegan in Progress

Native Foods is consistently yummy.  I just wish there was one in the Valley!

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On another visit to the Native Foods in Santa Monica, I ordered the Yo Amigo Taco Salad with guacamole.  It was delicious and totally hit the spot after recovering from a quick bout of the flu.  Bonus:  this Native Foods location is one block from Viva La Vegan Grocery.

Yo Amigo Taco Salad with avocado - Native Foods, Santa Monica | A Vegan in Progress

Wheel of Life Restaurant, Irvine

Eric and I met up with some  of his family in Orange County a couple of weeks back.  I had Yelped ahead of time and suggested Wheel of Life Restaurant in Irvine.  Their menu is 100% vegan, which makes ordering completely stress-free.

Overall, I would rate it a B+.  The focus seemed to be on traditional Thai dishes that were veganized, with most dishes including some kind of meat replacement.

They serve family style, so we got to try a number of dishes.

First, we tried the Thai Spring Rolls and Golden Papi Wraps.  The spring rolls were pretty basic, but the Golden Papi Wraps were awesome.  They were like Thai Samosas.  They were my favorites of the evening and I would definitely order them again.  The only disappointing aspect was the serving size.  The pictures in the menu show just three spring rolls, but I figured we would get more in actuality.  No such luck.  Three measly spring rolls for $6.

Next, Orange “Chicken” and “Chicken” Fried Rice.  I never ate a lot of fried rice and I never really cared for orange chicken in my pre-vegan days, so I’m not a great judge of these dishes.  I thought they both tasted fine, but I wouldn’t order them again.  Eric really liked them, however.

Eric’s a big fan of Satay, so we got an order of that as well as an order of Pad Thai “Chicken.”  The Satay was pretty decent, texture-wise.  It was just a little spongy, but the outer texture was a little tougher.  The Pad Thai was very good.  It seems like that dish is always well done when veganized.

I also got an order of Cashew “Chicken,” which was very tasty, but not spicy enough for my liking.  Sorry for the blurry photo.

Wheel of Life - Cashew "Chicken" | A Vegan in Progress

Cashew “Chicken”

Eric loved the meal and wished that it were closer so we could frequent it.  However, I preferred VegiLicious in Huntington Beach and would choose to eat there if I were in the area.

Most importantly, it was nice visiting with family.  This is me and our youngest niece, Olivia.  She’s a smart little handful.

Little Miss Olivia

Little Miss Olivia