If you are in the Los Angeles area, the best burger on the westside is located at this West LA institution: The Apple Pan. Come and grab a seat at the wraparound counter on one of the red, vinyl barstools. Sit elbow to elbow with tourists and locals. You will love the old school charm at this burger counter with burger patties sizzling off the griddle, iced cold soda pop served in paper cone cups and waiters that have been serving here for years. Enjoy the basic menu of burgers, sandwiches and fries and some of the best pies ever!
Sometimes I get a mean craving for Thai food. When that happens, my go-to place is Wheel of Life in Irvine. The best part for me is that it’s vegan. This is one of the few restaurants that I’ve come across that offers meat substitutes of surprisingly good texture and flavor.
Whether you are a vegan/vegetarian or meat eater, Wheel of Life is sure to please all types of palates. My family’s favorite dishes are the Pad Thai, Orange Chicken, and Beef Brocolli. For a special treat on nights when no one feels like cooking, I’ll order takeout and enjoy dinner at home. You might have to double order the Orange Chicken. At my home, that dish is the first to go! If I plan ahead, I make rice at home. On spur of the moment nights, I’ll order rice with my takeout. If you have a large family, I recommend ordering extra everything as their portions are on the small side.
Looking for a vegan restaurant in OC? I recommend Freesoul Caffe. Located in the heart of Old Town Tustin, this cozy restaurant offers an array of foods, using only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. This includes no eggs, honey, or dairy products of any kind. You’ll discover all kinds of healthy entrees, soups, organic salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizzas and tasty desserts. Bring your hungry tummy and prepare to be happy!
I enjoy the relaxed vibe of this place so much. Next time I’m bringing my laptop and getting some writing done at Freesoul Caffe! It’s the perfect place to enjoy an almond milk latte and chia pudding with berries (my absolute favorite dish!) for breakfast or their colorful plate of roasted cauliflower (not pictured, sorry I ate it too fast) and miso ramen for lunch or dinner. They also have an almond milk matcha latte which is so delightful. Another delicious veggie plate is their charred brussels sprouts with Medjool dates, garlic, chili flakes, vinaigrette. Those are my favorite things to eat when I have to opportunity to go. On a cool evening, ask for their chili. You will be surprised how good all of their dishes taste and it’s all plant-based. Whether you are a new or seasoned vegan or vegetarian or one who likes to enjoy a healthy meal, this place is for you. It’s great for some quality time with a girlfriend or a date night. (Side note: if you have any nut allergies, please consult with your server. Lots of vegan foods have nut ingredients.)
My favorite!!! The chia pudding with fresh berries.
Looking for a vegan or vegetarian restaurant nearby? Have you heard of the Happy Cow website? They also have a handy app so that you can find any vegan or vegetarian restaurant near you. It also makes traveling so much easier, as you plan your dining. For your upcoming trips, you can “Create a Trip” and search for vegan/vegetarian restaurants near your destination and add the places that interest you to your trip list. We’re so excited for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas! I added a few places that we might check out. For those moments at home when we are struggling with what to cook and decide, “Let’s just eat out tonight..” We can pick somewhere new that we haven’t tried before, or look at our favorites and decide.
I really love it for those long drives to Los Angeles when I take Marissa to her auditions. We have discovered a few wonderful vegan restaurants using the Happy Cow app. One of our favorites is this Thai restaurant called Vegan Glory at 8393 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone: (323)653-4900. They have a delicious vegan orange “chicken.” (Marissa brought in her own Starbucks drink. Sorry!)
It’s been over a year since our family has lasted dined at Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza. Since we all decided to go vegetarian last summer, we have narrowed down our eating out options to our favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We used to enjoy the soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung. Those soup dumplings are all the rage. You can watch the dumplings being made fresh by their staff though a viewing window. It looks like a clean room with laboratory technicians in their white coats making the dumplings. We used to get so excited when the servers were heading towards our table circular bamboo trays in hand, with the steam rising out. Those little morsels were our favorite… until we gave up meat. Needless to say, we haven’t eaten there since. Until…. we had show to attend recently at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center across the street. Whenever we were in that area, Din Tai Fung was our stop. Hmmm. “What if we had dinner at Din Tai Fung before the show?” We hoped that there would be vegetarian options there, and we were so happy that Din Tai Fung did not disappoint!
We started with the Fried Vegetarian Noodles – tasty!
Vegetarian Dumplings – If you know the scrumptiously soft texture of Din Tai Fung’s fresh-made soup dumplings, then you will find the Vegetarian Dumplings to be just as satisfying!