Saturday, October 11, 2008

VeganMoFo and Native Foods

So, Last night we went to the newest location of Native Foods in Aliso Viejo. It's a pretty unassuming storefront in a huge stripmall. Not exactly what I am used to from a Native Foods. After all, their Costa Mesa Location is in a permanent round tent, with animal rights posters, literature and an overall communal feeling...there is even a firepit in the patio.

Nonetheless, we were there, and we walked in through the very normal front doors and walked up to the very normal counter to order the daily special, which on Saturdays is "Chicken Fried Seitan with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Kale" we also ordered a plate of chili cheese fries, to share. We took our number and found a very normal table to sit down in this very normal, almost fast-food like establishment. There were a few posters on the wall, but they were mounted all professional like, no message, just ad-like posters of a couple of dishes on the menu. The place was very, very clean. Almost too clean. No atmosphere. It was kind of bumming me out. I mean, I ABSOLUTLEY LOVE Chef Tanya's food, and our meal was no dissapointment, but if I am gonna spend $40 on dinner, I want to enjoy the atmosphere. Kick back, relax, enjoy the vibe of the joint. There should be an energy that reflects the message of the food, you know?

I can only chalk up the way she set up this new location to the "expectations" of the fine folks in South Orange County. Everything there is "perfect" and "clean." For the most part, South OC is full of gated communities, HOAs and lots of strip malls. I am then to assume that Chef Tanya wanted to fit in with the crowd. To entice the soccer moms, and "Real Housewives of OC" into the joint which serves up the latest in trendy foods...California Vegan.

I won't be going back. Unless I phone in a to-go order. I will make the extra 30 minute drive to Costa Mesa, where, unlike the Aliso Viejo location, like minded vegans join together to enjoy great food in a WARM and GROOVY environment. If that means I can't order soft serve, then oh well.

Maybe I can talk Dan into another birthday dinner, that won't be such a bummer.


julie hasson said...

Happy birthday Joni!

That's too bad about the vibe at the new Native Foods. I'm with you about the cool atmosphere at Costa Mesa, and I have always LOVED Tanya's food. Maybe they're just "testing" things out with the new restaurant.

By the way, how was the soft serve?

Have a great B Day!!


Anonymous said...

Wish YOU a VERY HAPPY Birthday =D

Your blog's AMAZING!! I love the BURGER CREATIONS!!! They're SO INNOVATIVE and such an inspiration!! I'm ALL for different kinds of (vegan)burgers!! Hah!!

Well...keep going this GREAT work on this blog!! Pleasure to read!! :)

I've just started my own blog.. would be SOOO glad to see a comment from YOU!! Pls visit me on

Have a great day!!! (and Birthday!!:))

Tracy said...

I know what you mean about atmosphere. I will drive forty minutes to go have dinner at my favourite pub, even though the only vegan things on the menu and french fries and garden salad, simply because being there makes me feel happy. I figure, if I want a really great vegan meal I can go home and cook it.:0)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Happy Birthday Joni!

Ruby Red said...

Hope you had an awesome birthday! Native Foods at least sounds like a great place for a b-day treat. I went to the Costa Mesa location twice during my summer trip...oh, I love that place! Boogie bars = yum.

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