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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Veggie Grill – Eat out, Eat Healthy

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My first experience at Veggie Grill was exactly one week before I was given the opportunity to taste their new menu. My best friend and his wife are Veggie Grill super fans and insisted we meet there for lunch. My friend was really excited to introduce me to their concept, 100% plant-based soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and desserts.

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Now don’t stop reading because you think that this isn’t for you, trust me I wasn’t all that excited about trying them out but I did and that is why I asked to be the one to review them. At my first visit I had their B-Wing Salad: chopped romaine, avocado, celery, roasted corn salsa, creamy ranch dressing topped with their tasty “Buffalo Wings”. Why is “Buffalo Wings” in quotes, well it tastes like real buffalo chicken but instead it’s a specially seasoned and organic or non-GMO soybeans, wheat and peas mix. Produced by GARDEINTM, these hearty proteins are deliciously satisfying, easily digested and packed with nutrients and fiber. I know it doesn’t sound great but really I love my meat and this was equally delicious. I couldn’t finish my entire meal because I was so full, and by full I mean full but not the “oh I feel gross full”.

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I left feeling satisfied and healthy. A week later I was at their Irvine location and this time I took my mom and kids.

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I wanted to see if my picky eater daughter and meat loving son could tell that what they were eating was not meat. We started with a couple of appetizers: the Mondo Nachos, Buffalo-Mini wraps and Yukon Gold Fries which are all new on their menu. The Mondo Nachos are a taco blend of veggie proteins, caramelized onions, mashed avocado, VG-Cheese, jalapeños, soy cream and corn chips.

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They were really great but not expect them to taste like cheesy filled nachos. The VG-Cheese doesn’t melt like animal based cheese. It tastes great but isn’t the same texture or consistency. I totally recommend trying it because of the amazing taste but keep in mind it’s not like the nachos you get at your local Mexican restaurant. The next item was my favorite hands down! Buffalo Chickin’ tenders wrap; lettuce, ranch dressing, flour tortilla how could you say no to that? I added avocado and took it to another level of taste bud bliss, if I could eat the Buffalo-Mini wraps 24/7 I would.

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Next the Yukon Gold Fries, which aren’t your typical fries. The Yukon potato has a thin, smooth eye free skin with yellow tinged flesh giving the potato moist and sweet flavor. Fried in plant based oil and sprinkled with amazing Veggie Grill spices make these fries, super fries.

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For our main course we decided upon their new Quinoa Power Salad, Santa Fe Crispy Chickin, kids Chickin’ Nuggets with Mandarin Oranges, Strawberry Arugula Salad with Almond Ricotta and to top it off their Strawberry Parfait. My mom and I decided to share both salads and let me tell you we couldn’t even make a dent. The salads are huge and fill you up. The Quinoa Power Salad is made up of Quinoa, diced red onion, bell pepper, avocado, fresh fennel, cannellini beans, carrots, almonds, currants, mint and top off with citrus dressing, hemp seeds and served on a bed of marinated kale and romaine. Yes they marinate the kale which gives it an amazing flavor and texture.

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The Strawberry Arugula Salad with Almond Ricotta is made of locally grown organic strawberries, almond ricotta cheese, grilled asparagus, wild arugula, baby spinach, red onion, yellow beets, pomegranate, roasted salted pecans, and micro greens topped with strawberry vinaigrette; it’s light, refreshing and filling.

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If you are in the mood for amazing salads then you need to go to your closest Veggie Grill. Remember how I told you my son is a meat lover. Well my little meat lover had no clue his Santa Fe Crispy Chickin made of Fried Chickin’, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, spicy vegan mayo sans the spicy vegan mayo was meatless. The kid usually can eat an entire chicken burger, but because the sandwich is packed with so much goodness he was completely with only ½ the sandwich.

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My daughter had the kids Chickin’ Nuggets with Mandarin Oranges and like her brother scarfed most of it down before exclaiming that she was stuffed.

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Lucky me, since they were so full, I got to enjoy the Strawberry Parfait in peace. How can you say no to locally grown organic strawberries, topped with VG-Crema and mint – simply delicious.

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I love the Veggie Grill and all that it has to offer; a healthy life style, great tasting food and customer loyalty. Customer loyalty, how do they show that? If you upload their app you can earn free food, so basically they are helping you eat better and you earn points to keep on eating healthy. Who ever thought that you could eat out and eat healthy?
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I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.

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