Taiwan. Vietnam. Singapore. Indonesia. Japan. Hong Kong. Glendale. What do all of these locales have in common? They all have their own Loving Hut. This international vegan fast-food chain is quickly taking the world by storm, giving people from all cultures and walks of life the ability to enjoy quick, healthy, globally-conscious cuisine. Each Loving Hut has a different menu influenced by the culinary traditions of that region. At the Glendale location, chefs partner traditional Asian dishes?curry noodles, pho, wontons, spring rolls?with recipes that reflect the flavors of the southwest. They make burger patties from scratch, and then crown them with pineapples, homemade teriyaki sauces, and other toppings to complete the signature Hawaiian burger.
Inspired by their physically and socially active California origins, the pies at zpizza start out with an entirely organic, whole-wheat-flour base, hand-thrown and fire-baked until crisp. Zpizza creations include the Napoli (basted with homemade roasted-garlic sauce, mozzarella, tomato slices, parmesan, and fresh basil), Greek (feta, red onions, firm kalamata olives, tomatoes, oregano, and mozzarella), and Thai (splashed with peanut sauce and dressed with mozzarella, spicy chicken, red onions, cilantro, carrots, crisp bean sprouts, and Serrano chilies). Depending on the location, prices and menu options vary. Not including tax, specialty pizza creations can start at around $10 for 10", $17 for 14", and $20 for 18". Classic consumers can opt for the standard cheese ($17.50 for 18") or pepperoni ($19.50 for 18"), or create their own pie. Zpizza's menu includes salads ($5.95–$8.50 for regular salads), calzones ($6.95), and pasta dishes ($7.50). An assortment of cookies rounds out the sweet side.
Food is medicine. These are the first words of Chakra 4 Herb & Tea House's vegetarian philosophy. It means that, just like prescription medication, the food we consume should be chosen carefully, as the wrong choice can hurt us and the right one can make us feel unstoppable. That's why they seek to feed (literally and figuratively) customers everything they need to achieve optimum physical and spiritual health, starting with Mother Nature's own ingredients. From the mainstays of their cuisine to the most scantily used spices, every element of Chakra's cooking undergoes strict inspection to ensure it is of the absolute best—and safest—quality. For instance, the chefs typically cull their ingredients from local and organic sources, but because many of the best spices come from abroad, the team rigorously tests each and every herb to ensure it's devoid of pesticides, heavy metals, and preferences for monarchical rule. Once ingredients meet the stipulated standards, the crew can get cooking. They make a variety of rich, flavorful, and completely vegetarian dishes that can be made vegan upon request, drawing on culturally diverse influences to create gluten-free chili, roasted-vegetable thin-crust pizzas, and Moroccan nomad stew laden with chickpeas and raisins. The café, however, is only half of Chakra’s offerings. A full health store abounds with bulk herbs, herbal teas, essential oils, and custom-made formulas and capsules made in-house. Owner Kita Centella, who has practiced herbal medicine since 1983, uses her training and experience in astrological herbalism to create medicines completely from scratch, taking into account not only the healing properties of each herb, but also the alignment of the planets.
The Phoenix New Times has long been a fan of Pomegranate Café, but the organic, vegan eatery gained a new admirer in 2013: Forbes Magazine. Forbes named Pomegranate Café one of its 10 Top Wholesome U.S. Restaurants—and for good reason. Owners and mother-daughter duo Cassie and Marlene Tolman fuse their respective talents to create healthy, meat-free dishes. Whereas Marlene focuses on nutritious baked goods, Cassie, a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Cookery School in NYC, enlists vegan philosophies to craft food that is as earth-friendly as it is nutritious. But despite the healthy focus, Pomegranate Café's fare never lacks in the taste or presentation departments. By sourcing seasonal ingredients from eco-minded local farmers and artisans, Cassie and Marlene ensure brunch eats such as banana-nut french toast come topped with fruit at the peak of freshness. The same goes for lunch and dinner, when sandwiches, wraps, quinoa bowls, and some house specialties take over the menu. Many avoid gluten, and others are raw, meaning all ingredients are uncooked, cooked below 115 degrees, or served in their original pixelated form. Favorites include a POM burger on an ancient grain bun, or a bowl of quinoa piled with avocado, walnut meat, and beans, along with the sweet juices and smoothies Cassie makes by blending together fresh fruits and super foods. For those who wish to learn how to create healthy food and live a wholesome lifestyle beyond café hours, Pomegranate Café also offers frequent classes taught by health and nutrition experts.
In 2008, brothers Yuen and Peter Yung opened the first How Do You Roll? restaurant, devoting it to inventive, customizable sushi. Since then, the eatery has expanded to multiple locations across four states—and in February of 2013, after they pitched their concept to the notorious panel on ABC's "Shark Tank," an investor decided to sink his teeth into helping the business grow even further. The shark-worthy idea? Chefs invite customers to build their own sushi rolls or bowls, beginning with white or brown rice, which can then be topped or rolled with ingredients such as raw spicy salmon, grilled chicken, avocado, and strawberries. Sauces such as wasabi mayo and toppings such as chili powder finish off each roll.
Other favorites at How Do You Roll? come in the form of preset combinations such as the Mango Tango, whose krab stick, salmon, vegetables, and mango salsa are assembled by a chef holding a rose in his teeth. The menu also caters to healthy-minded diners with low-carb bowls, gluten-free options, and 13 rolls that contain fewer than 300 calories apiece.
If frozen yogurt is the svelter, healthier sister of ice cream, the soy soft serve at Nami is its supermodel cousin. Everything in the treat shop, from the lean soy soft serve to the organic and vegan mix-ins, is designed to make each treat as healthy as possible. Customers sidle up to the counter and choose the signature flavor combination they desire, then watch as staff members fill their biodegradable cups with such amalgamations as the organic chai, organic animal crackers, and soy whip of the Chai Tiramisu; the lemon flavor and Newman’s Ginger O’s of the O’, Ginger Snap!; and the vegan Cap’n Crunch and strawberries that create the Soy Capitan. On chilly days or when swearing off spoons, guests can savor one of the shop's completely vegan baked goods such as oatmeal cream pies, cupcakes, and truffles, or sip on coffees sweetened with a choice of nut-based milk.