Moist double chocolate chip cookies speckled with rich chocolate chunks. Coconut cheesecake brownies drizzled in chocolate syrup. Chocolate mousse-filled buttercream cake frosted with tufts of dark chocolate. It’s clear that Loving Nutrition’s desserts embody indulgent excess. It may come as a surprise then that they also embody vegan ideals, containing no gluten, dairy, egg, soy, or nuts. A pastry mecca for those with vegan beliefs or food allergies, Loving Nutrition stems from the brain of Suraya Iller, a pastry chef and mother of two. After noticing that many children with food allergies were excluded from eating birthday cakes and holiday treats, she swooped to the rescue, baking desserts that everyone could enjoy. In addition to whipping up red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and buttercream cakes, the shop also serves a variety of gluten-free breads, including tomato focaccia and pumpkin cranberry.
At Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu, meat and tofu put aside their differences in the name of cooperating to create savory Korean feasts. Bulgogi—sliced beef marinated in 12 flavorful ingredients—stars in many dishes, from japche rice-paper wraps to custom-made bibimbap served in a hot stone pot. Instead of sculpting faux turkeys from vatfuls of guacamole, vegans can build feasts from meat-free dishes such as tofu soup and sushi-like kimchi kimbap. The restaurant's popular korean tacos encourage meats and greens to hang out together, housing combinations of bulgogi, pork, chicken, veggies, or tofu. Outdoor seating invites patrons to dine amid verdant plants, whereas comfy indoor booths honor nature with sunny lights and bamboo wall coverings.
At Golden China Restaurant, the chefs manage to fit seemingly hundreds of Mandarin, Cantonese, and Szechuan dishes on one menu. Of their 20 specialty items, highlights include the pan-seared sea bass with ginger sauce and the shrimp and walnuts glazed with honey sauce. Other eats include steamed dumplings, chop suey, fried rice, and mushu, which are pancakes filled with stir-fried green onions, bamboo shoots, scrambled eggs, and meat, veggies, or tofu.
The flavors you'll find most prominently at Go Fresh are those of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins marinated in Mediterranean spices. Flavorful juices and healthy smoothies take center-stage, with staff blending together yogurt with options such as the Jade made with kale, spinach, four citrus fruits, and mint. And though the juices are healthy on their own, staff can boost protein and nutrient levels with add-ins such as whey protein or chia seeds.
On the other side of the menu, chefs focus on Mediterranean dishes blended with flashes of Indian flavors. This results in fusion dishes such as protein bowls filled with chicken in a mango curry sauce, served with a choice of rice or naan. They use a range of healthy ingredients, from wild salmon stacked onto kabobs to crispy falafel balls filled with hearty chickpeas and spices.
"Niki's is everything fast food should be: unpretentious but good; cheap but plentiful; and fast, fast, fast," raved OC Weekly in 2010 when it awarded the restaurant the title of Best Fast-Food Indian Orange County. Speed isn't everything, though. At Niki's Indian Cuisine, the chefs specialize in coaxing the savory flavors out of items such as chicken and lamb by roasting skewers inside a traditional, clay tandoor oven. The majority of the menu contains vegetarian-friendly dishes?including entrees featuring lentils, eggplant, and curried chlorophyll?all of which can range from mild to pleasantly spicy.
Between terracotta walls, or among flowers on the patio, friends visiting Arabisc Restaurant and Hookah Lounge are invited to unwind. Formerly known as Al Waha, the lounge keeps patrons happy with its signature relaxed atmosphere, a menu of Mediterranean favorites, and shisha that transforms into flavored smoke to obscure coffee mustaches. As they puff, guests indulge in Turkish coffee, rich and dark, along with bites of jalape?o-laced hummus, babagannush, and lamb kebabs.