I'm so sorry it has been a while since I posted on the blog! I've been busy planning my upcoming destination wedding in May (serving all vegan food, of course!), which I will post about when that time comes.
Last week, my cousin was in town from New York and was staying at a hotel near Disneyland, which is in Anaheim and next to Garden Grove. Maybe I've been in my L.A. bubble too long, but I thought that finding vegan food in that area might be a challenge. I couldn't be more wrong!
Apparently, Garden Grove is a treasure trove of vegan food (now that I think about it, the name of the city is so fitting). It finally dawned on me that it's probably because Garden Grove has a pretty big Vietnamese population, many of whom are vegetarians or vegans.
Just around the corner of the hotel were TWO vegan restaurants, literally across from one another. One was Vegan Pizza (which has been around for 4 years now and is getting requests to open several chains), and Loving Hut, which apparently is the fastest growing international vegan fast food chain in the world (they even have branches in Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and Tokyo). A quick search on Yelp also drew up other vegan restaurants like Healthy Junk and a vegan ice cream shop called Hug Life (love the name!). Unfortunately I was only able to try Vegan Pizza because we were short on time.
Vegan Pizza - Simple Name, Extraordinary Flavors
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of Vegan Pizza's name and modest storefront. First, I love the little activist sign on the window that says, "Save Water, Eat Plants! Help save water with our plant-based meal options." Once you step inside you realize you're in for a real treat. Murals of Italy adorn the walls that lead you to the counter and an enticing display of desserts--from Oreo cheesecake and chocolate peanut butter pie, to chocolate and coconut cakes.
Here's what we ordered for three people:
- 1 medium size Mediterranean pizza (with pesto sauce, basil leaves, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic, kalamata olives and onions)
- 1 medium size Philly Cheezsteak pizza (with grilled vegan steak, onions, mushrooms and bellpeppers)
- 1 chocolate peanut butter pie
- 1 carrot cake
- 1 chocolate cake
My favorites were the the Mediterranean pizza because it had pesto and I LOVE pesto. It also had tomatoes and olives. Don't get me wrong ... the Philly Cheez Steak was good, too, I just think I would've loved it more if I hadn't tried the Mediterranean. As for desserts, my favorite was the chocolate peanut butter pie and chocolate cake. The chocolate peanut butter pie was a little on the rich side but I love that, and it had the texture of cheesecake. The chocolate cake was light and fluffy with the perfect balance of creamy decadence and sweetness. The carrot cake itself was good, but they used vegan whipped cream instead of vegan cream cheese. I was also expecting it to taste like Veggie Grill's carrot cake, which is hard to beat.
To give you an idea of just how good the pizza was, I ate the leftovers cold because my cousin didn't have a microwave in her hotel room, just a refrigerator. And it was still SOO good. With just a tinge of shame, I'll admit I ate one entire medium pizza on my own. Since I'm the only vegan in my family, they let me eat however much I could since they had other options at the hotel.
On a side note, while you're waiting for your pizza to be made, there's a small display of Vietnamese self-help type of books about peace, compassion, and how the vegan diet is good for your health and, of course, saves animals. It's a great way for people who dine solo to pass the time and leave feeling somewhat enlightened and inspired.
So if you're in town for Disneyland, do yourself a favor and have a meal before or after you enter the park at any one of the neighborhood vegan restaurants. The Anaheim and Garden Grove area is a vegan paradise, offering unexpected culinary thrills that draw oohs, aahs and yums from visitors.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, here's a list of its 10 popular vegan pizzas.