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Best Place to Call a Dietary Truce Orange County 2011 - Roots Gourmet

Roots Gourmet

Roots Gourmet

6473 E. Pacific Coast Highway

Long Beach, CA 90803

562-795-7668

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It's not easy being a public vegetarian in Orange County. More often than not, the courteous herbivore will find him- or herself constructing haphazard meals out of side dishes at omnivorous restaurants when out with friends. It doesn't help that avid meat-eaters tend to approach dining out at an exclusively vegetarian restaurant about as enthusiastically as they would a visit to the dentist. Thankfully, Roots Gourmet has taken the initiative and created a buffer zone in which the two dietary parties can congregate without a compromise in flavor. Specializing in distinctly Mexican and Latin American cuisine, Roots offers a vegetarian counterpart to almost every item on its menu. What's more, it does so with eco-conscious flair. Whenever possible, organic and local ingredients are used to create the home-style recipes that satisfy both fang and molar. It also offers a 10 percent beverage discount for those who bike or bring in their own mugs. From the sumptuous turkey albóndigas ($3.49-$5.49) to the vegan "chicken" sandwich ($7.99), everything is made from scratch with someone special in mind. Gluten-intolerant? No worries. Roots has your back there, too. It's enough grub love to make eaters of all walks drop their guards and embrace one another over a plate of crisp empanadas. $$

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