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Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant Orange County 2013 - Au NatuRaw

Au NatuRaw

206 N. Broadway

Santa Ana, CA 92701

714-955-4774

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Readers' Choice: Rutabegorz

Order the pad Thai and be amazed not at how it's completely vegan and, not to mention, raw, but because of how it has made you forget it's either one. Dishes such as this are the charm of Au NatuRaw, a vegan restaurant that does what it does because it believes that cooking destroys all the nutritive value in food and executes it in such an effortless way that you take for granted what it can't do—such as cookies and soup. Since nothing can be heated past 118 degrees—the equivalent of a summer day in Phoenix—the cookies have to be made by blending nuts and dates together and forming chewy discs; and the cream of broccoli soup becomes an intense, savory smoothie. But it's those pad Thai noodles that will have you asking, "How'd they do this?" It features noodles made from kelp, more wiggly and jelly-like than rice noodles, but still so close to the real thing, it twirls on a fork the right way. The dish is proof that good cooking doesn't need to involve a heat source. And if you don't want to do raw? There's vegetarian/vegan options for you, too, wimplings.

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