Let's Talk No Turkey -- at Native Foods

Believe it or not, the Native Foods vegan restaurant in Costa Mesa bustles during the Thanksgiving season, offering a birdless (and delicious) alternative to the traditional turkey dinner. Many OC vegans and vegetarians – and the families that enable their madnesses – order gussied up Tofurky dinners. For fancy-pantsier palates, Native Foods sells the all-organic "Native Wellington": a puff-pastry stuffed with Native Seitan, kale, portobello mushrooms, orange glazed yams, stuffing, caramelized onions and served with shallot mushroom gravy. It costs $54, serves six and arrives frozen; just bake ‘em for about an hour. You can order them through the restaurant or online here.

Many families – or loners – who do not welcome the post-dinner kitchen mess choose to eat at restaurants, and Native Foods’ booths are as jammed as those places that serve turkey, ham and all the trimmings. In fact, for the fourth annual Thanksgiving feast, the Irvine-based Native chain’s “chef executive officer” Tanya Petrovna has whipped up a menu of Native Wellington with Mushroom Shallot Gravy, Willy's Wheatberry Waldorf Salad, Gorgeous Green Salad with Maple Glazed Pecans and Pomegranate Pearls, Polenta Terrine with Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes, Seared Green Beans with Browned Panko, Native Stuffing, Fred's Fabulous Cornbread and Cranberry Orange Relish. Just reading that induces a L-tryptophan coma, but the Natives advise saving room for the dessert tray loaded with Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Creme, Apple Hazelnut Streudel with Vanilla Creme, Sam's Cheesecake with Blueberries and Chocolate Tofu Love Pie. The cost is $45 per person ($20 for children under 12) and if you want your family to sit together it’s best to make reservations for between 2 and 8 p.m. at (714) 751-2151. Otherwise, you’ll have to fight it out for space at the constantly turning over community table for singles and walk-ins.

The restaurant is at the Camp (across from the Lab) at 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. A location also opened recently in Aliso Viejo at 26705 Aliso Creek Road. Call them at (949) 831-1926 for reservations or to order meatless chow.

And know that somewhere a turkey thanks you.


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