Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant: OC Weekly Intern Lunch!

Welcome to another edition of Intern Lunch!

During the past few months, I've had a blast writing about music, tagging along and eating tasty lunches with fellow intern Javier Cabral. During my last week here at the Weekly world headquarters, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and dabble in something I've never done before: write a food review. With the help of Javier, of course!

We decided to go to the vegetarian restaurant, Au Lac, located in an glutted plaza in the southern part of Fountain Valley. Au Lac specializes in cooked and raw vegetarian dishes and desserts. Dubbed “Humanese Cuisine” by the passionate Chef Ito and owner Mai Nguyen, the main focus on these dishes are to make delicious meals that are healthy and that contain no animal products whatsoever. And as we both painstakingly learned over the course of 14 courses…that does not mean the food will not taste good.

It's apparent that this place is a vegan restaurant as soon as you walk in: the smell of raw vegetables waft through the air, and the chef gives you a big bear hug upon arrival. Au Lac has a cult following in the RAW food world, specifically Chef Ito for his creative, rich renditions of comfort favorites.

Now, as all of you know, Weekly are largely unpaid–okay, COMPLETELY unpaid, save for when Gustavo springs for lunch haha–and when chef found out of this selfless service (SEVA for all you yoga-heads!) he selflessly started to send out a barrage of veggie dishes that we could barely keep up with!

To coat our tummy for the raw-food-enzyme bomb to come, chef sent out a couple of souped-up Kombucha drinks. All the better to wash down our first memorable dish of the day.

wouldn't know its raw if I didn't tell ya', tasting like a thick cut of
carb-alicious whole grain bread but actually made from flax seeds and
sprouted something. Now, let me disclose that Javier or myself are not vegetarians, let alone raw vegans! So we were in store for some of the establishment's namesake cooked dishes, as well.

The salt and pepper tofu arrived in miniature cubes lightly fried on the outside and soft and silky on the inside. The seasonings surrounding the lightly battered pieces contained only a pinch of salt and pepper, but the simplicity of it really highlighted the appetizer. Nothing else needed to be added to make it taste better other than the simple green relish that accompanied it.

Sorry, guys! I wish we could go into poetic detail about the other ten dishes like the faux pork spring rolls that tasted eerily like the fleshy counterparts or the “Green Pyramid” made with sprouted wild rice and young coconut meat, but time is not money for us interns! So now onto desserts…

Towards the end of our lavish meal, chef sent out a plate of assorted mini pie bites for dessert. The dish arrived with the slices arranged to look like a bouquet of flowers with housemade raw food syrups. The acquired albeit tasty durian pie was merely a chunk of frozen durian but with a fruit as rich as it is, that is all you need.

The rich desserts was a nice ending to a light and nutritional meal. We were stuffed, but we didn't feel guilty from over-indulging because every dish contained either soy, whole grains or veggies.

Just to let you know, Javier Cabral collaborated with me on this piece. Thanks Javier and thanks for reading!
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