It can be difficult to change your lifestyle as a student when you’re already learning how to live on your own. However, I know that more people are becoming aware of the environmental and ethical impacts of eating meat and looking to eat less of it in the new year. Luckily, veganism is more accessible and delicious than most people think! I’ve been vegan for two and a half years and found some favorite vegan spots I’d love to share.
- Loving Hut
Loving Hut is a small restaurant serving mostly Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese-inspired vegan food. Admittedly, eating out as a vegan is typically expensive, but Loving Hut is one of the more affordable options out there! The store’s small size is part of the charm, along with the posters of famous vegans and vegetarians. The owner is a lovely, hardworking woman who always has a smile on her face and will answer whatever questions you have. My favorite dishes are the crispy rolls, pho, chow mein (soft), and pandan cake. The pandan cake is a must! The owner told me they make the cake on Saturdays and sell slices during the week until they’re out, which is usually Tuesday.
- Nice Guys
Nice Guys is the perfect vegan replacement for your fast-food faves. This 50s-style diner and drive-thru is humorously located next to a Wendy’s. It serves food like burgers, “chicken” sandwiches, fries, and shakes. The interior decor is complete with red booths and antique radios, as well modern touches like vegan stickers and a crystal lamp. I especially like that they have a whiteboard recommending other local vegan restaurants. Also, the staff are all friendly and helpful. My go-to combo is the Hot Chick with tater tots and a vanilla shake. My non-vegan parents remark that the shakes are yummy and taste like real milkshakes.
This is a little farther than Orange, but I had to mention it. Freesoulcaffe is a picturesque cafe nestled in Old Town Tustin. It is lovely to sit outdoors on a nice California day here. They offer typical cafe fare like sandwiches, salads, and burgers, along with pasta and pizza for dinner. My personal favorite dishes are the spaghettini, mushroom bianca pizza, and chocolate truffle torte. Also, on Saturdays, they serve breakfast items like waffles and “eggs and ham.” I have no idea how they make the eggs and ham; the taste and texture are so on point. Service is fast but there are not many workers, so if it is busy it can be difficult to flag down a waiter for extra assistance. I recommend coming here with friends to enjoy the atmosphere and conversation.
Honorable dessert mention: Hug Life Ice Cream! In addition to ice cream, they serve ice cream cookie sandwiches and brownies a la mode. Perfect treats to #treatyourself.