Baseball, Father’s Day, and a New Surfing Record

If you were a dad and you could pick your best Father’s Day ever, what would you do? If I asked my husband, I know that he would say that if he could spend a lot of time with his grandsons, take them to a baseball game, go for a run and do other fun things with them, he would have the best time ever. Well, that’s what we did. I’d say we had almost a full week of Father’s Day celebration!

Fathers Day CollageI’m so lucky to have so many great fathers in my life. Clockwise from the top left: My dad, who I think of every day even though he’s been gone almost 30 years. We shared a birthday and a lot more. My husband Alan, who was denied a chance to be a dad to his two “real” sons when they were young, but helped my own boys become better men by being a part of their life. He’s an amazing grandfather too! My youngest son, David, who, though he doesn’t have children of his own yet, is an wonderful father figure to his girlfriend’s children. My stepson John, and of course, my son Nathan, father of Samuel and my future granddaughter Emma.

So let’s back up to early last week. After a lovely May, the weather has finally heated up in the desert. With the high forecast up to 116, the only way to get in a run is to get out early. Alan and I weren’t totally successful with that goal, getting out about 6:15. We ran on the trails for about an hour and it was pretty darn hot by the time we finished.

FD Week 8

FD Week 9Our grandsons were in town for the week, so after the run we picked them up with plans for cool activities (in both senses of the word!).

First, we headed over to see Jurassic World (in 3D of course!).

Jurassic World

It was quite good by the way, though quite violent and gory. It brought back the spirit of the original and, of course, the special effects have come a long way.  And Chris Pratt makes a pretty good action hero (remember when I met him?).

Chris PrattAnd yes, he actually competed in that triathlon.

After the movie we headed over to an arcade that was close by. It was way too hot for miniature golf or go carts, so we went into the cool indoors, where the boys played video games for about an hour (and got their butts kicked by grandpa in air hockey).

Arcade GamesAbout that time I was wavering a little. I hadn’t planned on such a long afternoon and hadn’t eaten properly. The boys (including grandpa) had filled up on popcorn and other junk at the movie, but I needed food fast. Fortunately there was a Trader Joes right across the way, so I popped over and grabbed a snack. Whew!

On Wednesday I did a speed workout on the road near my house. I got out a little earlier, but it was still hot. I did eight quarter-mile intervals, plus a warm up and cool down. Not bad for the first speed workout in a while.

Speed work w/Asics Electro 33

On Thursday the plan was to pick up the boys around noon and drive them back to Huntington Beach. Their mom was going to follow later. Long story, but my stepson and daughter-in-law had a funeral to attend, so the plan was for us to stay at their home with the boys. No complaints from us! It was about 40 degrees cooler along the coast!

We had a late lunch at one of our favorites in Huntington, Coaches. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant and they have a great falafel pita.

Felafel at Coach's

Cash

DaneAfter lunch we had to hurry home and get the boys off to basketball practice. No pictures because Alan and I ran to pick up a few groceries while they played.

Every morning when we’re in Huntington Beach, Alan gets up and makes a trip to Starbucks, where he picks up coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for the boys. Friday was no exception. Then we took off for a short run. They boys stayed home (their mom and dad weren’t leaving until the evening) so they could keep their legs rested for their basketball game that evening.

FD Week 5So, so nice to run along the ocean, at 8:00 instead of the crack of dawn like at home. The rest of the morning was spent playing a little ball, and generally hanging out.

Huntington BeachWe drove the boys to their basketball game, and this time stuck around. It was pretty exciting. The other “team” was actually members of their own team (it’s complicated), but it was a real game. Cash played excellent defense, and Dane made some great shots. Here are a couple that I posted on Instagram (<– Follow Me!)

@chipperw getting it done.

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

On Saturday we all took a run together, including Tito, their dog. Family Run Then somehow we missed seeing this:

They broke the world record for people on a surfboard! The surfboard itself was 42 feet long, and Alan and the boys did go down and see it before the attempt, while I stayed with the dog. Our timing didn’t work out to go back, which is too bad because the boys had a chance to be on the board for the world record attempt. Here’s the full story:

Saturday afternoon we wanted to go to the baseball game because Alan’s Giants were playing at Dodger Stadium. We didn’t have tickets, but we decided to go anyway and maybe find a scalper or something. As we pulled up to enter the parking lot, we were told that the game was sold out. Did we have tickets? I fibbed, yes we did, in hopes that we would shortly actually have tickets.

It seems that the Dodgers do an excellent job of keeping the scalpers away from the actual stadium. The last time I was there was years ago (with tickets), and I seem to recall them outside of the parking area. Not this year, and not anywhere else either. I was really afraid that we’d have to turn around and go home. Fortunately, Alan decided to check at the ticket booth, and sure enough, there were plenty of tickets available. Weird.

Dodger StadiumAppropriately it was Pups at the Park day! If we’d known we could have brought Tito along with us! As you can see, we had pretty good seats. One problem though. It was about 90 degrees inside Dodger Stadium and our seats were in the full sun for the entire game. In fact, at 7:10 or so, right after the final out, the sun was just getting ready to dip behind the stadium. It was hot!

Dodger Giants Baseball

That didn’t stop us from having a great time though!

Yasiel PuigThe boys were sure that rightfielder Yasiel Puig was returning their wave.

We even found vegan food! Here’s mine:

Vegan at Dodger StadiumLet’s see, $8 for the “Veg Out” cup, which was some stalks of carrots, celery, cucumber, a couple radishes, and a tiny cup of hummus; $6.50 for the veggie dog, and $13 for the “premium” beer. That brought the total for just my food to $27.50. Well, at least the Giants won, so there was some consolation.

Sunday, the actual Father’s day, was quite a bit quieter than the rest of the week. We took the day off of running, and the water was pretty cold so the boys didn’t go swimming. They did play a lot of ball though, and just generally spent quality time with their grandpa.

We were anxious to get home, in spite of the heat. We haven’t been away for three nights for a long time. As you know, we have a handicapped dog, and it’s hard to trust anybody with her care. Our dogsitter came through, though, and everybody, including Goldie, was fine. Alan calls this practice for when we go to Hawaii in December for the Honolulu Marathon for 10 days. Yikes!

I took a run alone on Monday, while Alan headed to the pool. I got out late again, but ironically, I felt better than I had running at the overcast beach. I guess I’m just a desert rat at heart!

Running in the heat

Gosh, that was a long one, wasn’t it? Sorry, but we just had so much going on last week. How was your Father’s Day? I hope everyone had a chance to see their dads or to spend it with their children and their dads. Bad sentence, I know, but hopefully you know what I mean.

 

The 5 Fs of Independence Day: Family, Friends, 5k, Food, Fireworks

After a really rough beginning of the week I was ready for some fun and frivolity for the 4th of July. I felt like I’d earned it!

Celebrating Independence Day in Huntington Beach has become a tradition for us. Alan announced the Surf City 5k for about five years, until 2009. Then, in 2010, when he discovered that he had a son (and grandsons) that lived there, we would go for fun, sometimes run the race, watch the parade, and hang out with our new-found family. In 2011, we experienced the miracle of the lost phone after the fireworks on the beach. No matter what year though, we had a great time, and we definitely appreciated the cooler weather.

Family and Friends

This year it originally looked like our family wasn’t going to be in town. We still planned to go (it being a tradition and all), and this year we had some friends that would be joining us. They are also Alan’s clients: Mom Liz, and her three kids, Nick, Nicole, and Garrett (who runs cross country for us). They were planning to run the Surf City 5k as a family, and most exciting, this would be Liz’s first 5k! A huge deal for someone who has lost over 100 pounds!

IMG952286Since the family wasn’t planning to be in town we made reservations at the Hotel Huntington Beach, a nice hotel which is nowhere near the beach (and therefore is reasonably priced). As it turned out, the family did stay in town, but we kept our plans anyway and stayed at the hotel. When they are in town my stepson, John, and daughter in law, Lisa, host a 4th of July party each year. This year they tried not to have it, but that didn’t work out. We’d laugh at Lisa when someone would say, “see you on the 4th!” because obviously they didn’t know that there wasn’t going to be a party. So of course, she threw a party. We thought it best not to get underfoot.

In retrospect though, we will never do that again. The reason: Parking. There is none. Or that’s what it feels like. Streets closed, a 5k, a parade, and thousands of people make for a traffic nightmare, and parking spaces are few and far between. When we stay with the family, we basically park the car and don’t have to move it for the weekend.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and headed over to the family’s house. Alan was planning on taking the boys to their Junior Lifeguard practice, then we’d check in, pick up our race stuff, etc. They rode their bikes to practice, so Alan jumped on a cruiser bike and rode along with them. I stayed at the house, not yet trusting my stomach to try anything active. Then we headed off to sign up for the race, took a random drive through Fountain Valley and Westminster (cities that surround Huntington Beach) because I tried to avoid the traffic caused by a broken stoplight. It probably took us twice as long, but we eventually arrived at our hotel and checked in.

We stopped for lunch when we arrived back at the beach, at a little Mediterranean restaurant that we love and makes great falafel pitas. Then it was time for Alan to pick up the boys. The Independence Day party starts early in Huntington Beach. By the time we got home, Lisa was busily cooking up a storm, knowing that people would be dropping by all evening. We know quite a few of their friends, so it was a social evening and we didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 10, a little late for us, especially the night before a race.

Surf City Run 5k

ID4

Of course, this was not just a race. In addition to Liz running her first, we also planned to run the race with our grandsons! They love to run, and it is something special that we do together when we visit. Cash in particular is a talented runner, coming in first at the two mile runs that they do at Junior Lifeguard practice. So we were really excited about the race, but not in the same way we would be if we were going to run hard. Still, it’s nice to get enough sleep the night before.

ID9

Fortunately, running an 8:00 5k is not the same as announcing one. We’d arranged to meet our friends at 7:15 and our family at 7:30, so the only thing we needed to worry about was parking. I followed a hunch and came in the back way (instead of trying to work my way along the parade route). After wandering the streets for a few blocks, we spotted a school that was just a few blocks from the race, so we quickly moved in and parked. Score!

ID3

This is the winning man and woman from the local’s race. I love the picture on the right..she’s flying!

Our friend Liz was not so lucky. After searching for a long time for parking, she dropped her kids off then went in search of the closest space. She ended up almost a mile away from the start line and had to walk, arriving with minutes to spare. At least she got a good warm up for her first race!

ID7

Meanwhile, Alan’s son John arrived with the kids around 7:45. We talked him into running halfway with us, which would bring him within a couple blocks of home. Being an athlete (though not really a runner), he agreed. That meant we really had the whole family on the start line.

ID6

We were happy to see that the race announcer was Rudy Novotny, who we know pretty well, and who took over for Alan after he stopped announcing the race. Alan had a little surprise for Liz. As we stood ready to start, Rudy announced her name and that it was her first 5k. Pretty cool.

ID2

Yeah, I look a little crazed and half covered the picture with my finger, but the other shot was even worse!

The boys, Garrett and Nick, moved to the front, planning to race hard. We started as a family, while Liz and Nicole started at their own pace. After about a quarter mile, Cash, one of the twins, asked if he could go ahead. Alan said sure, and he was off like a flash, weaving in and out of the runners ahead of us. Alan and I just stayed together, going back from time to time to check on Dane, the other twin, and John.

ID8

It is an out and back course, so we kept an eye out for Cash heading back, but didn’t see him. When we reached the halfway point, we said so long to John, and to Dane who decided to go with his dad. John did say that he’d seen Cash heading back in the other direction. We also saw Liz and Nicole as we headed back toward the finish.

We finally caught up to Cash at mile two. He was doing great, and we all stayed together at a moderate pace, with only one walking break for the rest of the race. It was so exciting to cross the finish line as a threesome! I can’t wait to see our finishing photo!

ID10

We met up with Garrett and Nick, who had already finished, then Nicole finished shortly afterward. We were on the lookout for Liz, who finished, looking strong in 46:53. What an awesome time for a first time 5k!

Liz

After we all finished, we met up at the little expo, picked up some food and water, and checked out the local businesses. And took more pictures of course!

ID11

I knew that Tiffany, my blogging friend and fellow IDEA Inspired Advisor who I  met and experienced IDEA World with last year was running the race, but even though I kept my eye out, I didn’t see her. I was afraid that the same thing as last year would happen, we wouldn’t get a chance to meet up. But, finally, in spite of missed calls and texts that went to my iPad instead of my phone, we hooked up.

ID12

I can’t wait to see her again at Blogfest in August!

After all the socializing, we needed to figure out how to get back over to our family’s house, both to return Cash, and to see the parade. After some discussion we decided to leave the cars where they were and to walk the mile or so to the house. Of course, we weren’t entirely sure of how to get there, but between Cash’s directions and numbered streets we finally made our way to the house. The party was in full swing, even though it was just after 10 in the morning. We got a bite to eat, socialized a little, Alan and the kids saw a little bit of the parade, then we decided it was time to head back.

ID13The “non-party” at Lisa’s still involved breakfast, beer, and a lot of company. We left, so I’m not sure if it continued on into the evening, which is common for Huntington Beach 4th of July parties.

ID14The best mode of travel during the holiday is bike. As you can see.

Luckily, even though we didn’t have Cash to lead the way, we found our car without problems. We piled everyone in because Liz’s car was another mile away. We still had to deal with a few detours since the parade was still going on, but finally found a convenient and close place to drop them off.

Alan and I then went back to the hotel, showered, packed and checked out, then headed home. We always like to be home if possible on Independence Day. Even though the desert is pretty slow for the holiday, there are still some random fireworks, enough to scare our dogs, so we like to be there.

ID15

Our little illegal quiet celebration did not bother our dogs. There were a few louder booms, but the dogs were amazingly calm. Which is good.

All in all, one of my favorite 4th of July celebrations ever! Good friends, family, and running, what else can you ask for? Great food too, which you can check out here. A great turnaround to a week that started out badly.

How did you spend your holiday?

 

Fun on the 4th of July (and the 3rd!)

We are headed to San Diego this morning, where I will run the Costume Party Race Half Marathon tomorrow.  I think I’m ready. No, I take it back. I am ready. I’ve done my training, I’ve been consistent with all my runs, I’ve even made my costume (except I need a bandana…anyone want to lend me a red paisley bandana for the race?). All that’s left is to actually get it done. Two hours.,.here I come.

In the meantime, a little photo story of our 4th of July celebration. We headed to Huntington Beach on Wednesday. As we were leaving, I saw an Instagram photo posted by Tiffany with the Huntington Beach pier in the background.

HB

As you can see from the conversation, we had good intentions of trying to meet up. I seem to always be missing meeting up with fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors, from Lisa, to Kymberly and Alexandra, to Jody, and even Kelly, CEO of Fitfluential. Circumstances seem to intervene. Sadly, they did again this time, with me at one end of the parade, with family near the start, and Tiffany much closer to the end of the parade. Hopefully we will meet next month at IDEA World Fitness Convention. We are both Inspired Advisors and will be there for the event.

4th of July

All of the above excitement took place on the 3rd of July. My stepson and daughter-in-law had plans for a get together the next day, but a few friends stopped by on Wednesday evening. Then a few more friends. Of course, in this family friendly area, they all brought their kids, so pretty soon, there were fireworks going in the front yard (shhhh, not exactly legal on the 3rd!).

Huntington Beach goes wild for Independence Day. Seriously, I think it is as big as Christmas. Everybody decorates, dresses up, has parties, goes to the parade, the fireworks, and about 5,000 of them went to the Surf City 5k in the morning.

4th of July

Even though we were up late the night before (almost 11…really really late for us!), we were determined to take the boys and run the 5k in the morning. Unfortunately, they were up late too, which meant a late start, which meant we ran in the open race at 8:00 (instead of the residents’ race at 7:00).  I had a dish to prepare for the get-together that was to begin about 9:00 (before the parade), so we finally decided to walk to the race start, run as far as the turn-around (which was about 2 blocks from the house), then run straight home. That meant about a mile and a half run, which really was the perfect distance for our two eight-year-old grandsons.

4th of July

4th of July

4th of July

4th of July

4th of July

4th of July

They did great! They ran the whole way at a pretty good pace. There were a lot of people, which actually held them up a little. They may have made it the whole 5k, but we still cut off at the halfway point. I had a tofu scramble to make!

Right in front of the house is the staging point for the race. It’s kind of fun to see the horses and their riders up close as they get ready to go.

4th of July

4th of JulyAfter food prep, a little breakfast and a shower, our whole group, including the guests and their kids headed the block or so to the parade. Even though we were right near the beginning, it was about a two hour event. In additions to a few videos on Instagram, I mostly took pictures of the horses.

4th of July

4th of July

After I’d had enough, I walked back to the house. It looked like a parking lot in front. For bicycles.

4th of July

Truly the only way to get around on a busy day at the beach, especially with road closures (we had to park several blocks away because the street was used for pre-parade preparation), horrid traffic, and no parking to be found anywhere.

Alan and I headed home a few hours later, back to the heat of the desert (and our dogs, of course). It was great to get out of the heat, run with our grandsons, and to see our family and meet their friends. At home I made veggie burgers and corn, though it was too hot to cook outdoors. All in all, a good holiday.

Oh, and the fireworks? With the exception of our grandsons’ 3rd of July fun, we didn’t see any fireworks. We stay indoors with our dogs. One in particular tends to freak out from the booming, so we stay inside and try to reassure them.

How was your holiday? Any races or parades? Did you get to see the fireworks?

Away for the Weekend: The Vegan Food

You’d think after following a plant based diet for several years I wouldn’t panic when traveling to a town I’ve never been before. A small(ish) town, famous only, as far as I know, for being the home of Raging Waters, one of the oldest and largest water parks in Southern California. A town that Happy Cow, that favorite website of vegans everywhere, draws a blank on (a little artistic license here, there are a few choices in the surrounding area). After all, it’s not that hard to find vegan food.

Yet I still do. Not panic exactly, but worry, studying my options before we go, checking addresses and maps. Eating vegan in a non-vegan restaurant means I have to ask a million questions, quiz the servers, who in turn quiz the chefs. All this for one little overnighter in San Dimas. So you can imagine how happy I was to find a restaurant with a vegetarian menu, that was not only within walking distance of our hotel, it also served Mexican food, a win/win as far as I was concerned.

Casa del Rey assures customers on their menu that no lard is used in their food prep. They also assured me in person that their rice was made with water not chicken broth. So I was able to easily take the vegetarian menu and, simply by removing the cheese, make it vegan. I had the vegetarian tacos, which were pretty good. We took our food back to the room (after our Dog Rescuer experience). I also ordered a burrito, but it was so huge I saved it for the next day. It was good too, but I forgot to take a picture.

Vegan Food

On Saturday, we left San Dimas to visit our family in Orange County. Vegan eating in Huntington Beach is much easier. We picked a standby, The Bohdi Tree, which is completely vegan, even though you can’t tell by the menu.  All items on the menu are called after their real meat names, like chicken, pork, fish, or even lobster. Kind of a weird feeling but the food is good.

Of course, that made it easier to convince our grandsons, who came with us to dinner, that they were eating “real” food. Before you call us out for lying to them, it worked, so there. They had the Sloppy Joe Sliders.

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

Alan and I started with the Thai Coconut Soup, and I had a coconut water to drink. That is, coconut water out of a real coconut (it tastes so much better that way!).

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

I had the Jackfruit Salad (my new obsession..I need to find it and try cooking with it myself!), and Alan had the Lemon Chicken with Rice.

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

Vegan Food - Bohdi Tree Huntington Beach

They were both good. The salad was served on some crispy air puffed things (I have no idea what they were) that tasted too much like pork rinds for me to enjoy.

The next day, after my 10 mile run, I thought I’d earned a treat. There are several Native Foods in Orange County, so we decided that was where we’d have lunch. I also wanted to go to Whole Foods (our desert location won’t be finished for a year or so), because it would be my opportunity to pick up some Beyond Meat.

If you’re not vegan you may not know this, but Beyond Meat has been praised as the first meat substitute that has actually fooled meat eaters into thinking they were eating the real thing. I had heard about Beyond Meat, but didn’t realize that it was on the market until I read a review over at Vegan Miam. That sent me on a hunt for the product, which is basically only available at Whole Foods and a few other places, none of which are anywhere near my home.

Thus the desire to stop at Whole Foods on the way home. I felt very fortunate to find out that Native Foods in Tustin is right across the street from Whole Foods! So that’s where we went to lunch.

The Chicken Run Ranch Burger was on special, so that is what I ordered. Alan had his favorite, the Scorpion Burger. What can I say? Lunch at our favorite restaurant. Everything was delicious.

Vegan Food - Native Foods Tustin

Vegan Food - Native Foods Tustin

We sat out on the patio, which is much appreciated coming from the desert where we won’t be sitting outside for a few months. It was a bit of a dangerous experience, though. About 100 feet away a swarm of bees were, well, swarming above a restaurant across the way. Neither of us have allergies, so we didn’t panic, but there were a few people hiding inside the restaurant.

NF Bees 2

If you click on the picture you get a little better view of the swarm.

After lunch we made our stop at Whole Foods, where I picked up two packages of Beyond Meat. How did it taste? Well, you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow for that review along with a recipe for Peachy Quinoa Salad with Beyond Meat.

Vegan food - Whole Foods

Did you have any interesting “food” experiences last weekend? A new restaurant, an old favorite, a new recipe? I’d love to hear about it.

Sunday Silence: Our Pre-Christmas Celebration in (Mostly) Pictures

It’s been a busy week in this household. On Friday, we headed to Orange County to visit with Alan’s son and his family. We were taking care of the grandsons while their parents had an evening for themselves. We stayed overnight in Huntington Beach, took a run in the morning, then we all headed south to San Diego to visit my oldest son, who was hosting the family Christmas celebration this year. It was so cool to have our three grandsons together (plus my two sons). Anyway, for this Sunday evening, here is the weekend in (mostly) pictures.

Sunday

It was chilly but beautiful in Huntington Beach, perfect for a run along the coast. I started out alone (the boys didn’t want to run, so Alan and I were going to run in shifts), but then the boys changed their minds and decided to join in the fun.

Sunday

Sunday

Sunday

Down the street from our grandsons’ home is this amazing display of Christmas cheer. These folks do it up right for every holiday, and really go all out for Christmas.

Sunday

Sunday

You all know the real reason I was excited about the family Christmas this year (see below). Samuel is now three weeks old and beautiful. This visit I was healthy, so I could hold, kiss, and smell him.

Sunday

Sunday

My son Nathan, with his son.

Sunday

My niece, Brynne and Samuel.

Sunday

Christmas 2012 122

Sunday

My youngest son David with his nephew.

Sunday

Sunday

Here is Samuel (with mom, Sarah) sporting his San Francisco Giants’ onesie. Guess who bought it for him?

Sunday

Teddy, my grand-doggy, is definitely one of the most photogenic dogs I’ve ever seen. I have almost as many pictures of him as I have of Samuel. Almost.

Sunday

Sunday

Although I think Buddy gives him a run for his money.

Sunday

One of the things I was most excited about was the chance to have all three of our grandsons together. It’s those little moments that mean the most. That’s Dane on the left, Cash on the right.

Sunday

Sunday

Sunday

From my family to yours, we wish you all a very Elvis Christmas.

Sunday

Native Foods, I Love You. Please Come Home

Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I love Native Foods Cafe. Over the last several years, I’ve written about it frequently (last time at my birthday meal). When they closed the Palm Desert location I was devastated.

Then, in the middle of last season, they up and closed the Palm Springs store! An odd time to do something like that, during the busiest part of the year (I think it is because they are Chicago folks and think everyone hibernates in February.  Not here in the California desert!). When promises to reopen in a few weeks turned into months, vegans and non-vegans alike were concerned that we’d seen the end of our only vegan restaurant in the area.

Unfortunately, this post is not to announce the grand reopening of Native Foods Palm Springs (although according to a NF employee and their facebook page they will reopen in September). I hope to do that in a future post.

Rather, it is to rave about my visit to Native Foods in Costa Mesa! We were in Huntington Beach for the weekend (doing our grandparently thrill duty of taking care of the grandsons so their parents could have a little time together). We’d stopped at the Costa Mesa restaurant before on our way home, so I was excited to do so again. We were not disappointed.

Grandsons

Click on the photo to <3 my instagram photo (or follow @shnuddy)

After we’d trundled off the grandsons to their various Sunday activities (one to a baseball tournament, the other to a birthday party), we were free to head home.  A quick check of the Happy Cow app gave us the directions and soon we were at Native Foods in Costa Mesa.

As you walk in the funny round building with a huge slow moving fan in the center, you order at the island counter. At first, I was planning my all time favorite, the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger (remember, this is all vegan, the cheese is from nuts, the bacon from tempeh, and the burger is seitan), the most awesome vegan sandwich on earth (and perfect for meat eaters, by the way, in it’s meaty, saucy, deliciousness). But then I saw this:

Click on the photo to see the awesome deliciousness that is in the Bistro Steak Sandwich

And I changed my mind.

Alan stuck with his plan and ordered the OK C’burger. We ordered, went to pay and were asked for our Native Foods Rewards Card. I’d almost forgotten, it had been so long! I pulled it out and noticed in my wallet a promotional gift card that one of my trainers had given me months ago. I handed it to the cashier, assuming it had expired. Imagine my surprise when he told us it was worth $20! So, lunch, including a Stone Pale Ale, was $8 (before dessert, of course).

Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger

Bistro Steak Sandwich (with GARLIC fries!)

This is way more food than I usually eat and I was stuffed when I finished (eating ALL of it). But still, I was at a vegan restaurant with the rare opportunity to have a delicious vegan dessert. What do you think I did?

Cheesecake, baby. Luscious and rich, I ate the whole thing. Alan had the Peanut Butter Parfait, which, in it’s little plastic cup wasn’t as photographable (but delicious).

I was stuffed but satisfied. Too bad that Costa Mesa is about a two hour drive from my house. Native Foods, I love you. Please come home!

Have you been to Native Foods? They’re expanding quickly through the country. In addition to So Cal, you can also find a Native Foods Cafe in Chicago, Denver, and Portland, with many more opening in the near future.