It's pound countdown for me here at Patch.com. I've lost 16 pounds already in a month's time, and I owe it all to the magic of green tea and the wonderful vegetarian meals in Newport Beach. Yes, I still like my burgers from time to time, but I've learned to live like a rabbit, eating lots of lettuce and hopping about Newport. With today being World Vegetarian Day, I thought I'd share some of my favorite local dishes.
- Alta Coffee's Roasted Eggplant Sandwich: This sandwich is meaty without the meat. It's a filling meal made with roasted red bell peppers, eggplant, melted provolone, sliced red onions and olivada spread on a grilled french roll. Order a side of chips and hummus to share with your friends. Delish!
- Crow Burger Kitchen's Organic Garden Burger—No cows were harmed in the making of this burger. Instead, the Crow Burger took its signature blend of vegetables, all organic, mixed with grains and made an exceptional patty. Charred romaine, roasted tomatoes and herb aioli complete the masterpiece. You can also add some of the green-bean "fries" with truffle dipping sauce if you want to be part of the cool crowd.
- Pacific Whey Café's Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas—These quesadillas are a reason to turn vegetarian. My favorite cheese, pepperjack, is melted over grilled zucchini, yellow squash and sweet bell peppers. The cafe has two locations in Newport Beach—Crystal Cove and Newport Hills.
- Sage's Gorgonzola and Granny Smith Apple Salad—This is a better pairing than Jennifer Aniston and her new hot boyfriend. It's made with fresh baby greens, candied pecans and dried cranberries and tossed with a raspberry vinaigrette. A crispy and cool meal for the summer.
- Cafe Beau Soleil's Casablanca Salad—Out of all the stomachs, this salad had to walk into mine ... no, that's not what Bogie said, but this salad and I have started a beautiful friendship together. Organic greens, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, Turkish figs, goat cheese and cumin all tossed together is a love affair in itself. Even if I can't have it every day ... "we'll always have Fashion Island," no, I don't think that's what Bogie said either.
- True Food Kitchen's Tofu Panang Curry—If you haven't been to TFK, please get into your Prius and zoom on over there now. Its menu is a veggie-head's dream. Made with brown rice, the curry uses the flavors of ginger and coconut broth mixed with potatoes, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms to make you have that When Harry Met Sally moment ... you know the one: "I'll have what she's having." To hit a higher level of nirvana, pair it with the kale and Parmesan salad.
- Canaletto's Tortelloni di Zucca Tartufata—That's tortellini filled with butternut squash and walnuts, cream sauce, white truffle oil, parmigiano-reggiano, poppy seeds and crispy sage. It's hard to find good Italian in Newport, but Canaletto surprises me every time, with its exceptional meat-free dishes.
- Cafe Lotus' Vegetarian Pho—I would love pho you to try this place; it's delicious. And, yes, I'm pho talking here. In addition to the classic beef and chicken pho, it also has a vegetarian pho made with rice noodles, tofu, mushrooms and served in a vegetable broth. On the side you get fresh peppers, bean sprouts, herbs and lime. A perfect light meal to keep you light in the tummy.
- Bluefin's Red Miso Soup—Not like your grandmother's miso soup ... actually I don't think my grandmother ever had miso soup, but Bluefin's is a stronger, richer version of the common miso and served with a nameko mushroom. Great when teamed with the marinated Japanese eggplant and, of course, a sake flight.
- Javier's Spinach or Vegetable Enchiladas—Veggies dripping with cheese or cream sauce is seriously the eighth wonder of the world. Javier's serves two spinach enchiladas in a light pasilla cream sauce with white rice and black beans. The Enchiladas de Vegetales are stuffed with sautéed zucchini, corn, pasilla chili and covered with a pasilla cream sauce. Treat yourself to a margarita, because everyone knows vegetarians may be meat-shy, but they aren't drink-shy.
So what are you going to have? Tell us in the comments.