Au Lac: Vegan – Gorgeous And Delicious Living Foods In Fountain Valley, California

16563 Brookhurst Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 418-0658

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Au Lac
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by Roberta Walker

Located in a dated nondescript strip mall, flanked by Asian restaurants, a nail salon, massage parlor, and insurance agency, Au Lac is a health conscious culinary oasis. As you stand outside of the plain white mall, the darkened door in-front of you, with it’s simple Au Lac sign above, it’s easy to assume this asian inspired restaurant will be much like the other’s in the mall but once you step in the change begins. Serving plant based food with a commitment to offering healthy and delectable bites, the food will wow and delight your senses.

 

Au Lac Exterior

Au Lac Exterior

Au Lac opened in 1997 and it was primarily a Vietnamese Vegan foods restaurant until Chef Ito’s arrival in 2001. Chef Ito introduced Vegan Living Foods to the menu, and developed a variety of dishes that are all raw, vegan and gluten free. The restaurant still boasts a wide selection of traditional vegan vietnamese dishes prepared with healthy cooking techniques.

 

Herb Salad

Herb Salad

 

Au Lac has a really cool vibe with it’s mix of traditional Vietnamese patrons, vegans, and dread baring hipster hippies all there to enjoy the healthy loving creations. The restaurant is large and open with booths lining both walls, modernized retro red metallic flecked inlaid tables and high back black seating booths. The center of the room is lined with the same red tables in various sizes and depending what time of the year either red or black high back plush chairs. Au Lac is tiled in the ground with some of their mission statements quoted on the walls throughout. The restaurant’s decor reflects chic but simplistic beauty. The stylish decor translate to the meals as each dish is served on clean white plates, with long elegant silverware or reusable chop sticks.

 

Cream Cheese Bites

Cream Cheese Bites

 

So what about the most important aspect of this restaurant? To be honest, I know my words could never do justice to Au Lac and it’s culinary master, Chef Ito. Chef Ito was one of Living Lights’ first raw culinary students and since his initial training he has taken his food creation to the next level. The dishes are not only a combination of tastebud satisfying flavors but they are nutrient dense and lovingly prepared plant-based dishes that boost ingredients that are integral to the ultimate vegan health based diet.

 

I have pretty much had every living foods item on the menu. I can say with confidence that each one has been ubiquitously the best bites of my life. My favorite starter is the Chimichurri, two pieces of raw flax “garlic bread” bread that taste just like a real slice of warmed bread and is lighter then even most gluten free cooked breads. Accompanied by a side of garlic and herb infused Chimichurri dipping sauce. JP and I fight over every last drop of the sauce to spread on our moist pieces of bread. I don’t know why we don’t just get our own orders.

 

Chimichurri

Chimichurri

 

Choose from one of the crisp, light, and ethically diverse salads. For example the asian inspired Norrito Wrap which ingredients may seem simple; cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot, jicama and mint topped with bell pepper, avocado, and cilantro wrapped in a large nori, but the lime leaf sauce adds a burst of flavor that is unmatched. Try the unique Sea Salad that not only boasts iron and mineral rich sea vegetables but healthy probiotic rich kimchee topped with a rich truffle ranch dressing.

 

Sea Salad

Sea Salad

 

My favorite Salad is Da Bowl, with it’s refreshing sweet mustard dressing and topped with veggies, as well as both flax chips and pistachio crumble, this is a very filling entree salad.

 

Da Bowl

Da Bowl

 

Most of the dishes are offered in half or full sizes. True to traditional asian style eating the dishes are meant to be ordered and eaten family style with everyone sharing. I’ve only ever ordered the half size of the entrees and even for my rather large appetite they are more then filling. Chef Ito has created 4 entree dishes with sprouted organic wild rice. JP’s favorite is the indian inspired Curried Rice, a rich meal with spiced macadamia sauce and topped by marinated mushroom, crisp onions, carrots, and cilantro. The Green Pyramid ties in a few culturally diverse ingredients including coconut, basil, pesto, and dulse. Enjoy the raw version of the classic spanish dish, Paella, or try the creamy italian inspired Risotto.

 

Green Pyramid

Green Pyramid

 

Au Lac - Paella

Au Lac – Paella

 

My favorite is the Chinese inspired T-Anh Fried Rice and all though it is not fried it duplicates the texture of a fried rice dish to a T. Not feeling like a rice dish, then a definite must is the Kelp Noodle Chow Mein, but make sure you are hungry, as it’s a very large portion and very filling! A huge helping of kelp noodles, topped with marinated mushrooms and carrots tossed in a ginger-sesame. Another option for an entree is one of the “hand held” dishes including two of my favorites; the Winter Roll; mixed greens, bell pepper and coconut wrapped in zucchini with a light lime leaf dipping sauce. Or try the crunchy Tostada topped with fresh made salsa, dill-ranch and cilantro, this dish is bursting with flavor. If you love sushi rolls I would say the Dragon roll is a necessity! The rich macadamia nut cheese is accented perfectly by the pickled ginger, and the jalapeno-spiced tamari perfectly accents the sweetness of the cheese with a tangy spice.

 

 T-Ann Fried Rice

T-Ann Fried Rice

 

Kelp Noodle Chow Main

Kelp Noodle Chow Main

 

Winter Roll

Winter Roll

 

Chef Ito is also a potion master and has created a variety of elixirs targeted to both enhancing qualities from eye to brain health and specific elixirs increasing male and female health. Feeling like a little liquid warmth? Try one of their powerful tea concoctions to aid in digestion, anti-aging, or increase your antioxidant intake. Or what about a healthy juice blend, they’ve got those too! So Green Blend for those that need a supergreen kick or the Hawaii Blend for a tropical fruity delight. Drink coconut water straight from the coconut for natural hydration. Satisfy your desire for creamy goodness with the rich Macadamia nut milk sweetened with cinnamon and saffron or get your chocolate fix with the Chocoholic!

 

Macadamia Milk

Macadamia Milk

 

Don’t even get me started on the desserts, I know it’s cheezy to say but they are truly orgasmic. My first time at Au Lac, Chef Ito treated me to the Donut Holes and my tastebuds were blown! A warm macadamia and spirulina “dough” ball filled with a sweet liquid palm sugar. The liquid explodes as you bite into this soft treat that melts in your mouth. Next to the donut holes I am impartial to the Scotch On the Rocks pie but I will gobble up any desert Chef Ito prepares.

 

 Chocolate X-Stacy Pie

Chocolate X-Stacy Pie

 

Scotch On The Rocks And Doughnut Holes

Scotch On The Rocks And Doughnut Holes

 

Fountain Valley would not be considered a culinary travel destination but with it’s close proximally inland of Huntighton Beach it’s a close trip if you are in the Orange County area. Even if you are anywhere near the LA or San Diego area it’s worth the drive to Fountain Valley to check out this local gem. Trust me you will not be disappointed by any dish you choose. I know you will devour and thoroughly enjoy every last bite!

 

 

Roberta is a retired professional snowboarder, business owner, yoga instructor, and graduate of Living Light Culinary Institute. She is passionate about plant based eating, creating delicious nutrient dense foods, organic foods, NonGMO’s, sustainable living, and organic gardening. She loves being outdoors and active and enjoys traveling with her husband, JP, to exotic locales to surf and explore new cultures and cuisines.

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