At Au NatuRaw in Santa Ana, a raw-food vegan eatery, you won’t miss meat here for the same reason you wouldn’t yearn for Disneyland while hiking through the Sierras--there’s a lot to keep you preoccupied and distracted. The best dish is the pad Thai, a concoction that doesn’t taste like pad Thai, yet manages to transcend that fact. It features noodles made by kelp--thin, angel-hair-like strands exhibiting so much of the translucence, resiliency and elasticity of the real thing it’s rather uncanny. It even twirls on a fork the right way. Only when you bite do you notice that the consistency is slightly crunchier, more wiggly and jelly-like than noodles made from starch. The best thing about the dish is halfway into it, you forget you aren’t eating noodles.
I respect the dietary choices made by all vegans and vegetarians, but I'm particularly in awe of the commitment required by the raw-food movement. As if avoiding all meat and animal products isn't already challenging, it takes a certain kind of... More »
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