When I was in the Los Angeles area, I decided to stop by my favorite chain restaurant in the U.S. -- Native Foods. Native Foods was started by Chef Tanya Petrovna back in 1994 and has since expanded to 14 restaurants in four states and is growing by the minute. The menu for all locations is the same and since I have been to several others, I wanted to try something new this time.
I find it interesting that while the menu is the same, each restaurant is set-up in a different way. This one had a circular counter area in the center of the restaurant with booths along the windows. I sat down at the funky counter.
I started with lavender lemonade that was delicious.
For my meal, I ordered the Chicago Dip Au Jus, which consists of thinly sliced housemade peppered seitan on a freshly baked baguette topped with their housemade giardiniera. This sandwich was huge! The seitan was delightfully soft and peppery while the giardineira was unusually fresh -- with pickled onions, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and jalapeno. I folded the sandwich up and dipped it into the au jus sauce and voila - a perfect sandwich.
I also ordered a side of their kale salad that had a lemony dressing and chopped red pepper. Yum!
This really is the best chain in the U.S., at least as of now. The food is consistently good, the prices are right, and the service is great. They don't serve your table, but they do walk around to be sure everything is as you expected. I only hope they open a restaurant in DC some day!
2937 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626