if you live in los angeles and want to have a completely unique vegan food experience, lemme tell you, it is definitely worth making the hour-plus drive to orange county to visit au lac. located in fountain valley, the humanese restaurant offers an entirely vegan menu, with several raw and cooked selections. all the raw foodies i know have nothing but wonderful things to say about this place, so my husband and i stopped in to check it out a few weeks ago when we were in the area.
we decided to go all out, ordering appetizers off both the raw and cooked menus, plus dessert (which is only available in raw). thankfully, although we ordered several dishes, the some of them were quite small, so we left feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed.
for our cooked appetizer, we started with a flash-fried tofu dish called ‘da hu rang muoi,’ which consisted of ultra-soft tofu in a light batter and cooked with salt, pepper, cilantro and jalapeno. this may sound like a typical asian tofu appetizer, but oh my word, it wasn’t! probably the best tofu dish i’ve ever tasted, it was barely coated with batter, completely covered in seasoning, and perfectly soft and moist in the middle.
for our raw appetizer, we went with the chimichurri, which turned out to be two slices of doughy bread with an oil and herb sauce for dipping. i seriously have no clue how they got ‘raw’ bread to taste so fucking good, but this dish was spongy, soft and porous beyond belief. even if you aren’t in to raw food, i’d recommend the chimichurri. not to mention the perfect infusion of fresh herbs and oil…excellent dipping sauce any way you look at it. at $5, it was pretty pricey for two pieces of bread, but i definitely think it was worth it.
for his main course, my husband ordered the ‘bo luc lac’, which was a massive plate of watercress and vegetables tossed in a light vinegar dressing, all topped with several slabs of faux beef. for just ten bucks this thing was absolutely huge, and everything tasted amazing. the soy meat was tender and well seasoned, and all the vegetables tasted extra fresh. i stole several bites of this throughout the meal.
i went raw on my main dish and ordered jino’s pizza, a small round of raw bread covered in vegetables and a ‘cheese’ sauce. while i ended up liking my pizza in the long run, my enjoyment was overshadowed by the fact it arrived about 20 minutes later than my husband’s main course. in fact, he finished his food before i even started mine! when the pizza finally did arrive, it was delicious, albeit rather small for $12. i guess raw food is just phenomenally expensive any way you look at it, so at least this tasted really good. the crust was soft and squishy, kinda like the chimichurri appetizer, and was covered in just the right amount of herbs and vegetables. the cheese sauce was exceptionally creamy and tangy, and i couldn’t help but wonder what it would taste like on a plate of raw nachos. don’t let the picture fool you, the pizza was very small, maybe 3 or 4 inches across, i’d say the size of a medium pancake.
au lac offers a raw dessert menu, and i was told by several people not to leave without trying the donut holes. while i was a bit skeptical of raw donut holes, these suckers definitely converted me. covered in a sugary powder, the round little treats had a distinctively nutty flavor and were filled with a thick rich syrup.
i actually almost spilled the syrup all over me when biting into the first one, because i didn’t know what to expect! while my husband wasn’t a fan of the donut holes at all, i thought they were wonderful. definitely like nothing i’ve ever eaten before, i highly recommend them.
so overall, our visit to au lac was a great success, leaving us filled to the brim with healthy vegan raw and cooked food. the cuisine there is definitely unusual, as is the decor (think asian-inspired 1980s), so this place may not be for everyone. although if you have an appreciation for raw food or humanese cuisine, or if you are just in for a tasty adventure, au lac will not disappoint.
plus, did i mention they have the coolest parking spots ever? check out the one above…reserved just for me. 🙂
au lacTags: asian, dessert, donut, orange county, pizza, raw, tofu, vegan
16563 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tue-Sun. 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Tue-Sun. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.