Veggos: The Raw Food Restaurant That Changed My Perception of Raw Food

 Manicotti by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Manicotti by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Previously, I might've hesitated to recommend a raw food vegan restaurant to someone who is just starting to get interested in vegan food, but whose palate is still used to the "Standard American Diet".  I enjoy raw vegan food and have had many delicious dishes at raw food restaurants. But I realize for some people, raw food can be just a little too…well, raw.  Happily, we have found an amazing chef that has proven that this type of cuisine can be enjoyed by everyone.

Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos in Lake Forest, CA is a chef that knows food. He uses techniques such as sprouting, extended marination, and dehydration to create textures and flavors that some might be surprised to find in raw food. A variety of textures (crispy, tender, chewy, crunchy, creamy, and more) and flavors (such as tangy, sweet, umami, tart, peppery, and fruity) in thoughtful balance result in dishes that are interesting and exciting.

 Laguna Pizza with Walnut Flax Crust, Tomato Marinara, Marinated Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Almond Cheese by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Laguna Pizza with Walnut Flax Crust, Tomato Marinara, Marinated Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Almond Cheese by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

One of my favorites is the Laguna Pizza (though my favorite Veggos menu item changes frequently). This is not like the pizza you would get at a typical chain pizza joint -- it’s much better. The chunky tomato marinara is full of tomato flavor and Italian herbs like oregano. The walnut flax onion crust is not overly-heavy or dense. The marinated mushrooms bring heartiness, and the thinly-sliced crispy onion rings on top add a nice textural crunch. The house-made almond “cheese” has a pleasant creaminess and tangy-ness that rounds out the dish.

Veggos has a casual and friendly atmosphere -- you order and pick up at the counter.  However, Chef Tomas’ past experience in high-end fine dining is evident in the presentation of each dish...the colors and compositions are impressive.

 Cali Sushi with Sunflower Seed Pate, Avocado, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Marinated Ginger, and Wasabi by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Cali Sushi with Sunflower Seed Pate, Avocado, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Marinated Ginger, and Wasabi by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Another great thing about Veggos is the prices. The average entrée costs about $8, and includes either a side salad or a cup of soup (served hot; the only cooked items on the menu). Freshly pressed juices and smoothies start at $4.50. This is truly a bargain for the quality of food you get. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, such as their Chocolate Banana Pie, Carrot Cake, or Pumpkin Ice Cream.  Their Almond Joy Cookies were actually selected for inclusion in the VIP Gift Bag at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival!

 Almond Joy Cookies by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Almond Joy Cookies by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Veggos is located at 23615 El Toro Road, “Q”, Lake Forest, CA, in Twin Peaks Plaza (between Rockfield and Muirlands, near Smart & Final), and is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 8pm. All of the dishes are vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

Definitely worth checking out.

Thanks for reading. Peace and love to all who live.

Susan

 Mediterranean Plate by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)

Mediterranean Plate by Chef Tomas Zazycki of Veggos (Lake Forest, CA)