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Trans-Fat-Free Café Puts Healthy Twist on "Comfort Food"
by: Michael Varma
The Veggie Grill was named
The Veggie Grill was named "O.C.'s #1 New Restaurant."

Savory and satisfying, natural and wholesome, casual and convenient all describe The Veggie Grill located at the Irvine Spectrum Center and University center in Irvine. All menu items, whether soups, salads, sandwiches or burgers, are free of cholesterol, trans fat and high-fructose corn syrup and, yes, it still tastes great.

There are five salads to choose from ($7.95 - $9.50) and are large enough to split. The Baja Fiesta salad ($8.95) starts with chopped romaine and mixed with papaya, avocado, roasted corn salsa, cucumber, cilantro, quinoa (“keen-wa” – a sesame-seed size grain from South America packed with protein and iron) with a ginger-papaya vinaigrette.

Moving to the traditional main meal, the All-American Stack ($8.95) rocks the burger world with a grilled veggie-steak and thousand island dressing, pickles, lettuce, tomato, topped with crispy onion rings. Or try the Chickin’ Caesar Wrap ($8.95) which is a warpped ceasar salad, blackened chillin’ chickin’, avocado, corn salsa, and chipotle ranch. Any sandwich or burger choice comes with a side of red cabbage ‘slaw but can be substituted for chili, steamin’ kale ($1.50), spring mix salad ($1.95), or sweetheart fries ($2.25).

Secret Menu: Uptown Nachos. It’s not on the official menu (yet) and, in my opinion, will be a number one seller. Healthy nachos? You bet! Herb toasted tortilla crisps topped with corn salsa, and avocado. Add the chillin’ chickin’ or maybe the red and white bean chili to complete your order. Yum.

• Ask for an extra cup of salad dressing on the side.
• Sandwiches or burgers can be served on a bed of kale (no bun).
• Desserts are free of dairy, cholesterol and refined sugar.
• Ask for a list of gluten-free choices.


Michael’s Meal Deal: It’s all about the sweetheart fries for me. The sweet potato fries kick traditional french fries to the curb because of fewer calories, more calcium, vitamin A and C, and best of all, they taste great – crisp on the outside and hot and tender on the inside. Add the soup and salad combo – I sub soup for the “Bean Me Up Chili” – and you have a complete savory and satisfying meal.

949.727.9900 | Irvine Spectrum Center | 81 Fortune Drive, Irvine, CA 92618 | 

Michael Varma is a freelance writer, professional magician for more than 20 years, and an award-winning distinguished Toastmaster and knows what it takes to entertain an audience. Varma is a published author of educational puzzle books and games and frequently performs at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Calif.

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