Sunday, May 16, 2010

Au Yeah!: Au Lac, Fountain Valley

My sister-in-law, Anh, and fellow omnivore with vegetarian tendencies, who currently lives across the hall from me, had been telling me about this awesome raw vegan restaurant for some time. She had been going to Au Lac for what seemed like years, back when they were truly a hole in the wall with ghetto place mats and low budget silverware. So we recruited my little brother who is the human version of a polar bear and his PhD math cronie friend, Kyriakos the mathlete for a Fountain Valley dinning adventure. Anh knows the chef. He doesn't speak. He's not a mime or mute, he just chooses to not speak for the sake of harmony. When we arrived, Anh introduced us to the adorable chef as he smiled  graciously and nodded with each handshake.

The menu is split into Living Foods (the raw stuff), Vegan, and Sweets. There is also an elixir cocktail menu (sans booze) with some pretty intense sounding beverages, but we stuck to water on this occasion. I'm starting off with deserts first, because you never know when you're going to die, and God forbid you croak before getting to the end of this. Not that I'm implying anything...

The Rainbow in the Sky was a beautiful melody of forest berries, jackfruit, saffron and mango with a cheesecake consistency and taste. The crust, brilliantly made with macadamia and pine nuts, balanced out the flavors and served as a good building block.

Rainbow in the sky: and on my plate

The choconut X-tasy was like a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake but better to the fifth power: a rich melange of chocolate and coconut with a chocolate bottom crust. The consistency was smooth and sort of like cheesecake.  Alex is a chocolate whore and I think he ate most of this. Damn polar bear.

Choconut x-tasy

Being a sucker for warm, mushy things the donut holes were my personal favorites. They were like mini chocolate molten cakes, but raw and encloaked in an addicting white dust that leave you feeling like a disco dancer from the late 70s.

Donut holes: unleash the beast!


For our actual dinner part I enjoyed the Đậu Hủ Rang Muối or Salt and Peppered Tofu the most. The battered soft tofu, seasoned in salt, black pepper, cilantro, jalapeno was a delicious contrast of crispy outsides and smooth innards as well as a flavor contrast of the spicy hot jalapenos and cool tofu. 

Pass the salt and pepper

I couldn't believe the garlic bread with chicichurri sauce was ordered off the Living Foods menu. The bread was perfectly soft and fluffy like fresh from the oven bread. But it was raw, which makes it even more intriguing. 
The Chimichurri

The Nem Nướng Cuốn BBQ Pork Roll with rice paper, barbecued soy pork, pickled daikon, carrot, and chive with peanut sauce was a nice array of color and texture. I love spring rolls, so I loved this vegan, not raw, version.

Spring Roll me

My little brother has a sought after batting average for selecting the best things off the menu.  My mom acknowledged this talent of his at a very young age. His selection from the Living Foods menu:  Fryed Chicks,  a mess of "deep fried" cauliflower, ginger, onion, sauce over what was "steamed rice." Two lies here: the deep fried part was dehydrated and the steamed rice was what we believed to be chopped up bits of raw onion and jicama.

Those there are Fryed Chicks

My sister-in-law selected her favorite, the Da Bowl with romaine, pistachio crumbs, onion, olive, tomato, flax and sweet mustard. This was of course ordered off the Living Foods menu. It was an unassuming salad with a burst of flavor. She gets along well in our family with her salad eating ways. 

Salad eaters unite!

A round of Đu t, tofu with lemongrass and chili provided us nice warm bites of chewy tofu pieces.

Tofu 4 u

Besides being a number lover, the mathlete is also a noodle lover, so he selected the Bún Ch Giò Tht Nướng, BBQ Vermicelli.  The pile of vermicelli, shredded tofu, soy barbecue, egg roll, sprouts, minty greens, and light sauce was nothing too crazy.  Just a solid plate of Asian style noodles. 

Here is to the end and a photo flash finish of Vermicelli

Au Lac
16563 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 418-0658 


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

It's always good to try new and different ways of preparing food. It all looks delicious and I would indulge in everything. Kyriakos is def a great eating companion!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I like the plating of the dessert. I haven't been here in years but favorite is the claypot "fish" and stir-fried "shrimp."

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - yes, I totally agree, the raw food takes extra special preparation, care and love. Kyriakos is also a great cook!

Wandering Chopsticks - I will have to go back for the fish and shrimps. Good thing it's not too far away from me :)

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna,

Nice! :) I've been visiting Au Lac every once in a while for years (when I see my friends in the OC :). Thanks for the 411 on their desserts (we never save room to try them :).

If you go back next time, try their "Fish" dishes on their Vegan (Cooked) Menu. Some really amazing dishes.

Banana Wonder said...

Exile Kiss, Do you by chance dine with Wandering chopsticks? ;P
I will definitely go back to Au Lac, just wonder if they will get mad if I bring wine?

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna,

Sorry I didn't see your question until now. No, sorry I don't know who that is.

Hm, Wine? That, I don't know. :)

Unknown said...

i HEART au lac. glutster introduced me to that place and now i'm making a doc about the raw food movement and i hope to get as much of au lac in it as possible. btw i loved your olive oil cake!

Banana Wonder said...

Exile Kiss - I will find out and let you know :)

Jin - Thanks so much! If you need any help with that raw food movement documentary I'd be more than happy to help :)

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