Tag: foodies

Vegetarians and Carnivores Break Bread!

Carnivores and vegetarians unite at these restaurants in Center City.

So you meet someone new and decide to go out for a bite to eat. Then it happens. You hear the “V” word. He or she is a vegetarian. Yikes. What’s a sworn, hardcore meat eater to do? Is it a deal-breaker? Not necessarily.

Fortunately, there are more options than ever for carnivores and vegetarians to break bread and have a civil meal at some of the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Anaheim. In fact, you can find some of the best vegetarian dishes at places you would least expect.

The following list serves as a solid guide of places to eat that satisfy both meat and vegetarian diets. Now, if only you meat lovers could get past the disapproving glances from your date.

vegetarian-friendly restaurant menu options

Scrumptious vegan burgers and juicy meat patties piled high on the same menu. A foodie’s dream come true.

Gypsy Den

If you want to ease into your uneasy communion, the Den is a good, friction-less destination where you both can find something right up your alley.

It’s a casual, funky, charming location right on Center Street Promenade with vegetarian dishes that include the Quinoa Veggie Burger, Vegetable Lasagna, and Vegetarian Chicken Enchiladas. They also have several good vegan options—including the Vegan Chicken Wrap, hummus and pita, and a green salad.

Carnivores, on the other hand, will feast upon the Cubano Press with slow-roasted pork, spiced ham and pepper jack. Or the Carved Roast Beef Sandwich smothered with provolone, caramelized onions and horseradish aioli.


Next up is ADYA in the Packing House, a hip, vegetarian-friendly food bar serving up inventive Indian street food and craft beer. Here a clever vegetarian could probably fool a devout carnivore into ordering a vegetarian meal and he or she would be none the wiser.

There’s the Pav Bhaji, a very meaty tasting veggie Sloppy Joe. And there’s also the Kaathi Rolls which are griddled wraps served with Chutney, some with chicken or lamb, but some vegetarian. They also have some nice kebabs and curries with Tandoori Chicken and the classic favorite Chicken Tikka Masala for something a little more hearty.

ADAYA restaurant's spread of veggie and meat dishes.

ADAYA’s colorful spread of veggie and meat dishes.

Umami Burger

Just across Farmers Park from the Packing House is Umami Burger. This is carnivore heaven with a large menu of burgers with some very interesting flavors and ingredients. The word Umami can be translated from its Japanese origin as a “pleasant savory taste” and is considered there as one of the five basic tastes (in addition to sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness).

Their beef burgers include the anything-but-basic “Umami” with parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, and Umami ketchup. There’s also the Truffle Burger, Sunny Side, and the popular Manly, plus ahi and turkey burgers.

But their Falafel Burger will satisfy any diehard vegetarian with its falafel patty, beet infused couscous, crushed avocado, romaine, and tzatziki. There are excellent salads too, including the Roasted Portobello and the Truffled Beet.

Friends having fun out to eat at Umami Burger in Anaheim Packing House.

Cheers to piled-high meat and veggie burgers at Umami Burger in Anaheim Packing House.

Healthy Junk

If you really want to do your vegetarian friend a solid you should probably take them to Healthy Junk. Close your eyes and point at the menu and you’ll find some kind of vegetarian or vegan option that’s guaranteed to please.

Most of their dishes contain some kind of meat substitute, possibly with a funny name, like the Philly Chez Stake. They also have “Junky Tex-Mex” tacos with “meaty” crumbles, “Fish” Tacos, and a “Better” BLT with “Bacon.”

One dish both carnivores and vegetarians alike can agree on is the Bunny Love cake with freshly grated carrots and vanilla frosting for dessert.

Find directions to check out the vegetarian-friendly restaurants listed above.

5 Best Sandwiches in Anaheim Packing District

mouth watering sandwich loaded with toppings

Remember when a sandwich was a little lunch meat between a couple slices of bread? The following creations will make your grade school bologna sandwich look pretty pathetic. Here are the five best sandwiches CtrCity Anaheim has to offer in and around the Packing House, so let the lunch tour begin.

Best sandwiches Anaheim has to offer.

Fresh baked bread piled high with meat and veggies, then smothered with melted cheese and toppings. Get your sandwich fix today in CtrCity.

The Black Sheep

A well-executed grilled cheese sandwich is a work of art, and ingredients are key. Although The Black Sheep in the Packing House will use Kraft Singles on occasion (in their aptly named #7 sandwich: The Kid), but raclette is the ideal melty gooey cheese for a perfect grilled cheese. The #3 has plenty of raclette along with pickled red onions, cornichons (pickled gherkins), and potato chips (yes, inside the sandwich), all on OC Baking Company’s marble rye bread.


Also in the Packing House. If you’re craving something a little meatier—or a lot meatier—The Kroft serves an outstanding porchetta sandwich. It’s made with pork belly, loin, and cracklings, salsa verde, seasoned arugula, and caramelized onions on freshly baked ciabatta. It was our top-ranked sandwich at The Kroft, but its Short Rib Melt and Prime Rib Dip were both also in the running.

The Iron Press

The Iron Press (in the Packing House) has put a new twist on everybody’s favorite sandwich: The Monte Cristo. Choose ham or turkey, then add gruyere cheese, mixed greens, and strawberry jam, then put it all on a batter-fried waffle. The Iron Press is also known for their spicy Fried Chicken waffle, a terrific selection of craft beers, and their addictive tater tots.

Iron Press' famous Monte Cristo sandwich: ham + jam, smothered with cheese and greens sandwiched between waffles.

Iron Press’ famous Monte Cristo sandwich: ham + jam, smothered with cheese and greens sandwiched between waffles.

Georgia’s Restaurant

Last stop in the Packing House, you’ve got to try Georgia’s BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. This is real, down-home Southern cooking with Creole-inspired recipes. Their BBQ sauce is on the sweet side and the tender, gently pulled pork is piled high and overflowing. Their fries are amazing, but the sweet coleslaw is a great complement to the sandwich.

Tony’s Original Deli

If you’re looking for a true deli experience, head just down the road from the Packing House to Tony’s Original Deli on Anaheim Boulevard. It’s called “Original” even though they’ve had different owners over the years, but inside it feels like a step back in time with all the funky old signs and memorabilia. And it’s more than just a deli with the bottle shop and full bar. But if you’re in the mood for an authentic pastrami sandwich, this is the place. It’s enormous, heaping with Vienna beef pastrami, Swiss cheese, and pickles on rye bread. The Reuben is outstanding also, and don’t forget the potato salad.

Find directions to track down the best sandwiches from our list.

19 Restaurants and Eateries

Are chain restaurants your worst nightmare? Are you more food truck than drive-thru? Rather starve than choke down a microwave burrito? You’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find some outstanding options in a very specific part of town: Anaheim’s Center City.

A great place to start is the Anaheim Packing House, the renovated orange packing warehouse that’s now a vast foodie’s paradise. There are some sit-down places, but there are a whole bunch of countertop vendors who seem to have all brought their boutique food operations under one roof. It’s two floors of almost every ethnic food you could imagine with a bright atrium in the middle, communal tables, and outside decks on either side. Where to start, where to start.

Crêpe Coop

Breakfast! In the lower level of the Packing House, the Crêpe Coop makes sweet crêpes and lets you create your own conical concoction. You might consider one of their signature ones, like the OG with strawberries, Nutella and whipped cream. Or the Fruity Pebbles, made with vanilla gelato, strawberries, mango and actual Fruity Pebbles (hence the name). My favorite is the Night Crêpe made with green tea gelato, blueberries, mangos and honey.

Pandor Bakery

Also a terrific choice for breakfast, with sweet and savory crêpes, and their signature Dornut. Or maybe it’s a Cronut. At any rate, it’s a donuty thing made with croissant dough, then topped with cinnamon sugar or stuffed with different fillings. They also have outstanding omelets, paninis and salads.

Black Sheep

Almost next door to Pandor you’ll find the Black Sheep grilled cheese sandwich bar. You can go old school with The Classic, or get crazy with goat cheese, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and arugula pesto. The Man has salami and smoked cheddar, and The Pork comes with swiss, porchetta, harissa garlic aioli and onion jam. It’s all good.

The Kroft

The Kroft is the brainchild of Matthew Tong and Stephen Le who created the popular SWSH Shabu Shabu, and they have another winner here. Their fresh, locally sourced menu includes rotisserie meats and prime rib along with house-made soups and hand-cut fries for their specialty poutines.


Chef Shachi Mehra presents a California take on classic Indian food with bold flavors and spices. There are kebabs and curries, from mild to spicy, pavs, Bombay’s version of the sloppy joe, and kaathi rolls, griddled wraps served with chutney. Their naan bread is a must, and the goat cheese naan is a meal in itself.

Ecco Pizza

If you’ve forgotten what real pizza tastes like, try Ecco’s Naples-style, wood-fired, thin crust classics. Even a basic Margherita pizza is outstanding with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (not that bagged, shredded stuff), fresh basil and olive oil. Don’t worry, they’ve got plenty of meaty options for you carnivores, too.


Georgia’s is the real deal. Barbecue pulled pork, fried catfish, hush puppies and fried chicken. True Southern comfort soul food. And if you have any room left, gotta have the sweet potato pie.

The Iron Press

Waffle sandwiches. Craft beer on tap. Done and done. Is there anything that isn’t better on a waffle? No. Clearly no. Fried chicken? Burger? Fried egg? Prosciutto and gruyere? The list goes on.


Steam kettles aren’t some trendy, hipster, steampunk idea for cooking, it’s based on the famed Las Vegas’s Oyster Bar and its New Orleans inspired Southern cuisine. It’s a smart way to cook food quick and evenly without overcooking. Try the Kettlebar pan roast with snow crab, shrimp, lobster and chicken. Gumbo with Andouille sausage, shrimp and chicken. But you can’t go wrong with a classic shrimp po’boy either.

Orange Tei

If your only idea of ramen is the cheap stuff that got you through college, you have to try authentic Japanese ramen from Master Shigetoshi Nakamura. The signature Citrus Ramen has a chicken broth base and tangy kick. The Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with Pork Chashu might be their most popular, and they have a nice variety of sushi rolls as well.

Rolling Boil

A traditional hot pot restaurant with a modern twist serves garden fresh local veggies—in actual garden pails. Choose a broth, pick your proteins, and pick a sauce or two. In addition to chicken, salmon, shrimp, and scallops they have three kinds of beef: New York Steak, Rib Eye, and melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu.

The Blind Rabbit

And when you leave the Rolling Boil, look to your right and you’ll see a wall of Japanese beer kegs. There’s a secret door to the Blind Rabbit speakeasy here, with exquisite craft cocktails served in an intimate, period-decorated micro bar. For foodies, there’s a short but impressive menu featuring duck confit mac and cheese, wild mushroom chorizo dip and deep fried banana bread.

Urbana Fish Market & Mexican Eatery

With its Day of the Dead décor and authentic Michoacán cuisine, Urbana is a must-see. They specialize in street tacos and ceviche with bold takes on seafood and guisados (slow-cooked meats). The hand-made flour and corn tortillas are a bonus. They also have a nice selection of tequilas and mescals and mix up some spicy cocktails.


Upstairs near the atrium, look for the long line of people and you will have discovered Popbar. Started in New York City’s hip West Village, these addictive little gelato on a stick treats are a big hit on the West Coast too. They use real fruit and natural ingredients in creating exciting flavors and unusual combinations. Flavors include green tea, peanut butter, pistachio and coconut, and you can have them dipped and rolled in chocolate, sprinkles and nuts.

Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream

Hans’ ice cream is made fresh, in the original Santa Ana location, using only the richest cream from local dairies. In addition to classic favorites, like Butter Pecan and Cookies & Cream, the Hans’ team is constantly inventing new flavors, like Coffee OREO® and Nutella® Krunch. Try them in a shake or sundae or just on a good old-fashioned cone.

That’s a lot of ground to cover—and food to feast on—and that’s all just in the Packing House. Just across Farmers Park from there you’ll find Umami Burger in the historic Packard Building.

Umami Burger

A true gourmet burger with lots of interesting toppings like truffled aioli, miso mustard and bacon lardons, but their real secret is how they prepare their beef. They call the flavor Umami, borrowed from the Japanese, and it’s savory, meaty and described as “the fifth taste.” Using carefully selected and single-source beef, it’s coarse ground, seasoned, then cooked on a cast iron griddle. Sounds simple enough, but you have to taste one. And don’t forget to try the maple bacon sweet potato fries.

Further on, just around the corner, is the Center Street Promenade and the Center Street collection. A couple more places that need to be mentioned are Pour Vida and Healthy Junk.

Pour Vida Latin Flavor

This is Jimmy Martinez’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant and it focuses on his Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage. They make their tortillas in-house (including squid ink ones for their seafood options) and deliver handcrafted tacos to your table with unique and unexpected flavors. There’s pineapple skirt steak, mango pork, tempura oyster and lobster. Everything’s made in house including their salads, fresh-pressed juices, cocktails and sangria.

Healthy Junk

Now something for the vegans. Healthy Junk brings you all your favorite comfort foods guilt-free with meatless burgers, pizza, wings, and fish ‘n’ chips—even a Philly “Chez Stake.” The bar serves vegan beers, organic wines and their juice bar is top notch with fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, and the open-air “Good Food Court” is inviting and comfortable.

Foodies rejoice! And the next time your significant other says nothing sounds good for dinner, just get in the car and start driving toward Anaheim’s Center City. Then just follow your nose.

Hit the Farmers Market!

Pasta Primavera. Maybe you know it as that dish at the Italian restaurant that’s kind of loaded with cream sauce and a few wan veggies. And if so, it may not strike you as an uber healthy recipe. Or as a hallmark of spring farm-to-table cooking. And yet, it’s a dish with roots (see what we did there?). Primavera means “spring” in Italian—think Boticelli and his cavorting Renaissance nymphs—and an authentic pasta primavera is a dish that should herald the bounty of the season. When it’s made properly, it’s the kind of farm-to-table recipe that just begs you to visit one of Anaheim Center City’s farmers markets and load up on the delicate veggies that are at their freshest and most seasonal right now. And there’s a slew of other great recipes, too—all weeknight quick—to help you put a healthy farm-to-table dish in front of your family in a hurry. Are you hungry yet?

Farm to Table


Farmers Markets: Shopping Straight from the Source

Here’s step one in your farm-to-table cooking adventure: Hit the farmers market. When Anaheim Center City was coming into focus, it was obvious that honoring the neighborhood’s agrarian heritage meant giving local farmers markets access to primo real estate. So now, twice a week, local farmers roll into Anaheim bringing with them a wide variety of seasonal produce and flowers, much of it organic, all of it ready for a farm-to-table feast.

On Thursdays, Downtown Anaheim’s Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair takes over Center Street Promenade from 11am-4pm. Among the market stalls you’ll also find food vendors—including some vending seriously tempting treats, like Lucky 13 Sweets, Le Petit Pommes Frites, Bakeshack and Kettle Corn King—but keep your focus. Remember, you’re here for healthy recipes! Here’s a tip: Your objective is to try and “eat the rainbow.” That means vibrant green kale and Swiss chard and collards, and dark, colorful berries. Beets the color of garnets. Stone fruits in jewel tones.

On Fridays, the healthy farmers market action moves to the Farmers Park Market in the Packing District, open from 4-8pm in the 2-acre park next door to the historic Anaheim Packing House. At this time of year, you’ll find seasonal delicacies there like artichokes, cherries and peaches, plus apricots, pluots and nectarines, along with the first ripe tomatoes (check out the heirloom varieties) and early summer squashes like zucchini, patty pan and crookneck. Farmers Park Market also has sustainable beef, pork, lamb and chicken from Da Le Ranch, a small family farm located in the central Inland Empire. It’s the type of enterprise that exemplifies what’s best about farmers market shopping: The opportunity to put together a farm-to-table feast of healthy recipes while simultaneously supporting local agriculture and small farmers that farm with the future in mind.

Anaheim Farmers Market

What should you buy at the market? Everything! Seriously. That’s the other great thing about farmers market shopping. Supermarkets buy from national and international brokers, and as a matter of course, you can get just about any kind of fruit or vegetable you want at any time of year. It just may taste like… nothing. At the Anaheim farmers markets, on the other hand, you’re buying from local growers, and that means that the produce on offer reflects what’s actually growing in Southern California at that time of year, and so loaded with flavor. So feel free to shop to your hearts content. We like to graze when we’re shopping, freely snacking on samples to see who has the sweetest tomatoes and berries, the juiciest citrus. After all, scoring the most flavorful ingredients is key to your farm-to-table feast!

Putting it All Together

So are recipes. You’d be surprised, though, how many of the best healthy recipes are essentially straight forward and simple. They let your hard-won farmers market produce shine, relying on a little oil, a little acid and a little seasoning to highlight its natural deliciousness.

Here’s a basic farm-to-table technique to master: Take root or cruciferous vegetables like beets, parsnips, carrots, cauliflower or broccoli and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast in a 350°F oven until the veggies have a light char. Before serving, splash them with a little vinegar (try seasoned rice wine vinegar or sherry vinegar) or a squeeze of lemon juice. For extra nutritional and flavor dimension, you can add cooked grains (farro, barley, quinoa) to your roasted veggies, but that’s going beyond. Serve the dish with a simple protein like chicken (go for the thighs!) or salmon and you’ve got a healthy meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes.

That pasta primavera dish is equally fast and delicious. While your salted pasta water comes to a boil, prep a variety of fresh spring farmers market vegetables. Think sugar snap peas, asparagus, baby carrots cut into thin slivers, delicate slices of summer squash, and maybe a few mushrooms for meaty texture (this healthy recipe is vegetarian). Try adding shelled fava beans if you’re feeling adventurous. While your pasta is cooking (toothsome fettuccini is the best choice here), quickly sauté the vegetables all jumbled together in olive oil with some chopped garlic. We’re talking 5-7 minutes here, max—about the same length of time as it takes to cook the noodles al dente. Season the veggies at the end of cooking with salt and pepper and a splash of white wine. Then add the hot, drained pasta to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice, check your seasoning (add salt and pepper if necessary), then serve hot with parmesan cheese for sprinkling. No cream, no overcooked vegetables—just farm-to-table fabulous.

For a few more healthy recipes to help you with your farm-to-table feast, check out this Asparagus & Leek Pizza from Shutterbean; an exotic Moroccan Fava Bean & Vegetable Soup recipe that was published in The New York Times; and this bright and flavorful dish of Crispy Lemon Roasted Baby Artichokes by Running to the Kitchen.

With the days lengthening and growing warmer, ‘tis the season for fresh food. Head to Anaheim’s Center City and the farmers markets and get cooking!

p.s. So inspired you’re thinking of making cooking your career? Check out the classes at Culinary Lab at the Packing House.