One of the best things to happen to the healthy, casual restaurant scene in Orange County lately is the addition of L.A.'s popular Mendocino Farms. My first taste of this awesome sandwich and salad shop was while visiting my oldest, who attended college near the Marina Del Rey location. It is more than just a trendy place for college kids to grab a sandwich or salad; it is a great place to dine on fresh ingredients with awesome flavors.
It's an “order first, sit down, have your food delivered to you” kind of place. Concrete floors and rustic wood planking add charm to the atmosphere, right down to the “Eat Happy” Sign.
Mendocino Farms partners with regional farms to keep The Mendocino Farms menu full of seasonally fresh ingredients. They use artisan breads for their sandwiches and their chicken comes exclusively from free-range providers Pitman Farms and Petaluma Poultry. Their pork and turkey are antibiotic free and humanely raised. They have vegan and vegetarian options and they offer gluten free bread. Drake Family Farms supplies their dairy related items. They use organic produce whenever possible. These key components not only support a healthy body, they support local farms and a movement toward conscientious eating.
The menu has a variety of choices with creations that reflect the foods of faraway places (how about a Thai Spring Salad, Samosa Dosa or Pork Belly Bahn Mi?) as well as more familiar favorites that have been creatively upgraded with great ingredients: the Sophisticated Chicken & Prosciutto Salad adds market roasted vegetables and fresh mozzarella and their version of a BLT involves carved balsamic-glazed steak and roasted tomatoes on pretzel bread. There is a weekly Chef’s Pick and they rotate a portion of their menu seasonally to take advantage of each growing season.
Thank goodness they expanded to the OC so I could get my “Mendo” fix a little more often. What are my go-to favorites? If it’s a sandwich, it’s the Chicken MBT (shaved chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, pesto, balsamic vinegar tossed greens on ciabatta) or if I’m in the mood for a salad, it’s the Modern Caesar (kale, romaine, butter lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, crispy wheatberries and Grana Padano cheese, shaved chicken optional). Mouth watering goodness. Hungry yet? Head to the Farm and share in the comments what your favorites are!
(If you like knowing about healthy restaurants in Orange County, California, stay tuned . . . Grow in Wellness has a big announcement coming this summer!)