Eatery - Au Lac (CA)

Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

16563 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Pricing - $/$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Vegetarian

This place has been on my list of restaurants to try out for so long but I didn't actually make it out here until about two months ago with a friend's urging. My apologies for the lack of quality photos this time - it was definitely dim inside, and I was not aptly prepared for foodtography at the time. However, I hope that you can see how great the presentation was despite my poorly lit images.

We started off with their Cream Cheese (flax seed chips topped with avocado, pesto, basil, bell pepper, marinated mushroom, and crisp onion). Most people that I regularly dine with can tell you that I'm not the biggest fan of large chunks of avocado due to its buttery texture but I was able to have some of this appetizer without much trouble. That's because the avocado was paired with many other flavorful ingredients and presented in such a way to mimic cream cheese. The crisp onion on top seemed more for show as it made biting into each chip difficult; we ate them separately. I found most of the ingredients well prepared but the chips a bit soft. Regardless, a good way to start.

We were having dinner after a long day for me so of course, I turned to my comfort food of curry; their Curry Chicken (coconut yellow curry with soy chicken, sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, carrots, broccoli w/brown rice) caught my eye so we ordered that. It was oh so tasty and sweet, probably emphasized with the inclusion of perfectly cooked sweet potato. I found myself a little unsure about the soy chicken at first because my first bite was too soft. However, I think I came across a fluke because the rest was good. This curry was quite heavy on the coconut creaminess so there wasn't any worry about spiciness.

Naturally, we had to give their raw food menu side a try. The Kelp Noodle Chow Mein (kelp noodles in tamari & chili, ginger-sesame greens, mushrooms, carrots, topped w/hemp seeds & Chinese chives) caught my eye, and I was quite happy with our decision to go with this. My friend hadn't had it specifically here before but had had kelp noodles elsewhere. For me, this was a first, and I greatly enjoyed the stringiness of the noodles. They were a tougher version of vermicelli almost. The tamari and chili gave plenty of flavor though they could have cut down on the chives a tad. I think we finished this one first because it was just so tasty and quick to chow down on.

My friend encouraged me to try out their Donut Holes which she really liked. They were unassuming, making me think of chocolate donut holes covered in powdered sugar. The moment I bite into one though, it was a whole other type of experience. They were red bean in dough and filling, oozing out with a syrupy red bean liquid. Sweetness was lacking and they were warm. I think I was adverse to them as I had been expecting something else but in general, they weren't bad. I just was thinking of and craving another taste and texture I guess. Overall, the meal at Au Lac was great, and there aren't many places around that do this type of cuisine. Don't go in expecting to pay pennies though as they aren't the cheapest of places!

Photography by Minerva Thai.