Sunday, April 08, 2007

Orean's Health Express (Pasadena)

I've read some blog posts about a drive thru vegetarian restaurant in Pasadena called Orean's Health Express and my first thought was "gross." I figured that would be the last restaurant I'd try. Likely this is because of my Boca burger experiment at Johnny Rockets (ie. the worst burger in my life!) Then I saw more and more truly passionate posts about how unique and tasty the spot was...

Slowly I became intrigued and then convinced that this could be one of the greatest finds in town. A place just a bit off the beaten path (if the beaten path is the 210 or Colorado Blvd!). So this afternoon I did some shopping (Trader Joes and Wild Oats)) and drove to Orean's for a bite to eat on the way home.

I ordered the "Salad Burger" which came (appropriately enough) in a plain brown paper sack. When I got home I opened the sack and found a burger nicely wrapped in wax paper. (Unlikey most quick food I get -- tacos especially -- there was no greasy mess which was very reassuring. I put the burger on a plate and took a picture. As y ou can see, the lettuce was green,the tomatos perfect, the onions crisp and the patty. The patty! It was nutty, tasty and delicous. The bun was even wonderful. There was a little Russian dressing on the sandwich with some green bell pepper and some dill pickles.

This burger is now one of my favorites in all of LA. Granted it should be in a different category than the burger at the Apple Pan or Pie N Burger. But then again, I've eaten a lot of terrible burgers in my time. I'd choose the "Salad Burger" over those burger's every time.

Orean's describes itself as:
"Orean's the Health Express is a unique fast food restaurant specializing in meatless, sugarless, non-dairy items created for optimum nutrituion and without chemical additives. lt is the first vegetarian fast-food take-out restaurant in the nation, and features a menu approved by the American Heart Association."

And it's mission:
It was founded in 1979 by Orean C. Thomas who after working in food related professions and serving various industries and private companies throughout the Los Angeles area, decided to open the first Vegetarian Fast-Food restaurant. The purpose of Orean's Health Express is to bring fresh and wholesome food into the lives of as many health conscious people as possible. We believe that natural health foods, excercise and a spiritual consciousness are the keys to healthy living in the stressful and polluted society in which we find ourselves.

And it's purpose:
We are the sum total of what we eat, drink, breathe and think at all times.

The menu also includes an interesting ragne of tastes: from ginseng strawberry slush to miso soup. There's quite a bit to try and I bet it is all good. I'm looking forward to trying the Soysage-O-Muffin for breakfast or an African Quesadilla for lunch.

Orean's Health Express is where I'll take all my vegetarian friends. I know I'll score points!!

Check out this great Pasadena Weekly article

Cost: OMG. Highly recommended.
Taste: Fantastic.
Experience: ASAP! Will bring friends next time and experiment with the menu

817 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA
(626) 794-0861

Map ofL: Orean's Health Express

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