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Monday, October 29, 2007

Camping Out

As promised, here are some photos of The Camp in Costa Mesa, CA. The Camp is an eco-friendly outdoor shopping center with a yoga studio, a scuba center, outdoor retailers, restaurants, and live music. Instead of being labeled with the words "compact only", parking spaces are labeled with such wholesome reminders as "eat your vegetables", "ride a bike", "take time", "invest in your friends", "eat tofu", "say hello to others", "take the scenic route", and "breathe through your nose". Interestingly enough, I saw very few SUV's in the parking lot!

As I sat on the patio at Native Foods eating lunch with my family, I was able to do some Orange County people watching, which I haven't done in a while. In contrast to the Birkenstock-wearing hippies that you might expect to be at The Camp, I observed many young hipsters and had to refrain from jumping up from the table to photograph them. Going to The Camp made me realize how ethnically diverse Orange County is. It's one of the things that I miss about living there. In terms of style, knitted berets and beanies seemed to be popular amongst young women, as were skinny jeans, vintage T-shirts, and chunky sweaters.

the Camp Costa Mesa Photos include the sign at The Camp, some store windows, and the scuba diving pool.

the Camp Costa Mesa On the steps to the Bikram Yoga studio, the following words are painted: I will start to volunteer, buy locally, learn to sew, take my bike instead, eat organic vegetables, find a handmade alternative, take my own bag to the store, get my hands dirty in my garden, get an Orange County trails guide, build with recycled materials, do my research before buying, choose the green alternative, read a book in the hammock, spend time outdoors, and sleep more soundly knowing this is making a better world for you and me.

If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will!

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, then you probably know how hard it is to have a great selection of foods when you dine out. Native Foods mixes ethnic and vegetarian cuisine while using organic and non-dairy ingredients. Menu items range from salads to burgers to pizza and hot bowls. For someone who is not vegetarian, let alone vegan, I was impressed by the variety on the menu. The food was reasonably flavorful, and I felt good about what I was eating. The "save the chicken" wings tasted so much like the real thing that I would not have known they were made from soy chicken. My "Soba Dan Dan" bowl had broccoli, peanut sauce, sweet potatoes, carrots, and tofu. For dessert I had the peanut butter parfait, which had a mild peanuty taste and a thick, decadent texture. I recommend this restaurant whether you are vegetarian/vegan or not!

The Camp is located at 2937 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa, California.