Sunday, October 17, 2010

Free Soul Caffe, Tustin, CA

Our friend Ashley B. pointed us to a new vegan place she went to in Tustin called Free Soul Caffe, so we went to check it out. Its a simple place, mainly soups, salads, and sandwiches, but they also have breakfast items and a well stocked dessert case filled with vegan treats. The owner, who was telling us all about the new restaurant, said that almost everything is organic and that they have great coffee. There were a lot of drink options on the menu including granita and boba style things.

Deanna got the Portobello Panini sandwich. It came with a big spinach salad with a nice dressing and candied walnuts. Simple, but very nice and fresh.

I got the Smoked Vegan Ham sandwich. My salad was a mixed greens, with olives and a light dressing. I also have no complaints. I feel like we could make this kind of food at home, but it's nice to know there is a place that will make it for me, and I can get out of the house. And also I never mind supporting a place that is dedicated to making vegan food and using organic ingredients.

Since this place deals in soups as a specialty, we wanted to get some soup as well, but they were sold out of everything but the chili. That's a good sign. So we got the chili. It came with a huge hunk of sliced bread and vegan butter. It was very good and I would like to come back and try some more soup...
...If I'm welcomed back!

Why would I say that you wonder? Well as I was shooting a photo of the menu (above), the same menu you can see online here, the waitress, a young college aged blond girl came up and said, "We don't allow photos." Deanna and I both asked, "Why?" Her answer was that people were trying to steal their recipes. (I can understand the people from Millennium worrying about getting their recipes stolen, but they are not. They publish their menu online and have a cookbook, and I have been inside taking photos on multiple occasions and never been hassled. In fact I have been all over the world taking pictures of food and menus and never been stopped once. Not in New York, Paris, or Berlin.) I wondered in my head why people would want to steal simple vegan sandwich recipes. Bread, vegan ham, vegan mayo, etc. Pretty easy to memorize I would say. Deanna said, "We do a vegan food blog and we wanted to tell people about this place and share some photos, we thought you would like the publicity for your new restaurant." She replied, "Well, no, we can't have people taking photos..." And then added, "Can you delete that." On general principle I was not erasing the photo. I said, "No way. Can you tell the owner to come over here?" The owner was apologetic, but did say that local businesses are trying to steal her recipes. We explained that we were only trying to help bring them business and are slightly offended by the accusation of recipe stealing.
So I don't know where I stand on this place now. I want to support vegan eateries, especially one so close to my house. But I can't get over the people who would hassle a customer over a paranoid idea that their recipes are worth stealing. I wish I could have screamed to the waitress, "Perspectives! This is a soup and sandwich shop in Tustin, CA!" anyway...

Here is the dessert case. The cookies were pretty good. We have yet to eat our peanut butter chocolate cheesecake and our pumpkin pecan ganache torte. I hope they are as good as they sound! UPDATE: We ate them and they are AMAZING!!!!!!
I say check it out, but beware bloggers, you may be hassled for helping them get the word out. I wonder what QuarryGirl would have done?