Review: Top three vegan-friendly options near campus

Three of the best vegan options around Citrus College.

Plant-based food options are making their way into the mainstream more and more each year. This is great news for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Plenty of chain restaurants around Citrus College offer vegan and vegetarian options, but it’s best to take a look at what the smaller joints have to offer.

Hana Kitchen, Congregation Ale House and Mantra Coffee House are all nearby spots which offer vegan food, but out of the restaurants I have tried, I have chosen the following three as my favorites.

Here are three of the best vegan food options within a mile radius of Citrus College.

  1. Castañedas Mexican Food, Azusa – “Vegetarian Burrito”

Honestly, the vegetarian, or “veggie” burrito, from Castaneda’s is nothing extraordinary or revolutionary, but that is what makes it so easy to love.

I would have to say that about 50 percent of the reason this burrito tastes so good, despite its simplicity, is because Castañedas is not only near campus (700 E Alosta Ave. in Azusa), but it is open 24 hours a day and rarely ever busy.

It is a perfect late-night spot for those looking for meat-free options to satisfy their hunger. The other 50 percent is purely taste.

The vegetarian burrito does not attempt to be anything it is not. It’s honest and simple. There are no fake meats or any other vegan substitutes, but simply refried beans, rice, pico de gallo, lettuce and whichever salsa you choose from the salsa bar located inside the restaurant (I personally go for their green salsa with some lime wedges). All of this wrapped in a big, soft tortilla keeping it all in tact.

The burrito costs about $7, including tax. Stop by Castañedas Mexican Food in Azusa at any time, day or night and try one of these burritos for a flavorful, filling meal.

  1. Drink Ur Greens, Glendora – “Classic Bowl”

For those looking for a quick, easy way to begin their day on a healthy note, Drink Ur Greens in downtown Glendora should definitely be on your radar.

This small, unassuming hole-in-the-wall storefront offers salads, healthy snacks and, most importantly, açaí bowls.

The “Classic Bowl” is their take on the traditional açaí bowl. Blueberries, banana, coconut flakes and fresh slices of strawberry top a delicious blend of frozen fruit and granola.

The cold crunch of this nutritional treat will charge you up to take on the day. The price point is average, $7.95 plus tax, but if you are looking to save some money, or if you are just not too hungry, try the kids-sized bowl for $5.25.

With friendly employees and wholesome ingredients, Drink Ur Greens should not be ignored. Go try one of their bowls today.

  1. Ramen Naruto, Azusa – “Spicy Vegetable Vegan Ramen”

The first time I had proper vegan ramen east of Downtown Los Angeles was here at Ramen Naruto.

I found out the restaurant offered a vegan option, but I never made my way over to check the place out up until recently.

Upon first taste, it catalyzed a borderline revelation on my taste buds. I quickly questioned why it had taken me so long to try this ramen. It is now on my list of favorites around campus.

The noodles are perfectly dense and abundant in this dish, making it quite a filling meal. The tofu is a nice treat, but somewhat secondary. The real winner, however, is the broth. Heavy, spicy and packed with strong, rich flavors, just like any good ramen should have.

The textures and flavors mixed in with one another comprise an amazing bowl of vegan ramen which should not be overlooked. It is worth the $10.

Ramen Naruto is located in Azusa at the corner of Barranca Ave. and Route 66.