Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nature's Express Opens

Who: VegWebmistress Laura Beck, VN Publisher Joseph Connelly, and VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: Grand Opening of Nature's Express
Where: Nature's Express, Berkeley, Calif.
When: January 16, 2010
Why: The grand opening of an all-vegan fast-food restaurant? Color me THERE.

The Scoop: We all know that you gain so much from becoming vegan, and the things you miss from your meat-mouth days are seriously negligible, but I'll tell you one thing: Fast food was THE BOMB. I know lots of vegans who turn their noses up at the golden arches, but I can't lie. One of the greatest joys from my childhood was pulling up to the drive-thru window at Jack in the Taco King, Jr. and eagerly awaiting my meal. The pure bliss I experienced before biting into some gnarly piece of fake food is hard to compare. I guess if you imagine riding a unicorn over a rainbow made of candy, you start to get close.

As I got older, fast food started to scare me. When I learned about the devastation inflicted upon pretty much everything in its path, I wised up and found delicious vegan alternatives. However, a small part of me still longs to walk into a fast-food joint and order a hamburger, some fries, and a milkshake.

Well, Nature's Express has come to Berkeley, and eight-year-old me couldn't be more thrilled. Actually, 31-year-old me couldn't be more thrilled either, because it's all vegan! Nature's Express is a fast-food chain (with locations in Rancho Mirage, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz.) started by oncologist Dr. Carl Myers. After seeing the dramatic health effects a person's diet can have, he decided to do something to make everyone a little healthier. With Nature's Express, Myers is getting us into shape one tasty breakfast burrito at a time. I like how this man thinks.

Nature's Express' celebratory storefront (photo by Cathryn Lovecraft)

The super-fun grand opening event on Saturday was packed with so many fabulous vegan faces that I can't even begin to name them all. VegNews' own columnist Colleen Patrick-Goudreau kicked off the event with an exciting speech, proclaiming how thrilling it is to eat life-affirming food, instead of food that destroys everything around it. She wrapped up her welcome by saying she believes one day, all food will be like that. I was feeling the love. Karine Brighten of Karine Brighten Events (a vegan event planner! So cool!) was on the scene, making sure everything ran smoothly. She didn't have to worry because everything went off without a hitch.

David and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Colleen Holland, and Joseph Connelly gather inside

Standing in the long line, it was hard to decide what to order. Did I want the Spicy Black Bean Burger or the Thai Peanut Wrap? I know, life is hard. I finally decided on the Bacon Burger with cheese and avocado, a side of Kale Chips, and a Blue Sky Ginger Ale. Biting into that burger, I had a serious flashback to being in the back of my parents wood-panelled station wagon.

One of Nature's tasty vegan burgers (photo by Cathryn Lovecraft)

It had the same feeling of a fast-food burger but 10 million times better because it was vegan! Not to mention, it's just a better product—melty vegan cheese, fresh vegetables, and a juicy patty. Perfection. I'll be back to sample Nature's Express' entire menu and perhaps move in. I hope they are okay with this.


Anonymous said...

Aw - thanks for your sweet words, Laura! It was lovely seeing you there and just so exciting to be part of what is the future - now! :)

Anonymous said...

Please please please tell them to open in Austin, TX too. I promise they'll have lots of business.

dmbotz said...

Or open a restaurant in Minneapolis...I'm feeling deprived.

Moe Ramone said...

I was searching for Chef Tal Ronnen ran into your blog. I live not too far from berkeley I'm so excited that you posted this, I am going to go here AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Thank you for the information!!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Man, it was a madhouse! I need to go back when they have a full menu.