YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Valley Is Fertile Field for Budding Vegetarians

More restaurants offer the choice, and there's a club and booklets to help you find where they are.


Valley kids and vegetarianism have been the topic of several of these columns in the past, but new information on the subject arrives all the time.

For instance, according to restaurant manager Pete Feliciano of Ruby's Diner in Woodland Hills, it seems that after the movies at the nearby multiplex let out, more and more kids are coming by his place for a veggie burger.

"It's definitely becoming fashionable," he says. His site is the busiest one in the '40s-themed, family-style restaurant chain and, he noted recently, "Our veggie burger figures are now higher than our beef burger sales."

For Valley people who are interested in this trend, whether it's kids trying to get their parents into this lifestyle or parents trying to get kids interested, here are a few more ideas and opportunities:

Veggie Dining Club: Randy Ellis, a Los Angeles Realtor, organized a club a few years ago that meets at vegetarian-oriented restaurants. The June meeting this Sunday will be at a Granada Hills Chinese restaurant, Vegetable Delight, which has set aside space for about 50 for the occasion.

Ellis says, "Lately, couples have been bringing babies and children [because] these restaurant visits provide a terrific introduction to dishes that look and taste like they have meat but don't." Club membership is growing so fast that by fall Ellis expects there will be separate clubs for the east and west Valley.

* Vegetarian Dining Club: June meeting is at Vegetable Delight Chinese Restaurant, 17823 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills; 6 p.m. Sunday. Call Randy Ellis (213) 953-0543.


Summertime Cookbook: This spring, the San Fernando Unit of the American Cancer Society began promoting a kid-oriented, bilingual cookbook featuring snacks and treats made mainly with fruits and vegetables. Each recipe bears a celebrity endorsement from the likes of Ben Savage and Sinbad. According to Barbara Kar, a health educator with the local chapter, "We, as parents, have to set up an environment that demonstrates that eating well can be fun and delicious."

* "Kids . . . Get Cookin'/Chicos y Chicas Pongamonos a Cocinar," $6.95. To order, call (818) 905-7766.


Guides And Coupon Books: Two regional publications that feature discount coupons at businesses with a vegetarian or near-vegetarian emphasis have added a good selection of Valley sites. Ken Ziff, publisher of the annual "Healthy Living Coupon Book," says, "We were asked to get more Valley restaurants and food stores in, so we did."

He recommends his book as something to keep in the car so that wherever you are in the Valley or the city, you can find out if there's a health food location nearby.

Anita Jones, one of the authors of "Healthy Dining in Los Angeles," a guidebook to area restaurants, reports having had, and acted on, the same kind of requests. Lately she's been getting calls from Valley restaurants and grocery store deli sections wanting to be included in her guide.

She echoes Nancy Kar's sentiments about the importance of parental involvement in this trend: "Since the kids are getting their education from television, I can only think the healthy eating trend is growing because they're seeing it via their parents."

* "The Healthy Living Coupon Book," discount coupons for Valley and Los Angeles area vegetarian-oriented restaurants and markets; $19.95. To order, call (310) 396-2826. "Healthy Dining in Los Angeles," recommendations for restaurants, delis and some fast-food locations, plus coupons; $14.95, at chain bookstores or (800) 266-2049.

Los Angeles Times Articles