In the land of the hallowed Taco Tuesday — where maíz flour half moons are stuffed with unctuous pollo, carne asada and carnitas — ill-represented are the soldiers of vegetarianism who adhere to a strict dietary regimen. For decades they were portrayed disparagingly as rabbits nibbling fastidiously at their lettuce fronds. Even present day, non-meat options are a bleak footnote on the menu at many eateries. But man cannot live on insipid, genetically-modified salad alone.

Championing the Eco Revolution, Green Bliss Café has arrived as a saviour of sorts for the beleaguered masses in Fullerton. They strive to use all local and organic ingredients whenever possible: without any preservatives, artificial anything, or additives. They boast of killer coffee from roasters such as Portola, Handsome, Roast Park and Augie’s; no-fuss food that is loaded with delectable flavor —handcrafted and lovingly prepared; and an empowering ethos of promoting a healthier person and planet.

Green Bliss sources their verdant and vitamin-rich veggies mainly from Angelo’s Farms (leasing two acres of land from the Boys Republic, who also assists in tending the land) and that same Boys Republic, a private, non-profit treatment community, school and farm for troubled youngsters in nearby Chino Hills. These hand cultivated beauties go into creating their Avo-Campania Panini, (mushrooms, artichokes, avocado with hemp basil pesto) Curried Chickpea Salad Panini (curried chickpeas, raisins, almonds with lettuce and tomato), Kickin’ Kale Salad (green/black kale, cucumber, carrots, avocado, green/red onions with ginger tahini dressing), Summer Salad (spinach, strawberries, goat cheese and candied walnuts with a dijon vinaigrette), and other super tasty, seasonal items. So, not only are you enjoying the bounty of local agriculture, but you are also helping support a very noble cause.

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These days, many adults and even some children aren’t able to partake in the indulgence of dessert due to special diets. Sinfully tasting, but won’t wreak havoc on their system, vegan and gluten free items such as chocolate chip cookies, assorted cupcakes and blueberry bars from Luscious Organic Desserts beam responsibly from the display case. Sharing the real estate, breakfast pastries like tender, flaky croissants (oozing with strawberries and vanilla custard), bear claws and scones — all baked with organic and quality ingredients — are fresh daily straight from Louise at Sweet Lilikoi in Orange.

If you live an eco-friendly lifestyle you likely want to meet others who do the same. Think of Green Bliss as a networking hub for learning the power of living foods. The construction dust hadn’t even settled and OC Green Drinks (a monthly gathering for those interested in chatting about and advocating all things green) had already hosted a mixer there, venturing further north than they ever have before.

In the months ahead, Green Bliss themselves will be hosting coffee tastings; organic wine and beer tasting events (after they get approved for their liquor license); establishing themselves as a CSA pick-up location; and holding workshops on sustainability, organic cooking, composting and DIY projects including one similar to the framed vertical garden anchoring their menu.

Speaking of that ingenious framed garden, if you’re at all familiar with Pinterest, you’ll discover a pinner’s paradise at Green Bliss. In your head, you’ll be giddily pinning the Wooly Pocket accent wall; the many adorable, handcrafted jewelry and craft items; the coveted bubble beverage dispenser from Anthropologie; the “OPEN” sign made from cut license plates; the magnificent agate blue glass chandelier (fashioned in Italy by the legendary Murano glassmaker artisans). Really, we could go on and on.

With as much thoughtful and creative detail as proprietor Rita Ho and her incredibly friendly staff set forth with putting together the café, the same dedication and passion goes into their goal for a greener planet.

3 Questions with Rita Ho:

1. Have you always been a vegetarian/vegan and how did it come about?

Nope. I have not always been a vegetarian – I’ve only been on this track for about 6 years or so. It actually took me a while to be one. Like many other people, I always thought that it was inconvenient (I traveled a lot to the Midwest about 5-6 years ago, places like West Virginia and upper peninsula Michigan), I needed my protein… etc etc. My dad and my sister became vegetarian first in my family. One day my dad said something that resonated with me “if an animal was meant to be eaten, then it’ll bring itself to you without fear and anger”. He is a devoted Buddhist and believes in reincarnation and all living beings are equal and that’s where he was coming from. Because of his influence, and I have always loved animals, I stopped eating meat.

2. How do you field requests from patrons who request that you have meat options?

If people come in wanting to try to find a quick and GOOD bite, then I try to recommend them menu items that will give them (at least I think so) the satisfaction that a meat dish can. However, there are clients who are insistent on having meat, and when that happens, I really just refer them to other restaurants in the area. I never try to convert people, or force my own belief onto others- when it’s time, it’s time, and they’ll feel it, they’ll want to do it on their own. They will want to cut their meat consumption without any persuasion. And When it’s that time, I’m here to give them the best vegetarian bite in town with flavor and texture.  This is one of those things that you can’t force onto people. You just gotta let it happen.

3. What do you hope to contribute to the community in the aspect of green living?

I want to bring the idea of sustainability from the World Summit level down to our daily living. A lot of people have the notion (and I don’t blame them, the marketplace is full of conflicting and confusing information) that organic, sustainable living is a luxury good. Being eco-friendly is an all-or-nothing type of stuff. The truth is – it isn’t. We can all contribute however minute each action is, and together we can make a huge impact. Something as simple as a meatless Monday (or Meatless Tuesday since we’re closed on Mondays.. :P) can make a huge impact on issues like world food shortage or greenhouse gas emission.  What I want to do with this space is to show people how easy it is to show Mother Earth a little more love and you don’t have to fork out your entire paycheck to do so. If you do it right, you probably end up saving money. And the best part of it all? It’s good for you and your family’s health on top of all of that. It’s always nice to eat well, feel good, help the community and our environment while save on those health care bills that is being debated on so heavily in this country. I want Green Bliss to be like the ancient Agora in Greece where people come in and talk about sustainability. Talk about ideas that they come up with to make this world a better place. It’s always nice to chit chat over some awesome food and good coffee.

Thank you, Rita!

One might get a stereotype in their head and think that a concept like Green Bliss would never work in our carnivore-riddled town. But, it’s not just this crazy mission for way-out-there renegades anymore. One can be a card-carrying omnivore and still tantalize your taste buds with a vegetarian item every now and then — consciously consuming something that’s cruelty-free. Not only are you engaged in a selfless act, there’s also a much greater level of well-being involved. In the mere four weeks that Green Bliss has been open, the mission is clearly already working and it’s wonderful for our local and global community.

Green Bliss: Where Compassion and Cravings Happily Come Together!

$/$$
tues-sat: 7am-6pm
sun: 8am-5pm
Villa Del Sol
305 North Harbor Boulevard, #103
714.773.0018
www.green-bliss.com


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