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Egg Plantation: ‘Green’ eggs, less ham

Serving up all your meat, vegetarian or vegan favorites in a very ‘green’ way

Posted: October 8, 2010 6:05 a.m.
Updated: October 8, 2010 6:08 a.m.
The grilled vegetable sandwich ($8.95) is one of the many vegetarian offerings at Newhall’s Egg Plantation. The grilled vegetable sandwich ($8.95) is one of the many vegetarian offerings at Newhall’s Egg Plantation.
The grilled vegetable sandwich ($8.95) is one of the many vegetarian offerings at Newhall’s Egg Plantation.
Egg Plantation co-owner Shannon Mee and server Joel Morey, with several of the vegan and vegetarian dishes offered at the Newhall restaurant, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Since January, 2010, Egg Plantation has been a certified “green” restaurant. Egg Plantation co-owner Shannon Mee and server Joel Morey, with several of the vegan and vegetarian dishes offered at the Newhall restaurant, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Since January, 2010, Egg Plantation has been a certified “green” restaurant.
Egg Plantation co-owner Shannon Mee and server Joel Morey, with several of the vegan and vegetarian dishes offered at the Newhall restaurant, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Since January, 2010, Egg Plantation has been a certified “green” restaurant.
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Egg Plantation's gone green. In January, 2010, the popular breakfast and lunch spot in Newhall achieved 2-Star Certified Green Restaurant status from the Green Restaurant Association by sourcing more sustainable products, stepping up water and energy conservation efforts, recycling plastics and fryer grease, and using non-toxic cleaning products.

"Everything we've done here has been to better ourselves and the community," said co-owner Shannon Mee, who runs the restaurant with her husband Simon. "Restaurants have such massive waste. We're trying to do our part to control it."

Egg Plantation staff members now wear organic cotton or bamboo shirts and fresh-cut flowers have been replaced with low-maintenance succulent plants on each table. To-go orders and take-home food is packaged in bio-degradable sugarcane containers rather than Styrofoam, which is petroleum-based.

Green table tent cards explain the many environmentally-friendly changes the restaurant has undergone. "Customers that have been coming in forever are so happy we went green and sustainable," Mee said. "Other people are looking at the table tents and asking lots of questions about what it all means, so our staff is well prepared to know how to answer."

Most diners are just pleased that Egg Plantation has not raised its prices in the process.

"We've eaten a lot of the costs to do this, because we know we have to keep our pricing affordable, especially in the current economic climate," Mee said.

For diners interested in health and environmentally-conscious ingredients, Egg Plantation offers several inviting options, including the choice of organic soy and almond milk, as well as cage-free eggs and gluten-free bread, for a nominal charge.

The extensive menu, famous for its 101 four-egg omelet combinations (which have been featured on The Food Network) and a long list of specialty salads and sandwiches, also features many vegan and vegetarian options, including employee breakfast and lunch favorites boasting their names.

Server Joel Morey is the inspiration behind "Joel's" vegan burrito ($9.25), a hearty combination of diced tofu sautéed with garlic, spinach, onions, bell pepper, zucchini, fresh basil, broccoli and country potatoes in a flour tortilla, served with salsa on the side.

It's a hefty little package, thanks to the dense, flavorful potatoes paired with abundant, perfectly sautéed veggies and the zesty salsa, bursting with fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. The burrito is satisfying, yet still light enough to not induce a food coma, which is helpful for those who have to return to work after lunchtime.

Huevos rancheros ($9.25, served with country potatoes and choice of toast) is traditionally served with ham at Egg Plantation, but the restaurant also offers a vegetarian version with refried beans or tofu in place of the meat. You won't miss it (at least I didn't). Luscious from a blanket of melted cheese, filling from the plump black beans resting atop a fluffy, aromatic, handmade corn tortilla, and topped with a fan of vibrant, creamy avocado slices, these huevos are another light yet fulfilling take on a breakfast classic.

Ordering sans meat is a food trend that's catching on, according to Morey, who's a vegan.

"People have come in and asked for tofu," he said. "In that sense, we are trendsetters and encourage other restaurants to do the same."

Sandwich seekers should consider the grilled vegetable ($8.95, served with of fries, onion rings, house salad, potato salad, carrot raisin salad, macaroni salad or fruit cup; beautifully crisp, saffron-hued sweet potato fries are available for 95 cents extra). A tangle of tender grilled eggplant, squash, bell peppers, and onions is layered together then lavished with tangy, rich goat cheese and a blast of herbs from the tasty pesto dressing, all served overflowing on a soft, chewy roll. It's a sensational mix of flavor and textures (and no animals were harmed in its production).

"This is good food. You can bring your kids here and not worry that they're eating, for lack of better words, crap. I'll only eat and serve food that I'm proud of," Mee said.

That includes hormone-free milk and ingredients sourced from area producers whenever possible.

"Ninety-five percent of our food is locally grown, mostly from Oxnard, Fillmore and Santa Paula," Mee said. "You can taste the difference between a tomato that was just picked and delivered 20 miles versus tomatoes that are trucked in 200 or even 2,000 miles."

Meat lovers can rest assured, Egg Plantation still makes what I consider to be the best chicken fried steak ($9.25) in town and features carnivorous favorites such as flat iron steak ($10.95), traditional ham or filet eggs Benedict ($9.25) at breakfast and offers loads of chicken sandwiches and salads and burgers (including a Kobe beef version) at lunch.
Owned by the Mees for more than a decade, Egg Plantation, a comforting spot with its country décor inside the cozy yellow Victorian building, is always evolving, displaying local art on its walls and hosting music and entertainment from local artists on the weekends.

"I think it's important to get the Santa Clarita Valley on the map, not just as a suburb with chain restaurants, but as a community with some culture," Mee said.

Egg Plantation, 24415 Walnut Street, Newhall. (661) 255-8222 or www.eggplantation.com. Open daily, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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