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    Popular plant-based San Diego County restaurant opens its first Orange County location
    • January 12, 2024

    Jessica and Davin Waite, the husband-wife team behind The Plot, a plant-based/seafood restaurant in Carlsbad and Oceanside, have been leaders in San Diego’s food scene for over a decade. Their inventive and sustainable seafood and plant dishes have attracted a loyal following and acclaim from critics, scoring best-restaurant accolades in San Diego Magazine (Best New Restaurant of the Year in 2020) and VegNews (Best San Diego Vegan Restaurants of 2022), to name two.

    Now you can find it in Orange County.

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    On Friday, Jan. 5, The Plot opened in Costa Mesa inside The Camp, a green and eco-friendly retail space. The Costa Mesa location will be The Waites’ first eatery outside of San Diego County.

    “There’s so much stigma about what vegan food is,” said co-founder Jessica Waite, whose husband, Davin, started preparing plant-based food for her. “His food was just so good. And I didn’t have to carry my own condiments around anymore.” This helped spark the idea for The Plot, which first opened in Oceanside in 2020, then an express version in Carlsbad followed in 2023. (The Waites also own and operate Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, Shoots Fish and Beer, and Brine Box, all of which can be found in Oceanside.)

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    While the couple have seemingly opposing culinary practices — Jessica is a vegan and a name within the sustainability movement while Davin, an omnivore, is regarded as an skillful sushi chef who honed his skills in Hokkaido, Japan — their combined creative efforts are what, in part, make The Plot a success.

    “Most of our chefs either eat seafood or to some degree meat, but are excited to create bad-ass plant food,” she said.

    The beet “reuben” sandwich. (Photo courtesy of The Plot)

    The sustainability aspect of The Plot, which means a little- to no-waste method of preparation, results in innovative ways of making dishes. For example, their banana crème brûlée uses the pulp of the fruit to for the dessert, but the peel is used to make a plant-based carnitas for separate dish. And sweet potato skin peels, instead of being discarded after roasting, are used to make either a dashi or crisped then crumbled atop a dish.

    “From stems to leaves to root, we use everything; it’s a creative way to bring in more flavors and textures,” explained Jessica.

    The Plot will source from local growers like Black Sheep Farms in Tustin, The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano and the Waites’ own regenerative Plot Garden in Oceanside. The Plot will feature a plant-based lunch and dinner menu, retail items, kombucha and craft beer, biodynamic wines by the glass or bottle and even a non-alcoholic cocktail program.

    The plant-forward, comfort-food dinner menu (4-9 p.m.) includes cräb cakes made with lion’s mane mushrooms, biscuits and gravy, shepherd’s pie, cheesy truffle fries and roasted yuzu yam. The brunch menu (weekends 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) features cinnamon roll that uses the house sourdough brioche, spam and kinchi bowl (made with red lentils and beet brine), chicken and waffles (organic tofu), chilaquiles, patty melt (lentils and wild rice) with fries and more.

    And, yes, the entire menu is prepared without meat; The Plot’s plant-based proteins are all made in-house from scratch.

    Find it: 2937 Bristol St., suite E100 in Costa Mesa.

    ​ Orange County Register