Good music, cool furniture, & delicious food. Yeah, sounds like a bit of magic, doesn't it? San Diego is chock-full of vegan & vegetarian grub, but it's still a refreshing feeling to visit a 100% vegan establishment. That's why I was so happy to make my way to downtown San Diego to sample some of the veg-friendly options that Sol Cal Cafe* has to offer.
The StoryThe healthy eatery is owned by cousins, Jacob & Tom, to be a mouthwatering portal to the veggie world. Jacob Bell, a former professional football player, retired abruptly from the NFL in an effort to save his life & heal his body. He lost 100 pounds once switching to a vegan diet curated by his cousin Tom McCann. Everything at Sol Cal is vegan, organic, local, GMO-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, unrefined, & plant-based.
The Ambience & DecorSol Cal Cafe is nestled in the heart of downtown San Diego. Parking can be a bit difficult so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. You'll spot the restaurant easily with the bold yellow exterior sign. Upon entering, the cafe has a bright, open, welcoming look to it. The menu is pretty vast with anything from breakfast burritos to quinoa chili to green smoothies. There's something for everyone. The food is fun & approachable & even my non-vegetarian boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed the grub. He said he wouldn't mind being vegan if it always tasted like this.
Bob Marley music played faintly through the speakers. Turquoise geometric tables & chairs were freckled throughout. One girl sat working on her homework, listening to her music in her earphones while another couple casually ate & conversed. Sol Cal has an array of greens & succulents all over, giving it an earthy atmosphere.
The FoodTom brought out our cold brew mocha created with chocolate made in house. The drink was strong in flavor, but the chocolate didn't blend well. We weren't sure if it was the small or large size; we both guessed it was the small since it was pretty petite, but it turned out to be large. This iced coffee beverage will cost you $4.50, about the same as Starbucks but at least you're supporting a local business.
The first dish we received was the waffles with berries & cream. The gluten-free Belgian waffles, coconut cream, organic berry sauce, & maple retails for $11.95. The waffle is crunchy & chewy with moderate sweetness but delivers perfection when paired with the coconut cream, maple syrup, & strawberries -- the perfect amount of sugary goodness. I marveled at the handmade coconut cream. So bomb! The waffle dish is perfect to start your day or to have any time of the day.
The Mediterranean panini with fresh vegetables, olives, artichoke, & hummus was delectable but we ended up taking half of it home to snack on later. It came with a side of pickled cabbage & chipotle quinoa. The lovely mix of textures in the panini combine to give your taste buds a run for their money. The artichoke & hummus were extreme selling points for me. The quinoa contraption is moist with a bit of smoky spice from the chipotle. The whole plate costs $10.95.
The VerdictMy absolute favorite dish was the waffles with berries & cream. Hands down. It was scrumptious, well thought out, & beautifully plated. Sol Cal Cafe is a slice of heaven for anyone who wants to taste some magnificent food, regardless if you're vegan or not. It's the perfect spot to chill with friends, do a little work, while grubbing on some healthy, happy, yummy food.
Which dish looks the best to you? Have you ever tried vegan food? Have you visited Sol Cal Cafe? :]
You may find Sol Cal Cafe:
910 J St
San Diego, CA 92102
San Diego, CA 92102