Sunday, April 17, 2011

Healthy Vegan Eats in San Diego (Encinitas): Lotus Cafe

For those of you just stopping by my blog, I am on a two week vacation in the San Diego area through Earth Day!  While on vacation I like to review the vegetarian restaurants we eat at. Last week when we were at the Ocean Beach Cooperative I noticed a flyer with a list of recommended vegetarian restaurants.  Of course I researched all the vegetarian restaurants in the area before flying out to San Diego, but I like to find out through the locals which places are really good and which ones have normal business hours.

Lotus Cafe was one of the recommended restaurants, and then when I talked to my old college room mate, Kam Singh, who lives in Encinitas, she also recommended Lotus Cafe.  We were thinking about going to the Botanical Gardens but Kam convinced me that the meditation garden by the ocean would be much better. So we made the 25 minute trip out for a visit to the Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Garden and lunch at the Lotus Cafe with Kam. 

I'll share some photos from the Meditation Garden visit since it's not too off topic for my blog. 

If you go to San Diego, make the trip up north to Encinitas to see the SRF Meditation Garden.  It is free, but you can donate to the Self Realization Fellowship. It directly overlooks the ocean and there are koi ponds and all types of beautiful native and tropical trees and plants.  I can imagine it is really crowded here on the weekend.  It is just so beautiful.  We visited early on a Friday morning and there were only a dozen or so people in the garden.

There are lots of benches to sit and meditate on.  Here my kids are demonstrating how they meditate :)  

Lotus Cafe specializes in Organic vegetarian and vegan food.  The space is gorgeous, with lots of natural light on the inside.  They also have lots of patio seating under umbrellas.  They are located directly off Highway 101 in "The Lumberyard" plaza in Encinitas.

I had the "Spiritual Spinach Salad", with  carrots, olives, artichoke hearts, radish, veggie-bacon bits and sprouts. It comes with Feta cheese but I asked them to leave that off.  The dressing was Vegan Lemon Tahini.   It doesn't look like it in the photo but this salad was HUGE.  The lettuce and everything was super fresh and delicious, I loved it.

What I ordered for the kids was probably not the best option, but there were 30 people lined up behind me when it was my turn to I felt some pressure to hurry on my decision.  They eat the hummus platter at Dandelion Communitea all the time, so I ordered the "Humble Hummus and Pita".

Well the hummus was outstanding!  It was a little on the spicy side, but really smooth and delicious.  I used some for dressing on my salad when I started to run low.

The kids ate all the veggies and left the pita bread, which I should have asked them to leave off.  And the line never got any shorter so I shared some of my salad and fed them a second lunch when we got home :)

Got a favorite vegetarian or vegan restaurant in the San Diego area?  Post in the comments section and let me know about it!


Jennifer said...

Just stumbled upon your blog while researching green smoothies :) I live in North San Diego and love the Lotus Cafe as well. Some more vegetarian/vegan restaurant suggestions: People's Food Coop in Ocean Beach, Mozy's cafe in Encinitas, Naked Cafe in Solana Beach or Carlsbad, and Peace Pies in Ocean Beach. Definitely visit a farmer's market or two as they always have great food vendors as well:

Enjoy your vacation!

Gretchen said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment! What a coincidence that you found my blog while I'm in San Diego?!

We ate at People's Food Coop last week, I'll be posting about that today. I love that place! We have been to the La Jolla Open Air Market on Sunday and that was fantastic as far as the selection of organic produce. We also found some vegan strawberry and pineapple Tamales by The Tamale Guy.

I plan to go back up to Encinitas one more time so I will check out Mozy's and maybe Peace Pies if we have time.

Thanks for your recommendations :)