Monday, August 2, 2010

Health Food Heaven at Natural Cafe

I am one of those people who actually love, ache for, and am addicted to the taste of health food cuisine. It started with Native Foods in the desert where I learned over a decade ago to go gaga for peanut sauce on brown rice and thick green veggies, the taste of nutty seared tempeh in things like burritos and curried bowls, and the satisfaction found in tahinis, hummus and Greek cheese whole wheat wraps. It's a taste I actually pine for: the slightly nutty, always grainy, sometimes sweet, choices in nutritious fare. Recently I discovered Natural Cafe in Goleta and Santa Barbara and have a new friend to go gaga over. 

My ritual goes like this. Arrive in Santa Barbara for business, get to my sister's house, throw my stuff in her guest room, and immediately leave for a trip down Hollister Street to that unassuming little corner cafe where my food lust currently resides. The place is tiny and cute. A refridgerated case even serves wine and beer. Periodicals about health and yoga and spiritual wealth abound on wooden cabinets while you wait for the food. Daily specials are abundant. The menu is rich with sandwiches, meat or veggie fare, salads, and specialties like Mexican enchiladas and yummy options in burgers. Every meal comes with crunchy chips and salsa. I have been three times in the past month and vow to try a different menu item each time I go there until the entire menu is exhausted.
My current faves. The teriyaki chicken sandwich which comes piled with a tangy, moist roasted chicken breast, melted cheese and abundant lettuce, tomato and sprouts on whole grain bread; and the equally tangy chicken ranchero quesadilla filled with spicy shredded chicken in a whole grain tortilla and served with a generous portion of sour cream and guacamole and a side salad with your choice of dressing - my fave being the tahini!

My taste buds are smarting just writing down the words!

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