Naked Cafe keeps it simple and natural and casual
Story and Photos By Kelley Carlson
Across the street from Fletcher Cove is the original Naked Cafe, where the fare is au naturel and the tables are rarely bare.
This popular-yet-laid-back eatery focuses on sustainability in everything from its cuisine to its décor. It’s very casual, with dark wood floors and bamboo walls, artwork created from scrap metal, and picturesque photos snapped by local residents.
Patrons relax and watch people frolicking at the beach across the street, while chatting with their neighbors over the sounds of light adult alternative melodies and sipping mugs of Pumpkin Spice Coffee Latte. Meanwhile, their kids keep busy with crayons and paper.
When the weather is consistently warm, the glass windows are removed and the plastic is rolled up, converting the dining room into a patio. The food itself is whole food-based and simple, and many of the dishes are prepared by grilling or steaming.
“You can pick out (the ingredients) one by one if you have a refined palate,” owner Gabe Wheeler said. “It’s simple, but in a way complex, because of the time (it takes to prepare).”
The Naked Cafe makes its own breads and sauces and can customize items as needed. A legend on the menu – which is identical at all four of the restaurant’s locations — identifies vegan and gluten-free entrees, along with products that contain nuts.
It breaks down its dishes into several categories, such as the “Look Good Naked” – foods that are more “figure-friendly.”
“You know how many calories you’re taking in,” Wheeler explained. These include Wheeler’s favorite, the Soy Chorizo, Avocado & Egg White Burritos with black beans, green onions, tomatoes and salsa wrapped in whole-grain tortillas; and the Pesto Scramble featuring four egg whites combined with pesto, green onions and diced tomatoes, and served with grilled zucchini, mixed baby organic greens and a whole-grain spinach tortilla.
Then, there’s the “Naked Experience” foods, which aren’t quite as “light,” but still stay true to the simplicity concept. For example, the Green & Red Pagoda is composed of rosemary toast layered with pesto, soy sausage, two over-medium eggs, avocado, artichoke hears and sun-dried tomatoes, and it comes with a side of mixed baby greens.
The “Infused Dishes” are mildly spicy and include Sesame Ginger Chicken Soft Tacos that can be substituted with tofu. The filling is enveloped in two whole-grain tortillas with baby greens and Thai peanut sauce, and served with black beans and coconut brown rice.
Customers who want a bit more control over their foods can opt for build-your-own sandwiches and wraps. First, they select meat or vegetables; then the shell; next is the spread; and finally, there’s the “accessory” (aka side).
For breakfast, patrons have the ability to choose between thick stacks of Gen. X Buttermilk or Gen. Y Organic Whole Grain Pancakes, and then pick from groups of toppings. A sweet option where syrup is optional is the Banana, Blackberry with thick chunks of the yellow fruit and whole berries.
Those who are worried they may not be able to finish their meals are encouraged to bring their own containers for leftovers, if possible. The cafe is only open until 2:30 p.m. daily. Occasionally, the patio is rented out for private events and fundraisers in the evenings. Oh, and for those who are left wondering about the dress code: Yes, clothing is required.
Address: 106 S. Sierra Ave., Solana Beach
Phone: (858) 259-7866
The Vibe: Casual, relaxed, family-friendly
Signature Dish: Gen. Y Organic Whole-Grain Pancakes
Open Since: 2002
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: No
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Naked Café’s Papaya and Mango Mint Salsa
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Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=107313