Parakeet Café offers organic fare with a flair in La Jolla

Parakeet Café stands apart from the flock when it comes to organic cafés in La Jolla. Opened in July of last year, the cozy little restaurant took over the space where the Italian eatery, La Taverna, used to be at 927 Silverado St. Owners Carol and Jonathan Goldwasser said they had three things in mind when they opened — everything had to be healthy, healing and amazingly tasty.

The couple owns Juice Crafters in La Jolla, and three others in Little Italy, Hillcrest and Coronado. The idea to open Parakeet Café came from two sources.

Carol described the first influence as the patrons of Juice Crafters: "Customers would say, 'You guys should do more, maybe offer some tea, maybe do oatmeal, maybe offer something warm, whatever.' So we thought about it a lot, and that's how we created this little piece of paradise."

The second influence was their daughter, Michelle, who contracted a rare blood disease as an infant. She was Carol's inspiration for studying health and nutrition.

"Michelle had to be treated with chemotherapy for a very long time, so I started reading a lot about ways I could help her flush the toxins from her system, and basically help her blood count get better," she explained. "I started noticing that it really improved the quality of her blood by feeding her the right foods."

Carol said she studied a health-coaching program online, although it was never her intention to become a health coach. She just wanted to help her daughter. "She was a baby, so I needed to be very creative ... I began experimenting with food combinations and reading about superfoods and the qualities they bring, and that's how our journey began," she explained.

Parakeet Café serves all-natural, high-quality organic ingredients in every dish. The menu has several tea and coffee options, including one of the most popular, Tumeric Latte. As Carol points out: "Tumeric is very powerful and it helps to prevent cancer and to fight inflammation in the body."

You'll find lots of original dishes, too, everything from artisan toasts to tortilla soup to organic greens scramble. Even the smoked salmon is beet-cured to give it an extra dose of vitamins and minerals.

One of the restaurant's signature ingredients is the avocado. "Avocados are a superfood because they're packed with nutrients. They have the lowest sugar and highest protein content of any fruit, and they are full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients," Carol expounds. "They also have anti-inflammatory compounds, trace minerals, loads of fiber, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. You could say one avocado a day keeps the doctor away!"

The funny thing about Parakeet Café is you won't see the restaurant's name on the outside, just a picture of a parakeet. Carol says that's intentional: "We think it's fun and different. It's kind of cool."

The Goldwassers moved here from Mexico City five years ago to find a healthier environment for their children. They think of the restaurant as a way of giving the gift of health.

"This is our way to pay back to the community," Carol said. "We wanted to create a place where people can take care of themselves. To me, it's very fulfilling to see people choosing healthier options. That's why I'm so passionate about it ... I believe I'm really changing people's health!"

Parakeet Café is located at 927 Silverado St., between Drury Lane and Fay Avenue, in La Jolla. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Pets are allowed on the outdoor patio. parakeetcafe.com

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