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Newcomer Windan Sea Cafe fits right in

The Windan Sea Cafe - a brand new beach-side eatery - has no views of the water from its large front window. But you’ll feel like you’re sitting in the middle of the ocean as soon as you enter this little sandwich and salad shop.

The walls of the cafe are painted a deep ocean blue, with little white caps suggesting waves. The place is small, with just a few tables, a pair of comfortable contemporary sofas for lingering over an espresso or blended drink, and a counter.

Just place your order at the counter, and the panini sandwiches, fresh salads, and bowl of soup will be prepared on the spot. This is the kind of fast food La Jollans love.

The organic soups change daily, but you can usually find the delicious vegetarian chili that was so popular during our visit. Cream of mushroom and vegetarian tortilla are two of the other soups listed on the menu. You can enjoy a bowl with bread for $5.25.

The fresh salads are highly recommended, especially the Playa del Norte ($7.95). This delightful organic spring mix features blue cheese, cranberry, and caramelized walnuts. The salad comes with a lively raspberry vinaigrette or your choice of dressing.

The Greek Fest is another interesting salad you might not see very often. It consists of chopped romaine, tomato, red onion, cucumber, feta cheese, and kalamata olives ($7.95). Of course, it comes with a Greek dressing.

Chef Vahik’s house salad is the perfect choice for a hot summer day - and it’s filling enough for good eaters. Along with the organic spring mix and other salad fixings, this one comes with salmon and Vahik’s house dressing ($10.95).

The main attraction on Windan Sea’s menu is the panini sandwiches. There are seven different varieties of panini offered, each served with a side salad of your choice. You can opt for ciabatta, multi-grain, sourdough, or rosemary focaccia bread with these beauties.

Among the most popular paninis are the turkey breast with pesto sauce, tomatoes and romaine lettuce, and provolone cheese ($8.95). Pair that with a tossed salad or the delicious lentil salad we had with our hearty sandwich and you’ll have a terrific lunch or dinner.

The Roast beef “buster” ($8.95) is another excellent panini. It is made with roast beef, sun-dried tomato, horseradish, and sharp cheddar. The ham sandwich is a little different as well. The Thumann’s ham used in the sandwich gets royal treatment with apricot mayo, lettuce, tomato, and provolone ($8.95), and if you like ham, you’ll be hooked on this one.

The Big Kahuna was designed for pure tuna lovers (no mayo on this panini). What it does have is albacore tuna, red onion, tomato, and Vahik’s special herb and spices ($6.95).

The Veg-out ($8.95) offers vegetarians (or any vegetable fancier) a variety - including roasted yellow tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and mozzarella cheese. Among the other great sandwich selections are bruschetta bella ($7.95) and roasted chicken breast with pesto sauce, avocado, tomato, and Fontina cheese ($8.95).

The coffee and espresso menu is as large as the food menu at Windan Sea Cafe. You can get regular coffee, all manner of espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes (iced or hot), not to mention teas, miscellaneous drinks (including Mexican Coke made with real sugar, not corn syrup) and a variety of blended drinks.

The drinks are available in different sizes, including the blended drinks, such as frappuccino ($3.75 or $4.25), chocolate banana shake ($3.25 or $3.75), and Windan Sea’s famous protein shake ($4 or $5.25). These healthy drinks come in all flavors.

Windan Sea Cafe is open every day of the week – starting at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday (6 a.m. on Sunday). You can pop in until 9 p.m. Sunday night and till 10 p.m. any other day. There’s a small sidewalk patio for seating, if you prefer to do some people watching while you’re there.

Good food, reasonable prices, and a friendly atmosphere. That sounds like a good recipe for success!

Windan Sea Cafe is located at 6780 La Jolla Blvd. For more information call (858) 459-1895.