As far as healthy lunch and snack takeout options, San Diego’s downtown was sorely lacking. Actually, the options seemed downright abysmal. In the few months I worked at San Diego Magazine last spring (filling in for an editor on maternity leave), I was always at a loss for those times I didn’t pack a lunch. Do I try the overpriced salads or bear with something heavy like Pad Thai? There weren’t any sandwich places that checked the healthy and tasty boxes, and Jimbo’s seemed like too far of a walk. What’s a hungry worker bee to do?
Thankfully a few months ago the East Village welcomed Sol Cal Cafe, a vegan market and cafe with an in-house naturopathic doctor. (You know you live in Southern California when…this combo doesn’t faze you at all.) The brainchild of an integrative nutritionist and a former NFL player, the cafe serves juices, smoothies, acai bowls, blended coffee drinks, food, and cookies. Yes, the prices can seem steep—$9 smoothies and $11 salads—but keep in mind the quality of ingredients. Everything on the menu is concocted in-house and made with organic, local, GMO-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and unrefined ingredients.
I loved the lettuce tacos for a light meal, the kale salad is quite sizable, and more than a few of my friends recommend the quinoa chili. And I’ll be back to the glossy case of macarons, almond cookies, and raspberry crumble bars. Check it out: