Hands down, Santa Cruz is a vegetarian heaven. I realized this once I googled “Vegetarian Santa Cruz” and I was met with a zillion options.From the list that came up, I couldn’t resist stopping by the Saturn Cafe that serves all vegetarian and vegan food in twisted sorted of spaced-out diner setting.
This place is hard to miss from the street with it’s sunny windows and paint advertising what you can find inside. Free parking is available behind the building.
It’s interior is what can be best described as a retro-futuristic casual feel that leans towards a 50’s diner. It’s a see-it-to-believe-it sort of place.
There’s lots to look at around this cafe including shadowbox tables that, at least at my table, featured bits and pieces from a local woman’s roller derby team – pictures, articles and their schedule for the year.
The menu is extensive featuring sandwiches, burgers, wraps, soups featuring fresh vegetables and faux meat and soy products. They take pride in using local and organic ingredients and putting a healthy spin on their meals. And, many of their dishes could be veganized from the vegetarian version presented on the menu.
I started out with an appetizer plate of soy taquitos. They were filled with a spicy soy meat filling and were served with a fresh salsa. To be honest, I was a little disappointed as the end parts of the taquito were overcooked and a little tough to bite into. But, the parts that were not overcooked, mostly where the filling was, were really quite good and just the right about of tangy spiciness.
Next came my triple-decker “chicken” sandwich. Holy crud it was huge. I regretted filling up on the taquitos because the serving size was humongous. The sandwich was stacked with a breaded “chicken”, smoked gouda, lettuce, tomato, red onions, “bacon” and avocado. And, lots and lots of mayo. (If ordering this sandwich and you don’t like a lot of mayo, you might want to tell them to hold up on it a bit.) Another warning: If you’re going to eat this, ask for extra napkins and have a giant mouth because each section of the sandwich is at least four or five inches tall. But, let’s just say, it was a pleasure to eat a club sandwich once again. I loved the smoked gouda as it added an additional element to the depth of flavor. The faux chicken was about a 1/4 inch thick so it did not overwhelm the sandwich. I could have used a little more of the fakin bacon…but I love the stuff so there can never be too much bacon on my sandwich.
To keep with the theme of this place, my experience was out of this world. Next time, I’ll check out their home-made soups and treat myself to one of the unique organic seasonal beers they have on the menu.
145 Laurel Street
Santa Cruz, CA