Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar is a local restaurant with two locations in Hillcrest and Encinitas. They serve fresh, healthy, natural food and have a lot of dietary options for people who have gluten restrictions, are vegetarian or vegan. Many items can be made vegan and there are a few meaty dishes for those who prefer a bit more protein with their meal.
[Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar Menu]
[Menu Key – The menu is marked with various symbols indicating what the different options are. ]
When I found out I was being invited here and looked at the menu, I decided that I would bring Stacey along with me on this outing as she’s the closest to a vegetarian friend that I have, without actually being vegetarian. What can I say? The girl really likes her salads but can’t bear to give up bacon (bacon smells really good, you must admit).
[Hummus & Pita Bread – spread made of ground garbanzo, sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon & garlic, served with wedges of whole wheat pita bread]
We started off with an appetizer of hummus after we spent an obscenely long amount of time trying to figure out exactly what we wanted. The hummus comes in a big scoop. It’s very solid so not as creamy as other hummus that I’ve had, but the flavor of garlic and lemon shines through and gives this a nice texture and flavor. It comes with a mess of carrots and sprouts along with whole wheat pita bread for spreading and eating.
[Lotus Caesar Salad – Mixed organic greens with tomato, avocado, croutons, Parmesan cheese and vegetarian Caesar dressing]
We also shared this very large Lotus Caesar Salad between the two of us (half salad is also available). This comes with a vegetarian Caesar dressing on the side. The Caesar still has all of the flavor and kick of a regular Caesar so you’re not missing out when you get this. The tomatoes were so fresh and bright and the Parmesan shavings added a nice salty flavor to the salad. Half of a perfectly ripe avocado is placed on top for you to devour (which we did). So refreshing and crisp – the addition of the avocado here really made this shine for me.
[Stuffed Veggie Quesadilla – Whole wheat chapati stuffed with sauteed veggies and cheese, topped with guacamole, salsa and sour cream]
Stacey was between two items for quite some time but finally decided on this Stuffed Veggie Quesadilla. This one can be made vegan, if you so desire. It’s stuffed with with sauteed veggies – including big chunks of broccoli (something we both found really weird at first but it tasted so good that we decided it was a brilliant idea). The veggies are still a bit crisp with a little bite for extra texture. Covered in delicious cheese and topped with a spot of guacamole and sour cream, this is a very delicious and healthy version of a quesadilla.