How do I describe the Parakeet Cafe? One word, healthy. It was my oldest nephew's turn to pick an eatery for our monthly adventure. Each month one person selects the activity (hiking, archery, exploring, etc.), the other selects the food. This weekend my dieting, health-conscious, bodybuilding nephew selected Parakeet Cafe. I was a bit apprehensive of giving him free rein to pick any eatery he wanted. When he informed me of his selection, Parakeet Cafe I quickly imagined myself in a cage eating flax seeds with a disgusted expression on my face. I had to force myself to remember the purpose of our monthly outings, it was to explore the unknown and find adventurous things to do. Parakeet Cafe definitely fits the requirements.
Parakeet Cafe is nestled near La Jolla's busy shopping area. When we first arrived we confused the Parakeet Juicery for the Parakeet Cafe. My stomach sank when I saw the hole-in-the-wall juicery with a menu outside listing all the smoothies and juices they served. I did not eat breakfast that morning, it was now lunchtime and I knew I needed solid food in my stomach before the hangry monster emerged in all its glory. A worried look came over my nephew when we stopped in front of the juicery. He knew my opinions of dieting and healthy eating. He stopped then turn to the right and was relieved to see that the Parakeet Cafe was just a few feet away.
The Cafe has a small patio area for outdoor dining and a few small tables for indoor dining inside an air-conditioned large room. The staff was very friendly and gave their recommendations for their favorite dishes. The process is to order the food then find a table. When the food is ready they bring it to your table. We selected indoor dining and sat immediately in front of the cashier. There was a display of large tea jars, espresso machines, and other culinary tools. My eldest nephew knew exactly what he wanted. Usually, he doesn't select his food choice this quickly, maybe because he has to search for the healthiest food choice in other restaurants. On the other hand, I was searching for the meat plate that did not exist on the menu.
I opted for mushroom toast, a Belgian Waffle, and a Lavender Matcha latte, iced for fear that I would not be satisfied with the "healthy" portions of this health-conscious place I would never visit on my own. My youngest nephew ordered a Surfer Burrito and hot chocolate while my healthy conscience nephew ordered the Organic Eggs & Salmon plate keto version with Moon Milk. We sat there and waited for our food. I started to observed the dinners around me. The people who came to this cafe were fit compared to the dinners I am used to seeing in regular restaurants, almost all the females were wearing yoga pants. It almost seems like a required uniform to order food. One dinner towards the corner of the outdoor patio sat alone eating his food, his face seemed depressed as he places food in his mouth. His lack of joy towards the food he was eating foreshadowed what my experience would be like in a few minutes. I drew my healthy conscience nephew's attention to the sad person eating his meal trying to prove a point that if that person had meat on his plate there would be a smile on his face. I later observed that the lone diner was reading so his attention was not on the food put on the subject he was reading.
Out came the drinks, the hot chocolate was served in this ceramic cup. The hot cocoa had a cream design that made it look expensive and delicious. Next came the Moon milk and the Lavender matcha latte iced. I never heard of Moon milk but after tasting it I knew I would have to acquire the taste for this blend of milk, ground cinnamon, turmeric, and other spices. My Lavender match was as expected, it tasted like lavender. I should have selected another drink. It was not bad but I don't know why I selected to drink lavender instead of perhaps orange juice.
Next came the plates. The mushroom toast was beautifully plated. It was a large piece of bread with grass on top and flower petals. Upon further inspection, I uncover the delicious mushrooms on top of this creamy goat cheese. The spinach balance the bitter taste of arugula. I added avocado to my dish once again fearing that I would be eating a tasteless meal. To my surprised, it was a great balance of flavors.
I had a small taste of my nephew's food choices and was happily surprised at the unique flavors. The beet-cured smoked salmon was my favorite. It was bright magenta in color but the flavor was perfect, smoked salmon with a hint of beet. The Belgian waffle is not your typical Denny's waffle covered in jar strawberries in a thick bright red sugary syrup. These Belgian Waffles were topped with real strawberries, blackberries, granola, and bananas. The homemade Nutella and organic whipped cream provided the perfect amount of sweetness without overpowering the waffle. The syrup on the side was just extra in case one needed more sweetness.
I was extremely surprised at the quality of food and flavor. Although I didn't have meat for lunch I felt full and satisfied. I was worried I would have to stop at In-n-Out but I was full all day and did not have the "I ate too much" feeling that I normally get with regular food. I am not a health-conscious person and I would not get caught dead in a vegan or vegetarian eatery however Parakeet Cafe did bring my health conscience nephew and me together to enjoy a good meal. It was a pricey meal for bread, grass, seeds, and fruit but I would gladly go back with my nephew to enjoy another grass sandwich with flower petals on top. Next time I will get the salmon.
I do recommend this place for health-conscious people. They cater to all the popular diets, keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian.
Exploring California Food Rating:
Price (Cheap, Fair, Expensive): Expensive. Seriously you can make the majority of these dishes at home for $2.00-$2.50.
Creativity/Plating: (1-5): I give them a 4. The food looks appetizing and Instagram-ready. The colors and plate design were very creative. The food did not look sad it screamed "eat me."
Flavor: (1-5) I give it a 4, Although it was not what I typically eat the food was delicious.