Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
One of the 99 reviews of Swami’s on Yelp begins, “This place is simply an amazing organic food restaurant.” Though this, for some, may be a big draw, it makes me want to run. But S swears by the place, and La Mesa is her 'hood, so I go along for the ride.
Despite its reputation as an organic eatery and despite the fact that they do, yes, serve shots of wheat grass, Swami’s is, essentially, a diner. I was surprised to discover that along with the acai bowl and the Protein Veggie Wrap, they also serve chicken quesadillas, pastrami melts and other familiar, meat-inclusive fare. One of the daily specials today is a Reuben.
Lunch line at Swami's.
I have come expecting organic, so I go for the Protein Veggie Wrap, one of those things that I imagine will, in the end, make me feel healthy for having done so. S orders the Reuben and then graciously offers to go half-and-half with me.
Protein Veggie Wrap with a side of fruit.
It’s a two-faced meal to the Nth degree. The wrap looks green and fresh (there’s raw broccoli in it, for Pete’s sake), and the Reuben looks melty and meaty (and way more mouth-watering than all that raw broccoli).
The Reuben with a side of fruit.
S makes the mistake of eating her Reuben half first. I know the veggie wrap will taste blah if I eat it second, so I eat it first. It tastes green and. . .ok. The worst bites carry the flavor of raw broccoli, and the best ones are full of feta cheese. Then there’s a brown sauce leaking out the back end that gives the huge, soft tofu chunks a decent flavor. But no part of this wrap compares to the salty meat, sauerkraut, and rye flavors of the Reuben. I feel bad for S, who ate them in the wrong order. But not bad enough to give back the other half of the Reuben.
This $10 lunch* includes a Protein Veggie Wrap (or a Reuben. Or both, if you have a good friend with you.) for $7.95 — which includes choice of salad, fries, chips and salsa, or fruit — and an iced tea for $1.75.
*Total bill: $10.40