Ken Harrison 12:30 p.m., Sept. 30
$10 Lunch: Indigo Cafe
I stood in a strip mall in Kearny Mesa, faced with two options. This was a moment not unlike another I had in Julian a couple of months ago. On the one hand, here was Abbey’s, a barbeque joint I knew would satisfy the calories-are-a-myth carnivore in me. And on the other hand, directly next door, was Indigo Café, whose website calls this location (one of two in San Diego) “Kearny Mesa’s Healthy Alternative.”
I’ll be honest and say that I made my final decision on the number of empty seats. It was lunchtime, and Abbey’s was far more crowded. I didn’t want to eat standing up, so I chose Indigo Café. That said, once I’d made my decision, I began to crave (believe it or not) fresh lettuce and that light and happy sensation one gets upon realizing that her lunch has not made her feel bloated and sleepy.
Indigo Café is an order-at-the-register place where they call your name and bring your food to you once it’s ready.
I chose the Almond Chicken wrap ($6.99). The menu said it came with mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, red onions, mixed greens and an Asian vinaigrette. When it came, I wasn’t disappointed by the look of it. On the contrary, I was rather excited to see all that lettuce inside.
The first bite made me sad. I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve recently come to abhor processed chicken. Not in all forms, but certainly breaded and sliced as it was in my wrap. And then, too, the mandarin orange flavor and the vinaigrette made the whole thing a bit too sweet for my liking.
The pasta salad, too, was a bummer. Although sesame oil is one of my favorite flavors, the amount used in this pasta slickened my lips excessively.
All told, the best part about my meal was the iced tea – unsweetened.
Although I didn’t have the best experience, I feel like it might have been better had I not expected health food in its purer form. But, on a road trip, when faced with a choice between Indigo Cafe and fast food chains, this wrap would feel like eating organic sprouts straight from the ground and washed in a mountain stream.
As much as I complain, however, I could probably be convinced to return and give something else on the menu a try. Almost everything is in the $7 range, which leaves plenty of room for a drink while still keeping under $10.
Total bill: $9:28