4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Sprouted Again

'Raw collard greens, man. They're the wrap around the wrap. I swear. You'll love it!" I have created a monster. Yes, I'm the one who started Hank on his health kick. But now the guy never stops, 'specially since I confessed that, the other week, I chose Max's Deli across the road over this nutty, twiggy Kung Food joint.

I follow Hank into a spacious courtyard behind a trellis, giving onto a terracotta-red frontage. One end is bricky, with climbing vines, a, like, xeriscape garden with native grasses and a couple of bottlebrush trees with scarlet flowers. People sit out under square white canvas umbrellas. Everyone looks disgustingly healthy.

Then it all comes back to me. "Hank!" I say. "We've been here before. Remember? Vegetarian Zone? But it closed down."

"Well, looks like it's sprouted again," says Hank.

The inside looks fresh-painted, with washed peach walls, green leaves painted around the top, a cream-colored ceiling. Signs promise a "100 percent plant-based menu." There are cabinets with "live" raw food and a rack of steaming chafing dishes.

Lumpy creations fill serving plates, like one made up of tempeh, celery, red onion, scallions, pickle, "veganaise" -- a kind of mayo, for sure -- and a bunch of other things such as dill and ginger and tamari and rice vinegar. It's called "Bye Bye Birdie." I guess it's supposed to taste like chicken. But Hank has one thing in mind for me, and it ain't Bye Bye Birdie.

"No, no, next to that," Hank says. "That's your lunch right there. The green wrap?"

Lord. He exaggerateth not. A big plate is loaded with "Collard Wraps." Instead of a tortilla, each burrito has one giant collard-leaf wrapper. The veins crawling up the leaf's back look like the veins on your hand.

A card beside the dish says that inside they've stuffed cashews, agave -- the nectar, for natural sweetness -- alfalfa, cilantro, mango, red cabbage, avocado, ginger...

"He'll have a collard wrap," Hank says to Erica, the girl behind the counter.

"Good choice," says this other girl. Name's Scorpio. Huh.

"And I'll have some of that curried veggies, and the beans with 'chorizo,' the 'soyrizo,' " Hank says. "Oh, and some lasagna."

"Why don't you have some hot stuff, too?" Scorpio says to me. "We sell everything by the pound, $7.95. Just put what you want on the plate."

Well, this is Hank's party. I start with steamed quinoa -- the Incas' "mother grain" of the Andes, Scorpio says -- then a chunk of "chicken" pot pie (with vegan "chick" nuggets and great pastry), and a scoop of that "Bye Bye Birdie." The tempeh looks crunchy, without that tofu wobbly-milky thing about it.

We go pick out a table in the dining area. Techno-beat loop-music's on the soundtrack. The room has tie-dye--type art on the walls and ceramic bowls for sale on the shelves. Each bowl has a message ("Awareness is a candle in the darkness of our forgetting'"). Plus they have ads up for, like, a "Holistic Integration Entrepreneur Business" mixer.

Everything tastes great in its brave attempt to be like "the real thing," the pie, the tempeh, even Hank's "soyrizo" and lasagna. But -- and I hate to give Hank so much credit -- it's my "live" collard wrap that takes the grand prize. Yes, it's like biting through a banana frond, but inside you get all these surprise taste rewards. The cashews, the almonds, the sweet mango, the savory ooziness of the avocado. And the miracle is, you don't miss the tortilla. A creamy nuttiness carries you through.

I'd had coffee (organic, $1.45), but now Hank wants one too, so I decide to go for something I saw on a written sign above the cash register. "Feeling sick? Need to clear up your sinuses? Try Israel's Tonic! Garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, lemon, apple, beet and carrot."

While we're waiting for Erica to concoct that, I pick up one of the plastic card-holders they've put on each table. On the back is a poem.

KFCruelty. Colonel Sanders was a slave trader for animals...

If a rooster tried to eat your breast

Would you be pissed?

...the farmer

He's the world's harmer

Imagine if there was no beef

Would the earth seem calmer?

I think so.

The guy who wrote this turns out to be Joe Cortez. He works here. He's young, a kid, really. Tells me people don't realize chickens can be as intelligent as dogs. "I've protested so many KFCs," he says. "The point is, these animals are not respected."

I pick up my Israel tonic ($3.50) and Hank his organic cawfee ($1.45). Zowee! That tonic's red, rich, and peppery. "How can you not love this place?" says Hank. We're sitting outside now. "They heat their water by solar panels, they send food leftovers to local farmers to add to their compost. These are the Robin Hoods."

"You don't need to preach, dude," I say. "I'm willing. It's just that...."

"What?"

"Next time I'm outside a greasy spoon, starving for eggs, bacon, grits, and cawfee, what am I gonna do? Find some expensive organic place 20 miles away?"

"I know, I know," Hank says. "As Kermit the Frog says, 'It's not easy being green.'"

"Unless," I say, "you have green."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Imperial County Covid story banned by Twitter and YouTube

Drs. George Fareed of Brawley, Brian Tyson of El Centro treated 7,000 patients
Next Article

The plant-based bread schtick of Ben and Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli

Bagels and marble rye elevate fish-free and meatless versions of deli classics

'Raw collard greens, man. They're the wrap around the wrap. I swear. You'll love it!" I have created a monster. Yes, I'm the one who started Hank on his health kick. But now the guy never stops, 'specially since I confessed that, the other week, I chose Max's Deli across the road over this nutty, twiggy Kung Food joint.

I follow Hank into a spacious courtyard behind a trellis, giving onto a terracotta-red frontage. One end is bricky, with climbing vines, a, like, xeriscape garden with native grasses and a couple of bottlebrush trees with scarlet flowers. People sit out under square white canvas umbrellas. Everyone looks disgustingly healthy.

Then it all comes back to me. "Hank!" I say. "We've been here before. Remember? Vegetarian Zone? But it closed down."

"Well, looks like it's sprouted again," says Hank.

The inside looks fresh-painted, with washed peach walls, green leaves painted around the top, a cream-colored ceiling. Signs promise a "100 percent plant-based menu." There are cabinets with "live" raw food and a rack of steaming chafing dishes.

Lumpy creations fill serving plates, like one made up of tempeh, celery, red onion, scallions, pickle, "veganaise" -- a kind of mayo, for sure -- and a bunch of other things such as dill and ginger and tamari and rice vinegar. It's called "Bye Bye Birdie." I guess it's supposed to taste like chicken. But Hank has one thing in mind for me, and it ain't Bye Bye Birdie.

"No, no, next to that," Hank says. "That's your lunch right there. The green wrap?"

Lord. He exaggerateth not. A big plate is loaded with "Collard Wraps." Instead of a tortilla, each burrito has one giant collard-leaf wrapper. The veins crawling up the leaf's back look like the veins on your hand.

A card beside the dish says that inside they've stuffed cashews, agave -- the nectar, for natural sweetness -- alfalfa, cilantro, mango, red cabbage, avocado, ginger...

"He'll have a collard wrap," Hank says to Erica, the girl behind the counter.

"Good choice," says this other girl. Name's Scorpio. Huh.

"And I'll have some of that curried veggies, and the beans with 'chorizo,' the 'soyrizo,' " Hank says. "Oh, and some lasagna."

"Why don't you have some hot stuff, too?" Scorpio says to me. "We sell everything by the pound, $7.95. Just put what you want on the plate."

Well, this is Hank's party. I start with steamed quinoa -- the Incas' "mother grain" of the Andes, Scorpio says -- then a chunk of "chicken" pot pie (with vegan "chick" nuggets and great pastry), and a scoop of that "Bye Bye Birdie." The tempeh looks crunchy, without that tofu wobbly-milky thing about it.

We go pick out a table in the dining area. Techno-beat loop-music's on the soundtrack. The room has tie-dye--type art on the walls and ceramic bowls for sale on the shelves. Each bowl has a message ("Awareness is a candle in the darkness of our forgetting'"). Plus they have ads up for, like, a "Holistic Integration Entrepreneur Business" mixer.

Everything tastes great in its brave attempt to be like "the real thing," the pie, the tempeh, even Hank's "soyrizo" and lasagna. But -- and I hate to give Hank so much credit -- it's my "live" collard wrap that takes the grand prize. Yes, it's like biting through a banana frond, but inside you get all these surprise taste rewards. The cashews, the almonds, the sweet mango, the savory ooziness of the avocado. And the miracle is, you don't miss the tortilla. A creamy nuttiness carries you through.

I'd had coffee (organic, $1.45), but now Hank wants one too, so I decide to go for something I saw on a written sign above the cash register. "Feeling sick? Need to clear up your sinuses? Try Israel's Tonic! Garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, lemon, apple, beet and carrot."

While we're waiting for Erica to concoct that, I pick up one of the plastic card-holders they've put on each table. On the back is a poem.

KFCruelty. Colonel Sanders was a slave trader for animals...

If a rooster tried to eat your breast

Would you be pissed?

...the farmer

He's the world's harmer

Imagine if there was no beef

Would the earth seem calmer?

I think so.

The guy who wrote this turns out to be Joe Cortez. He works here. He's young, a kid, really. Tells me people don't realize chickens can be as intelligent as dogs. "I've protested so many KFCs," he says. "The point is, these animals are not respected."

I pick up my Israel tonic ($3.50) and Hank his organic cawfee ($1.45). Zowee! That tonic's red, rich, and peppery. "How can you not love this place?" says Hank. We're sitting outside now. "They heat their water by solar panels, they send food leftovers to local farmers to add to their compost. These are the Robin Hoods."

"You don't need to preach, dude," I say. "I'm willing. It's just that...."

"What?"

"Next time I'm outside a greasy spoon, starving for eggs, bacon, grits, and cawfee, what am I gonna do? Find some expensive organic place 20 miles away?"

"I know, I know," Hank says. "As Kermit the Frog says, 'It's not easy being green.'"

"Unless," I say, "you have green."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Luman Gaskill and the bloody gunfight at Campo, Americans invade Baja

Little Landers farm San Ysidro, Salton Sea's creation, history of eucalyptus in San Diego, Charles Hatfield makes a flood, Colorado River unchained
Next Article

EPA closer to banning leaded airplane gas

San Jose study bears on Montgomery and Brown Fields future
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close