Lunch at Saturn Cafe-Santa Cruz

21 Apr

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By Rhea H. Boyden

 ‘Before we sit down for lunch I need to use the restroom,’ I told my dad’s old high school friend who was toting his guitar into the restaurant with him. ‘They are right there’ he pointed towards two doors. ‘Um, which one is for the ladies?’ I asked him with a smile. One door said aliens on it and the other said robots. ‘You can use either one’ he said, ‘They are unisex. Twenty years ago the toilet doors were even more confusing as to which gender they were designated for’, he laughed. ‘Back then, one door said enlightened morons on it and the other said fanatic realists.’  

When I joined my family and old friends back at our table in the café 5 minutes later they were already playing guitar and singing an old Beach Boys song. The rest of the customers and the wait staff were singing along and smiling too. ‘This is so California’ I thought to myself. When I opened the menu the first item my eyes fell on was ‘spacadillas’ which of course is a play on the word quesadilla.  Saturn Café, in downtown Santa Cruz, has a Jetsons like space décor and round lamps with rings around them to resemble Saturn. It is truly a delightful space to dine in. Funky artwork adorns the walls, the building is round with American style diner booths artfully crafted to fit the building’s shape.

The food is exquisite. It is all vegetarian using locally sourced organic produce. The owners are dedicated to sustainability and serving happy people healthy soul food.  They have kept apace with the growing demand for a healthy twist on American comfort food. Their vegetarian burger is a big hit and they cook their fries in trans-fat free oil that then gets turned into bio fuel. They have won numerous awards for their excellent food which includes organic soups, healthy scrumptious salads, vegan milkshakes and delicious breakfast burritos.  I dined on the most fantastic fresh tomato soup with dill, perfectly ripe avocadoes and freshly squeezed lemonade. And one refreshingly pleasing aspect was that the portions were not enormous, which is the case in so many American restaurants. If you are dedicated to sustainability in American dining, the first easy step you can take as a restaurant owner is to half the portion size!! (I don’t usually use exclamation points in my writing as I know it is bad style, but I think a couple are necessary here).

Perfectly sated and happy, We headed to the sunny beach with the guitar to digest our delicious meal in the warm breeze and while watching the waves crash the coast we all sang along to old Beatles songs. A perfect Santa Cruz afternoon, and a happy reunion of friends and family.

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