It takes a special place to excite diehard red meat and gourmet cheese lovers with the kind of completely organic, vegan, soy-free and gluten-free meals they'll eagerly return for. And this is only part of what makes Trilogy Sanctuary different from your average clean-eating cafe.
The lack of a shiny storefront doesn't mean they're exactly flying under the radar. Word of mouth has amassed a loyal following of college students, La Jollans and others who drive the distance to benefit from Trilogy Sanctuary's mix of wellness offerings.
An easy-to-miss doorway on Girard Street leads guests to an elevator ride up to a cozy 2,000-square-foot roof terrace. Here, people dangle elegantly from colorful hammocks during popular outdoor aerial yoga classes. Others work on WiFi and chat with friends in sunshine over a kombucha. The vibe is incredibly relaxed. With views of swaying palm trees and the ocean amid the ohms, how could it not be?
Owners Joe Caldera and Leila Dora conceptualized a place where people could come to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit ... a trilogy, if you will. In addition to spiritual counseling, dance and yoga, there needed to be a sense of community and an indoor-outdoor cafe where plant-based foods play a role in helping people combat the stresses of daily life.
The likes of kale, buckwheat and green juice aren't exactly newbies to the San Diego dining scene. But chef Mike Feil has mastered blending superfoods into nourishing dishes so flavorful that they'll linger in your mind long after the last bite. He makes sauces, dips, wraps, tortillas and desserts in the cafe's open kitchen. The entire menu is designed with an eye toward making the customer feel better. And, who doesn't want to feel better?
One can't go wrong with either of the taco choices. My personal favorite is the garlic-roasted portobello taco with corn tortilla, cashew sour cream, avocado and pico, though I'd never turn away the more popular Perfect Tacos featuring quinoa chorizo. The presence of acai and pitaya bowls on the menu is hardly surprising, but Steele jazzes up bowl choices with the likes of cacao nibs and ginger. He even dials down the sugar with a low carb option.
Trilogy Sanctuary Cafe
When: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: 7650 Girard Ave., La Jolla
There are a lot of ways a raw vegan carrot cake topped with vegan cream could go wrong, especially in the eyes of people who prefer the real deal. It may not beat Grandma's recipe, but this is a moist, decadent, refined-sugar-free substitute with lovely hints of ginger that is actually good for you. In fact, dessert plus a fresh pressed juice is a common, guilt-free meal order here.
Like the balance needed to strike a perfect tree pose, as much as we love the cafe, no one part of the trilogy outshines the other. Go for a fabulous savasana and stay for a taco.
Katie Dillon is a lifestyle and travel writer who believes that one of the best ways to explore a city is through its food and drinks. Follow her adventures on social media at @lajollamom and send any tasty ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.