New, healthy, seasonally-inspired dishes have popped up around San Diego, just in time for summer. Not only can you experience tasty, healthful food items, but cocktails have gotten into the game as well. Heavy, sugary syrups are replaced with fresh juices and natural ingredients. If you're looking to feel better about your meal or beverage splurge this season, here are four places to consider.
Introducing its second location in San Diego, Native Foods Café can now be found in Point Loma. Located inside the Party City/TJ Maxx shopping center, Native Foods is easy to access with plenty of available parking. While known for their vegan-friendly dishes, 85% of Native’s customers are actually non-vegans. This fast-casual eatery offers high-flavor, fresh food with dishes that range from $5-$12. Check out the Ensalada Azteca Salad, made with quinoa, avocado, currants, jicama, pumpkin seeds, and mango lime vinaigrette. Appetizers like the Butternut Polenta Bites are fancier then you’d expect, with caramelized onions and toasted pumpkin seeds. Drinks like the watermelon fresca and lavender lemonade are refreshing, with fresh mint available at the counter as an add-in. There’s also vegan wine, desserts, and a kid’s menu.
Located inside the historic US Grant Hotel in downtown, the Grant Grill rarely disappoints. This luxurious restaurant and bar keeps their offerings current and seasonal. Their cocktail menu is no exception, for Head Mixologist Jeff Josenhans has developed the “Super Throwbacks” menu, which takes old-school, historically unhealthy cocktails, and gives them a healthful makeover. The Pina Colada includes raw pineapple juice, camu camu agave, and egg white foam. The Big Island Iced Tea features hibiscus flower tea and miracle fruit cane sugar, and the Tequila Sunrise replaces sugary OJ with mango, raw beet grenadine and fresh key lime juice. The cocktails are $12 each and contain superfoods, so the patron gets a touch of nutrition with each beverage.
In the East Village, there’s a quaint, Mad Men-esque bar called Cat Eye Club. Located just behind the Blind Burro, Cat Eye is known for their hand-crafted cocktails with 1960’s vibe. They’ve revealed their Tiki-style cocktail menu, which revamps classics like the Mai Tai (called the Cat Tai here) with fresher, quality ingredients. Served in festive, ceramic mugs and volcano bowls, the new menu includes the Tourmaline Typhoon which features Ballast Point Three Sheets Aged Rum, Ballast Point Three Sheets White Rum, guava puree and lemon juice. This cocktail is so potent; there’s a two per-person limit. Tiki cocktails range from $10-$15, the Scorpion Bowl is $27.
For lighter food options to enjoy with the whole family, head to Mission Valley where the Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar have added new items to their Nutritious & Delicious menu. This menu features dishes under 650 calories, with new summer-inspired items. Crisp pizzas like the jerk chicken, Margherita, and Mediterranean come in half-crisp portions (or as full-crisps on the regular menu). The Lemon-Caper Chicken Pasta includes sautéed chicken breast, vegetable ratatouille, fresh spinach and spiral pasta tossed in a lemon-caper sauce and placed in a large bowl. Other new options include the Ahi Nicoise Salad and a Chimichurri Mahi Mahi; new dishes range from $7.50-$12.95.
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