At Conscious Creations Cafe, owner and head chef Joshua Server fills tables with unique dishes that use exclusively local, organically grown ingredients from sustainable providers. The ever-changing menu shifts every day of the week, filling its pages with dishes designed to showcase the freshest selections from farmers' markets in Salinas and Watsonville or local grocers such as New Leaf and Staff of Life. Goddess salads jumble fresh vegetables such as onions, carrots, and leafy greens into a giant bowl with tangy feta and dressing made with the tears of Athena. Emphasizing vegetarian and occasionally vegan values, the soups on the menu rotate daily depending on pantry availability. Entrees plate a combination of dishes that have included mediterranean gnocchi, tempeh empanadas, and free-range chicken satay, accompanied by a side of mashed potatoes or rice. For an additional cost, guests can complement solid fare with a glass of wine or a recycled wineglass full of beer.
The seasoned bakers at Nite Owl Cookies stay up late to provide insomniac cookie cravers with natural, preservative-free dough disks. Mix and match any of Night Owl’s seven decadent flavors to form your sweet-tooth satiating baker’s dozen—chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, brownie cookie, vegan chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin.
Fresh meat from Morris Grassfed Beef, dairy products from Claravale Farm, and produce from Farm Fresh come together for executive chef and Organicopia owner Molly Holbrook’s all-natural recipes. She and her kitchen staff compile every meal from scratch, using seasonal ingredients and calibrating meals to clients’ allergies, dietary restrictions, and preferences for foods that begin with the letter Z. The team can craft full weeks of prepared meals and deliver them to customers’ doorsteps or devise one-time menus for catered events such as dinner parties and backyard celebrations. Molly also uses her expertise to analyze the nutritional value of her clients’ diets and help them manage their weight with tailored meal plans and cooking lessons.
Dream Dinners founders Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna want to help families gather around the table for delicious meals. Like many parents throughout the country, the two women tried to coordinate a family dinner, but their efforts were often thwarted by hectic schedules. As a dinnertime strategy, Stephanie began to prepare meals with fresh, raw ingredients and then freeze them so they could be quickly thawed and cooked during the week. This tactic became popular with her family. Before long, friends, friends of friends, and chimpanzee families that mimicked their friends wanted to learn her secrets. With help from Tina Kuna, she established the first Dream Dinners location, and the successful food-prep business has led to the creation of more than 90 stores in less than three years.
At each Dream Dinners location, customers find all the culinary tools to prepare a nutritious meal—everything from fresh ingredients to meal-packing materials. Each week Dream Dinners features a new menu of fix-and-freeze dinners that can be made for up to six people, providing customers with numerous options for planning quiet meals at home or dinner parties with friends. All ingredients are precut and measured to ensure an error-free fixing.
At La Costa del Sol, cooks work from a menu that mixes Salvadoran dishes such as fried chicken and fried yucca with pork with Mexican staples such as tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. According to SanJose.com, the eatery’s horchata salvadoreña blends toasted rice and peanuts with morro seeds, a Salvadoran twist that differentiates the drink from its Mexican counterpart. The menu also highlights Salvadoran pupusas, griddle cakes stuffed with beans, cheese, and meat, just like the best care packages from mom.
At El Amigo, where a spacious, brightly colored indoors is met with an outdoor patio, patrons can feast on classic Mexican cuisine. Enchiladas arrive drenched in green or red salsas, or succulent mole sauce. Breaded pieces of fish fill tacos with coleslaw and chipotle sauce, while marinated chicken arrives with rice, beans, and pico de gallo. Soft French bread carries beef and chicken in tortas, as margaritas quench any underlying thirsts.