By Susan Gathman
The Naked Café, about ten minutes from campus at the intersection of Midway and Rosecrans, is a hidden gem among the fast-food joints and greasy buffets on the edge of Point Loma. The food is fresh and healthy without being too pretentious or adjective-laden (nothing is cedar-planked or festooned with balsamic reductions); portions are reasonable; there are rotating daily specials in addition to a good selection of menu staples, some of which include nutrition information for the health-conscious; and the outdoor patio is a great spot to observe life’ s rich pageant, which on this particular intersection generally includes a bizarre mashup of yoga class participants and grizzled, bicycling panhandlers.
The Naked is open for breakfast and lunch only, and the bulk of its menu generally falls into the brunchy category: big fluffy pancakes topped with fruit, stellar coconut French toast, an interesting assortment of sandwiches (try the house-made rosemary bread) and soups; salads and wraps; and a plethora of offerings in the omelette / scramble category. Although the Naked has an overall vegetarian sort of vibe (soy chorizo and tofu as far as the eye can see), there are a number of carnivorous options available. In this category, the roast beef hash ($10.50) and Buff Breakfast Burritos ($10.00) stand out.
Daily specials generally include one dish in the scramble category – for example, scrambled egg whites with artichoke hearts, feta, green onions and tomatoes – paired with quinoa and green rice plus a side of fruit or salad. The Naked has, far and away, the consistently best sides of fruit in any breakfast joint I’ve ever frequented – consistently ripe, seasonal and delicious rather than an aging, soggy afterthought. A second special generally involves burritos or something in the French toast genre.
To go with all that breakfast, the Naked brews a mean Kona coffee. The large French press is just right for two people (or one law student); they also have a good selection of espresso drinks, teas, fruit drinks, smoothies and a small wine and beer selection. The Golden Fairy Dust chai ($4) is amazing, as is the Emerald Pearls ($4): peppermint tea, soy milk and vanilla.
If you’re feeling in more of a lunch mood, the soup ($6) is always a good bet – it changes daily depending on the availability of ingredients. Ginger carrot, spinach and vegetable barley are some of my particular favorites. Don’t forget to ask for rosemary bread! Sandwiches ($9) are a Mad-Libs combination of fillings including sesame ginger tofu, beef filet with grilled onions, and marinated chicken breast, accessorized with house-made pesto, hummus or Thai peanut sauce.
The Naked Café is located at 3555 Rosecrans #109, and is open from 7:30 am – 2:30 pm seven days a week. Additional locations are in Carlsbad Village, Solana Beach and Encinitas. Bon appetit!