Everyone knows that a good sandwich/salad joint is a great option for lunch. Frankly, it’s hard to mess up a good selection of burgers, wraps, sandwiches, etc. It allows just enough variety in its options, but not so much it’s impossible to choose. And when it’s totally vegan and (relatively) healthy, is there really any downside?
Enter Nature’s Express, a vegan restaurant on Solano Avenue that has been building a mean reputation since it opened in January 2010. For such a young restaurant, it’s already beginning to hold its own in the Berkeley vegan culture, and with good reason. The location itself is very small and quaint. On sunny days, the outdoor seating makes for the perfect supplement to the energizing food.
Inside, you can order your from any of the countless friendly staff members waiting behind the counter. Just behind them, the chef prepares your food in plain sight (which is somehow always more comforting, in my opinion). A shelf on the right features some very well known vegan cookbooks, and on the left are some very green (literally and conceptually) compost bins. Oh, and don’t forget the fruit flavored water, always a welcome treat!
Some of the super stars of the menu include the “Cheezy Mushroom Chik-un Melt,” which includes grilled mushrooms, delicious vegan Daiya cheese, and a fairly convincing “chicken” patty. A small burrito menu features the “Spicy Rizo,” a concoction complete with spicy soy chorizo, black beans, sautéed jalapenos, and brown rice pilaf. And the “Avo-Kale” wrap include seasoned baked tofu and creamy avocado dressing. Feel free to supplement absolutely everything with a side order of baked sweet potato fries.
So what’s for dessert? Well, you can opt for the selection of vegan cookies or one of the many smoothies featured on the menu, or you can treat yourself to some vegan soft serve ice cream. Yeah, that’s right. Vegan soft serve. Nature’s Express only features one flavor per day, but let’s just say previous flavors have included green tea, apple pie, pumpkin, and, most recently, eggnog. Don’t leave without at least committing yourself to a taste test.
So what’re you waiting for? Get on over to the north side of campus and treat yourself to healthy vegan food, fast!
In case you missed the first two posts of this series, you can find them here and here. Stay tuned for an update featuring vegan Mexican food in the near future! Also, again, if you have any suggestions or ideas for a vegan restaurant you’ve heard about, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!