Dining Out GREEN

By Sherry Greer

As more people discover the benefits of plant-based eating, restaurants have begun to embrace the trend of healthy, cruelty-free, planet supportive dining. Yet finding those little jewels of vegetable goodness can often take some exploring. If you are out and about looking for delicious vegan and vegetarian options in the Joshua Tree area, here are a few picks you might want to try:

Sherry Greer is the founder of Sage Circle Farm, a small plant-based organic farm in Yucca Valley, CA. Check out their fresh microgreens and heirloom organic produce at the Joshua Tree Farmers Market every Saturday morning from 8AM – 1PM. Or shop online for home delivery at www.sagecirclefarm.com.

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The Natural Sisters Café – Downtown Joshua Tree
760-366-3600 | naturalsisterscafe.com
A staple of the Joshua Tree scene, Natural Sisters usually has a line out the door for folks waiting for their vegetarian & vegan breakfast wraps, egg dishes, hot lunch sandwiches, and smoothies. They have a small outdoor seating area in front and a new grab and go deli case for those heading out early.
Try:
Egg Wrap: A generous portion of scrambled eggs, cheeses, and very fresh organic spinach in a wrap. Includes a small cup of yogurt with berry sauce. $8.99 winner!
Vegan Scram: Organic sprouted tofu, organic spinach, roasted red peppers, tomato, onion, organic shredded carrot, vegan cheese $10.99
Fresh Juices: All of them. House juiced and blended combos. Or create your own! Just delicious. $7.99 – $9.99

Crossroads Café – Downtown Joshua Tree
760-366-5414 | crossroadscafejtree.com
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – Crossroads has the most plant-based offerings for a restaurant that also has “regular” food – i.e – meat. Perfect for diners with mixed eating styles. Local beer on tap and wine. Fresh OJ and lemonade. Delicious desserts. It’s an all-around go-to.
My favorites:
The “Garfunkel” Sandwich: Grilled artichoke salad with parmesan & roasted red peppers. Comes with a choice of sides for $10.95
Hell Burger: Grilled seitan, slaw, chipotle aioli, and spicy! Comes with a choice of sides. $14.50
Soyrizo Hash with Tofu scramble: (This hash is gooooood!) $12.50
Messie Jessie: Scrambled eggs with soyrizo hash & mushrooms $14.50

Frontier – Old Town Yucca Valley
Hwy 62 & Pioneertown Rd
760-820-1360 | cafefrontier.com
Another place with a line out the door is Frontier, and like Natural Sisters, it’s worth the wait.
Frontier offers a few animal-based items like a BLT, bagels with lox, and tuna melts, but otherwise it’s veggie deliciousness. Great coffees and drinks, too.
Top Picks:
Green Dream Sandwich: Artichoke cashew spread, avocado spread, arugula, cucumber, sprouts & vegan mayo – supremely yum! $14
Avocado Tartine: Avocado spread with pickled red onion, dill, and mint on sourdough $14.75
Vegan BLT: Housemade tempeh bacon, mixed greens, tomato & vegan mayo $14

Food for Thought Café at Joshua Tree Retreat Center Campus
59700 29 Palms Hwy | 760-469-9764
Food for Thought Café is a mid-century modern cafeteria at the retreat center, designed by Lloyd Wright and open to the public Thursday through Monday, 7am – 3pm, for a vegetarian meal. Breakfast is an especially good call, as they have some great deals and the best granola I’ve ever eaten. (They actually have a local granola guru make it for them and yes, you can taste the love!) All vegetarian, all the time.
Recommended:
Good Morning Breakfast: Comes with coffee or tea and a choice of breakfast entrees $7.50
Sunday Brunch Buffet: All-you-can-eat vegetarian $15

La Copine Kitchen- Flamingo Heights
848 Old Woman Springs Rd
760-289-8537 | lacopinekitchen.com
La Copine offers delicious food for both plant-based diners and meat-eating foodies. La Copine usually has a wait, but if you try them during the week, you can often get a table indoors or outside without a wait – maybe. La Copine also has inspired desserts, beer, wine, and interesting cocktails.
Experience:
Little Gems salad: A very simple salad based around a beautifully fresh, packed with flavor, small head of little gem lettuce. The housemade lemon vinaigrette is wonderful. Avocado and sunflower seeds finish it off. $14
Galette Complete: A buckwheat crepe, with hen of the woods mushrooms, spinach, comte, fried egg and an apricot-mustard seed jam. $18
Artichoke Toast: Smashed fava beans, artichokes, goat cheese, mint on baguette $17

Honorable Mention:
The Tiny Pony Tavern – Yucca Valley
Hwy 62 near the 247
442-205-0163 | thetinypony.com
Tiny Pony is a new gastro pub in town. Featuring “Yucca Valley’s Best Views of Shoe City” it offers a full bar with food and a pool table. It’s not top of the list for plant-based dining, but they do have some great choices on the brunch menu (10-4 Sat & Sun only)
Avocado Tacos: Panko-crusted avocado, cauliflower-chickpea crème and pickled veggies $12
Roasted Carrots: A generous side dish. 12 medium carrot halves, well-roasted in a pool of fennel infused crème fresh. $13
Mimosas: $5 – Need I say more?

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