The Taste Journey: SPROUT CAFE

A short little post about my adventures at University Avenue today, just because. I rarely have time to go down there (and even today, I only went down because I really needed to run errands), but it definitely is a treat. Today, however, I decided to skip the milk tea stations and pastry stores – I really wanted to see what University Avenue had to offer in terms of healthy food. And I definitely had high expectations. I know that when salads and organic food is cooked with creativity and care, they can taste wonderful. I headed to the popular Sprout Cafe.

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I walk into Sprout Cafe and I’m looking at a table with just tons of clipboards on it – you get to fill out a slip of paper with your choice of salad greens, 6 toppings, dressing, and more. You can even choose your portion size – half salad or full salad. I’m overwhelmed and excited by the choices! At the end, I order a half salad with mixed greens, roasted almond slices, goat cheese, firm tofu, grapes, celery, and cherry tomatoes, as well as a light miso sesame dressing.

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Only a few minutes I place my order, a nice waiter comes with the salad. Sitting in a corner before a dark wooden table, I dig in, and it is absolutely, unbelievably delicious. The slightly salty and savory comforting flavor of the miso dressing hits me first, accompanied by the slight tanginess of a cherry tomato, wrapped in lettuce. I stab at a cube of goat cheese and layer it with some more greens. The cheese is absolutely amazing – soft and creamy, with a flavor that does not overpower. The grapes are not sour – something I am very peculiar about – and it’s sugariness is balanced out by the crunchy, salty almonds. There is a punch of different flavors, but not any one overpowers the other. This is perhaps the best salad I’ve ever had in my entire life. And I don’t usually appreciate salads.

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The atmosphere was actually not ideal. I was expecting a more quiet, cozy environment, but the cafe had a cold tone to it – in fact, it was literally way too cold in there, which did not please me. But, with wooden tables, a steel cutlery stand, and bamboo decorations made me feel like the space was imposing a meditative feel on me. But, hell, I just wanted to eat some good food, do my homework, and feel at home.

Sprout Cafe’s food was splendid, and although the tone of the place is a bit offputting, it was a nice experience all in all. Here are some of the logistics:

Price – $$ [wouldn’t go here every weekend, let’s say, but didn’t feel guilty for breaking my budget or anything]

Location –

168 University Avenue

Palo Alto, CA 94301

Hours –

11:00AM-9:00PM Monday-Saturday

Official Website –

http://www.cafesprout.com/home

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