Vegan Eats on the Road: Palo Alto, California

Jenna here! This week my family went on a college road trip up through California. Right before we visited Stanford, we pulled over in a small shopping center to use Happy Cow, an extremely helpful guide for vegans and vegetarians hoping to find fitting restaurants while on vacation or in an unfamiliar area. I instantly saw great reviews about Calafia, a local, organic restaurant with an entire vegan and vegetarian menu. To our surprise, we were already in the right location! We walked into the restaurant and were immediately seated and given the special menu.

I ordered the vegan panini, which was packed with zucchini, spinach, a hummus-like spread, and a tomato jam. I was quite surprised by the tomato jam, because it turned the savory panini into something much more sweet, almost reminiscent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I particularly enjoyed the bread, which was quite crispy and fitting for a panini.

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The salad that came with the panini was also amazing. I typically don’t enjoy salad dressing–weird, I know–and eat salads plain, but this dressing, which was lemony and sweet, tasted great over the spicy arugula.

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My parents ordered two dishes to split. One of the dishes was the Dragon Noodle Bowl, which included firm tofu, onions, broccoli, and an almond base. The broth of this noodle bowl was perfectly warm and spicy–it would definitely help with a cold! I am still a bit scared to try tofu, but my parents said it was perfectly cooked and had a comforting texture similar to cheese.

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Finally, my parents split the Vegan Love Fest Pizza, which was topped with the same hummus-like spread that was in my sandwich, onions, olives and jalapeños, and radicchio. I loved the crust on this pizza, which was thin and crispy. It was definitely not a “traditional” pizza, which was a surprising plus because we didn’t feel stuffed or grossed out after finishing off the pizza.

Overall, my family’s experience at Calafia was very positive. The meals were each large servings and all of the food was extremely tasty. I especially appreciated the fact that the ingredients were clean and that the restaurant clearly makes an effort to support local farmers in California and provide its customers with the healthiest food possible. If you are ever in Palo Alto and are looking for some satisfying plant-based foods, be sure to check Calafia out!

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