Birds of a Feather

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IMG_3090-2 parakeet brunch_credit Ashley Ryan
Parakeet Café’s All I Avo Wanted blue corn waffle (front) and eggs Benedict on toast (left) | Photo by Ashley Ryan

Gather your flock and head to Parakeet Café for fresh, health-conscious fare and flavorful drinks this spring.

By Ashley Ryan


Since its opening, Parakeet Café has become a gathering spot for the community, offering ocean views and an airy patio on which to soak up the sunshine. But the brand’s focus is, and always has been, on its health-conscious cuisine.

The first cafe opened in La Jolla in 2007 after founders Carol Roizen and Jonathan Goldwasser turned to food as medicine for their daughter, Michelle, who was born with a rare disease. As the couple used locally sourced, organic ingredients to help her heal, they decided to offer the same in their restaurant, resulting in dishes that are vibrant, fresh and—most importantly—healthy.

The brand spread its wings and flew north last summer, nestling in Crystal Cove Shopping Center in a whimsical space featuring a colorful tiled mural, curved ceiling, wallpaper depicting outlines of parrots and lemons, and a neon sign that reads “love at first flight.” Step up to the counter to order, then peruse a selection of ceramic mugs, sweatshirts, baseball caps and prepackaged coffee while you wait.

IMG_3059-2 pastries at parakeet_credit Ashley Ryan
Pastries, including (clockwise from front) the raspberry shortbread pie, Raspberry Kiss croissant and chocolate pie | Photo by Ashley Ryan

There are ample coffee drinks to choose from in addition to organic teas, lemonade, mimosas, fresh fruit smoothies, cold-pressed juices and kombucha on draft. Enjoy an array of signature sips—like the honey cinnamon, salted maple, Mayan mocha, lavender or artisan chai lattes—that are crafted with house-made syrups or opt for one of Parakeet’s superfood wellness lattes, such as the green-hued magic mushroom matcha, vibrant blue mint magic latte or the flat black with activated charcoal.

All-day brunch can’t be beat, so tuck into the eatery’s All I Avo Wanted, a blue corn waffle layered with smashed avocado, an over-easy egg, shaved radish, feta cheese, hemp seeds and chile flakes with a side of house-made salsa macha. Another menu highlight is the eggs Benedict on toast, with crisp bread coated in spinach pesto, topped with two poached eggs and blistered tomatoes, all drizzled in a roasted poblano hollandaise sauce.

Speaking of toasts, there are plenty to sample: Try the standard avocado toast; the Harvest, topped with juicy chunks of heirloom tomatoes, creamy avocado, pickled onions and basil; the almond butter accompanied by fresh berries; the savory mushroom, with spinach pesto, goat cheese, arugula and white truffle oil; the salmon, with beet-cured fish, dill, cucumber relish and labneh; or the Truffle Scramble, covered with eggs, mushrooms, goat cheese, pesto and truffle oil.

Other breakfast delights include the French omelet sandwich, green chilaquiles, overnight oats, shakshuka, an acai bowl with fresh fruit and a breakfast burrito wrapped in a spinach tortilla.

image0 matcha lattes_Diana Rose Photography
Matcha and other lattes | Photo by Diana Rose Photography

For lighter fare on cooler days, opt for the soup—tortilla, squash or classic chicken noodle—or enjoy a fresh salad, like the colorful Kaleidoscope, with seasonal greens, heirloom tomatoes, charred fennel, pickled carrots and golden beets in spiced Greek yogurt and basil limoneta, or the Golden Goddess, which pairs arugula, spinach and baby gem lettuce with avocado, shaved radish, dill, chives and turmeric in a lemon vinaigrette.

If you’re hoping for heartier lunch options, you won’t be disappointed with one of Parakeet’s bowls, which are all gluten-free and vegan (though grilled salmon can be added), or the vegetarian Surfer Burrito, with charred broccoli and cauliflower “chorizo” married with eggs and potatoes. A grilled chicken sandwich and the Best Burger Ever round out the menu.

And don’t forget to take a peek at the pastry case—whether you select a chocolate pie, Raspberry Kiss croissant, zucchini loaf or something else entirely, these sweet treats are the perfect ending to a meal that will leave you chirping the praises of Parakeet Café.

Parakeet Café
7972 Pacific Coast Highway

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