I first heard about Saturn Cafe when I was looking at Facebook and saw a vegan friend posting about it. The food sounded amazing, the pictures she was posting made it look like a fun place to visit, and I wanted to go right away. The only problem? It is in Santa Cruz, almost 400 miles from where I live in Orange County.
About a year after seeing that post on Facebook I went on a trip to the area, so the Saturn Cafe was definitely on the top of the list for places to visit in my spare time. It has an awesome 80’s meets space theme going on. Each table is like its own shadowbox. The theme of the one I was sitting at was LGBTQ rights, which was very cool. Parking was a bit of a challenge, but we figured it out and didn’t have to walk too far.
The Saturn Cafe is vegetarian, with a lot of great vegan and gluten free options. Typically, when I go to a restaurant that serves vegan food, most of the menu items are at least somewhat healthy. This is not the case with Saturn Cafe. Many of their dishes are clearly and apologetically vegan junk food. My first time there, I ended up starting with the Sampler Platter. It had everything you would want in an appetizer, and reminded me of the Sampler Platter I used to get at Denny’s in my pre-vegan days (but without the gross meat). Saturn Cafe’s better vegan version comes with their Taquitos, Sweet Potato Fries, Steak Cut Garlic Fries, and Onion Strings. I ended up asking them to make sure it was all vegan, since their menu was a bit confusing as to what was vegan and what wasn’t. The staff was very knowledgeable and helped me navigate the menu so I was able to order correctly. It came with two dipping sauces, so I got Vegan Ranch and BBQ Sauce. Everything was awesome and tasted entirely unhealthy, which was what I was going for. It was a ton of food, and my husband and I couldn’t finish it by ourselves.
Figuring I should at least get SOME greenery and protein in for the day, I also ordered the Crispy Tofu Sesame Salad. I loved the simple sesame vinaigrette dressing, which tasted like it was made with just sesame oil and rice vinegar (in a good way). The salad itself was made with lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, red bell peppers, avocado, and the wonderfully crispy tofu. It was light and ended up being the perfect way to end the meal after the super heavy Sampler Platter.
I ended up going back once again before leaving the area. I ordered the same things, but added a Chocolate Milkshake for the road. Definitely a good choice; it was one of the better vegan milkshakes I have had.
If you’re in the Santa Cruz or Berkley area and are in the mood for some fantastic vegan junk food (or if you just want to go somewhere with really awesome ambiance), visit Saturn Cafe. Everything about it is funky, right down to having to pick whether you want to use the Aliens or Robots bathrooms. My only regret is that I didn’t go for the brunch… the Vegan Spuds sound delicious.