Tasty and healthful

“Fresh, local and homemade” is motto at Wild Oak Café

Grilled cheese with red onion, tomato and pesto.

Grilled cheese with red onion, tomato and pesto.

PHOTO by melanie mactavish

Wild Oak Café
196 Cohasset Road, Ste. 150

It is entirely possible to make one’s dream salad at Wild Oak Café. Say you want a heaping bowl of spring greens topped with tabouli, chopped boiled egg, pieces of raw broccoli, strawberries, sunflower-seed kernels and Dijon-balsamic dressing. No problem.

Or maybe you have a craving for a little side salad made with fresh spinach leaves, chopped raw kale, grape tomatoes, grated beets, bleu-cheese crumbles, kalamata olives, roasted pumpkin-seed kernels (pepitas) and shiitake-sesame dressing, maybe with a little spoonful of quinoa-walnut salad tucked into the bowl as well. Equally doable. That is the dream salad for the day that I created at Wild Oak’s vast salad bar (sold by weight, at $9.25 per pound) for lunch the day after New Year’s Day.

It was to accompany the BBQ Tofu sandwich on multigrain sourdough bread that I ordered. Actually, I opted for a half sandwich for $6.99 (the whole version was $10.70). I also ordered one of the juices featured on the eatery’s standing white board, a perfect juice for ringing in a new year: a 16-ounce Ultimate Cleanse, made with celery, spinach, kale, parsley, lemon, apple and ginger ($8.87 for the 16-ounce size, $7.48 for 12 ounces).

I took the number-on-a-stand I was handed by the friendly woman who rang up my order and headed outside the busy café with my salad on what was a sunny, clear winter day to take a seat at a table on the eatery’s roomy front patio, right next to the soothing sounds of the large, lovely fountain.

In short order, my juice arrived in all its chartreuse-colored splendor. Its look alone was bursting with life. And its taste—oh, its divine taste—was equally refreshing and invigorating. A certain lightness of flavor was imparted to the drink by the addition of lemon and apple juices and ginger. This green juice was (unlike some healthful green drinks) not thick nor heavy, and was the sort of beverage that even a newcomer to green juice-drinks would not have to steel herself to swallow (as, say, a wheat-grass newbie might).

My sandwich arrived after not much time: a warm, grilled comestible featuring slices of tofu slathered in house-made barbecue sauce, tomato, avocado, red onion and jack cheese. It was accompanied by the carrot and celery sticks with house-made hummus that I chose as my side (white corn chips with hummus were my other option).

My BBQ Tofu sandwich was delicious and comforting, and left me feeling clean, as well-prepared healthful food should. It capped off an altogether pleasant dining experience.

Wild Oak was voted by CN&R readers as Best Place for Vegetarian Food in last year’s Best of Chico contest, but its menu offers an array of meat-based items as well, such the Thai Tuna sandwich, the Chipotle Chicken sandwich, and a range of burgers featuring either a veggie patty or, for an extra charge of 75 cents, a grass-fed-bison patty. The restaurant also makes a Wild Alaskan Salmon burger and offers a nitrate-free bison hot dog.

The restaurant offers an array of soup choices daily and its menu’s Daily Entrees section announces three veggie-based offerings: vegetarian lasagna, vegan meatloaf and a steamed-veggie bowl featuring either organic brown rice or soba noodles, and an option of adding tofu or chicken for an extra charge.

Breakfast burritos and grilled breakfast sandwiches (such as the egg, spinach, feta, tomato and jack cheese sandwich) are also available, as is a variety of fair-trade coffees and teas, and other drinks, including beer and wine.

Wild Oak Café’s varied menu, relaxing ambiance, accommodating hours and commitment to using healthful ingredients (“We strive to use organic and locally grown ingredients whenever possible,” says the menu) make it a go-to spot for anyone desiring a truly rewarding dining experience.