Cauliflower was the trendiest vegetable of 2018 (yes, even vegetables trend these days), and it's not hard to see why. The hearty plant can easily replace carb-heavy rice and wheat – or even meat -- while taking on the flavor of whatever else is in the dish.
Chefs around San Diego County have been using this humble veg as a blank canvas for incredible flavor combinations and layers of texture, and these are our five favorite places to savor them right now.
Charred Rainbow Cauliflower Taco at LOLA 55
Lola 55 has several great vegetarian options, but their best (in my opinion) is the charred rainbow cauliflower taco. With smoky eggplant “bacon,” creamy avocado mousse, crunchy almonds, sweet golden raisins and spicy morita dulce salsa, you will not miss the meat among so many flavors and textures. Watch the corn tortillas being made while you stand in line to order.
1290 F Street, East Village
Sunday to Thursday, 11am - 9pm; Friday to Saturday, 11am - 11pm
Roasted Cauliflower Steak at The Nolen
One of the best cauliflower steaks I’ve tried is on The Nolen's new menu. While you’re never going to mistake the Roasted Cauliflower Steak for filet mignon, the unusual combination of pappadew, olives, capers and provolone makes for a flavorful and surprisingly hearty main dish.
453 6th Avenue, Gaslamp
Sunday brunch, 11am - 2 pm; Sunday to Thursday, 4pm - 12am; Friday to Saturday, 4pm - 1am
Photo: Michelle Stansbury
Wood Grilled Cauliflower at TRUST
At TRUST, they aren’t trying to make cauliflower “be” anything else. Chef Brad Wise has just figured out how to make cauliflower the very best version of itself: wood grilled over red oak and combined with golden raisins, mint, Serrano aioli, and curry vinaigrette. This is a dish to eat quietly as you detangle the layers of flavor in silent reverence.
3752 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest
Monday to Thursday 5pm – 9pm; Friday 5pm - 10pm; Saturday 9am – 2pm, 5pm – 10pm; Sunday 9am – 2pm; 5pm – 9p
Buffalo Cauliflower at Backyard Kitchen & Tap
Pacific Beach’s Backyard Kitchen & Tap brings the flavor of Buffalo wings to the vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower, a plateful of roasted cauliflower, crispy kale, and chickpeas, smothered in tangy buffalo sauce and topped with gorgonzola crumbles. After a few beers, you might even mistake the texture for boneless wings.
832 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
Monday, 3pm-10pm; Tuesday to Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday & Sunday: Brunch, 9am-3pm and Dinner, 3pm-10pm
Roasted Cauliflower at Tocaya Organica
The vegan, gluten-free roasted cauliflower at Tocaya Organica is spiced with curry, garlic, and cumin for a delicious alternative to potatoes. While most of the menu has a Mexican flair, the Indian flavors in their cauliflower works nicely as a counterpoint to their main dishes. The fast casual new spot is a good place to get your cauliflower fix when you’re on the go.
755 5th Avenue, Downtown San Diego
Daily, 11:30am - 10:00pm