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Free Food for the Free Spirited at Flower Child. That newsletter header caught my attention! The restaurant's grand opening was set for December 6th but Pacific San Diego Magazine was promoting an exclusive hosted preview on the prior Friday or Saturday on a first come first serve basis! Of course I signed up to claim a spot which included a plus one.
The restaurant is located at Flower Hill Promenade off I-5 and Via De La Valle. Since it was dinner prime time, parking was a little harder to find in the lot. Dennis ended up parking on the street but another option was the parking structure at the nearby Whole Foods market. We noticed Flower Child took over the space of the former Sea & Smoke restaurant.
Upon entering, my eyes were drawn to these drink fountains of fun! It included three fresh lemonade flavors (pomegranate ginger, flower child lemonade, and organic apple cinnamon) and three tea flavors (black, mango, one more). There were two drink stations in the restaurant, one in front and one in back.
I like how they opened up the kitchen space which made it look enormous compared to the previous place. Plus, we could see the food assembly line where everyone was hussling to handle the preview weekend crowd!
The restaurant's concept was "healthy food for a happy world" and had a menu chock full of local produce which included some gluten lite and gluten free items. As part of the hosted preview, we could choose ANYTHING we wanted!
Winter Sunshine plus Salmon - organic salad with arugula, butternut squash, organic apple, celmentine, ancient grains, cranberry, goat cheese, sprouted almond, chia seed vinaigrette
I felt a bit of a "health kick" and decided to eat a salad. The Winter Sunshine salad seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink and I absolutely loved it. I especially love butternut squash plus every bite was a new combo of flavors and textures! So good. The dressing was light and refreshing. The salmon was cooked through and still moist but not fatty. I wish the salad were bigger but surprisingly, between both main dishes, I got quite full!
The Rebel - whole grain wrap with grass-fed steak, charred onion, port salut cheese, horseradish yogurt, arugula
Dennis said his wrap tasted like a Philly cheesesteak without all the onions. The cheese had some good flavor to it and the horseradish didn't burn his mouth! I guess my take on this wrap was a bit different. I couldn't picture anything but bulgogi with some goat cheese as I ate this! I thought the meat had a slightly sweeter side to it which I enjoyed. On the side was some mixed green salad with an olive oil type dressing. The meal didn't look big but was filling with enough meat.
Mix 'N' Match with red chili glazed sweet potato, yuzu brussels sprouts, and indian spiced cauliflower
For the sides, you could choose to get one for $4, two for $7 or three for $9. The brussels were roasted a bit too soft for my preference but did have some char on the edges. It was slightly salty, bordering on a soy sauce flavor for me. Dennis likes the salty though! The sweet potatoes had a sort of sesame oil taste as well as a slight kick to it! The flavors were fighting on my tongue between sweet and spiced! The cauliflower had that familiar indian profile spice over soft roasted vegetables but it was a little grainy on the edges due to the thick seasoning. Some parts were sweeter than others but it may have taken on some flavors from one of the other sides.
Last but not least was a cookie. Pic was taken by me. It was awesome. And by that I meant the cookie of course! We loved the slightly crunchy yet softer outer crust. The craziest thing was that it was gluten free but we couldn't tell at all! There's got to be some magical ingredients in there. My favorite part of the night was when the server came around to check on us. We told her it was delicious and she offered to bring us another! Score.
We also sampled drinks. Dennis's pick was the kombucha (left), which was a black currant flavor that day. He was happy that there wasn't a strong bite to it. It wasn't too fizzy either so was quite refreshing. I decided on the Pomegranate Ginger one (middle). It had a nice punch of tart to it and seemed to work for my mood that day.
Outdoor seating looked great but since it was evening during our visit, almost everyone sat inside!
I revisited with a friend in the mid-afternoon and we got to enjoy the outdoor patio.
"Forbidden" Rice with steak - black pearl, red japonica, snap pea, bok choy, broccoli, carrot, onion, toasted sesame, red chili
I noticed Brandon from Kitchen Konfidence ordered this so I had to try it myself! I was a fan of the rice medley but it did have an overall sweet taste to it from the sauce. The broccoli was cooked to a slight crunch. The meat was seared to a nice pink but still slightly chewy on some pieces.
Crushed Avocado Toast - soft egg, black sesame, white cheddar
This was simple but tasty. I especially loved the soft boiled yolk on top of the creamy avocado. The bread was toasted a bit harder but it worked fine with the toppings to soften it. We were still able to cut the bread with a knife to share!
After the meal, we were heading out and decided to stop here. I saw multiple people posing by this particular one the other night so we did the same!
So what was my take on Flower Child? The staff was proactive and walked up to say hi or check on you. The preview weekend went smoothly as far as I can tell which made for a positive start. It's fast-casual health food and I like it. I signed up for their ecard membership and was sent a $10 off $20 coupon to use within the next month! Sounds like we'll be back for more before you know it!
Flower Child (Del Mar)
2690 Via De La Valle
Del Mar CA 92014