2309 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Come for the photo-friendly aesthetic, stay for the tasty food: Santa Monica welcomes Alfalfa, a new all-day cafe offering everything from salads to breakfast burritos and an assortment of colorful doughnuts.
Alfalfa was founded with a simple mission: “To inspire communities through food and experiences that fill the mind, body and soul with joy.”
Seeking to fill a gap in the community for healthy food, Alfalfa is the creation of four childhood friends—Daniel Sobsey, Ben Sobsey, Andrew Arrospide and Daniel Londono—in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 2018. Two of the friends left their corporate jobs, testing the idea for a salad concept at a local farmers market.
As traction grew, they were invited to run a pop-up by a restaurateur at his local luncheonette. Alfalfa quickly grew in the space, becoming its flagship store in early 2019.
“What started as just a salad concept evolved to better fit the founding team’s vision and taste,” a statement about the restaurant explained. “The menu expanded to include doughnuts, breakfast burritos and premium coffee, while the physical space brought to life the feeling of joy and comfort core to Alfalfa.”
Even though COVID-19 has presented “unique challenges to Alfalfa and the industry as a whole,” the team was able to take an opportunity and expand to the West Coast, opening on February 13 on Main Street in Santa Monica.
“Given the founding team’s multiple ties to Southern California, opening a second location in Santa Monica in 2021 was, in many ways, a dream come true,” the statement continued.
Alfalfa partnered with a “like-minded nonprofit organization focused on mental health called Bring Change to Mind,” and shared they were “excited to expand upon its mission to inspire joy through balance.”
A portion of sales from Alfalfa’s opening day were donated to the nonprofit, which aims to “end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness” and is “helping over 10,000 high school students take a proactive approach to mental health and self-care.”
The menu at Alfalfa is designed to strike a balance between health and indulgence, all with a focus on using high-quality ingredients and “delighting customers.”
The Santa Monica location boasts a patio in the back, perfect for social distanced outdoor dining, as well as offering pickup and delivery. I took my meal to go, and overall, everything held up well.
My dinner began with a selection off the Signature Salad portion of the menu: Buffalo Goddess Salad, with alfalfa mix, wild rice, buffalo cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, goat cheese and green goddess ranch.
This salad was packed with both ingredients and flavor. The variety of textures blended together well to create something that was both soft and had a crunch.
Any of the salads available on the Alfalfa menu can also be made into a wrap, and there’s an option to build your own salad.
Next up was a Breakfast Burrito, which are served all day at Alfalfa. I opted for the Homemade Chorizo, a Fortaleza flour tortilla filled with homemade chorizo, fluffy eggs, ancho chili hash potatoes, queso Oaxaca, manchego cheese, onion, red pepper, salsa verde and smoked salsa roja.
The real star of the show here was the homemade chorizo, which wasn’t overly heavy or greasy, and mixed well with the other burrito stuffings. Both salsas are a good match for the burrito, not overly spicy but nicely tie the dish together.
Off the Something Sweet portion of the menu, I sampled the Nutella Bites, which are bite-sized cinnamon sugar doughnuts, stuffed with Nutella. These truly were bite size, making the perfect dish for someone who wants something sweet but not overly indulgent, with the cinnamon sugar a nice finishing touch.
I finished with trying four of the doughnut flavors: Lavender (vanilla bean and lavender glaze), Amber Maple (amber maple glaze topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch), Oreo (vanilla glaze with Oreo crumble and chocolate ganache) and Matcha.
Each flavor was special and memorable in its own way, but my favorite overall was the Amber Maple. I appreciated the texture of the cereal on top, but truly you can’t go wrong when picking a flavor here.
Diners are invited to wash down their meal with a selection of Coffee & Teas by Intelligentsia. The Iced Oat Milk Matcha Latte—organic matcha blended with oat milk and lightly sweetened with simple syrup—offered a hint of sweetness, without being overpowering, really letting the matcha shine through.
So whether you are seeking an afternoon pick-me-up, a sweet treat or a healthy meal, Alfalfa has you covered, with an extensive menu that hits all the right spots.
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