Parakeet Café owner Carol Goldwasser’s most-used word in describing her café is “super”: superfoods, super healthy, super fulfilling.
“It’s real food and it’s fantastic,” said Goldwasser, who owns the new Carmel Valley café with her husband Jonathan. “It’s not sacrificing flavor because it’s healthy. You eat and feel good about yourself—it’s a happy meal.”
Parakeet Cafe opened in One Paseo last month, hoping to become a place where families, friends and neighbors can meet to share a nourishing whole-food meal or sip coffee, organic teas, cacao chai or tumeric lattes.
“Our main drive is to bring high-quality, healthy food to the community,” said Goldwasser, who moved to San Diego from Mexico six years ago with her husband and two daughters, Natalie and Michelle. The couple opened the first Parakeet Café in La Jolla in July 2017, followed by a second in Little Italy.
They got their start in the food industry owning the four San Diego locations of the family-owned Juice Crafters organic juice bar, “the best smoothies you can get.” Carol Goldwasser’s cousins started the business in LA which has now grown to 15 locations throughout Southern California—the Goldwassers will open a Juice Crafters in One Paseo later this year.
The Goldwassers’ vision for Parakeet began with a personal journey, when their youngest daughter Michelle became very sick with a rare blood disease as an infant. Michelle’s treatment involved chemotherapy and, as a “traumatized” mother, Carol was dedicated to learn everything there was to know about healthy, clean food in order to strengthen her daughter’s immune system.
“I witnessed firsthand what happens when you feed your body the right way,” Goldwasser said of her daughter who is now a healthy 13-year-old. “It was to me amazing to witness. I made it my life’s purpose to share everything that I’ve learned. I’m a true believer of how healthy food can nourish your body.”
At their successful Juice Crafters stores, Goldwasser said customers were always asking for more options—they wanted oatmeal, teas and coffee. Not wanting to compromise the integrity of what Juice Crafters did so well, the thought of expanding their reach with a café came to life.
“The parakeet is a fun, colorful bird that eats from nature,” said Goldwasser of the namesake bird who thrives on fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. “We wanted to educate people to eat from nature and not from something that comes out of a box.”
The bird also inspired the cute, colorful and Instagram-worthy look of their cafes. All of them are a bit different but One Paseo’s is decked out in blue and pink parakeet print wallpaper, a neon sign that reads “tweet tweet,” a black and white stripe accent wall, creamsicle orange booths and a succulent centerpiece at every table.
Outside on Parakeet’s large patio, script reads playfully across one wall: “a little bird told me.”
The café menu features all-day breakfast-style dishes such as overnight oats, chilaquiles and matcha waffles and cacao waffles, which are served with coconut yogurt, organic fresh berries, banana and a sprinkle of coconut sugar and cinnamon.
“People love our waffles because they are gluten free and don’t have any refined flour,” Goldwasser said.
The menu includes a variety of toasts such as avocado, salmon, mango chutney and black bean which comes with fresh goat cheese, nopales, jicama salad, pico de gallo and zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice.
Many options are vegan, gluten free and paleo friendly including their salads, soups and bowls—the roasted greens bowl is one of the most popular served with plenty of veggies, polenta and almond croutons, mushrooms, kabocha squash, Brussels sprouts and spinach brown rice.
“I personally love the quinoa mezze bowl,” Goldwasser said of the dish that pairs organic red and white quinoa tabbouleh with muhammara, baba ganoush,cashew lime cilantro dressing and baked pistachio millet falafel. “The spreads are so unique and tasty and the falafels are insanely good.”
Parakeet’s coffee and teas can be personalized with homemade vanilla or lavender syrups, almond or oak milk. Specialty coffee drinks include the Maple Sage Latte and the Ice Mint Latte with cold brew, mint, vanilla and milk.
Goldwasser is especially excited about the adaptogenic drink offerings that include superfood healing mushrooms that can help manage stress and promote energy. Drinks on the menu include the Magic Mushroom Matcha with ashwagandha, Four Sigmatic 10 mushroom blend, lavender honey and the Immortality Latte with he shou wu herb, reishi mushroom, ginger, cardamom and honey vanilla.
Goldwasser said she is a true believer in everything the café serves and she feels grateful and lucky that she was able to develop the dream she had in her mind for the cafe.
“By fueling the body right, you can get a better quality life…so many people in San Diego are into their health and I do think I have a moral obligation to give people what they need,” Goldwasser said. “Every day I can help more and more people makes me very happy.”
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Parakeet Café is located at 3745 Paseo Place, suite 820. To learn more visit parakeetcafe.com