Today I finally visited a place that I’ve heard about off and on for years, Sunflower Drive In. This is a vegetarian/vegan joint located in Fair Oaks at the corner of Main and Fair Oaks. Whenever this place came up in some conversation it was always a rave review, unfortunately I’d just forget about it shortly after until it came up again months (or years) later. The most recent occurrence was last December and I made a point to write it down that time. Specifically, the item that was recommended to me was a Super Nutburger.
I arrived a little after noon and parked in the smallish lot. The place looked quiet for the most part. There were a handful of people sitting at the various patio tables and picnic benches around the building, but most were finishing up and heading out. I Looked over the menu for a few minutes and picked out the Super Nutburger, as suggested and, to drink, a small pineapple juice. By the time I had paid and turned around there was a decent line behind me. A steady stream of people continued to arrive after this, but at least half seemed to take their orders to go.
The Super Nutburger [$6.49] is basically the same as the regular nutburger [$5.69] but with a larger patty and on pocket bread instead of a whole wheat bun. The regular is described as a “nutmeat patty served with sauce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, romain and sprouts.” I added cheese($0.99) and avocado($1.55) to it. The Pineapple juice was $2.29, and my grand total with tax was $13.15. I was handed a little paper slip with a number on it and I took a seat at one of the picnic tables to the right.
It was a little chilly in the shade there, but I bet it’s a really nice place to eat when it’s warm out. I could hear the local roosters calling out all around the area. My food was ready in about 7 minutes and I retrieved it from the window when my number was called out. My burger was wrapped up in paper on a plastic tray / paper plate. Once I got the front open I could see lots of greens waiting to spill out. I carefully unwrapped the rest and took some photos. I couldn’t see the patty itself quite yet. The pocket bread was thin but large in diameter and they stuffed it full of the toppings. I did see some big slices of avocado already sneaking out the side.
As soon as I attempted to get my hands around this thing and pick it up I realized that this was going to be messy. When I read “pocket” bread I was envisioning something more like a pita pocket, closed on one end. Instead it was more like a couple round pieces of flat bread. I dug into it and mostly got romain, sprouts and a pickle. The sauce was creamy, not quite a thousand island type but something kind of in that direction. All the veggies were nice and fresh. Finally after a few bites around the front I made it to the nutmeat patty. It was mostly brown, with a bit of orange to it here and there from (I guess) carrots. It was still warm, despite the cool air and breeze (I should mention that there is a small amount of indoor seating). Texture-wise it was surprisingly enjoyable. While not at all like a beef patty from a place that serves quality burgers, it was not that much different from some fast food beef patties (I wasn’t to be clear that I don’t mean it’s bad, rather that it’s not weird). As far as the taste went it was delicious! It had just more than a hint of cumin to it, making it the most prominent flavor outside of the other toppings.
I have to admit that I came here with the thought in my mind that maybe this had been oversold to me over time and that I would leave disappointed. I’m glad to say that was incorrect. I really enjoyed my food, Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the pineapple juice! Very flavorful and delicious, like someone grabbed a whole pineapple with both hands and wrung it out over a cup. I’m also happy that this is within driving distance for lunch from work, I have a feeling I’ll be adding this into my usual rotation soon!