AM8: Sunflower Drive In

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!

2 thoughts on “AM8: Sunflower Drive In

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