The Yellow Deli - Handcrafted Food from a New Age Commune
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The Yellow Deli - Handcrafted Food from a New Age Commune

Dining at the charming Yellow Deli in Vista, CA and other places is like stepping back in time. Not only is the food locally grown and the meals hand-crafted, the communal restaurant owners built the two-story quasi-Victorian restaurant from the bottom up. This is slow, home-grown cooking at its best - a true rareity in our fast-food Nation.

Word of mouth spreads fast in a small community like Vista, CA., so when I was referred to The Yellow Deli restaurant twice in 48 hours, I knew it was time to check it out. Both of my new neighbors told me the food was delicious and the restaurant was like no other. They were correct on both counts.

The Yellow Deli, hand-built by members of a Commune known as Twelve Tribes, serves fresh produce and home-made bakery goods, cultivated and cooked by Commune members. The quasi-Victorian, two-story restaurant in Vista, features hand-crafted wooden furniture (reminiscent of Stickley) made by Commune members in Missouri. Inside the Vista restaurant, a hand-built winding wrought-iron staircase takes you up to a lounge and a small Juice/Tea bar, where you can dine inside or out, or just "snuggle" on the comfy leather couch, as the welcoming host put it.

I don't know anything about the politics or controversy surrounding the Commune members, but I do know the food was every bit as healthy and delicious as promised. We had a cranberry-cashew salad to start and then split the Deli Rose, on a home-made bun, featuring a special sauce atop slices of roast beef and corned beef. There are quite a lot of salads and soups for meat-eaters and vegans alike, and I imagine they are also quite delicious. This restaurant hosts its own farmer's market on Wednesday afternoons at the front gate., which I think, is a first around here.  The Yellow Deli's hours are a surprising 24-hours, 12 noon Sunday until 3 p.m. Friday. The host told us the restaurant is really busy around 2 a.m., week nights, when locals done partying or watching a movie near by stop in for the strawberry cream cheese pie.

In addition to the meals, The Yellow Deli serves hand-crafted root beer, which tastes exactly as I remember it from when I was a child in Colorado - hearty, with a tantalizing, sweet kick. Carrot cake is also on the menu, and I plan to sample that one late night, when the spirit moves me to visit again.

There is nothing "fast food" about this quaint, out-of-time restaurant. The servers are dressed in plain, unadorned home-made clothing (think "Big Love") - no make-up on the women. The men, many with beards, look like they just stepped out of a 19th Century photo gravure. The ambience and the service (which was faster than I expected) add even more charm to the dining out experience. Prices are fair - $7.75 for a sandwich with chips; $2 for the hand-crafted root beer.

Those in a hurry for food, fried or  full of carbs will want to head to the closest Denny's or Coco's. But if you are in the mood for a magical dining trip (surrounded by colorful murals, gurgling fountains, and Tiffany-style lamps), where time pretty much stands still, visit a Yellow Deli near you. Other locations in Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Tennessee (where the first one was built).

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Comments (2)

sounds nice

Can't wait to return for the Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese pie! Yum

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