Mendocino Farms has been crushing it down in Southern California since 2005 with their elevated, innovative, and healthy menu. They focus mainly on salads and sandwiches, and they’ve seriously taken them to another level. Sometimes it can feel like “a salad is a salad” wherever you go. There may be small variations on the theme, but for the most part you know what you’re in for if you order one. But Mendocino Farms has found a way to make salad exciting again. Their attention to detail with the flavor AND texture combinations has left a lasting and delicious mark on me, so when I heard they were expanding into the Bay Area, I started getting insanely excited!
They opened their first spot in Campbell and slowly worked their way up the South Bay and Peninsula, opening new locations in San Jose, San Mateo, and most recently, their Mendocino Farms San Francisco location! They currently have plans to open up even MORE locations in San Ramon, Palo Alto, and Sacramento, and we already know people are going to love them in every spot.
We’re super excited to show you all some of our absolute favorite menu items from Mendocino Farms, so let’s just jump right in!
Mendocino Farms Impossible Taco Salad
One of the coolest things about Mendocino Farms is how they use the various kinds of “impossible” meats. If you’re not in the know, Impossible Foods created a bunch of meat substitutes that look and taste (more or less) like actual meat, but they’re all made from plants. The most popular and common creation using this stuff is the Impossible Burger which uses the “meat” in patty form. The Mendocino Farms Taco Salad is the first dish I’ve seen that uses the Impossible meat in a different way, and it’s freakin’ awesome.
The dish consists of plant-based chorizo-spiced Impossible Burger meat, housemade superfood krunchies, chopped romaine, curly kale, black bean, roasted corn & jicama succotash, red onions, cilantro, grape tomatoes, avocado, and their house vegan chipotle ranch dressing. It’s literally like eating a taco in a bowl, but it’s healthy AND vegan! This is one you just need to experience yourself. Trust me.
Mendocino Farms “Not So Fried” Mary’s Chicken Sandwich
In typical, mind-blowing Mendocino Farms fashion, they found a way to make fried chicken healthier while keeping it tasting incredible! The “Not So Fried” Mary’s Chicken Sandwich is made up of shaved, roasted Mary’s free range chicken breast topped with Mendo’s krispies, herb aioli, mustard pickle slaw, tomatoes, and pickled red onions on toasted ciabatta with a side of their own chipotle BBQ sauce or mustard pickle remoulade.
The Mendo’s krispies are what seriously made this one for me. In all honesty, it’s not like you’re going to confuse this chicken for KFC, but the fact that they preserved the fun sensation of crunching into a piece of fried chicken while crafting a sandwich you don’t have to feel guilty about after eating it is what makes this one truly special. Not to mention it’s just straight up nomtastic!
Mendocino Farms Avocado and Quinoa Superfood Ensalada
The Avocado & Quinoa Superfood Ensalada was definitely my favorite salad I’ve had the chance to try so far at Mendocino Farms. It was crafted with chopped romaine, curly kale, quinoa & millet, housemade superfood krunchies, black bean, roasted corn & jicama succotash, red onions, cilantro, cotija cheese, grape tomatoes, and avocado with chipotle vinaigrette dressing and optional roasted Mary’s free range chicken breast for $3 extra.
I feel a bit like a broken record, but you really just need to try this to fully understand why it’s so amazing. The housemade superfood krunchies are small and plentiful enough that they mix evenly throughout the salad, and this ensures that you get a satisfying crunch with each bite. So many basic salads use croutons and similar toppings for texture, but I always either finish all the croutons way too quickly, or I’m left with a big pile of them after finishing the rest of my salad. The krunchies just make the whole experience of eating so much more enjoyable. And the chipotle vinaigrette is out of this world, too!
Here are several more sandwiches, all of which are super bomb. My favorites from the stack are definitely the Mendo’s Original Pork Belly Banh Mi (bottom) and the Heirloom BLT (second from the top).
Unfortunately, the Heirloom BLT is a seasonal menu item only available in the summer, but if they bring it back, definitely give it a try! They give you a thick, juicy slice of tomato, which is really the hero of the dish. I mean, check it out in the photo below… it’s huge! I’ll definitely be looking forward to next summer!
Mendo’s Original Pork Belly Banh Mi is a great choice for anyone who’s still feeling like some meat even after seeing all the stunning vegetarian options so far. Their pork belly is caramelized and cooked to perfection with a subtle sweetness that thoroughly complements the housemade pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos, and chili aioli. It’s also served on panini-pressed ciabatta bread, which is definitely unexpected for a banh mi, but the flavor you get from the panini press is outstanding.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and you haven’t tried Mendocino Farms SF yet, set a date and get there STAT! I have no doubt they’ll become a staple up here in NorCal and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. Till next time, Nomsters!