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Half of a grilled cheese sandwich made with cheddar, provolone and Swiss cheeses and pesto on wheat bread with a side of chips and salsa ($5.50) at Organic Natural Cafe. Mail Tribune / Rebecca Scott

Fresh ingredients and bright flavors abound at Organic Natural Cafe

Nowadays “fresh” and “natural” are buzzwords, not necessarily how restaurant food is actually prepared. The discrepancy between a diner’s expectations and reality can be wide and disappointing. This was not the case with Organic Natural Cafe in downtown Medford. Natural, organic and delicious food is exactly what you receive.

Organic Natural Cafe is housed in a large building downtown, with lots of room for tables, couches, booths, a salad bar and coffee bar. My eyes were immediately drawn to the enormous brick archway opposite the entrance. Its beauty and architecture leaves those entering the establishment in a moment of awe.

My mom and I took our menus, found an open booth and perused the selections before ordering at the cash register. The menu is one large page, front and back. It was the first time I was at a loss of what to order; not because there were too many choices, but because everything looked so good. I wanted it all, and choosing only one dish seemed a near impossible task.

When we finally decided, a friendly staff member took our order at the register. I had the half grilled cheese sandwich on wheat bread with pesto and a side of corn chips and salsa ($5.50), and a cup of organic coffee ($4). A whole sandwich is available for $8. My mom chose the omelette bar ($10), which she personalized with caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and a side of sourdough toast, along with an iced tea ($2).

My gaze wandered toward the glass case full of yummy vegan doughnuts, cakes and summer pies while we waited for our food. The desserts were tempting, but that’s best saved for another visit.

Our food arrived promptly from another pleasant server. My sandwich was what I believe a grilled cheese should be — gooey, cheesy and simply decadent. The filling was composed of cheddar, provolone and Swiss. The trio of cheeses melted like a dream. When I bit into my sandwich the cheese stretched without breaking, the sign of a good grilled cheese. The pesto was the crowning glory, adding a fresh taste and velvety texture. The chips and salsa were simply prepared but encompassed complex flavors. The chips were thick, crunchy and lightly salted. The accompanying salsa was bright and refreshing.

My mom was equally pleased with her omelette. It came with a side of perfectly cooked — and not overly salted — potatoes. She raved that each bite of her omelette contained a bit of every ingredient. The eggs were cooked well and a lovely natural yellow color. One word to describe her dish and mine: fresh. Everything tasted new and unprocessed. It tasted like how the beginning of a new day feels — bright and invigorating.

Organic Natural Cafe offers something for everyone: the salad bar for herbivores, hefty burgers for carnivores and everything in-between, including sandwiches, wraps, egg dishes and soups. The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and located at 226 E. Main St., Medford.

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