Urban Acres Has a New Chef, Some Killer Sandwiches, and Oh Those Cookies

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Looking at the new menu at Urban Acres, it's hard not to scratch your head about a $12 deli sandwich. A lot is expected of any lunch that crosses the $10 mark, especially considering how much food you can get for $1.99 at most fast food places. But a closer look at the "Fig and Pig" served at Urban Acres and it's not hard to argue that it's a pretty decent value.

The pork is the same stuff Urban Acres sells to customers who come seeking responsible sourcing. The bread is baked locally, too, and it's pretty damn good. Factor in that sizable bowl of green bean salad on the side and you might think that Urban Acres is giving away the food. The tomatoes in that bowl were the nicest that have been served to me in a restaurant all year, and the green beans were fresh and snappy.

If you've enjoyed the recent tweaks to the menu you should thank David Rodriguez, who joined the urban farmstead as executive chef last month. Rodriguez, who most recently worked at Oddfellows in the Bishop Arts District, has taken the menu to task, creating lunch options including a vegetable sandwich stuffed with squash, mushrooms and pickled onions, and the "fig and pig."

Those mushrooms make another cameo in breakfast tacos on the morning menu. Expect variations on various quiches, organic cinnamon rolls and wait, what's that smell? On my way in to pay the check a sheet pan of cookies had been added to the cooling rack, strategically placed right behind the register. It's impossible to ignore. "I'll have just one," I said to the cashier, potentially wrecking all the healthy progress I'd made with a vegetarian sandwich I'd forced myself to eat while aromatic pork sat inches from my face. "You have to buy them in packs of five," she told me. I clenched my teeth and nodded.

Away from the register I pulled out a still-warm chocolate chip cookie that was studded with pecans. It was a little bigger than a silver dollar, and thick. I could tell it would be soft before I even took that first bite, and by time I took the second it was gone.

I looked down at the bag and realized the other four could disappear just as quickly so I promptly gave the whole thing away -- karma in a sack full of cookies.

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