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Attempting to enjoy a healthy, wholesome meal at a new restaurant is pretty much hit or miss these days. Then there's True Food Kitchen. Andrew Weil’s national bestselling book “True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure," with the ultimate goal being to provide food that is both good for you and delicious to you.
Aesthetically speaking, True Food's newest location in Atlanta's trendy Lenox Mall, is Green Restaurant Certified ingenious. Bright and vibrant in shades of pungent green, yellow, and white with natural wood accents, the eatery takes great advantage of recyclables for use in the chairs, floors made from reclaimed wood, and menus printed from postconsumer fibers and other renewable resources; the take out containers are compostable and the water is purified through a water system versus bottle waste.
In addition to a menu of wines, beers, and cocktails, a long list of non-alcoholic beverages ranging from $4-6 is offered. Titles include Kale-Aid with kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, and ginger; Hangover RX with coconut water, pineapple, vanilla, and orange juice, and pomegranate limeade with lime juice, evaporated cane sugar, Pom Juice, and chia seeds. Of them all, Medicine Man—an antioxidant blast of sea buckthorn, pomegranate, blueberry, and cranberry juices all anchored by black tea and a splash of soda offers amazing taste as well as nutritional benefits. The watermelon lemonade, sweetened with honey, is as refreshing as it gets on a summer day, not to mention the alkaline benefits of watermelon.
Luckily, the best news of all about True Food is the food itself. From the list of nearly 10 intriguing starters ranging from miso soup, to salmon dip, to edamame dumplings, the standouts included the caramelized onion tart: a sensational flat bread with smoked garlic and savory gorgonzola cheese sweetened with black fig, as well as the albacore tataki made up of a tender slice of tuna in a lime ponzu with sliced chunks of daikon radish, avocado, cucumber, and scallions. The flavors merge together perfectly, as do the textures harnessed by the tartness of the lime and the heat of the ponzu.
Salads are also plentiful. Options range from a Tuscan kale, heirloom tomato, and watermelon to a Mediterranean chopped, and a chicken chopped salad. There is also pizza, including brilliant Margharita, with a classic thin crust and mozzarella, organic tomatoes, and fresh basil, while the chicken sausage pie within tomatoes, fennel, and Fontina cheese creates a huge explosion of harmony in your mouth.
Sandwiches and breakfast items for weekend brunch are served beginning at 10am, and the list includes an entire host of other nutrition conscious, tastebud-pleasing options. However, the show stops with one entrée in particular: the Panang curry. With a choice of tofu, chicken, or shrimp, it will leave you feeling as if you're in Thailand. Carrots, snap peas, broccoli, and other vegetables are combined in a rich and luscious curry sauce adorned with coconut milk for a truly authentic flavor that practically makes you want to get out of your seat and dance. Sure, there are other items such as street tacos, spaghetti squash casserole, grilled steelhead salmon, turkey lasagna, and red chili shrimp, all of which may be equally as delicious, but the Panang curry is the must-try item.
True Food Kitchen
You’ve probably seen Andrew Weil’s bald dome, smiling face and white beard on the cover of books on healthy living, and although you won’t see a picture of Dr. Weil on the menus at True Food Kitchen, his anti-inflammatory diet is the foundation on which True Food Kitchen’s menu is built. The Buckhead Atlanta location at Lenox Mall is one of over ten True Food Kitchen locations in the U.S.
True Food Kitchen offers seasonal options ranging from Italian and Mexican dishes to salads and sustainable seafood preparations. The drink options are also extensive. True Food Kitchen makes fresh cocktails and serves local beer including selections from Three Taverns (Decatur, GA), Sweetwater (Atlanta), Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta), Terrapin (Athens), and Westbrook (South Carolina). The restaurant also offers organic and gluten free beer and cider.
True Food Kitchens food options are hit or miss. In addition to our visit to True Food Kitchen for this review, I have been with Ashley on other occasions and once with friends. My food has never been bad, but there are some dishes I wouldn’t order again.
When we visited, True Food Kitchen was offering their summer menu. They have now transitioned into their fall menu, but they have retained several options across the seasons.
Nashville Chefs Headed to Atlanta for Food Festivals
Nashville foodies, you might want to set your Waze app to figure out the best way around Chattanooga road construction and Atlanta traffic, because there are some fantastic food events coming in the next few months that will have you wanting to head down to the Peach state.
The first fest is the 11th annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival at Westside Provisions DIstrict in Atlanta on Sunday, July 14 from 1:00 until 4:00 pm. This celebration of all things tomatoey has been organized by acclaimed Atlanta chef and restaurateur Ford Fry for more than a decade now. The festival is a benefit event for Georgia Organics , a non-profit organization that “champions organic agriculture and healthy families by empowering farmers to thrive, helping schools engage children in delicious and educational farm-to-school experiences, and making organic and local food accessible to all Georgians.” Fry annually invites dozens of chefs and bartenders to create dishes and drinks featuring tomatoes for attendees to sample and enjoy.
In addition to all the lycopene-laden goodness to experience, there will also be cooking demos from local chefs and live music from The Spazmatics and Fry’s own band, The Foo’d Fighters. If you’d like to see a roster of participating chefs and mixologists to whet your appetite, here’s a list . Tickets are available at a few different levels of access, so pick yours up at the festival website .
While chef Fry is based out of Atlanta, you might as well call him an honorary Nashviliian since he’s on the verge of opening four establishments in Music CIty soon, including an outpost of his Tex/Mex restaurant Superica in the Gulch. In addition to that spot, Fry has a trio of concepts under construction as part of the Hammermill complex east of Germantown. The first is an iteration of his popular Atlanta seafood restaurant, The Optimist along with an upscale cocktail lounge named Le Loup and his version of a listening room/honky tonk crossed with a taqueria which he plans to name Star Rover.
This Fall, Taste of Atlanta will take place for three days from Friday, October 18 through Sunday, October 20, 2019. Held at Historic Fourth Ward Park, which was also the site of the highly successful tasting tents at the recent Atlanta Food & Wine Festival , the 18th annual festival will feature more than 100 restaurants plus on-stage cooking demos and classes. New this year are Food Districts, a more expansive VIP Experience and a Saturday night concert. Bringing together food lovers and chefs from neighborhoods across Atlanta, the event welcomes attendees of all ages and offers something for everyone.
Here’s a rundown of the highlight events of the weekend:
● Opening Night Party (October 18): Kicking off on Friday with the Opening Night Party hosted by Chef Nick Leahy of Aix and Tin Tin , the evening will bring together a roster of well-regarded local chefs who focus on sourcing ingredients locally and cooking seasonally. From 7:30-11 pm, participating restaurants, including Kimball House , Tiny Lous , Bellina Alimentari , KR Steakbar , Double Zero and dozens more, will serve tastings alongside wine, beer and cocktails. Plus, the celebration will feature live music from Moontower and a portion of the evening’s proceeds will support Georgia Grown's restaurant partnership program.
● Main Tasting Events (October 19 & 20): Bringing together chefs from neighborhoods across Atlanta and representing dozens of cuisines, Taste of Atlanta will serve as a destination to try bites from over 100 restaurants all in one place. Plus, this year’s festival will feature Food Districts, including Tailgating, Buford Highway, The Battery, Sunday Brunch and more.
● Cooking Classes & Demos: Sponsored by PeachDish, The Cook’s Warehouse and Sprouts, Kitchen Workshop offers free, hands-on cooking classes for home cooks led by Atlanta chefs. Festival attendees will learn to cook a variety of cuisines, from Southern to Italian to vegan. Attendees will also get an inside view into the Atlanta culinary world at Chef’s Table and Home Plate Stages, where chefs will demonstrate how to prepare mouthwatering dishes and provide tastings of their creations.
● Saturday Night Concert (October 19): For the first time, Taste of Atlanta will continue into the evening on Saturday of festival weekend with a concert from 7-11 pm. While the band remains a surprise until later this summer, attendees can expect sing-along, light rock hits from a favorite local band. Guests will be able to bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy tunes on the lawn, and local food trucks will be selling bites for purchase alongside drinks.
In another innovation this year, ticket buyers will receive special RFID-enabled wristbands in advance, making Taste of Atlanta a cashless festival.The wristbands come pre-loaded with “Taste Points” which can be used for drink and merchandise purchases plus food tastings ranging from one to three points each. General admission ticket holders will receive 10 Taste Points, and additional points can be purchased for $1 each online or at Taste Point Banks located throughout the festival. Your wristbands will track which tastes you sampled and provide attendees with a post-event tasting list, serving as a customized roundup of restaurant recommendations for future dining choices. The special VIP Experience provides access to an all-inclusive festival area with tastings from more than a dozen select restaurants in addition to pours from craft beer, wine and cocktail makers. VIP ticket holders can access the General Admission area of the festival and will also receive a post-event tasting list from restaurants enjoyed in all areas of the festival.
As is frequently the case in the world of Southern food, there’s a Nashville connection, even for an event called Taste of Atlanta. Music CIty visitors should feel right at home as many of the participating restaurants are either Nashville-based or also have an outpost in both cities. And by many, we’re not kidding. The list of restaurants you should recognize includes: Barcelona Wine Bar, Bartaco, City Winery, Del Frisco’s, Hattie B’s, Maggiano’s, Melting Pot, O-Ku, Shake Shack, STK, True Food Kitchen and of course we can’t forget everyone’s favorite 24-hour culinary rescue destination Waffle House! Shake Shack will be offering a particularly Nashvillian treat at the Opening Night Party on Friday where they’ll be serving their signature Crackle Shack Cheeseburger topped with Peg Leg Porker seasoned cracklings and ShackSauce.
Tickets will go on sale in mid-July for Friday’s Opening Night Party and Saturday and Sunday’s main tasting events. Later this summer, tickets will be available for the concert on Saturday evening. Ticket prices begin at $25, and guests are encouraged to buy early.
Brilliant burger joints
Health food is great but sometimes, you just want the satisfaction of a fully-loaded burger or hot dog. Amirite? The more toppings, the better and the harder it is to eat. Well, that just makes it more satisfying when you finally lick your fingers clean. Vegan and vegetarian diners in Atlanta don’t need to go without the grease if they visit:
Stacked so high they are in danger of toppling before you can get your mouth around them, the menu items from Slutty Vegan add fun into the mix as well as flavour. All given cheeky monikers, you’ll enjoy not only a big dollop of decadence when you eat here but also the fun of some double entendre too. Because who doesn’t want a Hollywood Hooker or a Fussy Hussy?
Just be warned: the food is ultra-rich here. Kale salads, these burgers and dogs are not, but every once in a while, you can afford to treat yourself to the kings of comfort foods.
Giving American comfort food a vegan and elegant twist, the burgers and sliders here are powered by plant protein and stacked high at Life Bistro . Naturally, avocado can be added and you can choose to be a little more virtuous with zucchini fries or all-out indulgent with regular versions. It’s the in-house vegan cheese sauce that tips the balance here, so don’t go without it.
Honorable mentions go to the burger restaurants that cater to vegans, including YEAH! BURGER and Grindhouse Killer Burgers. But we are looking at the best vegan restaurants in Atlanta here, not shouting about everyone that has a couple of plant-based options on the menu.
The Veracious Vegan
True Food's logo states "real food, real good." Their mission is to offer delicious, fresh wholesome dishes, salads, sandwiches, soups, entrees and baked goods…all organic and at affordable prices. I like that. Although they are all vegetarian, there aren't as many vegan options as one might like, but the burgers sounded so good, we just decided to order both flavors.
The cafe is relatively small and has some hot food served deli-style along with salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot wraps, soups, and entrees. They offer lots of snacks and fresh baked goods including vegan and gluten-free options. They also offer an array of packaged salads in the cooler against the wall. I grabbed a Bruce Cost Pomegranate Hibiscus Ginger Ale and took a seat by the window.
Zach and I grabbed an Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho from the cooler and started with that. It was loaded with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, red onions, basil, parsley, olive oil, lemon, salt, and black pepper. We both liked the soup just fine, but felt like it was missing something. We added salt and pepper and it improved the taste.
For our entrees, we ordered both burgers. The sweet potato quinoa burger was Zach's favorite. It was made with sweet potatoes, quinoa, ginger, onion, cayenne, bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt. It tasted very fresh and homemade like just sweet potatoes and quinoa smashed into a patty, but it was also missing something like more spices or herbs. It was served on this great toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, and cabbage.
My favorite was the kale pecan burger made of kale, pecans, couscous, ginger, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Again, homemade taste, but lacking a little flavor. We topped it with some of the hot sauce on the table. The burgers were soft and tended to crumble and fall out of the slightly too small bun. But, all in all, we really liked them and were glad to find some healthy food on our way home.
When we left, we took a look at the vegan scones, but decided to leave with the German Sourdough bread. It tasted so moist, salty, and fresh that I just couldn't resist buying a whole loaf.
True Food is a great option if you find yourself in upstate New York near White Plains. You'll find fresh, healthy options in an inviting atmosphere.
166 Main Street
Nyack, NY 10960
5. The RoastOlivia Katz
The Roast is a restaurant created by Whole Foods that serves fast-casual Brazilian style food. It is one of the few restaurants that Whole Foods has opened in the U.S. and it does not disappoint. Once you arrive at the restaurant, you order at the counter and create your own bowl. The bowl includes a protein, sautéed vegetables, and grains. What's really cool is how the ingredients for your dish are sautéed in front of you which means you don't have to worry about your food being cold. The sauces and style of the food served are different from any other fast-casual restaurant I have been to. They also serve wine and other beverages and have pool tables in the back.
Next time you're looking for where to eat just head over to one of these new restaurants. It is so easy to go back to the restaurants you already know and love but there is something exciting about trying something new. You never know, you may just find your new favorite spot!
Get a Real Food Life
Author: Janine Whiteson, M.Sc.
Publisher: Rodale Books
Category: Health & Fitness
Have you ever looked for energy inside a candy bar wrapper? Hoped for confidence in a coffee cup? Sought solace in a pint of ice cream? If these old eating strategies just aren't cutting it, you need to Get a Real Food Life. Whether you're a stress-snacker, you're addicted to junk food, or you're always on a diet, food coach Janine Whiteson will teach you the skills you need to regain control over your relationship with food. In your Real Food Life, you'll eat when you're hungry, choose foods that make you feel great, and strategically eliminate any that drag you down. Drawing on her years of client experience, Janine guides and encourages you through the 8-week plan that's changed the lives of many formerly frustrated dieters. You'll give yourself a complete Kitchen Makeover that will automatically help you eat better. You'll diagnose your current diet, eating patterns, and food choices. You'll learn how to replace self-defeating eating habits with energy-enhancing, delicious food choices. With her hundreds of quick tips, handy checklists, and fun quizzes and more than 70 mouthwatering recipes, Janine helps you cut cravings and achieve your best weight-- without sacrificing great taste or satisfaction. When you create a Real Food Life, you're able to enjoy all the food you eat, secure in the knowledge that it's nourishing you-- mind, body, and soul.
Healthy Chain Restaurants: The Freshest Fast-Food Spots
Eating on the go used to mean settling for a guilt-inducing burger and a mess of greasy fries. But now, savvy entrepreneurs are zeroing in on consumers' desire to eat healthy, affordable food on the run.
Photo By: Jeff Padrick - Klug Studio Inc.
23 Healthy Fast-Food Spots
Making your own meals may be the most-healthful way to eat, but churning out three nourishing meals day after day is not a realistic scenario for most time-strapped home cooks. Here are some of the restaurants that have broken through with a commitment to mindful ingredient sourcing and balanced menus, offering creative selections and welcoming atmospheres.
The Little Beet
With locations in New York and the Washington, D.C. area., The Little Beet is a favorite for health-minded on-the-go diners. The gluten-free, largely paleo- and Whole30-friendly menu &mdash with plenty of vegan options &mdash includes globally influenced creations, like grilled avocado garnished with "super seeds," and sweet potato mac and cheese with brown rice pasta.
Chef collaborations and seasonal updates keep things current at Sweetgreen, the always-packed-at-lunchtime sustainable-salad empire founded in 2007 by then-Georgetown University students Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru. Seasonal options round out a year-round menu of options like the Rad Thai, with organic arugula and mesclun, citrus shrimp and spicy cashew dressing, and the warm Harvest Bowl, packed with organic wild rice, roasted chicken and toasted almonds. Each of the Sweetgreen locations, in Washington, D.C., California, Chicago, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, are propelled by alliances with some 500 local farmers and growers.
First opened in 2005 as an elevated mom-and-pop alternative to classic New York-style delis, Freshii was a near-instant success. There are now several hundred locations around the globe, serving spicy lemongrass soup, teriyaki brown rice bowls, honey-Dijon dressed spinach salads, and even low-fat probiotic frozen yogurt crowned with walnut and mango. Come for breakfast ,when scrambled egg, aged cheddar, and black bean burritos await, or sign up for one of the 5-Day Cleanses fueled by juices like the beet-lemon-ginger-carrot Red Power.
After devoting 40-plus hours a week to his finance job, Justin Rosenberg regularly boarded a bus from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., where he spent weekends in a restaurant kitchen. This experience primed him to launch Honeygrow in 2012. It&rsquos since become a haven for wholesome red curry stir-fries with rice noodles and roasted spicy tofu, and salads with yellowfin tuna and herbed white beans, ideally washed down with cold-pressed apple-spinach-cucumber-lemon-basil juice. With locations in Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Boston and Chicago, the brand has even expanded from Honeygrow to Minigrow. The spin-off, currently available just in New York, features a smaller menu of noodles and greens whipped up in an assembly-line format.
A spinoff of a Rockville, Maryland, Middle Eastern Restaurant, Cava Grill is an expansive grab-and-go offshoot with locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California and more states on the way . The build-your-own menu starts with a base of salad, warm pitas or grain bowls of brown rice, lentils or saffron basmati rice. From there, customize Mediterranean combos including an array of dips &mdashroasted red pepper hummus and jalapeno-infused Crazy Feta are two popular options &mdash with falafel, braised beef, grilled chicken and spicy lamb meatballs as protein options. Complete it with toppings like pickled onions, tomato-cucumber salad or quinoa tabbouleh. If the gratis lemon-mint water doesn&rsquot satisfy, look out for the beet lemonade. Containers of Cava&rsquos lauded dips, from harissa to cool tzatziki, are found on the shelves of Whole Foods Markets and other specialty shops.
True Food Kitchen
Much of the nutrient-rich food at True Food Kitchen is gluten-free, organic, vegetarian or vegan, and much adheres to well-known physician Dr. Andrew Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Since opening the first location in Phoenix in 2008, it's expanded to California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Each season the menu fittingly adjusts, with hearty options like miso-glazed sweet potato and a turmeric Ancient Grains bowl in winter. Brunch is especially popular, with dishes like quinoa Johnny cakes and vegan chorizo burritos.
This upbeat vegan quick-serve spot lures diners with black bean-quinoa-sweet potato Guac Burgers and apricot sriracha-glazed tempeh-topped spicy Thai salads knocked back with ginger-lemon-orange-cayenne shooters. Come in the morning for pancakes topped with coconut whipped cream and quinoa hash browns with tofu sour cream. Those on the run will appreciate the To-Go by Chloe offerings, from sesame-ginger buckwheat soba noodles to raw Madagascar vanilla bean chia pudding. Beyond the cookies and cupcakes, seek out Chill by Chloe, a plant-based, non-dairy frozen dessert line in flavors like strawberry shortcake or salted peanut butter. With a menu this playful, it&rsquos no wonder by CHLOE. has grown throughout New York and expanded to Los Angeles, Boston, Providence and even London, where a seitan shepherd&rsquos pie and tofu fish n&rsquo chips keep locals chuffed.
Former financier Adam Eskin transformed the bodybuilder-loving New York mini chain Pump Energy Food into the more inclusive and cheerful Dig Inn in 2011. It was a smart shift, which has led to expansion across New York and into Boston as well. Dig Inn chefs work with ingredients sourced from a regional network of farmers and producers, as well as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, producing Marketbowls laden with proteins like grilled organic tofu with charred red onion and herby marjoram-parsley-rosemary roasted chicken. Homey sides, such as cauliflower with chickpea crumble and coconut-roasted carrots, further brighten standard lunch combos.
Inspired by the fresh, affordable made-to-order food prepared at no-frills street stalls in Asia, Asian Box was founded in 2012 by fine-dining restaurateur and consultant Frank Klein and Executive Chef Grace Nguyen. Limited to the West Coast, with outposts in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area, Asian Box is an eco-conscious brand, using compostable packaging recycled construction materials. Out of the open kitchen come gluten-free dishes such as caramel-slicked Passmore Ranch catfish with jasmine rice or shrimp and soy-garlic beef to dip into lime-black pepper sauce. Those who prefer to customize dishes can play with combinations of chilled rice noodles, coconut-curry tofu and tamarind vinaigrette.
Much of chef-turned-humanitarian José Andrés's time has recently been dedicated to global disaster relief through his ambitious non-profit organization, World Central Kitchen. The prolific restaurateur - whose restaurants include Washington, D.C.'s Minibar and Jaleo, along with the Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotels in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and South Beach - has also made the time to nurture Beefsteak, the concept he founded in 2015 illuminating fresh, market-driven vegetables. The menu includes bowls like the Kimchi-Wa, a mix of sweet potato, carrot, rice, edamame, and garlic yogurt sauce, but it would be hard to leave without caving into the BeetSteak Burger, a hefty marinated beet paired with pickled red onion, vegan chipotle mayo and sea salt on olive oil brioche - in summer, it turns into the namesake Beefsteak, using beefsteak tomato, not meat. With four locations on Andrés' D.C. home turf and one in Philadelphia, Beefsteak is now poised for the Midwest, opening at the lauded Cleveland Clinic.
Californians have long loved the Backyard Marinated Steak plates with sprouted rice and butter lettuce, and chipotle barbecue chicken sandwiches at Tender Greens. Now the nearly 30-location-strong chain has expanded to New York, with Boston up next. The close proximity to the Union Square Greenmarket is a boon for menu sourcing. Each Tender Greens is run by its own chef and showcases a different menu. At the East Coast newcomer, for instance, Executive Chef Peter Balistreri prepares daily specials, including Wednesday night handmade pastas, and exclusive dishes like a salad of Maine lobster tail from Luke&rsquos Lobster over a bed of baby gem lettuce and watercress. Take in the action of the open kitchen from the marble chef&rsquos counter, with draft beer from Brooklyn Brewery in hand.
Protein Bar & Kitchen
Frustrated by the lack of on-the-go protein-forward foods to support his active lifestyle, Matt Matros founded Protein Bar in downtown Chicago in 2009. Now called Protein Bar & Kitchen, the restaurant has also expanded to Washington, D.C., and Colorado, serving all-day menus. Start the morning with scrambled grass-fed eggs cooked in ghee and accompanied by turkey bacon, or organic steel-cut oat and quinoa oatmeal swirled with peanut butter and acai puree. During lunch, pop in for a signature spicy Korean Bar-Rito, folding together all-natural steak with diced cucumber, radish, spinach, pickled carrot and quinoa in a low-carb tortilla, prefaced by a cup of chicken chili with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Roy Choi of L.A&rsquos famed Korean taco truck Kogi, and Daniel Patterson, the San Francisco chef behind Coi and Alta, disrupted the fast-food world with LocoL, which opened in 2016. Designed to bring healthy, organic, easy-on-the-wallet food to underserved communities, LocoL has outlets, in the California&rsquos Watts neighborhood of L.A and West Oakland, with a counter inside the San Jose Whole Foods Market. Timeless burgers and chili-cheese fries are clamored for, but other filling hits on the short menu are smoky, braised Messy Greens and the Foldies, which fold beans and cheese into crispy tortillas.
Founded in New York in 2001 by longtime friends Colin McCabe and Tony Shure, Chopt significantly revitalized the bland image of "eating your greens." Customers love the freedom of picking their own toppings - maybe hearts of palm and sliced almonds, maybe corn and Niman Ranch smoked bacon - to enliven their romaine or arugula leaves. The brand has expanded to Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Tennessee. For those who have a hard time making decisions, Chopt also wins points for its own elaborate suggested concoctions, like the Texas Po'Boy with FreeBird fried chicken and charred red onion tossed in Tex-Mex ranch, or the jalapeno-studded Mexicali Vegan.
Holler & Dash
From the same company as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, this biscuit house loses the old-timey rocking chairs and country fried steak. Located in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Atlanta and just outside Charlotte, Holler & Dash has industrial accents like exposed brick and Edison light bulbs, and a menu of still-indulgent biscuit sandwiches stuffed with fried chicken, pork tenderloin or goat cheese. Beyond biscuits, the menu includes a roster of good-for-you options such as peanut butter-banana toast with honey and a sprinkling of chia seeds, steel-cut-oat bowls, and seasonal greens dressed in lemon vinaigrette. Fried sides can be swapped for fruit. Ingredients are sourced from quality farms and sustainability-minded producers, including Springer Mountain Farms in Mt. Airy, Georgia, and Atlanta pickling guru Doux South.
Noodles & Company
Fresh food fast was a rarity when marketing executive Aaron Kennedy unveiled Noodles & Company in 1995. It filled a huge void: There are now nearly 500 locations of this Colorado-based chain across the United States. An abundance of soups, salads, pastas and noodle dishes awaits, with plent of options for gluten-free and vegetarian, along with those concerned about their sugar and sodium intake. One particularly alluring aspect of the menu is a section devoted to dishes that are 500 calories or less, including the Japanese pan noodles - caramelized ribbons of udon with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and black sesame seeds in a sweet soy sauce - or Penne Rosa, pasta tossed in a spicy tomato cream sauce with spinach and feta or parmesan. A new lineup of decadent mac and cheese varieties - boosted with barbecue pork, buffalo chicken or truffles - can be ordered in smaller, under-700-calorie portions for necessary splurges.
Birmingham, Alabama, was the first location of Zoe's Kitchen, founded in 1995 by Zoe Cassimus and her husband, Marcus. It's grown to more than 250 locations throughout the States. Peruse the comprehensive, Mediterranean-minded menu featuring French-baked feta, charbroiled salmon kabobs, cauliflower rice bowls and pitas filled with vegan baked falafel. Good news for large broods: Zoë's recently created value meals intended for a minimum of three people that revolve around centerpieces like Moroccan citrus-roasted chicken with turmeric rice, or baked cheese and spinach ravioli.
Fill up on brick-oven toasted sandwiches that unite ingredients like fresh mozzarella with basil pesto and blueberry-balsamic jam or roasted eggplant, goat cheese, and harissa tahini. Along with sweet potato-curry soup, tossed-to-order Thai coconut salads and cremini-kale pizzas, there are also lemongrass pulled-pork plates with garlic mashed potatoes, and, for early risers, breakfasts of Southwest tofu scrambles. The brand's loyalty to making most ingredients from scratch has also led to growth outside of Colorado in Arizona, Indiana, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Texas.
Lotus + Cleaver
Inside 1-800 LUCKY, the buzzy Asian food hall that debuted in late 2017 in Miami, is Lotus + Cleaver, an ode to Chinese barbecue and wok dishes utilizing top-notch ingredients. Begin with Peking duck buns, then move on to salt and pepper-lime leaf shrimp. Stir-fried market greens, a tofu-studded cucumber ribbon salad, and plenty of chrysanthemum tea keep the health-conscious sated. Owners Doron Wong and Erika Chou, known for the New York restaurants Northern Tiger and Yunnan Kitchen, will next introduce the concept to Austin at The Domain shopping center.
Hamburgers fuel the fast-food market, and though Elevation Burger is fast and affordable, the chain stands out from the crowd with its organic beef from grass-fed, free-range cattle. Hans and April Hess opened the first Elevation Burger in Falls Church, Virginia, in 2005, and it quickly gained a loyal following for thoughtful touches like fries cooked in olive oil, cheeseburgers made with six-month-aged cheddar, and veggie burgers made using organic grains and vegetables. The newest addition, Crispy Chicken, coats organic poultry in gluten-free breading. There are now nearly 50 locations of this eco-friendly burger joint, which are crafted with sustainable materials and outfitted with energy-saving lighting. Find one in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Michigan, Florida, Texas, and even the Middle East.
Muscle Maker Grill
Fitness fiends and workout newbies alike adore Muscle Maker Grill. The Houston-based chain - there are around 60 outposts around the country and Kuwait, fittingly including military bases - has specialized in nutritious foods since 1995. Fans rave about lean ground-turkey tacos cooled with fat-free sour cream, and signature bowls like the Godfather (grilled chicken breast, portobello mushrooms, roasted red pepper, reduced-fat mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette over broccoli), as well as grass-fed beef burgers tucked into whole wheat buns, and four-berry smoothies. Super-devoted fans can opt for meal plans, so that a steady stream of steak Caesar salads, barbecue chicken wraps and teriyaki stir-fries is regularly delivered straight to the home or office.
Bellevue, Washington-based MOD Pizza encourages a novel way of thinking about pizzas, with an inviting pizza-making ethos that puts a premium on people by paying staff fairly and hiring those with special needs. Founded in 2008 by husband and wife Scott and Ally Svenson, MOD Pizza has more than 300 locations in the U.S. and UK. Customers choose their crust (original, gluten-free and the new thicker, chewier Mega Dough are possibilities) and more than 30 toppings, including homemade red sauce, a garlic ru, and vegetables roasted on the premises for their make-your-own 11-inch pies finished with sauces like Mike&rsquos Hot Honey or fig-balsamic glaze. Seasonal salads meld ingredients like kale, ricotta and roasted red peppers.
Going strong since 2006, the all-vegan Veggie Grill expanded to the Midwest for the first time in 2018. Known for cooked-to-order dishes like the Beyond Burger, fiery kung pao tacos with crispy faux chicken, and Indian-inspired masala bowls combining spiced chickpeas and turmeric-roasted cauliflower, Veggie Grill updates its menu seasonally, including options like a bowl of no-meat meatballs and braised kale over creamy polenta in winter.
I’ll usually have teff porridge with fresh fruit and an iced matcha latte. I have a video on my YouTube channel for how to make it!
One of my go-to Buddha bowls! This blog post has five delicious and easy recipes.
Tempeh Tikka Masala using an Instant Pot—full of non-dairy yogurt, tempeh, roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and more.
I hardly ever eat dessert, or have sweet cravings, but when I do I like to eat something with chocolate like this Oatmilk Chocolate Tart or Chocolate Sweet Potato Muffins.
I drink lots of water all day, matcha latte, and occasionally a glass of wine after baby goes to bed.
Healthy specialties are a bit of a rarity on the South Side, which is why Gabrielle Darvassy opened this vegan oasis in 2014. Her inventive menu ranges from scrambled chickpeas and buckwheat pancakes to raw burgers packing dehydrated veggie and seed patties, and tacos filled with sunflower seed meat. Juices and smoothies are also a major component of the café, as are raw “goodies” like lemon squares and brownie bites.
Over in South Shore, owners Tsadakeeyah and Nasya Emmanuel are serving soulful vegan cuisine. The African-influenced restaurant was born out of the couple’s catering experience and their recipes include a “crab cake” sandwich made with baked tofu, a lentil mushroom burger, and stir fried veggies.