A couple of weeks ago, I was out running errands with Jared when I realized I was about 10 minutes away from hangry. And, of course, that meant that I not only needed to find food — quickly — but that I needed to seek out a place that made it easy to make some healthy choices, because I don’t know about you, but when I’m bordering on hangry, I don’t usually find myself opting for the carrot sticks over cheese fries.
As it turned out, we were near a new fast-casual restaurant called Fresh Kitchen — I’d read about it in a local magazine just a few days earlier and was intrigued, so the decision to pop in was a no-brainer.
The restaurant was airy, bright and seriously hip, and the concept is right on point for healthy foodies. It follows your traditional fast-casual format (you stand in line, order as you go down the counter), and you can build bowls of various sizes and with different ingredients. A Four Bowl (which is what I got, and it was plenty) gives you two bases, one veggie and one protein. A Six Bowl doubles up the protein and veggies. You can also get a Greens Bowl with two mixed greens, two veggies, a protein and salsa.
And I’ve gotta talk about those bases, veggies and proteins a minute. Because I don’t eat meat (other than seafood) and typically try to opt for the healthier options on a menu, I often find my choices pretty limited. Not here. My options on the day I visited (because I know they change) were:
Bases: Brown rice, perfect spice rice, romaine and summer salad, sweet potato noodle, sweet potato mash, coconut ginger rice, and my two picks, kale slaw and veggie quinoa
Veggies: Parmesan broccoli, roasted mushrooms, sesame green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts and, my pick, honey ginger carrots (you know how I love my ginger!)
Proteins: BBQ chicken, baked almond chicken, grilled citrus chicken, chia seed tuna poke, herb grilled steak, and, my choice, chia seed teriyaki tofu
Sauces: Holy kale, creamy white ginger, herb balsamic vinaigrette, cucumber jalapeno, and, the option I couldn’t say no to: coconut sriracha
If you don’t feel like coming up with your own bowl, they also have a list of chef-recommended combos. Plus, there are fresh, cold-pressed juices, lemonades, nut mylks and teas. Also, Paleo cookies! Which I was too stuffed to try, but hey, I had to leave something for next time, right?
Now, while the food was seriously delicious, I’m not going to lie — the restaurant’s marketing sealed the deal. I love a good play on profanity, and they play up the #GiveaFK marketing in a way that makes my inner 12-year-old giggle.
What’s your favorite fast-casual restaurant? I’ve been known to hit my local Moe’s pretty regularly, but I think Fresh Kitchen is going to find its way into the rotation … at least when I find myself on that side of town! —Kristen