In her well-intentioned, but largely futile, campaign to make me “eat healthy,” my wife took me to a new eatery for lunch the other day.
(“Eatery,” by the way, is the fashionable word for places where you shuffle along on one side of a counter while servers on the other side of the counter force you to select from ingredients which they then pile on top of each other, assembly line-style, so when you get to the end of the counter you have no idea what you’ve wound up with.)
At this particular eatery — a franchise in what is part of a Midwestern chain — the ingredients are mostly items that would delight cattle, giraffes and other ruminants. It’s the kind of place where you might take your book club for lunch, but not your bowling team. It is, in other words, a perfect place for people who believe salad is a meal.
But its food is earnestly healthy.
“All of our ingredients are free of GMO’s, trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners and other artificial additives,” the chain’s website proclaims. What’s more, they are gluten free, which is very important because glutens have been identified as the greatest risk to humankind since the bubonic plague. And, of course, they’re low calorie. The sriracha ginger roasted tofu “green bowl,” for instance, has just 240 calories, which is approximately the same number of calories you’d get if you licked the bun of a Big Mac.
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All of which seems to be important to a lot of people, because there’s a long line ahead of us when we get to the eatery, giving us plenty of time to study the menu. By the time we get to the first server, my wife has decided on a “grain bowl” consisting of quinoa, roasted tofu, raw beets and shredded kale. Virtually every item on the menu includes kale, which is what goats eat when they run out of cardboard.
“I’ll just have a Coke,” I tell the server.
“I’m sorry, we don’t have sodas,” she replies. “We have some wonderful lemonades, though. There’s beet lemonade, cucumber basil lemonade and cranberry cayenne lemonade.”
“It’s a little chilly for lemonade, so just make it a hot cup of de-caf.”
“We don’t have hot coffee. Only cold brewed organic coffee.”
“There’s tropical green tea and apple cider tea.”
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“Do you have water?”
“Anything in it?
“I’ll take it.”
I did try one bite of my wife’s salad and it was every bit as tasty as it sounded. But the best thing about going to the eatery is that I discovered it’s located right next door to a new pizza place.
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