Zoe’s Kitchen Review

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Credit: Zoe’s Kitchen

Hi y’all! I am excited to be back today with restaurant review for you.

If you have dietary restrictions or lead a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle it can be difficult to find easy, accessible meal options.

Zoe’s Kitchen is built upon the idea of a balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating and time with family and friends.

I have had the pleasure of eating at Zoe’s before, but this weekend I took my vegan, gluten-free friend Paige to try the restaurant for the first time.

We arrived at the restaurant around 3 p.m. on a Monday, so we almost had the restaurant to ourselves.

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Pick your table. (Credit: Identity PR)

Paige is a gluten-free vegan which makes eating out difficult but luckily Zoe’s keeps an easy to read Allergen Menu near the register. Here is a link to the online menu.

When I went to SMU, I was a Zoe’s addict and ate the Greek Salad and the Chicken Kabobs more often than I would like to admit. I decided to try something different and ordered the tomato bisque and chicken roll ups.

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The soup tastes better than it looks, I promise. (Credit: Steven Spivack)

The bisque was SO delicious you have to try it! A cup only contains 160 calories and helps add another serving of veggies to your diet.

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I devoured the kabobs too quickly to snap a picture. (Credit: Food Spotting)

 

The soup was really filling, but when the Chicken Kabobs arrived they looked almost too good to be true. The grilled peppers and onions gave the chicken such a great flavor, and the meat was very tender. I only ate one, but still took in 24 g of protein. Delicious!

Paige’s diet is very restricted and very few restaurants offer dishes that suit her needs. “Packing my own snacks for meals out with friends gets old really quickly,” said Paige. “Finding dishes that work for me and are tasty is rare.”

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Full plate but what about the taste? (Credit: Identity PR)

 

“I was hoping a place like Zoe’s would have a greater range of options, I eat grilled chicken almost everyday,” said Paige.

She thought that the chicken breast was under seasoned and rubbery. The white pinto beans were cold and too salty. The vegetables were overcooked and soggy.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and found that Zoe’s has a lot of yummy, quick options. However, for a restaurant that claims to be centered on the customer and healthy eating, they offer very few options for those who suffer from food allergies.

Overall grade: B

 

I have been baking up a storm this week and will have some yummy gluten free goods for you next time!

Lauren

 

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Welcome + What I Ate Wednesday

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Rain, rain go away! (Credit: Blanca Gomez via Etsy)

It has been a sleepy, wet week here in Houston, but I am very excited for our first What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)!


While combing through health and fitness blogs, I stumbled upon http://www.peasandcrayons.com/p/wiaw.html and loved the idea. Who isn’t interested in what other people are eating?

BREAKFAST

The rain makes me crave comfort food, and what is better than pancakes on a drizzly morning? My goal this summer is to increase my fruit and veggie intake, so I decided to be adventurous and mix spinach into the pancake batter.

I was cautiously optimistic about the outcome, but thankfully they were wonderful and an awesome addition to my recipe arsenal.

http://stuftmama.com/2011/09/26/fitness-palooza/

Waiting for the mean green monsters to bubble up. (Credit: Anne Parker)

I pretty much followed Stuft Mama’s recipe, except I added an extra tablespoon of oats to make the consistency a bit thicker.

Delicious, green perfection! (Credit: Anne Parker)

I topped the pancakes with a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, a sliced banana and a light drizzle of Agave nectar. What a great way to start a rainy day!

MID-MORNING SNACK

I was still so unbelievably stuffed from the pancakes that I skipped my usual snack. I did make a cup of organic green tea (I recommend Prince of Peace) and topped it off with a lemon.

LUNCH

My eyes were bigger than my stomach when lunch time finally rolled around. I decided that after such a filling breakfast, that a salad and salmon filet would make a good afternoon meal.

Strawberry + Feta Cheese + Balsamic Dressing

3 sliced organic strawberries

1 tablespoon of crumbled feta cheese

Drizzle of Newman’s Organic Balsamic

Sauteed Salmon Filet

1 salmon filet, seasoned with salt/pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

After seasoning both sides of the filet, pour the olive oil into a pan and cook on medium heat until flaky.

Huge yummy salad with spinach and strawberries. (Credit: Anne Parker)

The salmon was delicious, but I couldn’t even eat a quarter of the filet after all of the salad. Luckily, my mom was starving and gladly took the fish off of my hands.

The salad and salmon were so easy to make, and provided such a powerful punch of Omega-3s and other antioxidants. You must try this!

 AFTERNOON SNACK

I had to work this afternoon so I grabbed a hand full of almonds and another big mug of green tea to go. I find that I have so much more energy when I have small snacks like this throughout the day.

Handfuls of unsalted almonds provide small power boosts on busy days. (Credit: Urban Bites 254)

DINNER 

I was stuck at work until late, so I did not have a lot of time to whip dinner together. I decided on simple broiled tomatoes with a side of blueberries and homemade kale chips would hit the spot.

Broiled Tomatoes

1 sliced tomatoes

Sprinkle of shredded Mozarella cheese

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil cooking spray

Slice the tomato into thin slices and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top with mozarella cheese. Spray the cooking sheet with the olive oil spray and broil on High for 5 minutes.

I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture before devouring them!

Homemade Kale Chips

2 handfuls of rinsed and dried kale

Salt and pepper + garlic salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and spray the cooking sheet with olive oil spray. Sprinkle the seasonings onto the kale and bake for 10-15 minutes. *Tip- try not to open the oven door until at least 10 minutes have passed, it lets out a lot of heat!

Kale chips are a light, healthy side. (Credit: Anne Parker)

DESSERT

I don’t always eat dessert but I was craving chocolate. I grabbed a frozen Trader Joe’s Chocolate Mochi, and it hit the spot!

These frozen balls of rice paste are a different way to satisfy your sweet tooth! (Credit: Paste Magazine)

 

There you have it! My schedule kept me away from home all afternoon and into the evening, but with quick and easy recipes on hand I was able to avoid reaching for cheap junk.

Tomorrow I am checking out the new Zoe’s Kitchen with my sister, Kerrin, who is a vegan. I will post pictures and a review this weekend.

Until then, stay dry and happy eating!