NEW FEATURE!

A Taste For It

vegetablesBY Jamie Lee Rake

The friend who met me to eat at The Green Cafe (inside Just B Still Massage Studio,1211 Rickmeyer Dr. Suite, A, Fond du Lac, near Menard’s) remarked that the place almost looks too fancy to eat there. Classy locale though it is, it would be a shame to not grab a bite there should you find yourself in mind of darkening its door.

Their name derives more from a commitment to ecological and nutritional healthiness than the colors of its decor. There’s really hardly any green to be seen amid the cafe’s elegantly minimal decor, but the quality of what’s served here may inspire another kind of green among other restauranteurs…that of jealousy wishing they could offer food as unique and scrumptious. That most other eateries don’t have their own gardens from which to obtain some of their ingredients, as does The Green Cafe, may inspire some envy as well.

My guess is that at least the organic mixed greens in my  recent supper there came from the plot out back of the cafe. They comprised but one element of the chicken salad…Lady Anabella’s chicken salad no less, between the nine-grain, sesame seed-topped bread slices filling a hearty sandwich.

Also intermingling with those greens and breast of free-range fowl are cranberries, walnuts, and chunks of celery, red onion and apple. You don’t even need mayo what with the moisture from all that juicy produce mixing with the meat. None was listed on the menu, so here’s assuming there wasn’t. And the flavor combination is no lesser for its absence. The salubrious salad may also be had inside a whole wheat tortilla as a wrap, but why not go for the eight other  grains, I say.

In case you’re a guy reading this, note that most every sandwich here has a feminine name. But don’t let it be a threat to your masculinity! My dining companion, also male, was amply satisfied with his Margherita orgigami pizza. Lovers of the savory Italian pie who’ve not let their tastebuds succumb to chain pizzeria offerings know that Margherita’s is not only another gal’s moniker, but also that of an actually Mediterranean style of ‘za.

Adding to the international flair of Green Cafe’s iteration, it’s not only folded in the manner of the Japanese paper sculpture for which it’s named; it’s also made not with traditional crust, but a thin type of naan, the soft flat bread native to India. Here’s it’s prepared with garlic, complementing the Margherita’s usual combo of basil pesto, olive oil, tomato and mozzarella sourced from Wisconsin’s own Grande Cheese company. My friend had a bit of a scare with the pine nuts in the pesto, allergic as he is to most nut meats, but he was fine. He obviously could not have wanted my sammy, but based on the bite he let me have of his entree’, I may know what I’ll be ordering upon my next visit. And, Lord willing there will be numerous visits to come.

But back to my fare. Offered to me as a side to accompany my sandwich were chips of white potato, sweet potato or root veggies or a carrot salad. On the right day one can get all those fried crunchies at the Aldi’s not far from the cafe, so of course, culinary adventurer that I endeavor to be, the other option was the one for me. Orange, purple and brown tubers, the latter of which I mistook for shoestring potatoes, basked in a piquantly sweet marinade, making for a fine textural complement to my sandwich.

For diners desirous of more control over what they much, go on ahead and do that. You can choose from several hormone-free beef, tuna, salmon, a walnut meal patty and a couple kinds of vegan burgers. Top any of them with one of four cheeses, up to three of nine toppings, one of a quartet of chip varieties on the side, and one of nearly a dozen condiments (only 50 cents each for those with especially saucy tastes).

Soups and salads will have to wait for future meals, but I did splurge for dessert. Though caramels, ice cream and super fruits made with dark chocolate were all tempting, I followed through on the suggestion of our greeter, experiencing her first day on the job, and went with her suggestion among the four smoothies offered. She said the Power Packed Protein Smoothie “tastes just like dessert.” But it’s a decidedly adult dessert, with a combo of ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg adding a bite after the smoother initial hit of almond butter, banana and vanilla yogurt. And speaking of that last ingredient, one of my future trips back will have to be for breakfast, as the yogurt delight, topped with ground flax seeds and fresh fruit looks to give McDonald’s a run for its own fruity, granola-laden parfait for which I have a fondness (don’t judge!).

The Green Cafe’s complimentary water is special and fancy as anything else there too. Mint and lavender subtly infused our H2O, but the plants inside the decanter change from day to day.

As I said, I want to go back. And even if you care not a whit for the state of the planet nor the purity of what goes down your gullet, it’s tough not to appreciate The Green Cafe’s care and tastiness.

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