Eating to Live on the Outside: Fresh Food Kitchen

I’m a Jersey boy to my soul, so, it’s only a matter of time before Eating to Live on the Outside jumps back on the Turnpike and drops in for a bite to eat. This week we’re taking a look New Jersey’s own, Fresh Food Kitchen. I drive by this place a lot and even though I’ve never eaten there, everyone I know raves about it. So, let’s dust off our wing tips, pluck our collars, and hit it.

Okay, let’s start with the Breakfast Menu. They’ve got hearty offerings of eggs, cream cheese, baked goods, and yogurt. Yeah, not exactly Eat to Live fodder. Breakfast definitely looks tough. My best option would probably be the Fruit Cup, not bad, considering that 99% of my breakfasts consist of fresh fruit anyway. I might give the Hot Oatmeal a try, but only if it’s not made with dairy or sweetened or artificially flavored. Clearly breakfast is doable, but let’s see if the other menus offer a little more variety for the discerning Eat to Liver.

The Soups, Salads, Paninis & Wraps Menu is looking better. Yeah, there are more options here. Right off the bat, the soups look good. These ones caught my eye: Vegetarian Bean Chili, Vegetarian Lentil Soup, and the Vegetable Soup. Now, even though I don’t consider myself a vegetarian—because I still eat fish—when I see the word vegetarian on a menu, nowadays I go right for it. So, provided these soups aren’t overly salty, I think they’re all good choices—not to mention they’re served with fresh fruit!

There are also a couple sandwiches worth giving a look—yes, the bread is the concession. The first one to snatch my eyeballs is the Vegetarian Panini—surprise, surprise. It’s made with sweet peppers, squash, zucchini, mozzarella, and cilantro pesto sauce. Not bad, but, I’m dropping the cheese. So, what am I left with? A lot of hearty vegetables—hopefully not overly cooked, don’t want any acrylamides! With that being said the only concessions I’d have to deal with would be the bread and the oil in the pesto sauce, it’s manageable.

The wraps on the menu also have some good potential, provided you can deal with the tortilla—I can. Okay, I like a bunch of Fresh Food Kitchen’s wraps, so here they are, shotgun style: The Salmon Salad; made with poached salmon, onions, carrots, celery & dill mustard, and low-fat mayonnaise. The Four Seasons; prepared with portabella mushroom, mozzarella, tomato, green leaves, and glazed balsamic vinegar. The Vegetarian; put together with grilled Portobello mushroom, green peppers, onions, black olives, sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, lite Swiss, balsamic vinegar, and Italian dressing. And finally, The Veggie Delight with Tofu; which is made with grilled braised carrots, eggplant, roasted peppers, roasted onions, broccoli, Portobello mushrooms, sesame tofu, basil, garlic, and sun dried tomato paste. Quite a few options, right? Okay, here’s what I’d drop from all the dishes: the low-fat mayonnaise, the mozzarella, and the lite Swiss. Again, if you can get past the bread, the oil used in the creation process, and limit or omit the salad dressing—they’re all very workable. What do you think? Oh, and the fish! You know the drill. Class, how do we handle fish? “Dr. Fuhrman says not to eat it more than a couple times a week, especially if it runs the risk of high mercury contamination.” Good job class.

Alright, let’s zip on over to the Mexican Specialties Menu. Honestly, Mexican food makes me a little nervous—my system kicks back spicy food like a mule. So, let’s see what’s cooking here. Okay, there are a few vegetarian options, but they come with a lot of cheese and sour cream. I’d strip them out of there, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort—nix that idea! What do you think about The Portofino? I could make that work. It’s prepared with grilled chicken strips, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers, mozzarella, basil, and rosemary. Bye-bye chicken, adios mozzarella! Yeah, that looks a lot better now. Don’t you agree?

Alright, Fresh Food Kitchen has a lot of not-so Fuhrman friendly ingredients on hand, but, they’ve also got a lot of good things going on if you work on it a little. But, if all these alterations prove too tedious, you can always do what I do in most situations—order a salad. Good thing Fresh Food Kitchen boasts a Fresh Tossed Salad Bar—rock on! So come one people, check out Fresh Food Kitchen’s menus and let me know what you think. Make a comment or send me an email at
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Jen - May 7, 2007 9:07 AM

So Mr. Pugliese, what happens if a person cannot eat fruits and veggies because of food allergies? Also, what do you think about the 'idea' of the food pyramid where a balance of breads, meats, dairy, fruits/veggies, and sweets (used very sparingly!) promotes a healthy, balanced diet? Are you saying the FDA is wrong???

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