February 6, 2008

Restaurant Review: Fresh City

According to their website, “At Fresh City, we consider it our civic duty to provide fresh, wholesome alternatives to fast foods.” Since I wasn’t all that impressed with yesterday’s attempt to be like fast food but healthier, today I went for the “alternatives.”

Having done all the research in advance, and knowing that I needed something vegetarian because it’s Ash Wednesday, I got there and immediately opted for the Truly Tuna on low carb wheat tortilla. At 407 calories, it’s way healthier than your average tuna salad sandwich (ahem, Panera… 840 calories for a full-sized sandwich)! The tuna salad was your basic blend of flavors, but considering how easy it is to screw up tuna salad by pre-making it and letting it sit around for a while, I was impressed. The ingredients are definitely fresh: the lettuce wasn’t wilted, the tomatoes were crisp and juicy, and I was really pleased with the taste. Also, the wrap was really tasty, not cardboard-y like a lot of low carb tortillas.

I should add that this was not my first visit to Fresh City. Because it’s right in the tower where I work, I stopped by there on Monday as well. That day, I chose the Monterey Chicken Salad, again subbing the low carb wheat tortilla (452 calories), and paired it with a cup of the Farmer’s Carrot Broccoli soup (123 calories). That day, I was absolutely stuffed, to the point where I wasn’t at all hungry for dinner later that night. Today, getting just the wrap, I feel perfectly satiated.

With as much as I’ve learned about nutrition, I still find it interesting to see how much other people don’t know. The manager on my team is always saying that he’s trying to be careful of his weight, and he’s always trying to figure out the lightest foods to eat. However, he doesn’t count calories, mistakenly thinking that fat is all that matters. (He’s one of those who believes that if it’s fat-free, it must be diet-friendly – I’ll try to disabuse him of that notion as I get more comfortable with him). Today, he opted for the tofu stir fry, which clocked in at 606 calories – definitely not too bad, especially since he’s a guy and probably has higher calorie requirements than I do. The nice thing about Fresh City is you really can’t go wrong – I don’t think there’s anything over 800 calories, which is totally awesome for a restaurant. Half the time, I have a hard time finding anything under 800 calories!

One last thing that endears me to Fresh City is that the Reinstein brothers who started the chain are Cornell grads. Go Big Red!

Overall: 4/5 stars
This is a great place to go if you’re in the mood for something that, for lack of a better word, just tastes really fresh. Most of the menu is diet-friendly, so even if you haven’t done your homework on what fits your plan, you probably won’t go too far astray. It’s reasonably-priced (my sandwich was about $6 with tax), and very quick. I would definitely recommend checking out Fresh City if there is one in your area – it beats most other sandwich shops any day.


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