Falling Off the Fidelity (Food) Wagon

Falling Off the Fidelity (Food) Wagon

The Mediterranean quinoa bowl

For the past two years, I have had an unwaveringly monogamous relationship with Bread & Butter, a quality deli chain that offers everything for all people: pizza, a hot and cold buffet, salad bar, Korean specialties, and on and on. So, each day at noon, in an almost numbingly repetitive way, I’d duck out of the office, and walk the one block to the eatery, choose between two or three standards (brown rice sushi, grilled salmon, tuna fish and salad) and make my way back to work, ready to pound out copy while I mindlessly chomped away.

But then, a few weeks ago, I discovered quinoa, that great starchy-yet-healthier alternative to pasta and bread. And then I discovered Fresh &  Co. and their quinoa bar, and so, after two years of an extremely satisfying relationship, I bid farewell to Bread & Butter, and crossed over, to the north side of 29th Street. Fresh & Co. offers a variety of items as well : sandwiches, salads, soups, but I’ve never really noticed them. The quinoa bar at this brightly lit, white tiled, spotless take-out or eat-in spot offers several different quinoa salads, most including steamed kale and includes a range of mix-in items such as smoked tofu, feta cheese, kidney beans, grilled chicken, and a variety of vegetables, along with dressings that include a creamy garlic vinaigrette and a smoky chipolte vinaigrette. Watching the making of the salad in this café has become mesmerizing, a concerted effort by a tag team that first involves team member #1 throwing the selected items in a large, shiny silver bowl, adding the dressing, then scooping a generous mound of quinoa on, at which point team player #2 dolls out the freshly steamed kale and stirs vigorously. Poof!

Back at the office, this grainy, chewy, fragrant and veggie-filled bowl of yumminess has motivated me to move away from my desk and my computer screen and actually eat my lunch leisurely and distraction-free, instead of my usual work-and-inhale.

Fidelity has always been important to me. I really liked the pretty, cheerful, round-faced young woman at Bread & Butter who always greeted me with a wide smile and wished me a nice day after she rang me up. So, yes, there is an element of guilt here that I literally crossed over the line to the other side of the street. But somehow that energizing salad makes it all worth it.

» Fresh & Co., 425 Park Ave. So., 212.233.7374