It’s a new month we are entering and October is sort of the gateway to my favorite time of year. The advent of cooler temperatures plays host to fairs and festivals, fall root vegetables and candied apples, the heart of football season and the end of having to cut the grass every single week. Before you know it we will be rotting our teeth with Halloween candy, but the whole routine is more of a prelude to my favorite month, November.
October is slammed with birthdays and anniversaries in my family, some happy, some sad, but no matter what, this month ranks high on my list of special times of the year. As I get older, I think more often about how many Octobers and Novembers I will be afforded — 10, 20, 30 or 40. But no matter the cards I am dealt, I’ll pledge to do what I can to keep those numbers on the higher end of the spectrum.
As spring with its sunshine is a rebirth for many, fall with its changing leaves is my renaissance season. While some of you scramble for a bikini body around April, I am currently working to make room for a Thanksgiving feast that is merely weeks away.
My like-minded friends and I decided it was time to take a trip down to the Moorer YMCA at St. Michael and Water streets. No, we weren’t going there to work out. We were going there to eat.
Taking the elevator to the second floor, Snake, Rob and I were eager to visit Nourish Café. Earning a reputation as something healthy with an ever-rotating menu, this lunch spot is a great place to go for those of you looking for something fresh, often raw and healthy.
This Monday through Friday counter serves the men and women coming from their workouts from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., but also allows people like us in “business casual” who have zero intentions of hitting the gym before stuffing our faces. Not in these shoes, anyway. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, Captain Yoga Pants.
On this particular day we were the first in line and had the place all to ourselves just before the regulars started filtering in. The menu is a collection of dry-erase boards nestled into old windowpanes hung on the wall. You grab a piece of paper and pencil and write your order legibly, then and turn it in to Manager/Creative Director/Chef Garrick Ogburn and the fun begins.
On this day Snake was feeling the pull of the Chop Sides Combo (special pick three, $9). Broccoli and carrot slaw was fresh and crunchy. It didn’t miss being drenched in mayonnaise or vinegar and rather had a very light taste to the spoonful I was allotted. The kale and walnut pesto pasta salad also had a wonderful flavor standing in for basil and pine nuts. It wasn’t too oily of a sauce over the twisted pasta. Snake’s favorite, though, was the kale/cheddar quesadilla. What more can I say? The names of these dishes pretty much describe them all. The quesadilla was a light, crispy tortilla cut into wedges. We were off to a good start.
Rob is a little crazy for chicken salad ($8). For someone who hates mayonnaise he sure does enjoy a lot of different dishes that require mayonnaise. Chef Garrick said chicken salad wasn’t really on the menu today but he had one last serving left. Rob took it. As a wrap we can say it didn’t disappoint, and Rob devoured the entire thing. For a side, Mr. Holbert chose the Moroccan spice vegetable rice salad, a slight departure from the humdrum mixed grilled vegetables over rice.
I believe of the three of us I was the wisest with my choices and settled down to a large plate of Hippy Ranch Chicken Wrap ($8). Two wheat tortillas were filled with much more than I should eat of chicken, kale, lettuce and roasted red onion. So what is so hippy about that? It’s got a “weed seed ranch” dressing made from hemp seeds. It won’t get you buzzed but it does make you want to come back for more.
For a side I chose Quinoa Tabbouleh, which is highlighted by freshness. I also ordered a side of egg salad from the chop sides menu and never got it. I’m sort of glad I didn’t. There was no more room.
For drinks we had canned La Croix sparkling water, which I doubled down on, and for dessert a handful of Smarties and a Bit O’ Honey.
It was a pleasant lunch full of what I would consider very healthy food. There is a heavy use of kale in almost every section of the menu. The use of root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and beets is nice to see. But all in all, you have a splendid mix in a rotating menu viewable on Facebook daily that removes the lunchtime guilt.
Nourish Café was a great way to start my fall season. Here’s to many more. Now let’s get healthy and indulge on Thanksgiving!
101 N. Water St.