Real Restaurants

Sugar & Olives
21 1/2 Lois Street
Norwalk, CT

This restaurant serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, and you can order dinner, pick up before they close at 4 pm.  They are carving out a niche for themselves by specializing in local, and when possible, organic fare, made thoughtfully from whole foods.  They are doing it well.  It’s a small place and service is slow, and on both occasions I have been there they have been out of several items. But what I’ve had has been great and worth the trip. It’s quite expensive for lunch, (I haven’t been for breakfast), but we really need to recondition ourselves to understand that whole foods, sourced locally and therefore usually produced on a smaller scale than large commercial farms, even the organic ones, and using organic farming methods costs more than mass-produced chemically-enhanced food. When you factor in the societal costs of the farming subsidies the big agri-business guys get, and the health care costs due to hormones, pesticides, chemicals and lower nutritive value in the food picked before ripened, shipped long distances and delayed weeks in getting to market, it’s worth it.  For more info, read Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollen.

Navaranta
133 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT

A fabulous vegetarian Indian restaurant in downtown Stamford. Truly authentic, and certified Kosher (though most of the other diners are Indian, not Jewish).  What a great way to enjoy vegetables that I didn’t grow.  Rated “Worth It” by the New York Times.  I’d give it a “Don’t Miss It!”

Kaia Cafe
328 Pemberwick Road, The Mill
Greenwich, CT
   and
1200 Post Road East
Westport, CT

All ingredients at the cafes that Kaia Yoga operates in both Westport and Greenwich are 100% organic, and where possible, sourced locally. They specialize in fresh fruit and veggie juices, smoothies, salads, nutrient-dense whole foods (the spicy almond nori is my favorite), wraps, and healthy whole-food snacks.  In Greenwich, it’s a perfect lunch spot (try the lunchtime Vinyasa class as 12:30 pm and order your juice and lunch before going into class–it will be waiting for you when you come out). Afterwards, a walk around the waterfall makes a perfect afternoon.

ZeppoleMe

321 North Main Street
Port Chester, NY

To qualify as a “real restaurant” in my book doesn’t mean a place has to be all organic or all vegetarian, though those are good things. To me, a real restaurant is one that is walking its talk, is fresh and exceptionally good. Now, zeppole, those little balls of fried dough, covered in powdered sugar, are not about to be mistaken for health food by anyone. They are decidedly not good for you, but hey, once in a while, like after a nice morning work-out, sitting down at the counter overlooking the street at this well-put together place, nibbling on zeppole and sampling dipping sauces, sipping iced coffee, reading a newspaper or a book…that’s not good, that’s a necessity every once in a while! I enjoyed a perfect lunch there with my son, Elias, today. We each ordered a panini, mine was grilled portobello, arugula, caramelized onion and goat cheese. What could be more perfect than that? I’ll tell you what–the bread was from the bakery next door, The Kneaded Bread, which everyone in this area knows is the best bakery-period! ZeppoleMe is open 7 days a week, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. A perfect spot for a quick pre-movie dinner, or a post-movie dessert, too. I may need to invest in a bicycle and limit myself to eating here only when I’ve ridden over. Otherwise, it’s way too close and I’m likely to stop by too often. 

 More to come….

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