Quick bites!

Don't misunderstand me, I love to cook, sometimes (I happen to just be lazy) (I hate to cleanup) I don't have time to prepare meals at home, and while I love going to my favourite restaurants, sometimes I just don't have the time to sit through a proper meal (which is an imperative for me, I like to take my time and HATE to be continually rushed by servers! No one would dream of doing this in France). So I rely on five fast-casual eateries near me that have delicious and healthy, clean food!

1. Blaze Pizza

I love everything about this pizzeria where you can custom-build your own individual pizza (huge variety of free unlimited toppings... need I say more? and they will fire it for you in an authentic pizza oven. The ingredients are fresh, tasteful and healthy, and there are vegan and gluten-free options.
You can imagine I was devastated when I found out that they had closed down the location closest to me (the others are 30-minute away, but completely worth the trip!), but I couldn't write such a post without telling you about it.
My favourite combination: spicy red sauce, ovalini mozzarella, gorgonzola, mushrooms, fresh basil, fresh spinach, Kalamata olives, artichokes, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and sometimes fresh arugula.

2. Chipotle:

Do I even need to explain what Chipotle is? This Mexican-inspired chain, which my cousins love just as much as I do, is heavens on earth, and the proof that something fast, cheap and inexpensive (and healthy and flavourful) all at once exists.
I love to get a bowl with brown rice, veggies, chicken and salsa, and every once in a while I allow myself an 800 calories treat of guacamole and chips.

3. Noodles and Company:

As a pasta lover since early childhood, I love this restaurant's international menu of delicious Mediterranean-, Asian- and American- inspired pasta dishes, which has expanded over the years into many options of salads, soups and different sides (the potstickers are to die for!). The ingredients are fresh, often local, and the dishes come in two size options (which is great as we all know food portions in the States can be huge!). While it will take about ten minutes for your dish to be prepared, you have the option to order online to-go if you are in a rush.
My favourite dishes include the Pad Thai, the potstickers, the tomato bisque, and the whole-grain tuscan fresca.

4. Chopt' Creative Salad:

I cannot believe that this restaurant has been here for a few years, and I never visited it until very recently. It's yet another build-your-own concept, where you get to customise everything about your salad, from the type of greens, to the add-ins and dressings, and they chop and mix everything up for you. The fresh, delicious flavour of the ingredients will make you more excited than you'd ever think you'd be for salad!
I always get this combination: arugula, black olives, red peppers, garbanzo beans, chipotle chicken, pecorino cheese, lots of lemon juice and a fillet of extra-virgin olive oil.

5. Balducci's:

I've been going to Balducci's for eight years, as it was very popular with people at my school: staff and students alike would get their lunch in the recognizable white and yellow paper bags. It is more of a very gourmet food market than a restaurant (the cheese section is to die for!), but they have many  fresh meals that are ready to go. Some people may love the sandwiches, salads or deli section, but I especially like the sushi, which is the freshest and most delicious you can get in a market. It is prepared in-store the same morning, although I once was able to custom-order a dish of sashimi to the chef who was working behind the counter.
I often get a tuna or salmon sushi platter along with seaweed salad and/or edamame to add more vegetables to my meal, and diet coke or sparkling water (or, if I'm feeling particularly zealous health-wise, kombucha!)


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