Nuts & Grains - A Healthier Choice for the Family
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Nuts & Grains is one of those places that just sort of grows on you, in a good way, that is. Located in Tamuning's Oka Plaza behind Pay-Less Supermarket, Nuts & Grains has been catering to many health-conscious people for a number of years, serving special lunches (mainly vegetarian with some meat options) as well as selling health food products in their grocery section. Owned by Libby Pier, Nuts & Grains is a favorite spot for discriminating diners who want to eat responsibly, but who also want to enjoy the food they eat. They are more widely-known as a health food store, and the restaurant is really kind of an added-on embellishment.
Though I haven't reviewed Nuts & Grains since July 2002, it has been a place I've frequented often. I have made it my favorite place to get my "Food Guy" special smoothie (Mango/Strawberry/Banana with Whey Protein), which I usually order by calling Shane, Libby's son, when I need a quick and healthy meal replacement I can drink while on the go. However, it's when I go to the store with the express purpose of eating there, that I really find a special solace and relaxation just from being there that elevates the meal to more of a spiritual retreat.
Ordering is simple at Nuts & Grains. You just walk up to the counter and read from the menu boards posted on the walls behind it. They serve two kinds of quiche daily, as well as a special soup. Today's choices were the Spinach & Mushroom and Asparagus & Tomato Quiches ($3.50/slice), along with Split Pea Soup ($3.50/small & $4.50/large). I ordered the Spinach and Mushroom along with a small soup. I also ordered the Nuts & Grains Burger ($5.50), which is a Garden burger on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and a special sauce. I even ordered a Large Smoothie (Mango/Strawberry/Banana) for $4.50, even though I had already selected an Outrageous Ginger Ale from the beverage chiller. This Ginger Ale is a Natural Brew, Hand-crafted beverage that blends Jamaican and Chinese ginger roots resulting in a crisp, stimulating, and refreshing drink. Other intriguing drinks await your selection in this refrigerated display case.
There are about six small tables near the window entrance of the store. If you are alone, it's a good place to sit and catch up on some reading, which is what can do while you wait for your order to be prepared. Or, you can walk through the aisles and peruse a variety of health food products, ranging from nuts, whole grains, granola, cereal, couscous, hummus mix, cookies, juices, crackers, soups, jams, seasonings, spices, nutrition bars, and many other hard-to-find products. Nuts & Grains is the only place on Guam to find many of the essential ingredients of Indian food.
Shane delivered my order and placed each item on my table. The Nuts & Grain Burger is served in a woven basket on a paper liner along with fat-free pretzels. The split pea soup was so thick that my spoon just stood straight up! Along with the soup was a slice of 9-grain bread. I have had this Garden Burger a number of times...it is a soy-protein product that has the taste and consistency of a hamburger. The alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce just add to this, making it a really flavorful and healthful treat, all sandwiched between two whole wheat buns. Talk about guilt-free dining! The soup was delicious, yet it was so thick I could only eat half the portion, and took the rest home.
The quiche is baked earlier and re-heated in the microwave which tends to make the crust chewy rather than flaky. I still enjoyed the spinach, cheese and egg combination...it's one of the few places on Guam where you can get a quiche of any kind, whether you are a real man or not!
Another sandwich that I've ordered and enjoyed is their Grilled Chicken Burger ($5.50), which is a white chicken breast (real meat) with lettuce, sprouts and tomato, served on a whole wheat bun. Nuts & Grains is probably one of the only places where you can get a Peanut Butter and Honey or Banana Sandwich ($3.50). They also have a Veggie Sandwich ($4.95), Tuna Sandwich ($4.95), Egg Salad Sandwich ($3.95), Turkey Sandwich ($5.5) and a Greek Pita ($5.50), made with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, yellow peppers, feta cheese, and olives - [Editor's Note: Our favorite!] New to their menu is the Falafel Pita ($5.50). You can add cheese to your sandwiches for an extra $0.50.
Nuts & Grains also features a modest selection of salads, including a house salad ($1.95/sm, $2.95/lg), Caesar Salad ($2.95/sm, $4.95/lg), Greek($2.95/sm, $4.95/lg), Chef's Salad ($5.95), as well as a Chicken Caesar Salad for $5.95.
While I was enjoying my lunch and talking to some other diners, I noticed a mother and her three kids had come in and were eating some soft-serve frozen yogurts in small cups. This vanilla yogurt sells for $3.95 for a large cup and $1.95 for a small cup (or cone), with a medium priced cup at $2.95. I was impressed that they were eating the yogurts instead of regular ice cream...it just seemed so much healthier, and we should all consider making more intelligent substitutes when we can, especially for our children.
Nuts and Grains offers take out service and you can call 646-9358 to place your orders in advance so they'll be ready when you get there (that's how I do my Food Guy smoothie). One of the things you'll love to take out is one of Nuts & Grains home-made Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Nuts, or Carrot Cake, which sell for $1.75 a piece. The Oatmeal Cookies are also delicious and made daily, and cost $0.75 each. Nuts and Grains is open Monday-Saturday, from 10am- 6pm.
It is my duty and desire to recommend Nuts and Grains to you and your family as a dining choice that offers quality nutritional value. This is truly one of the places where I believe the more you frequent and eater, the healthier you'll live.