Simply Food - Satisfying Appetites with Meatless Fare
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Simply Food is a popular Vegetarian restaurant located in the Adventist Book & Food Center in Agana Heights, just south and across the street from Government House. Although I am an avowed carnivore, I always enjoy the opportunity to go "meatless," especially when I know I'm going to eat at Simply Food.
The meals at Simply Food are naturally low in fat and are unprocessed, assuring the customer of a fully nutritious meal. Each month, Daily Specials are featured, and their menu (which serves as a "do-it-yourself" order form) has entrees, a al carte items, and Sandwiches that you can design yourself. Although I've had sandwiches at Simply Food in my past visits, I decided to go for Monday's special, which was the Vegetable Wrap served with Vegetable Rice and Black Bean Soup.
The Simply Food menu/order form is created to make life easy for you, since all one has to do is check a box, fill in a blank, or circle selections. However, in my case, I'm usually in a hurry and miss a box or two, prompting the friendly staff to ask me for clarification! I keep promising myself to pay more attention when I order on my future visits. No worries!
My Vegetable Wrap was divine. A Spinach flour tortilla shell surrounded a bundle of fresh veggies, with a few beans and Stripples (Soy bacon, a surprisingly tasty soy protein meat substitute). Stripples delivers all the smoked flavor of bacon without an ounce of fat! When combined with all the veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, and lettuce), and topped off with a little home-made Ranch Dressing (which, by the way, was as tasty as it was healthy), the Stripples slices satisfied all my usual cravings for meat! With every bite I took, I knew that I was doing myself a big favor by eating foods that were good for my body. I could feel it!
I noticed that my neighbor, Grace Garces from GEPA, had ordered the Wrap Special, too, however, she had a tomato flour shell, which I found curious. Since wraps are cut in two, we thought it a good idea to swap one of each to get a little more variety. Accompanying these large wraps was a nice serving of Vegetable Rice, which was a fluffy, flavorful combination of brown rice, carrots, and green peas. Again, eating this food made me feel like I was doing wonders for body, almost like going to a health spa and getting pampered.
The Black Bean soup was thick and nourishing. The natural ingredients used for flavoring it made it an acceptable alternative to the Black Bean Soups I make using pork, a traditional ethnic favorite. The Daily Specials are reasonably priced at $4.99, and for just $2.00 more you can chose either a soup or a salad, which you can make yourself at the small salad bar.
The other Daily Specials for September are:
Tuesday - Chamorro: "Chicken" Kelaguen, Chalakilis, Spinach and Brown Red Rice, with Mongo Bean Soup
Wednesday - Taco Salad served with Sesame Chips and Homemade Salsa, with Creamy Tomato Soup
Thursday - Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Garlic Mushroom Sauce, with Garlic Garbanzo Soup
Friday - Thai Curry, and Lentils with Pumpkin Soup
(Don't these sound appealing?!! This is one great way to effectively beat fat!)
Regular entrees available at Simply Food are Lasagne (Cheese or Tofu) with garlic bread ($5.49); and Mushroom Loaf, with whole wheat rolls ($5.49). The Soup of the Day can be ordered in 3 sizes (8, 12, and 16 oz), and the Salad Bar is available for $4.25 (small) or $5.75 (large). Combinations are available, too. Soup and Salad are $6.79, and a Soup with Half Sandwich is $4.79. Potato Toppers are $4.25, with a choice of Stroganoff or Chili-n-Cheese.
The Design Your Own Sandwich selection at Simply Food is terrific, and the $4.50 price includes your choice of bread (7-Grain, French Bun, Pita, Rye, Whole Wheat) and 4 fillers from their long list (21 items). Extra items are $.75 each. All of the "meats" are soy protein substitutes, and are palatable alternatives. The list includes Bolono, Chicken, Corned Beef, Salami, Smoked Beef, Smoked Turkey, and Wham (soy ham). American, Mozzarella and Swiss Cheese is offered, and you can have your sandwich heated, not heated or toasted, with no mayo, regular mayo, or with Egg-Free Tofu Mayo. Simply Food accommodates all diets and appetites.
Other Sandwiches you can order are the Reuben ($3.99), Hard to Handle ($4.75), which is like a hamburger (soy protein patty); BLT ($3.99), Peanut Butter and Banana ($2.75), Peanut Butter and Honey ($2.75), Hot Dog ($2.95) and Chili Dog ($3.95).
Drinks include Smoothies ($2.95/$3.95), Tofu Shakes ($3.95) and Fruit Shakes ($2.95/$3.95). Other beverages inlclude a list of fruit juices, Iced Herbal Teas, and Roma Coffee (caffeine-free). My beverage choice for lunch was a refreshing Sunburst Strawberry Kiwi Tea (usually two flavors are available).
My dessert choice today was the Homemade cookie ($1.00), which happened to be Oatmeal/Raisin with nuts, lots of them. It was a huge, cake-like cookie, made with whole wheat flour and natural sweeteners. Again, eating this made me feel like I was "forgiving all my sins!" I decided to buy a carrot cake to take home and try. It was one of the best I recall eating, made with lots of good ingredients. It had all-purpose flour, carrots (really?), pecans, raisins, pineapple, sugar, soybean oil, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla, and was made without EGGS! Talk about moist!
Simply Food is open 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, Monday - Thursday and 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on Friday. You can order your food to eat in or to go. Simply Food also has a complete selection of nutritious foods and ingredients in their retail section. In the past 2 years, the new Manager, Sharon Schmidt, has done a remarkable job of transforming and upgrading the store to its present standard, offering a variety of frozen, ready-made foodstuffs and healthy desserts. Frozen Pizzas, available in Lactose-free (soy cheese) or using real cheese, with organic crusts, can be purchased. Harvest Burgers, some with the Hard Rock Cafe logo, Italian Style, and Southwestern flavor are among the meat alternative packaged goods in the frozen display cases. Organic sorbet, frozen yogurt, lactose-free frozen concoctions and other items are also available for purchase. It's impressive how many healthy choices have been created to meet the demands of a consumer market that has become aware of the need for a balanced lifestyle with nutritious foods.
No doubt about it, Simply Food is good not only for your body, but also for your soul. See you there!