Back in graduate school, I stumbled across a small yet growing franchise called Noodles & Company. At the time, it was a pretty refreshing and cool concept—lots and lots of noodles from a variety of different cultures all on one menu. I happily gobbled up pad thai, Bangkok curry, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and I even once tried their famed Wisconsin Mac and Cheese (no finger pointing—all good things in moderation!).
After grad school, I moved away from Minnesota and, sadly there were no convenient Noodles to be found. Until now! Noodles just moved into my ‘hood! (Originally started in Colorado, they are expanding across the country!) Can you tell I’m excited?
The good people at Noodles & Co. recently gave me a gift card to try some of their new dishes, and, while I tried to play it cool, I was geeking out hard core. Thankfully, the food at Noodles is as I remembered from years ago: healthy, fast and fresh. And now that I’m married and closer to having kiddos in my life, I can see that this kind of place has way more options and is way healthier than some other, ahem, other fast-food chains.
I tried a “Trio,” which includes some type of noodle, a protein and a mini salad. My Trio concoction was as deliciously follows: Japanese Pan Noodles with tofu and a tossed green salad with a little fat-free Asian dressing. It was filling, and with just under 500 cals, it’s the perfect dinner that will make you feel like you ate some good stuff but know you won’t regret it during that 6 a.m. run the next day.
My other Noodles faves? You can NEVER go wrong with the Med Salad (pictured above), a tasty half-noodle, half-salad dish with cheese, or the Thai Curry Soup, which is super filling and only has 240 calories in a small serving (480 for large, but it’s a big-arse bowl). They don’t have traditional kids’ meals like a lot of places do, but you can get any of their dishes in a small size, so it’s pretty kid-friendly (especially the spaghetti with meatballs or mac and cheese). And they do offer kid-sized drinks and little containers of organic milk for the munchkins to sip on. Plus, they sell beer and wine for the parents. Hehe!
Have you eaten at a Noodles & Company? Love it? Loathe it? Wish you had one in your town? Tell us about it! I’m obviously a fan…(and absolutely giving my honest-to-goodness unpaid opinion!) —Jenn