Restaurant review - The Counter

We went to Corte Madera on Saturday and tried out a new(to us) restaurant - The Counter.  It is in Corte Madera Town Center and I highly recommend it.  It has food to suit just about every one.

It is basically a burger bar - a build your own burger bar.  You have a menu with lots of components for burgers and you select the ones you want:

First off, the burgers aren't all beef.  They have veggie/vegan burgers - which is what I had - Gluten free too and hand made at the restaurant.  It was brown rice based with a good flavor.  Other options for burgers are turkey, chicken and the special on Saturday was Halibut, which my hubby had.  The meat is hormone and antibiotic free.

You then chose the size of burger you want - 1/3, 1/2 or 1lb.

Next comes cheese options, if you so desire.  12 different cheeses, including goat cheese and brie!

And then it's toppings.  Four are included in the price.  The choices include things like asparagus, sprouts, roasted corn and black bean salsa, tomatoes, onions, carrot strings, lettuce, artichoke hearts,olives, cranberries etc.  Yes, plenty of healthy choices.  There are also some premium topping for $1 more - including guacamole, avocado, fried egg, sun dried tomato or bacon.

Next up is a sauce such as harissa, balsamic vinaigrette, BBQ, mayo etc.

And finally you choose a bun such as multigrain, pretzel, gluten free, or no bun at all and the burger is served in a bowl with organic lettuces.

The meal was delicious. I had the vegan gluten free burger in a bowl with organic lettuce, asparagus, corn and black bean salsa, sprouts, and roasted red peppers.  No cheese.

If all this choice is too much (there are 312,210 different combinations!), they do have some signature burgers already decided for you!

Yes, you can have a very unhealthy meal with a whopping 1lb beef burger with cheese and egg and onion rings and fries etc, but you can also select a healthy delicious option too.

The Counter is a franchise - the Corte Madera restaurant was the first one - so check out other locations and see if there is one near you.  I was pleasantly surprised and we both really enjoyed our lunch.

12 ways to eat more vegetables

Remember - March is National Nutrition Month and time to "shape up your plate".  So today, I'll offer some suggestions of how to increase your intake of vegetables.  I think vegetables are the most important part of our diet.  They give the body so many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and impact the body in many ways - so it's always good to try and eat good quality vegetables.

Here are 12 ideas you may want to try to increase your veggie intake and move towards eating a plant based diet:

  1. Eat a salad at both lunch and dinner.  For one of these meals, you can make the salad the main entree, and for the other, you can have it as an appetizer or a side dish.
  2. Substitute raw vegetables for crackers or bread. For example, cut up carrots or cucumber or celery or bell peppers and serve those with hummus or cheese.  Or instead of bread for a sandwich, put the filling on a slice of lettuce or kale or collard greens and wrap it up like a tortilla wrap.
  3. Join a CSA - community supported agriculture - and get a box of vegetables from a local farmer every week.  Some weeks you'll have something you've never tried before, so it'll encourage you to be creative and try new recipes and ideas.
  4. Prepare more than one days worth of vegetables at a time. For example, if you are roasting vegetables to have with dinner one night - roast a full large pan and save the others for adding to soups or stews or reheating later in the week.
  5. When you plate your meal, give yourself double the amount of vegetables you normally would, and then select a smaller portion of something else - like meat - to compensate.
  6. Drink your vegetables.  I ingest a large portion of vegetables by using them in green smoothies. The smoothies taste like fruit instead of vegetables so this method is great for  everyone - even those who say they don't like vegetables.  It's also an easy way to get vegetables into breakfast.
  7. Add extra vegetables to soups. If you are making your own soups or using prepared soups, just throw in a few more veg - like a handful of spinach, some mushrooms, some sun-dried tomatoes.There are lots of choices.
  8. Chop up vegetables to add to your grain dishes, for example cut up peppers, cucumbers, fresh leafy herbs, onions, chives, and add them to your rice or quinoa dish.
  9. Make a salad dressing out of veggies - blending an avocado with cucumber and lemon juice, for example.
  10. Keep a bag of raw veggies cut and cleaned in the fridge for quick snacks when you are hungry.  Take the bag in the car with you when you drive if you are going to be late having a meal.
  11. Try growing sprouts indoors by a window.  It's fun to watch them grow and then add them to salads and sandwiches.  They are a great source of enzymes and so help digestion.
  12. Plant a vegetable plot in your garden - doesn't matter how small - can even be a single plant pot. You can also grow vegetables indoors if you don't have a garden.When you grow your own veggies, you'll enjoy them even more, knowing the care you've given them.
Photo by Zdenko Zivkovic

Do you have other good suggestions? 

Now go eat some veg!