Friday, September 9, 2011

Lunch Heaven at Maoz Vegetarian

Like most of the Northeast, we here in DC have been enduring torrential rain for the past several days.  No one wants to venture outside in this kind of weather unless they have to.  Today, unfortunately, I had to, as my Blackberry, after wheezing through the last several months, finally bit the dust.  With a business trip next week, I can't be without a mobile phone, so off I went in the rain to procure a new one.

The silver lining to the many, many rainclouds was the fact that Maoz Vegetarian was around the corner from the Sprint store.  After slogging through the rain and waiting around for an hour, I decided I deserved a lunch treat.

And, oh, what a treat it was!  For those of you not familiar with Maoz, it's a quick service restaurant that originated in Amsterdam in the mid-nineties that now has seven restaurants in the US.  The menu is quite simple.  You have the choice of a falafel sandwich, a salad bowl with falafel, pita with salad or egg and eggplant pita.  You can pay extra for toppings like hummus, feta and avocado.  There are also sweet potato fries and other sides.

But, the real fun begins once you get your meal . . . you get to top your sandwich or salad with a variety of amazing toppings.  I chose the salad bowl with falafel, and I topped it with beets, carrots, a tomato & cucumber salad and a cauliflower-broccoli blend.  The toppings were incredibly, incredibly fresh - better than some of the veg I've had in sit down restaurant.  The falafel were also cooked perfectly.  And, I think it took about one minute from the time I ordered to the time a salad bowl was in my hand, ready to be topped!

Everything at Maoz is very clearly labeled, which benefits both vegans and those with gluten intolerance.  Items that are vegan are marked with a bright green "V," and gluten free items with a bright blue "GF."  The falafel is gluten-free, which I imagine is a welcome treat for those folks with gluten intolerance.  It was very easy for me to put together a completely vegan lunch without having to ask any questions or pore over labels.

If you visit the Maoz website, you can also view an allergens table that notes which ingredients have soy, eggs, milk, wheat and nuts.  And, there is a nice nutrition section on their where you can learn more about the health benefits of the fruits, vegetables and grains on the menu, as well as a detailed breakdown of calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein and sodium in their selections.

It's definitely worth walking six blocks from my office to go back to Maoz!

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