Energy Kitchen | Various Locations |

I LOVE SURPRISES. Being a cynic-slash-skeptic makes them, however, very rare occurrences in my life. And when a recent iteration of something called Energy Kitchen opened up directly across the street from me, I, initially, reacted not with surprise, but with pity.

The same pity I had for Hummus Kitchen, when the opened up on the other side of the avenue from me. This neighborhood's demographic runs young and "hard-partying", and are far more prone to want a pizza burger for breakfast than an egg white and turkey bacon sandwich.

But Hummus Kitchen proved me wrong, enjoying healthy business since the day they opened, finding a sizable niche of customer who do make—if infrequent—efforts to do right by their dietary lifestyle, enjoying some traditional Mediterranean fare that, honestly, just runs for vegetarian than health-minded. For many diners, though, It's a major step in the right direction.

I've accumulated an aversion to two ideologies in the food universe: healthy and franchise. Self-described "healthy" foods, not doubting their curative and restorative properties, have the same appeal to me as diet soda, a taste I'm so averse to I've pretty much given up soda altogether and enjoy water with almost every meal. And the idea of a "franchise" or "chain" just creates pictures of processed food, shipped in boxes, slapped together by kids in lab coats and latex gloves, in an area that hardly recalls, design-wise, a real kitchen.

Healthy is healthy, though, so after walking by the place often enough—and seeing a steady stream of customers go in and at of the place—I finally decided to check the place out for myself, choosing to start my day with one of their breakfast items.

Their menu reads very healthy, with types of sandwiches in with chicken and turkey, low-fat dairy, served on or in whole wheat bread or tortillas, the usual—for me—red flags. On the breakfast menu, the most appealing item was the bison egg wrap, if, for no other reason, it was because it had bison and I always go for the unusual (good job, sign!)

They do prepare it to order, so it took a few minutes to come out. Even when it did, it only perpetuated the stigma of sterility of a health food store, wrapped in space program-like foil and placed on a sparse, cafeteria-style white tray. (It has always amused me how stores that market and sell "organic" foods often look and feel so un- so.)

Well, waddya know...?! I genuinely enjoyed this very much. The egg white was fully set—how I like it—and very clean in flavor. The leaner ground bison meat was just minimally seasoned enough to let real meat taste come through, winningly crumbly and chewy without being at all tough or fatty. Holding it together well was the wheat tortilla wrap, tasting more like bread than (the expected taste of) cardboard. I squeeze of half a pack of packet ketchup added a dash of "zing" to appease the tongue and taste buds.

As I handily finished the bison egg wrap and took a last few looks of the place as I left, I was actually so impressed with how much I liked this, not only did I happily plan to return often for more of them, I actually now fear trying anything else on the menu when I do return, lest the other menu items don't appeal to me as much.

But at least I'm over my initial aversions, which I thought might never happen. Imagine my surprise in just saying that....

Bun Apple Tea!


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Energy Kitchen | Various Locations |