If there’s one word I could use to describe my own cooking it would be: inconsistent. I’ve had some great wins and then some BIG losses. Our family rarely goes out to eat because of our stage of life. A 6 month old and a 2 year old aren’t exactly willing to sit through a relaxed lunch or dinner. There are a handful of places I know we can go that will be quick, nutritious, and my favorite words…consistently healthy and delicious.
Zoe’s Kitchen is an absolute fan favorite around here. Everyone has their favorite dish (or side dish!), and every time we eat there it’s just as delicious as we hoped it would be. We’ve even been known to search for Zoe’s across the States as we travel! They offer a great family friendly environment thanks to their welcoming staff, colorful decor, and my favorite…they clean up after you!
The food at Zoe’s Kitchen is a fresh Mediterranean selection the whole family can truly enjoy. My toddler adores their classic hummus which is served with crisp cucumber slices, which she quickly devours. When she’s extra hungry I’ll share some of my favorite Chicken Roll-Up, which is honestly fine by me! See notes on dessert further down… All of the main entrees come with a hearty side dish. It’s the little things that get me excited, but when a restaurant offers a side included with the meal I am a happy Mama! That’s more food for a better value in my book. But what’s so great about Zoe’s is their healthy and fresh sides that I can feel good about sharing with my children. When I’m feeling generous, I’ll select the fresh seasonal fruit with my meal, as I’ll end up giving at least half of it to my daughter. And ya’ll. The fruit is not canned or just cantaloupe (you know those fruit cups). It’s fresh and juicy pineapple, crisp grapes, and delicious melon. All of which are a toddler loving trifecta in this house. On the days when I know I can have the side to myself, I snag the pasta salad which is a most delicious blend of fresh basil and feta…with NO MAYO!! So it’s absolutely healthy, and I believe it could be a main dish eaten by the boat load.
Now. Some people claim Zoe’s is for girls. My husband honestly used to believe this. Until he spied the Steak Kebobs. These meaty and hearty skewers of beef and grilled veggies are perfectly suited for the man of the house. He enjoys the rice pilaf to compliment it…because our daughter’s leftover hummus takes the whole combination over the top! And yes, this a meal I truly enjoy for all the reasons listed above, my husband takes satisfaction knowing that he will be full when we leave. And that’s a win for both of us.
Before you walk out the door, sneak back in line (or you know, order from the get-go) and grab a cookie or slice of cake. This is not to be shared with the toddler. It really should be secretly savored at a later time. I kid, I kid! I only do that on Mondays! The other times, we all share one of their monstrous, thick and perfectly soft chocolate chip cookies. Because we just ate a tremendously healthy Mediterranean meal, we feel no guilt in following it with a delicious chocolate reward. At least, that’s what I say.
If all that isn’t enough to get you excited about packing up the family and heading to Zoe’s Kitchen in Willow Lawn tonight, let me tell you about how incredibly invested this place in the local community. All Zoe’s Kitchen locations make a point to be directly connected with their communities through displaying art form local public schools and selling it for donation back to those schools. They also offer many fundraising nights for local schools, both private and public. One of the things that impressed our team is how much further the Willow Lawn Zoe’s Kitchen has gone to support the patrons of their particular location. For the past several years, they have given tons of food, support and love to many of the Willow Lawn events and charities, including the World Pediatric Project. So, go ahead, take the night off kitchen duty and take your family out for a delicious, healthy meal at Zoe’s Kitchen tonight!