I know I sound like a broken record, but hear me out on this one. I found a secret oasis of fresh fruit in Opelika.
You probably know by now that I love healthy foods including, but not limited to, salads, fruit, parfaits, protein shakes and smoothies.
I’m always on the hunt to find someplace new in the area where I can eat the healthy foods I love, and this was the week that I found just the right place.
La Botanera Frutas y Snacks is a tiny Mexican snack bar in Opelika that serves up traditional Mexican snacks and numerous fruit-centered items.
Tucked into Saugahatchee Square, La Botanera is a hidden gem in the shopping center. You almost wouldn’t know it was there unless you frequented the shopping center.
Lucky for me, I drive past the shopping center at least once a week and saw a sign stating that La Botanera was now open.
After thinking about trying the snack bar numerous times, I finally pulled the trigger on my way home from work one day and stopped in for a fresh snack.
La Botanera’s menu is mostly in Spanish, but thankfully it had an English translation with it. There were so many delicious options to choose from such as tostada de camaron, Paninis, chamoyada, fruta mix, fruit crepes and smoothies.
I was pretty hungry so I opted for a more filling snack, the bionic yogurt which is served with fresh fruits, granola, coconut and nuts. It sounded right up my ally.
The total for my yogurt, plus tip, came out to just under $8, not terrible for a filling, healthy snack and tip.
I watched the chef make my yogurt, slicing the numerous fruits and carefully layering the toppings.
The finished product looked amazing, to say the least. It was the perfect pink color and had lots of coconut shavings and toasted pecans on top and the bottom.
I was going to save my yogurt for a snack after getting home from working a basketball game, but the yogurt looked too good to wait to eat it.
My decision to dive in sooner rather than later was the best decision of the day. It was amazing. The yogurt was packed full of fruits and had just the right amount of granola, coconut and pecans. I was in heaven.
After finishing the yogurt, I thought to myself, “same time next week?”
You know that relaxed feeling when you walk into a shop or café? When you know you want to browse at its offerings, sit awhile to enjoy your food and then make plans to do it again.
I got that feeling again this week when I visited The Cup and Saucer in Auburn.
Cup and Saucer offers a lunch that is dine-in or takeout in addition to its take-home meals and catering service. In fact, I browsed the frozen casseroles and other items in its freezer, as well as what was in its fridge, taking notes of all I wanted to try while I waited for my food. And there were so many things I wanted to try … and plan to.
But for this visit, I ordered the lunch combo with one side. I decided to get Cup and Saucer’s chicken salad on its homemade bread. I picked fruit as my side, and the combo also includes a cookie.
My sandwich was piled high with some of the best chicken salad I have ever tasted. It was absolutely delicious, and the bread left me craving a loaf of it. I even wanted to order more cookies. My meal, with tax, came to $8.16.
I’ve never eaten at a Mexican restaurant I didn’t absolutely love, and El Rey De Todos Mexican Grill and Cantina is no different.
What I love the most about Mexican food isn’t just the perfect balance of savory and rich flavors. It’s how the orders are grouped together in such a way that you end up pleasantly full afterwards, instead of bursting at the seams.
A burrito makes for a satisfying lunch, while an enchilada makes for a filling dinner.
That being said and having decided on El Rey’s for lunch, I went with the chicken chimichanga from their lunch combinations menu. While waiting for my order, my waiter brought out an order of chips and salsa.
I’m pretty sure it’s just common knowledge that the chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants will always and forever be superior to anything you could buy in the store.
You know that your food is going to be good when you can hear it sizzling before its set on the table. Remember, I said I’ve never eaten at a Mexican restaurant I didn’t absolutely love. From the rice, to the chicken, to the side serving of guacamole, everything was delicious.
The servings were no bigger or smaller than they would have been at other restaurants like it, yet with the last forkful I was left pleasantly full and still able to button by pants.
Including a drink, my lunch came to a total of $12.26 before gratuity.
Some of my favorite bookstore memories as a child were made at Boarders. My favorite memory has to be drinking a chai tea latte with my mom while splitting a pastry at the coffee shop inside the store.
Now that I’m older and live far away from home, sometimes I get the craving for a hot chai tea latte in hopes of reliving one of my favorite memories.
This week I found myself really wanting to relive that memory, so I decided to go to One Bike Coffee in Auburn for a chai tea latte and a pastry.
When I walked into the coffee shop, I knew I made the right choice of where to go for my nostalgic drink.
Deciding on what drink to order was easy — a small chai tea latte with non-fat milk. Now, deciding what pastry to get was much more difficult.
One Bike Coffee had numerous choices of cakes, muffins and scones. They all looked so good.
I ended up going with a raspberry white chocolate scone to go with my drink. The person who took my order even asked if I wanted my scone warmed up. Um, yes please.
The total cost of my treat was a little more than $6, which, in my opinion, is not overly expensive for a local coffee shop.
It didn’t take long after I ordered to receive my warmed scone and chai latte. I decided to take my mid-afternoon snack to go since I was having a very busy day.
Once I got into my car, the smell of the scone overcame me. It smelled like the most delicious scone I have ever smelled.
Then came the first bite, it was divine. It was warm, lightly sweet and the perfect texture. It was by far the best scone I have ever tasted.
The chai latte was also delicious. As soon as I took my first sip, I slipped back into the memory of sitting with my mom at Boarders drinking chai and hanging out.
Probably like many, I do love a great sandwich. And for this food review I was on the hunt for another one.
I found one such sandwich at Irish Bred Pub in Opelika.
The downtown restaurant offers a number of sandwiches on its menu. From reading their descriptions, I figured I couldn’t go wrong, but my eye kept moving back to the Shannon Chicken Sandwich. It’s grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and avocado on a toasted Kaiser roll.
The sandwiches are also served with a choice of beer battered fries or homemade chips.
I nixed the onion on the Shannon Chicken Sandwich and chose the homemade chips.
Since I got my food to-go, I didn’t take a look at my meal until I got back to the office. The first thing I said when I opened my box: “That looks good.” And it was.
The grilled chicken tasted great. In fact, all the ingredients worked well together, especially the avocado and bacon. It was definitely a winner. I’m glad I ordered it. The homemade chips were also nice, and there were plenty of them.
With tax, my order was $9.81. A good price, I thought. Count on me to order this meal again.