Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Quinoa Diaries

About a month ago I went to the grocery store and went straight to the "bulk foods" aisle, my favorite aisle. In the mood for something different, I picked up a plastic bag and filled it with yellow quinoa. I like quinoa a lot, but am always unsure of how to incorporate it into my meals, so I figured that this would be a good start...until I came home and put it on the top shelf of the pantry and never looked at it again until I moved into school where it ended up in my kitchen cabinet at school, waiting to be used. But, I have been craving it...just not really craving the idea of cooking it. Luckily for me, I didn't have to. Living so close to the city of Philadelphia, I jumped on the subway with a couple friends and we headed into Center City for dinner. We chose Steven Starr's Continental Mid-Town, a hip, funky restaurant on the corner of 18th and Chestnut in Rittenhouse Square. To my pleasant surprise, there was a Black Quinoa 'Tabbouleh' Salad that sounded delish. If you haven't already guessed, I ordered the salad. 15 minutes later, my salad came out in the shape of a round-layered volcano, I kid you not. The large salad was placed in front of me as my mouth watered and my eyes were amazed by the bright colors that peaked out the sides of the salad. The black quinoa made the white, green and red colors pop. I dug my fork into the massive round shape and uncovered the hidden ingredients - dark green leafy spinach, fresh mint, tiny crumbles of feta cheese and pieces of cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and halved olives. With an extra addition of creamy avocado to add in. The quiona was soft and mixed perfectly with the crunchy vegetables. The feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing added a touch of sweetness to the salad, with the unique flavor of the avocado chunks that melted in my mouth. This meal was almost too good to be true, so I decided to save some of it for left-overs...which were deliciously eaten today. It is safe to say, my quinoa craving was definitely satisfied.