All photos courtesy of Aubergine & Co.
Lee Thomas | [email protected]
After indulging in the college regulars of pizza, Mexican food, ramen and beer, sometimes life calls for a hearty meal full of vegetables and protein that will nourish you from the inside out. Aubergine & Co. opened seven months ago in Orem; a new Mediterranean inspired haven for mindful foodies, as well as those who just need to get a solid meal in every now and then. These are the meals that sustain us and keep us bright eyed and bushy tailed. Our bodies cry out for them, whether we recognize the signals or not. Natural and minimally processed food is a huge trend right now. More people are coming around to the almighty vegetable, enjoying good fats and consuming less sugar. Of the many, many, many theories available, I think it’s safe to say that the most defensible ideas are those of balance and moderation.
Aubergine & Co. is a local establishment that can help you meet your goals of eating healthy while still enjoying delicious food and keeping your sanity. The first time I dropped in, I was struck by the beautiful atmosphere inside the small strip mall eatery I was not expecting such a stylish place. The hanging glass bubble lighting over the large table in the center of the room and the wood paneled walls are very warm and inviting. Owned and operated by a local Brazilian family, this place has really good energy. The service is fantastic; the employees are very helpful and knowledgeable. The food assembly line is quite impressive as well; order a salad and watch your pile of ingredients turn into a chopped masterpiece. Although, you should prepare to be a little confused about where stand to order different items or who will be taking your order and how. Just ask someone. That’s a little trick I learned over the years.
On my first visit, I had the falafel sandwich served on whole grain pita bread. I added hummus as the sauce (you can also have baba ganoush, among other assorted sauces) and chose to top it with the tomato, cucumber and onion salad and feta cheese. It was beyond delicious. The second time I ordered the ‘dream’ salad. This was even better than the sandwich. Romaine, spinach, antibiotic-free chicken, red onions, apples, walnuts, parmesan cheese, basil, grape tomatoes and red & green peppers complete with the recommended cilantro/jalapeño dressing. I can’t say enough good things about this salad. I added avocado for the extra protein and because I thought it would go well with my components. I was right. I have literally dreamt about this salad in my food fantasies multiple times since, so the name is accurate. It is served with one small gluten-free cheese bread ball that seem to be made with puff pastry dough. You should order extras. It’s almost an outrage how delectable they are and they make a nice complement to a delicious, healthy dinner. You get to choose between a cheese ball or pita bread. The cauliflower & broccoli soup, creamed with raw cashews, or the Moroccan lentil soup are great little add-ons as well. Bread also comes with the soup. All of the soups at Aubergine are dairy-free and you’d never miss it. I have made very few variations to that order since. I have tried my sister’s wild salmon salad with cranberries and apples on a couple occasions, and it is almost as delicious as the dream salad.
The fresh-fruit smoothies and acai bowls are awesome as well. Everything on the menu is sweetened with agave or dates; no refined sugar is used. I’ve tried the ‘exquisite’ smoothie, which included avocado, kiwi, banana, kale, spinach, almond milk and agave. It was predictably divine. The acai bowls, made from pureed super fruit acai, and topped with assorted fruits, nuts, seeds and/or granola, are full of antioxidants and great for nice boost to your energy levels.
The ideology of Aubergine & Co., as stated on the back of their paper menu, is to combine delicious and healthy, as well as focus on nutrients, not calories. The focus here is how much better eating this way can make you feel. It helps cure what ails you. I feel great every time I leave this restaurant. I’m glad a place like this exists in the area to help further my healthy habits. Eating well can be hard to stick with sometimes, but restaurants like this make it a whole lot more appealing.
Follow them on Instagram @aubergineandcompany and visit their website www.aubergineandcompany.com