I don't often go out for lunch. Instead, I sit at my desk and gobble down leftovers, trying to squeeze enough work in during the day that I don't feel obligated to work at night. I think I'm like a lot of moms that way.
I am, however, extremely lucky to work in a neighborhood with loads of good restaurants so when I do go out, I have choices.
A few weeks ago, I received an email about a new restaurant in the neighborhood - Boloco - and it met all my lunch establishment criteria.
1. It must be within 3 blocks of my office.
2. It must allow me to either call an order in or order online so I can minimize my wait time. Boloco offers online ordering that is extremely detailed and completely prepared to deal with lots of random preferences.
3. It must offer either something spicy (because my children don't tend to eat spicy food, so I like to eat spicy food when I go out) or a sandwich with good ingredients. As in - do not put a pink tomato on a sandwich and call it good!
4. Because I'm a vegetarian, there must be a decent veggie option, which is actually the least difficult criteria to meet these days. (This hasn't always been the case!)
I opted for the Buffalo Bowl. Normally, this would be way outside my comfort zone. However, for the first few months of my life that I lived in Rochester, New York, I wasn't a vegetarian. I got a taste for buffalo wings and I decided to see if tofu could, indeed, stand up to buffalo sauce - something I haven't seen another restaurant try to do. Also, I figured since I had opted for the bowl rather than the burrito, I could afford the blue cheese dressing in the buffalo bowl. (That probably isn't true, but it did taste good, so I'm going to live in my fantasy world.) The Buffalo Bowl comes with rice, buffalo sauce on tofu (or chicken, steak, or pork), chopped up celery, and then it's doused with blue cheese dressing.
My verdict? Thumbs up. However, knowing myself, I'm guessing the next time I order from Boloco, I'm going to go with a more traditional burrito - like the Summer (mango, cheese, black beans) or the Cajun (black beans, spices, corn salsa). The first one was on the house, so I figured I could be a little more risky than usual. If I take my kids there, I'm sure they'll favor the smoothies and cookies.
Boloco is distinguishing itself in two ways. First, they're trying to use organic and very high quality ingredients, which I appreciate. Want to see how Nasoya tofu is made? Check it out here. (And you can see more about their ingredients in their recently launched Culinary Investigative Assignment.) I'm not a huge fan of tofu, but it was pretty good soaked in sauce. It probably would've been better if it had also been rolled up in a burrito. Second, they're trying to offer a relatively common product (wraps / burritos / bowls) with less commonly themed ingredients, so you can get a taste of different styles of food and hopefully please lots of palates with one lunch stop.
If you're in the DC area, there are two Boloco restaurants. I went to the one located at 1028 19th Street, DC. There's also one in Bethesda. This chain has really made inroads in Boston and there are a few scattered throughout New England as well.
Thanks for lunch, Boloco!