Lunch Bites: Organic To Go!

Mmmm Salad. Thanks to the helpful young woman doing O-T-G's PR for supplying this image :)

I only come into town (DC Proper that is) a few times a week these days but I remember the frustration of having the same 5 places to eat at when I worked downtown full time. The last few months though I’ve added a few new places worth eating that you, dear Metblog reader, may or may not know about. So I thought I’d do a few posts sharing my thoughts on some good lunch places-just in case it’s helpful.

At the top of the list is Organic to Go.  Replacing the old “High Noon” locations in Washington DC, OTG (that’s what the kids call it) offers a mostly organic menu with vegetarian and vegan options. Now while I’m not usually concerned with something being organic or not-I listen to NPR, but I’m not a Whole Foods Shopper or anything- I have to say that the difference here is very noticeable. Everything looks (and is!) incredibly fresh and tastes the same.

(read more after the jump)

The set up of the store features a salad bar, a sandwich and prepared food counter and then a main refrigeration area where drinks and pre-packed lunches are featured. The salad bar is pretty awesome-clean, organized, with meat on the other end from the greens and veggies (keeping everything in order for Vegans and Vegetarians). For about the same price as a salad from Cosi I have to say you get a much better deal here-everything just tastes better and that’s a byproduct of everything being this fresh-organic stuff. Plus, on a personal note-they have spinach. I don’t know about you but I much prefer a spinach salad and a lot of salad bars skip spinach altogether or mix it with other greens. The combination of wide variety and fresh is a pretty big deal-and worth noting.

The sandwich and entrée counter is all open and right in front of you. This is where you order, and then watch, fresh squeezed juices made right in front of you. The breakfast and lunch menu has a good variety-but I’ve found myself gravitating to the Breakfast burritos and Bacon and Bleu sandwich.

What kind of put me over the edge with this place (and the reason I really thought to write them up) is the one morning I showed up and they had no burritos ready. Disappointed, I started to search for something else when the chef behind the counter asked “well…what do you want?” At first I thought he meant what else of the menu did I want…but he meant why don’t you just tell me exactly what you’d like to eat right now and I’ll make it for you.

“Um…eggs I guess? Some meat and peppers…with some toast?” Fresh made, 5 minutes later I had a made to order breakfast. My understanding is that if you ask for something-they’ll do it. Very cool.

I haven’t had any of the pastries/snacks but they look fantastic and I did hear at least two people talk about “how good these cupcakes are.” Also, until now, I’ve steered clear of the packed lunches-but if they are made as fresh as the ones behind the counter I’d have a hard time thinking they were a bad idea.

Gripes? There are a few. It gets busy at lunch (what place doesn’t) and at least at the F street location the registers are poorly placed making the traffic flow a little stunted. Fresh made also means you may have to wait a minute or two more for something-but to be honest they do seem to have the lunch run down. I don’t think it was a noticeable wait during peak hours as compared to other places. Also, organic means that you give up a few of the things you may have come to take for granted at places like Splenda for your coffee (which is fantastic by the way-really didn’t need any).

That’s it though-for a lunch place not a lot to pick at. Well except the leftovers J

There are locations on 19th street (opening soon) and 15thStreet near McPhereson Square, and one more just opened in Rosslyn. If you’re a sandwich eater with a taste for the Organic OTG is certainly worth a try-and it might become your new favorite place as well.

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