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Organic, local food good reason to visit Grilla Bites

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By Cassandra Van Keuren
Special to The Herald
Grilla Bites in downtown Snohomish advertises itself as serving organic local produce and "healthy and good tasting food." After reading those attributes, I'm not sure why I never visited Grilla Bites until now.
When you walk in, you notice the exceptional salad bar first. You have loads of unusual options to fill your bowl, things like vegan potato salad, hemp hearts, Mediterranean quinoa salad, pesto tofu, vegan dressings and, of course, loads of fresh vegetables.
You can make you own salad for about $8.50 a pound.
But I had my sights set on the menu items. I went up to the counter to order and was given a number and directed to find a seat to my liking.
For a starter I chose the Northwest Berry Blast Smoothie ($4.25) and for an entree, I picked the Chipotle Guac Burger with Amy's Veggie patty($9.25).
You have the option of choosing an organic bison patty for the burger for a little extra money.
I collected my water and silverware and didn't have to wait long for my smoothie to arrive.
The blended drink was made with frozen blueberries and raspberries and organic milk. The berries had enough sweetness to make me believe I was drinking a milkshake.
My burger arrived quickly enough. What I like immediately is that blue corn chips and a little dish of house-made hummus were served alongside the sandwich.
The burger was served on a whole grain bun with guacamole, homemade chipotle mayo, grilled red onions, spinach, tomato and my choice of cheese. I chose Swiss.
The veggie patty is not at all like a real burger; I think its made with soy protein, veggies and whole grains. I enjoyed as much as a beef patty. The burger was tasty and not too spicy and the guacamole was a nice addition.
But halfway through, I found the whole grain bun to be too dry. I should have asked for more mayo but I just ate the rest of the burger without the bun. It was a nice and filling lunch.
For dessert, I ordered a vegan brownie($1.95). My brownie was just as good as a traditional brown, perhaps a little sweeter with the addition of frosting. Honestly, I could not tell it was vegan. It was just the right size to finish off my meal.
Some of the other offerings on the menu were grilled sandwiches with or without meat, freshly made soups, fresh juices, fair trade organic coffee, a well priced kids menu (all items are under $5), loads of vegan entrees and breakfast.
Their cold case is filled with organic and stevia-sweetened sodas and they have a handful of vegan bakery items.
The ambiance is colorful, casual cafe. Nice for someone who does not want to change out of shorts and flip-flops to grab a bite to eat.
My lunch, including tax and tip, was $18.74, a little on the high side for a meal. Grilla Bites, however, aims to do business with local, small, and organic farms, a challenge for a small chain (the Snohomish location is the only one in Washington state).
I gladly pay the extra money for a clean and sustainable meal that supports local farmers. And the bonus is that the food at Grilla Bites is really good, whether you're vegan, concerned for the environment or just happen to be walking by.
I know I will be back many times.

Grilla Bites
1020 First St., Suite 104, Snohomish; 360-568-7333;
Specialty: Organic, local cafe food.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Many and vegan friendly.
Story tags » Dining

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