Bringing home a takeout bag of food covered in sprouts, avocado, quinoa and veggie-naise can evoke the old Life Cereal ad for parents: Im not gonna try it You try it!
But after watching the kids gobble up the goods from Julios Natural Foods Restaurant in the Skylake neighborhood of North Miami Beach, we discovered theyre just like Mikey: They like it!
And whats not to like? The good grains and fresh produce come masked in tasty creations: wraps, salads, melts, steamed veggie and rice platters, meatless burgers, soups.
So quinoa isnt just quinoa its a Mediterranean-style mash-up with feta, tomatoes and olives. And greens arent just greens, but vinaigrette-dressed Sweet Life Salad with cranberries, pecans, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut and beets.
Sometimes the kitchen tries just a bit too hard, as with a peppery lentil soup that had us grabbing for a drink and a sweat towel.
But the chef aims to please, making a personal visit to the counter to ask what we wanted on our veggie burger. He suggested hummus or vegan mayo on the multigrain bun, but the burger stood up well on its own, and the grilled portobellos smoky tones didnt get lost in the toppings.
Fat slices of avocado topped Julios Sandwich, stuffed with romaine, tomato and two types of cheese. Add grilled chicken to make it meaty. Sandwiches come sliced in half for easy sharing. And the salads are big enough to use as serving dishes.
Just like the portions, Julios menu is a generous affair, so order a smoothie to savor while looking over the choices. (A refreshing watermelon-honeydew-pineapple-cantaloupe concoction hit the spot on a searing day.)
While our food was being prepared, the chef surprised us with a complimentary plate of house-made hummus with a pile of sliced carrots, celery and cucumber for dipping. Nice touch. With appetizer, drink and ESPN on the two flat-screen TVs, the 20-minute wait for our family order breezed right by.
Julios Natural Foods Restaurant, 1602 NE Miami Gardens Dr., North Miami Beach; 305-947-4744; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; salads $6.95-$11.95, sandwiches $5.50-$11.95, platters $8.25-$12.95.