Saturday, March 12, 2016

This no-frills spot in Fort Lee is my pick for healthy, delicious food

The Hot and Dirty Bowl with added grilled shrimp, one of the quinoa-based dishes at the moderately priced Mood'whiches in Fort Lee, tastes even better than it looks.

Editor's note: A wonderful dish of quinoa and wild shrimp was among the highlights of a week of eating in and eating out; food shopping at Trader Joe's, and the anticipated reopening of Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.


I had my heart set on fish-head rice-noodle soup, but found the Malaysian restaurant on my must-try list had closed.

That's when I remembered another Fort Lee spot high on my list, Mood'whiches, where "eating healthy is the foundation to a good mood."

"We offer clean food, free of processed meats, refined products, artificial flavors and colors, additives, preservatives, fillers and anything that is not good for your body," according to the takeout menu.

"We serve local ingredients when in season and free range, humanely raised meats," all of which are antibiotic and hormone free.

Late Friday afternoon, I placed my order at the counter, and it was delivered to my table a few minutes later.

But customers of Mood'whices and sister restaurant Tast Eatery, on Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee, also can place their orders online. 
Bowled over

The Mood'whiches menu offers lots of salad, sandwich and bowl options for carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, and those in between like me (no bread, no pizza, no meat or poultry, but an unabashed lover of wild-caught seafood).

I was eager to try one of the quinoa-based bowls, and chose Hot and Dirty ($6.50), adding grilled wild shrimp ($4).

Other extra-cost add-ons are grilled chicken or tofu, flank steak and salmon.

The small bowl and fork were plastic, and the table was bare, but who cares?

The food couldn't have been more delicious:

Quinoa, jalapenos, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, cheddar, black beans and pico de gallo with chimi churri, plus crunchy grilled shrimp.

I washed that down with a thick fruit smoothie, called Mango Ango, with orange juice, pineapple, mango and strawberry ($6 for 16 ounces).

The focus at Mood'whiches is on great ingredients and great food. Customers order at the counter, and the food is delivered to the table. Online ordering also is available.

Mood'whiches is decorated with food quotes, above and below.

Mood'whiches serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (2448 Lemoine Ave., at Washington Avenue, Fort Lee; 201-944-1404). Web site: Eat With Us & Heal The Planet

In January, I was intrigued with House of Malaysia on Main Street in Fort Lee, where I ate at a Japanese soba restaurant on the same block, and asked for a takeout menu. But when I returned on Friday for dinner, I found the restaurant portion of the business had closed. A bubble tea parlor remains open, and the sign on the door promises T-Swirl, described as a premier creperie, will be ready in April.

Silver Pond Seafood Restaurant at 230-34 Main St., Fort Lee, has been renovated and renamed Aquarius by the new owners, who operate Joyce Chinese Cuisine in River Edge. 

Aquarius Restaurant is expected to serve dim sum, as did Silver Pond.

Costco Wholesale parked delivery trucks near the entrance to its Hackensack warehouse, which is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday as a Costco Wholesale Business Center, the first in New Jersey. The warehouse will cater to restaurants and other small businesses and offer delivery, but also will be open to any Costco member (80 S. River St., Hackensack).
Takeout from Lavash City, a fast-casual Armenian grill and bakery at 331 Main St., Hackensack (201-464-5445). I ordered Mediterranean Salad, including stuffed grape leaves, cheese and olives, left; and 10-Vegetable Salad with roasted carrots, cabbage and cauliflower; and Hummus. They came with fresh-baked lavash, the thin, chewy and addictive Armenian bread. Small salads are $4 each and a small Hummus is $3. 
A serving of Trader Joe's O's ($1.99) has only 1 gram of sugar, but other cereals have more. Trader Joe's High Fiber Fruit & Nut Multigrain Medley ($2.99), made with seven whole grains, contains 8 grams of sugar per serving, and Trader Joe's Raisin Bran has twice that.

At the Paramus store, 404 Route 17 north, not all of the Trader Joe's Chicken Sausage is from antibiotic-free birds, though the price is the same, so you have to read the labels carefully.
A Rochelle Roll from Maguro Sushi in Rochelle Park is available for about $8.60 at the cafe in Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, 350 Engle St., Englewood. See ingredients below.

From Costco Wholesale, a homemade breakfast of two organic eggs, smoked wild salmon and Mexican-style salsa served over organic quinoa with organic diced tomatoes, organic black beans and whole garlic cloves.
My wife prepared canned mackerel with sweet peppers and onion for another hearty breakfast. I ate them with an omelet and mashed sweet potatoes.
Another heart-healthy breakfast substitutes pasta and eggs for bacon and eggs. Here, I enjoyed a simple egg-white omelet over organic whole-wheat fusilli with sardines and anchovies in Victoria Vodka Sauce, which contains no heavy cream.

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