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Sunday February 26, 2017
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Healthy inspiration

 

continued

Or maybe you got hooked on the soups that come midday, two at a time in rotation. Fiesta-bean chili is heartiest, and potato-leek more flavorful than it looks. Tuscan vegetable is generally appealing, though latecomers may get bottom-of-the-pot tomato broth with little else than onion slivers and a lonely wedge of squash. Yellow lentil soup has plenty of carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and some complex spices--thyme, surely, and maybe mustard? At 472 milligrams of sodium in an 8.75-ounce serving, the lentil soup comes closest to hitting its 480-milligram MHealthy ceiling--but it's only half as salty as many canned varieties. The only soup I disliked was ginger carrot, which had a mucky tan color and a chalky garlic aftertaste. It could have been just a bad day--mega-corporation Aramark manages the cafe, along with many other U-M food outlets, and quality can drift. One day I had a California roll (cucumber here, not avocado) compromised by stale rice and a weird tang to the filling.

Salads and sides can be really fun at the CVC. Red beet and citrus salad is simple but sweet with a sharp vinegar smack. Grab it as an accompaniment for the ubiquitous poultry offerings, and it sets you back all of $1.39. Where else can you get real food for that price? Because they're light on fat and salt and thus need to work harder to please, several MHealthy salads (apple raisin slaw, for instance) are surprisingly sweet. Others (Mexican black beans!) pack peppery heat.

Among desserts, I like the carrot cake even though it's so moist that it oozes a syrup that tastes like pineapple. The chocolate walnut cupcakes are wonderfully brownie-like but harbor distracting chunks of mystery fruit.

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