Full Disclosure: I was given free vouchers in exchange for a review, but as always, the opinions are completely my own.
To say that I love pasta is an understatement. I’m pretty sure that while I was living at home – ok, and past that – macaroni and cheese, and other noodle dishes were a large part of what I ate. They are a comfort food for me, and definitely a fallback choice when I have no idea what to eat for dinner. Yes, I even had noodles on my wedding night.
When I was in high school, a Noodles and Company opened in town. I remember being SO excited to go there and check it out. And, of course, my first visit there did not disappoint. Their Wisconsin Mac & Cheese was a delicious combination of stringy cheese and gooey cheese sauce. Over the years my love for Noodles grew. They have added many new items to the menu and over the years as my tastes have grown up (a little) I’ve come to love the Pad Thai (with tofu), Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad, as well as the Buttered Noodles with Parmesan. The service is always good, quick, and accurate (as long as you don’t mind the occasional stray noodle). They now have various soups, salads, and even sandwiches to go along with the noodle dishes.
One of the things that I really love about Noodles now is the ability to customize your dish. Maybe you’ve been able to do this longer than I realize, but I just discovered it recently since I’ve been trying to eat a more balanced diet. With any dish you can add extra veggies or proteins of your choice to make it a dish you’ll love! My current go-to noodle dish is Buttered Noodles with Parmesan and added spinach. Yes, it still is kind of a boring meal, but I just feel like the added spinach is a boost of healthiness that I wouldn’t be able to get at many other “fast-food” type restaurants. (The husband really likes the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast.) I’ve tried spinach in my Mac & Cheese as well, but its not quite as good. The ability to customize my dish really makes it easier for me to make a healthier choice. This healthy choice making especially comes into play with I am looking for a quick dinner after a long day of work, or when I’m traveling and looking for a healthy meal. (Dear Noodles, please open restaurants EVERYWHERE!)
Recently Noodles introduced new salads that would be featured during this summer. I fell in love with their Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad last summer (and even in the fall when they switched out the strawberries for apples) so I was excited to see what new salads they had to offer this summer. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a represetitive from Noodles and asked if I wanted to try the new salads for free in exchange for a review on the blog. I jumped at the chance. Not only was I already planning on trying the salads at some point, but I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done a review of Noodles on the blog yet!
Last week, I decided to treat myself and a couple of co-workers to lunch and taste the new salads. (thanks Noodles for giving me enough vouchers to share!) It worked out well because we each wanted to try a different salad that they were offering! I ordered the Backyard Barbecue Chicken Salad, and the other two ladies got the Chili-Lime and Ginger Salad with Chicken and the Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad.
I was quite excited for my salad. I’ve never thought about adding corn to a salad, it looked so delicious! I was a little concerned about the Smoky Cole Slaw Dressing that it came with, so I got some balsamic dressing too, just in case. The salad as a whole was very good! I did skip around the tomatoes since I’m not a fan, but that was it. I tried the dressing that it came with, and while it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, I did prefer the balsamic. It was just a little less heavy. The barbecue chicken was good too. I will admit that it was on the edge of my taste comfort zone, but had a good flavor – it did taste a bit spicy though. (but please realize that most people probably wouldn’t consider it spicy at all, I’m just super sensitive to spice.) Oh, and as expected I loved the corn, it gave the salad a freshness and crunch! The salad as a whole was very filling too, which was unexpected. Actually all three of us were barely able to finish our salads because they were so much more filling that we thought they’d be – good thing they were delicious so we wanted to eat them all!
My two co-workers loved their salads as well. The Fresh Fruit and Spinach I’ve had before and love as well – it actually was this salad that helped me learn to enjoy spinach! (Pairing a new food [spinach] with a food you already love [strawberries] is my favorite way to try new things!) The Chili-Lime and Ginger salad looked good too, it was definitely different that other salads that I’ve seen (it had rice noodles in it!) I’m just a little weary to try it because of all of the vegetables in it!
If it wasn’t clear already, I seriously love Noodles and Company. I eat there at least once a month, and its definitely a great go-to quick dinner or lunch choice. It doesn’t hurt that they have a location just down the road from where I live. Their menu has something for everyone and their quick service and fresh food is very appealing.
Taste: A+, I’ve never been disappointed with something I’ve ordered.
Cost: A-, while some of the items do seem a bit high priced, you also have to take into consideration that everything is made to order, and the produce is fresh!
Would I go there again? Absolutely. I have and I’m sure I will again in the near future.