Friday, June 04, 2010

Fresh, Fast Food With Noodles & Company

As a child, pasta was always a staple in my family. At any given moment, I could count on finding a Tupperware container full of cooked spaghetti in the fridge as a go-to meal. At least once a week, my mom would make mac and cheese - one of my favorite meals.

So it's no surprise that I love a little fast-casual restaurant called Noodles & Company. What do they serve there, you ask? Why, it's simple: pasta dishes, salad, soup, and a few sandwiches. But in that simple menu is a wealth of delicious pasta dishes, including Mediterranean, Asian, and American pasta selections.

Each dish is made to order with fresh ingredients - way better than fried fast food! You can choose which meat to add to your pasta dish, or you can go vegetarian. To drink, they have fountain soft drinks, along with organic milk and fruit juices. And if you have picky kids like mine, Noodles & Company still has the old favorite, mac and cheese, although it's made with fresh cream and real cheeses - no cheese powder here!

One thing I love about Noodles & Company is their commitment to using fresh, in-season ingredients. In honor of asparagus season, which runs from April to June in the U.S., Noodles & Company has introduced its new Asparagus & Lemon Linguine dish. Made with crisp, seasonal asparagus, snap peas, lemon juice, basil, red onions, mushrooms, and feta served over regular or whole wheat linguine.

On our recent trip to Noodles & Company, I got the chance to try the new Asparagus & Lemon Linguine. I added shrimp to mine. (I love shrimp in pasta.) This is what I was presented with:

And this is what I thought of it:

Yum! I wanted to lick the bowl.

Noodles & Company also has created a site dedicated to this popular vegetable that includes tips on how to select asparagus, cook asparagus, a recipe for you to prepare at home and other fun ideas.

My girls did try a bite of my asparagus, but in general stuck to their old favorite of mac and cheese. Still, you can't argue with this happy face:

If you like pasta and haven't had the chance to try Noodles & Company yet, you really should find your nearest location and check it out. And if you want to try the Asparagus & Lemon Linguine, get in before the end of June!

Full disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Noodles & Company and received five Noodles & Company bowl cards to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a thank-you gift certificate.