Liz Rueven is a CTbites contributor and the founder of a new blog, Kosher Like Me.
The Stand Juice Company opened a second location in Fairfield , CT five weeks ago and they are rockin’ already. Carissa Dellicicchi and Mike Hrizdo, the dynamic husband and wife duo behind the Stand in Norwalk (opened in 2006), complement each other perfectly.
Carissa is the cook and creative force and Mike is the organizer and funny man. They first met in Miami at a raw foods market and bonded over their love for organic vegetarian eats and their passion for exploring the connection between better eating and healing the body.
In their Fairfield location, they have created a sunny and inviting space from an industrial outbuilding that was once part of a rubber factory complex. The brick walls, generous windows, painted ducts and cement floor speak to the history of this group of buildings which now form a campus of athletic and recreational facilities called the Sports Plex.
“We have been busy from day one!” Carissa proudly told me with her characteristic smile. “We are Mom central during the busy hours when kids are being dropped off for activities.” Pull a stool up to the huge swath of counter and enjoy watching the friendly staff prepare your nosh. The prep area is open to the spacious eating area which includes a comfy selection of chairs and sofas surrounding a generous plank serving as table. It is all part of the plan to encourage visitors to stop by, enjoy the free wi-fi and hang out while enjoying these wholesome eats.
A blackboard announces the menu and specials each day. Carissa and her welcoming staff are on hand to assist with making choices. Everything is dairy free (vegan), mostly organic and there are plenty of choices for the gluten intolerant.
Their juice cleanses are popular and include six prepared drinks a day for a five day juice only diet.All ingredients in the juices and foods are fresh. I enjoyed the just squeezed lemonade which includes ginger, agave for sweetening, and water. The “freshie” was an easy sip with cucumber, apple and lemon providing the cooling elements on an unusually warm Autumn day.
The Big Ol’ Salad combined a perfect array of crisp salad greens with some salad basics. The treat was a generous topping of perfectly ripe avocado sprinkled with flax and sunflower seeds and raisins. The creamy dressing was not cream laced at all (remember, no dairy served here) and is a tasty blend of cashews, garlic, S & P and raspberry apple cider vinegar: guilt free and delicious.
If you love avocado, try the B.O.C. (breakfast of champions). One whole perfectly ripe avocado is neatly sliced and fanned over two slices of organic whole grain bread. A dusting of cayenne and sea salt allow the buttery goodness of the fruit to shine.
Two soups were offered that day. The Stand Stew and the Swiss Chard and Chickpea soup were both chock full of chunky veggies, and pleasant in their simplicity and directness.
All sandwiches are cleverly named after more traditional versions and are available on whole grain, in a collard greens wrap or as a scoop over a salad. I loved the Curry Collard Wrap, a blend of pureed almonds, red peppers and garlic neatly sandwiched in the greens with a mound of sprouts. The Tempeh Reuben is another winner. Bold BBQ smokiness envelopes the tempeh which is roasted and nestled in the sandwich with sauerkraut, mustard and nayonaise (the healthy soy based mayo). The kids in your crew will probably love the No Chix Sandwich for its creamy texture achieved in a pate composed of cashews, and nayo.
A favorite dessert is the Butternut Squash Pudding, a double roasted blend of this vitamin packed veg pureed to a pleasing and velvety texture before it is sweetened with agave nectar. Looks like soup, tastes like sweet ambrosia! Enjoy the selection of pumpkin cookies, chocolate chip and banana muffins or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. All are baked with whole grains and have great chew and flavor.
www.thestandjuice.com/ for locations and hours.