Thursday, July 16, 2015

Freshii's Fresh Food Hits Downtown Edmonton

When I saw that there was a Freshii ready to open up downtown, I was pretty excited. Not that there aren't other salad places around that area already, but most of them are focused on serving the lunch crowd and are usually not open later in the day when people are looking for health dinner options. Freshii is one of those places, refreshingly looking to serve the residents of the area, not just the people who flock to downtown Edmonton just for work, then never return the area for fun.

Freshii was started by Matthew Corrin in 2005, who at the time was only 23 years old. He wanted to open a fresh food business that would serve healthy, affordable and convenient food. The core of Freshii's menu consists of are fresh and nutritious foods that are quick to prepare, for people constantly on the go. Today, Freshii has over 60 locations in over 12 countries.

Their menu consists mostly of salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, soups, smoothies and low fat yogurt for dessert. You can also customize your own salad, wrap, bowl or soup. However, they do have some great salad combinations already created. We opted to try two of their most popular salads, the Fiesta consisting of field greens, black beans, avocado, aged cheddar, corn, pico de gallo, and cilantro lime vinaigrette. The other was called Metaboost which had field greens, spinach, kale, mangoes, carrots, edame, almonds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The big difference we noticed between Freshii and other salad places was that presentation mattered. Similar to plating presentation in restaurants, they very carefully layered the ingredients in the salad bowl so you were presented with something colourful and appetizing looking.

Their Fiesta salad was light and refreshing, brightly presented and I was very relieved that it was only lightly coated with dressing. The corn and black beans gave the salad significantly more substance than a regular salad, while the fresh avocado added a creaminess to the whole concoction. Now, I'm not a fan of kale, I'll be upfront about that, however the Metaboost was vibrant and tangy, while the mangoes added a sweetness that helped cut through the bitterness I always tend to find with kale. Both salads were definitely meal size and even without an added protein, I wound up having to take a good majority of the Fiesta salad home to eat later.
Frozen Yogurt

For dessert, I had frozen yogurt with chocolate chips and Oreo crumble. The frozen yogurt was surprisingly thick and creamy, almost like soft serve ice cream. It also was sweeter than I'd expected, not tangy and sour like most soft serve frozen yogurt I've had. It was a pleasant and welcome discovery and I didn't hesitate to dive in, although I have to admit that even with help, the serving was large enough that I almost couldn't finish it.

Overall, I enjoyed Freshii and given their longer hours, will likely return the next time I'm looking for a lighter and healthier dinner option. They also have a second downtown location and one in West Edmonton Mall.

10322 Jasper Ave
Edmonton, AB  T5J 1Y7
Twitter: @freshii

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(Note: There was no financial compensation from Freshii or their PR Agency for this blog post, although they provided a free meal. Any review provided by me will completely reflect my thoughts and opinions – good or bad, and will not be swayed by having a free meal provided.)

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