By Linda Bladholm
Green Gables Café in Coral Gables serves mostly takeout to devoted, like-minded customers who even bring back the cardboard cup holders to be used again. This is a natural-food place with a gourmet touch where the planet is treated with care and respect. All paper products are 100 percent recyclable and containers are biodegradable.
All the fruits and vegetables are organic, bought in bulk from Global Organics in Sarasota. Owner Ana Rabel hopes to go organic eventually with her signature roasted and pulled turkey breast (served with avocado and cilantro aioli on toasted whole wheat bread) and baked chicken with roasted pepper (served on a baguette with shaved Parmesan and pesto).
At first, cooking was a hobby for Rabel. After her first child was born, she began making organic baby food and paying attention to nutrition. Friends encouraged her to open her first restaurant, Yerba Buena. She sold it in 2001 and managed the Neiman Marcus restaurants in Bal Harbor and Coral Gables for several years until a family friend bought the building she now occupies and offered her the space. When she opened the café in September, her daughter Laura Alfonso left a job at the Daily Bread Food Bank to work with her. Their philosophy: "Save the world one bite at a time."
Do your part by biting into a flaky baked crab and panko cake served on a heap of salad greens drizzled with ginger dressing. On a hot day, cooling gazpacho enriched with ground almonds is refreshing. The Cobb salad has "bacon" made from roasted eggplant (nothing is fried here). The same eggplant shows up in a spinach wrap with hummus, roasted onions and sprouts. (Sandwiches come with blue corn chips or carrot sticks.) Chicken curry salad studded with golden raisins is stuffed in a pita, while lean roast beef is slathered with Dijon mustard on a baguette with arugula and mozzarella. There are also melts on flat bread, daily soups, a juice and smoothie bar and a selection of teas and coffees.
The coco-cacao macaroon, made from grated coconut and raw chocolate, makes a sweet ending.
Green Gables Café, 166 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables; 305-445-7015; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Fri; breakfast $1.50-$6.50, salads $7.25-$8.25, sandwiches $7.50-$8, dessert $1.50-$3.50
FYI: Catering available.
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