Skinny Reviews: Eating Healthy at VIN 909 Cafe in Annapolis Maryland
Posted Oct 23 2011 9:47pm
VIN 909 Café, a locally owned Annapolis Maryland restaurant:
Opened just six months ago in the former Wild Orchid bungalow in downtown Eastport, VIN 909 Café has quickly become a locals favorite with its organic, farm-to-table eclectic cooking, reasonable prices, sleek interior and equally cool chandeliers. I arrived hungry at 5:00 pm sharp for VIN 909′s advertised opening time, yet every table in the front section was already occupied with customers drinking wine and patiently waiting to order food. That told me a lot!
I noticed familiar faces serving as VIN 909′s skilled new wait staff, bumped into some smiling neighbors at the bar, and walked past former County Executive Janet Owens with her own family comfortably seated at a table. Janet proudly informed us that she dined at the place several nights a week, too.
By this point, my expectations were pretty high. Fortunately, I was not disappointed.
“VIN” means wine in French, so naturally wine was on my mind. (What’s new, eh?!). Unlike pretentious wine bars, the casual VIN 909 has a great selection of wine starting at only $6 per glass. More importantly, it’s a BIG glass. I tried an excellent red Grenache by Monte Oton and enjoyed every last drop.
Looking over the food menu, I scanned it for the purest selection of lean protein, colorful vegetables, and whole grain carbs, all prepared in a healthy manner. My Skinny Pick was almost perfect. VIN 909′s fresh organic flatbread pizza with local vegetables and herbs was too tempting of a healthy and delicious choice to pass up, although the crust is white flour and not 100 percent whole grain. Yet, unlike most pizza, it is a very thin crust to minimize any white carb overload.
My Skinny Picks:
The Autumn Harvest (formerly “The Squashinator”) Flatbread Pizza. A bright orange butternut squash and delicata squash pizza with goat cheeses, balsamic reduction and sage proved to be an interesting sweet tasting flatbread. Butternut squash is powerhouse vegetable with plenty of nutrients and filling, satisfying fiber, so how could I refuse to try it on a pizza?
Speaking of pizza, as a Skinny trick, I always grab several slices from the interior with no crust sides. Extra topping and less bread with any pizza is a great way to avoid empty calories.
Brussels Sprouts with lemon, capers and brown butter. For a generous amount of green vegetables to round out my orange pizza, I ordered the freshest tasting Brussels sprouts. An equally good pick would have been the Zucchini Carpaccio with lemon, leeks, and parmesan.
Reviewing my complete Skinny healthy meal, the goat cheese served as my protein source, the flatbread as my one main carb, and the orange and yellow squash along with green Brussels sprouts were my large portion of colorful vegetables.
Skinny Pick Runner Ups:
The Trip Flatbread Pizza with Wild mushrooms, Tallegio, Fontina and thyme. A bit heavier on the cheese than the butternut squash pizza, this pizza is still a winner with its bold mushrooms and thin crust. Again, take the interior slices only! Order one of the vegetable Skinny Picks as a side.
Beets and Bucheron Goat Cheese Salad with sweet meyer-lemon vinaigrette. With full greens, colorful red beets and protein-packed cheese, this salad is a complete entree.
Pan seared skirt steak, an all-natural steak with spicy Moroccan sauce. Add the Brussels Sprouts or Zucchini for vegetables.
Tuna tartar, premium grade Atlantic tuna with walnuts, walnut oil, black garlic, sage, green onion, truffles and sea salt. Add the Brussels Sprouts or Zucchini for vegetables.
Other Vegetable Offerings:
There were two other choices on the regular menu: Swiss Chard and Oven Fried Potatoes. The green Swiss Chard was prepared with cream in it, so I picked the Brussels Sprouts cooked in a little brown butter. Given the choice between a bit of butter or cream, I always choose butter. My particular body seems to latch on to the sugar and lactose in cream, so olive oil or a little butter works best for Easy Skinny me.
I also decided against the white potatoes since my big ol’ white flatbread pizza crust was enough of a big ol’ carb for the meal. Try to pick one main carb and stick to it. Be at peace with your choice. Save the potatoes for next time, or when ordering non-pizza Skinny Picks and Runner Ups. Go for the full color spectrum for a balanced Skinny meal!
VIN 909 Cafe is a great place to meet friends, family or to have a romantic date. We never felt rushed, despite the lines forming outside the restaurant, and the service was friendly and accommodating. Eat some fresh local food and sip some wine at the VIN 909 Cafe, located at 909 Bay Ridge Avenue in Annapolis, Maryland and open Tuesday through Sunday. To read their full story and menu, check out their website at www.vin909.com