Flying Avocado's organic offerings

TABLE TALK

May 03, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

Owings Mills now has a "healthy alternative" to fast-food joints, according to Flying Avocado Cafe's creator/general manager, Lisa Valle. An offshoot of the popular Your Prescription for Health Holistic Pharmacy, the cafe opened just a couple of weeks ago.

Valle says the cafe's aim is to use almost all organic produce, bread, eggs and meat, and buy locally as much as possible. And to make that healthful food taste great.

Valle describes the cafe as a "great little cozy space," with mahogany tables on an acid-stained concrete floor, mahogany counters that run along the windows and wall with high stools, tin ceilings and walls painted ... you guessed it, avocado green. Total seating is for about 44.

"It's quaint, with clean lines. You feel good when you walk in the door. We wanted to give it a feel where people could come in and stay all day drinking coffee, working on their computer," Valle says. Yes, Avocado offers WiFi, wireless Internet connections.

This is the kind of place where you order at the counter and either take food to go, or it will be brought to your seat.

"Because organics are already expensive, we didn't want people to pull out of their pockets even more [money] and pay for service," Valle says.

The Flying Avocado sandwich list includes roasted rosemary lamb with onion marmalade, roasted red potato and rosemary mayo on ciabatta ($8.95); free-range chicken breast with roasted peppers, field greens and pesto on rustic Italian bread ($7.50); and sliced roast beef and brie with horseradish mayo on that same Italian bread ($8.50).

There are salads like grilled Caesar ($6.50; topped with chicken, $8.50); marinated flatiron steak over field greens, pears, apples, walnuts and gorgonzola with an aged honey-balsamic vinaigrette ($10.95); and grilled chicken with field greens, seasonal berries, mandarin orange, walnuts, red onion and goat cheese with a blueberry vinaigrette ($8.95). There are also a half dozen wrap sandwiches available. And that's just for lunch.

The Flying Avocado also has a breakfast menu that includes a tofu breakfast wrap ($5.95); a three-egg omelet with your choice of three ingredients ($5.50) and a French-toast souffle ($4.95). Oh, and let's not forget the Belgian waffles ($4.25). While the menu includes just breakfast and lunch, Valle says in a couple of months, there will be items that people can pick up on their way home for dinner. You can check out the entire menu, which will change seasonally, online at flyingavocado.com.

For those with celiac disease, the Flying Avocado offers its sandwiches and wraps on gluten-free bread or tortillas.

You'll find the Flying Avocado, 443-471-2600, at 10210 S. Dolfield Road, Owings Mills. It's open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

New Sotto Sopra menu

That organic, locally available theme is also turning up at Baltimore's chic Italian eatery, Sotto Sopra, courtesy of consulting chef Spike Gjerde.

"I've always loved Sotto Sopra. ... After [my brother Charlie and I] closed Joy America Cafe, one of the first people who called me was [Sotto owner] Riccardo Bosio," Gjerde says.

"His main goal was for me to bring in ideas for a new spring menu ... conceptualize new menu ideas. There's so much to build on because so much about that place is right. [Bosio's] pastas are incredible. So that wasn't my main focus. I'm taking a more seasonal approach to some appetizers and entrees, going a little more natural, a little lighter."

While the new items and prices weren't firmed up when we talked to him, Gjerde gave a few examples, like wild rockfish in a type of crystal-clear parchment, steamed with lump crab, baby fennel, tomatoes, golden potatoes, thyme and anise butter; and organic, farm-raised Hawaiian yellowtail seared with baby artichokes and served with fingerling potatoes, red-pepper coulis and salsa verde.

Your mouth watering? Good news. That new menu should be making its debut any day now.

You'll find Sotto Sopra, 410-625-0534, at 405 N. Charles St.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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