Serving healthy, creative fare at the Shore
[dropcap size=dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Bashful Banana Bakery and Cafe, best-known for its yummy banana whips and bakery items, also has a delicious and nutritious dinner menu. Did you know this? Now you do. And you should do yourself and your whole family a favor by heading over and partaking in their completely delicious and deviously healthy menu (the kids will never know it’s good for you).
I think I’m a pretty cool food aficionado in the OC. I know where all the best places are located. I know the best places for scones, for pizza, for fries, for donuts, for everything. And now I’m adding the Bashful Banana to my favorites, but I’m not quite sure in which category to place it. I hate to use the “healthy” category because the BB is so much more than a restaurant with healthy food. It’s a restaurant with tasty, healthy food that is thoughtfully prepared and served. So let’s put it in the “yummy-place-to-take-the-family-for-a-healthy-meal” category.
So I took the large extended-family group – 10 of us – and headed to the Banana for a trip into the culinary unknown.
The BB has a focus on nutritious food. Their website says they serve “healthy gourmet meals with great taste and appeal.” But when our server Kamea told us there was no red meat or fried items on the menu, I was a bit taken aback. Since the BB had come to my attention on a good recommendation I didn’t resist the karmic nudge toward a wholesome meal and instead rolled with the healthy.
Now be advised, I’m usually a bit skeptical of “healthy” items. But I have to tell you, I truly enjoyed my turkey burger and the whole experience. As I said, my food moods change; sometimes I want pizza, sometimes it’s nice to munch on something that’s easier on the heart valves.
We assembled a large crew for this mission; myself (Tony Stark), Captain Steve Rogers (aka “Cap”), Godzilla and Mothra, Maleficent, the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and of course, the indomitable Pepper Potts. We rolled down the Boardwalk like we were the Justice League or something, took a turn onto Colony Walk near 10th Street and blam! We found a large empty table outside with enough seating for all of us. Destiny was on our side!
We sat down and were greeted immediately by Kamea, a friendly damsel with a quick easy smile. Kamea was a pleasant accompaniment throughout our entire meal, and never flinched even as we asked her a thousand questions.
I decided to go with the turkey mushroom burger with sautéed onions, mushrooms and swiss. I was pleased when my burger came out juicy and yummy with a nice texture on the teeth. I rarely order turkey burgers when I dine out simply because most restaurants don’t know how to handle the protein properly, but after almost 20 years in business, the BB gets this one right.
Maleficent also ordered the turkey mushroom burger and was quite pleased with her choice. She was also pleased with her side dish.
“The coleslaw is very good and I like that it has a creamy consistency. The burger is tasty and juicy and the mushrooms are cooked to perfection. I love the ciabatta that it’s on. I took some of the bruschetta appetizer and mixed it in with the burger – so good.”
Wonder Woman, along with Mothra and Captain America, ordered the chicken tenders, as is their habit.
“These chicken nuggets are very good,” said the princess. “They’re better than most other chicken tenders. I like that they came with fruit – the fruit is good too, very fresh and sweet.”
Mothra took a break from his constant battle with Godzilla to devour his meal, and even found time to comment on his feast.
“The chicken fingers aren’t fried and I really like that,” said Mothra. “The meat has a better texture than when it’s fried and I like that. Plus I like that it came with watermelon, which was very fresh and sweet.”
The lack of fried foods did not cause the Captain to run screaming into the night. On the contrary, he was quite pleased. “The chicken tenders taste especially good, but they needed salt,” said Cap.
The Green Lantern ordered the Spicy Hot Turkey Cheesesteak which I must say looked very appealing.
“This is really good. All the flavors come together nicely, and it’s tasty and spicy. Lots of veggies in there, not too much bread – an excellent sandwich,” he said.
When owner Heidi Edwards opened this little eatery 18 years ago, she decided on a philosophy of delicious and wholesome food. She stuck with it, and these many years later it still works.
“When I took over about 18 years ago it was just a vegetarian place. So I expanded the menu. I wanted to give families that were sick of pizza and french fries more choices for healthy items. I want it to be like eating at home. But on the Boardwalk with outside seating,” she said.
I knew the BB because of their signature banana whip which is similar to frozen custard, but made with bananas, yes it’s only bananas, although there are plenty of toppings including non-dairy chocolate chips, granola, fresh fruit, an all-fruit fudge sauce and a few more.
“Our banana whips are what we’re best known for, but instead of having sugar and dairy and ice cream the option is just bananas flavored with different fruits – no added sweeteners – and we have lots of healthy toppings, too,” said Heidi.
They have bagels, cookies and cakes too including a large selection of whole grain, high fiber, vegan, gluten free and non-dairy varieties that are baked on premises.
“We wanted to offer high fiber and healthy items, but still make it really tasty so the kids want it. The donuts have whole wheat flour and they’re baked. We’re sliding in the good stuff and the kids don’t even realize it,” Heidi said. “Everything is done to order. We squeeze our own juices here, like the vegetable juices. We have a lot of organic items too.”