Scoop The Loop

It seems like we spend half our life at work. For many of us, our days are long, busy and stressful. Sometimes the only glimmer of excitement in the workday comes from stepping away from your desk to grab a quick lunch. Although I try to bring my lunch to work whenever I can, my office location in the Loop positions me near many tempting restaurants that help make my workday seem less monotonous. Below is an overview of my four favorite lunch spots during the workweek. 

Goodwin’s
I’ve loved Goodwin’s since my summer internship in Chicago senior year of college. I can count on Goodwin’s for their ever-changing selection of fabulous soups, Boar’s Head meats, and their robust selection of sandwiches and wraps. My Goodwin’s go-to is a half of a turkey Reuben sandwich with a cup of soup. Recently, I broke out of my shell to try The Napa wrap, homemade hummus and couscous with leaf lettuce, avocado, onion, cucumber and chimichurri sauce. I also threw in some chopped asparagus for good measure. The veggie wrap was so fresh and delicious; I might have to add this to my rotation.

Taza
This Mediterranean restaurant has hands down the best falafel in the city. It’s nice and crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. I challenge you to find better falafel in Chicago. Other favorites include the Taza Chicken, marinated Mediterranean style all white meat charbroiled chicken served with their amazing dill basmati rice. The Lentil Soup is also some of the best I’ve had. It’s made with red lentils, diced onions, carrots, celery and spices, then pureed to a creamy consistency. I recommend adding fresh lemon and a few spoonfuls of the dill basmati rice to the soup – its divine! In addition to the authentic food, the staff could not be any friendly or more grateful for your business. A must-try if you’re in the Loop.

Protein Bar
Bowls, Salads, Bar-ritos, Soups and Smoothies high on protein and low on calories are served at this quick and nutritious spot. I love Protein Bar’s Healthy Parm Bowl, which is organic quinoa topped with marinara sauce, all natural chicken or tofu and shredded parmesan, add spinach. It’s a warm delicious meal that really hits the spot, especially on a cold winter day. I also recommend trying the Buffalo Bowl, or anything with their house-made vegan buffalo sauce – it’s really something special!

Mista
This fresh and organic Italian spot reels you in from the outside with the aromatic smell of marinara sauce seeping into the air. Mista offers cracker crust pizza in whole-wheat and flour, as well as salads, wraps and lasagna. The food is made-to-order, healthy and high quality. There are also gluten-free options available, which means there is something for everyone. I am a huge fan of the Heart Smart wheat crust pizza, which comes with sauce, organic roasted vegetables, organic baby spinach, and organic low-fat mozzarella cheese. The cracker crust is crunchy, thin and not heavy at all. The Italian Tuna wrap made with imported tuna and lemon vinaigrette (no mayo) is a close second to the pizza.
 

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