When I was a kid the typical salad on the dinner table was iceberg lettuce with Kraft Ranch Dressing, or maybe Kraft Russian Dressing. For variety it might be Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing on the lettuce with some added croutons. As you might have guessed my childhood did not engender a fondness for salads in me. As an adult I am pleased to say that I have found some excellent salads that have managed to turn my salad opinion around. I will even go so far as to say that these salads qualify, in my opinion, as comfort foods. This much needed correction to my salad bias is due largely to Tractor, the Everyday Healthy Food restaurants. A fifth Vancouver location recently opened at 601 West Broadway and that is where we tried some new additions to the menu.
The layout of each Tractor location varies but the premise is the same: fresh, nutritious, delicious, locally sourced healthy foods served in a cafeteria style setting. The Broadway location has patio seating on the large plaza at the corner of Broadway and Ash. Once inside the line for food starts to the left. Seeing all the freshly made food and looking at the menu may make you want to order one of everything, and maybe some wine or a craft beer too. The soups are hearty and the stews satisfyingly filling. Sandwiches don’t skimp on the fillings and can be ordered half size or whole.
The Everyday Rice Bowl has a base of rice and power greens. With one market side and grilled avocado and you’ve got a meal for $9.95. I loved the grilled avocado! Should you, for some reason, want something other than avocado you can get the Everyday Rice Bowl with tofu or a hard boiled egg instead of avocado. For a market side I had a kimchi topping. If you are concerned about the kimchi being spicy you can rest easy, it is a mild type of kimchi that was enjoyable and not tongue searingly spicy. There is a good choice of market sides so you could have a different Everyday Rice Bowl each day of the week and still have more options for next week.
A new mocktail, the Tractor Natural, is light and refreshing to drink. It has sparkling water, grapefruit juice and rosemary. It looks and tastes summery and I think quite a few of them will be seen on the patio this summer.
The Short Rib Bowl has certified Angus Beef Short Rib and adds a second market side to the rice and power greens for a price of $14.50. We tried it with Mediterranean Couscous (couscous, grilled asparagus, basil, Kalamata olives, radicchio, shredded kale, orange thyme dressing) and Artichokes (artichokes, white beans, napa cabbage, watermelon radish, cannellini beans, parsley, orange balsamic vinaigrette) as the two sides. However the bitterness of radicchio doesn’t appeal to me so I picked it out of the bowl. To my taste this made the Mediterranean Couscous much better and I would not hesitate to order it again. The Artichokes market side was quite good, no quibbles from me. The beef was tender, moist, mouth wateringly delicious. A great combo bowl, with that one small caveat.
The third new bowl item on the menu we tried was the Wild Coho Salmon Bowl which cost $15.50. The salmon is Ocean Wise, which means it is an ocean friendly sustainable seafood choice. The chermoula sauce on the fish was amazing! Chermoula (aka charmoula, aka charmola) is a marinade that originates in North Africa with variations from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco. The market side with the salmon was equally amazing. Grilled pears, arugula, candied walnuts, blue cheese dressing. This is the kind of salad that makes friends easily. The blue cheese dressing alone could make any salad better. Maybe even a salad with radicchio. The thin slices of grilled pear compliment the salmon well. This dish is a winner all round.
Tractor has several grab and go items that could be eaten as desert after your meal, while binge watching Netflix, or as a mid day snack at the office. The Dark Chocolate Bark could be described as a decadent granola bar but without the granola. It has goji berries, apricot, pumpkin seeds and a slab of marvelous dark chocolate. The Zucchini Loaf is densely packed with healthy goodness. I initially compared the density to Christmas cake (which I dislike). The zucchini loaf won me over and later in the day I found myself wishing I had bought a slice or two to take home. Since it is a hefty hunk of healthiness you may want to enjoy it with a beverage and my choice is the ginger flavoured Kombucha. It is a mildly sparkling and tasty cold tea drink, also available in a berry flavour. Of course the chocolate cookies from Tractor are incredible, and gluten free too. Jenn’s drink choice was a Matcha Latte, which she loves.
This location at Broadway and Ash has only been open for a short while. It is already very popular and every seat was filled at lunch time. Service is fast, which you would expect from a cafeteria style eatery, and the food was excellent. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week. The other Vancouver locations have different hours, and may have some menu variations. I’ve never been disappointed when eating at Tractor. The food tastes great, it’s healthy, the prices affordable, and take out is available. There are a wide variety of vegetarian choices. What more need I say to convince you to go there? Maybe two words: grilled avocado.
Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods
601 West Broadway (Broadway & Ash)