12604 Lamplighter Square
St. Louis, Mo. 63128
"CBW is a locally owned restaurant that emphasizes balanced, sensible eating. CBW strives to give customers an alternative to other fast food restaurants that serve highly processed foods. CBW offers a wide variety of healthy options as well as full-flavored options made with fresh products."
(from the website)
I'd heard of Crazy Bowls and Wraps (CBW) but had never been to one. A few weeks back they catered an in-house meeting at work, the leftovers were taken to our break room. I was hungry that particular day and saw a small chunky-chicken filled wrap, it looked pretty good.
It was different in that the inside of the wrap was lined with a bed of rice. The chicken was smokey the lettuce and tomatoes were fresh. I'd not seen an American style wrap with rice in it before. It turned out to be quite good indeed. On the way home I exited 270 at 21 (Tesson Ferry) as always and was stopped at a stoplight in front of St. Anthony's Hospital. On the other side of the road was the Lamplighter Square shopping center, and a newly opened CBW.
I mentioned it to the family when I got home, we made a date. We didn't go that weekend, or the next. If you recall Angel was away for those two. So we waited for this one.
It takes up the corner of one of the shopping center buildings. I call it a shopping center though at least half of the center is occupied by medical support businesses, a therapy center, a clinic, and a few others. There's also a Pad Thai place opening up soon, according to the signs.
Inside the place was sunny and bright. White and orange were the primary colors. the ceiling was high and open. Large shiny signs and food portraits lined the walls. Overhead some decent quality speakers were playing an urban radio station too loudly. I'm not a loud music fan, and not really a fan of urban music, but at least it wasn't country.
We looked at the pictures and the overhead menu. They offered several standard bowls and wraps, they also let you build your own. I figured it was safer to choose one of the standards.
I chose a sweet and sour bowl, regular sized, with brown rice. Angel ordered the same but a large bowl with white rice. Adam tagged the Buffalo Chicken Griller, a wrap, heated on the grill. Both he and Angel added large drinks, I took a regular. We paid up and filled our cups. They offered ice tea and pop at the fountain, Angel noticed it and thought it odd that a place that boasted about its fresh, healthy meals would serve primarily soda pop. (I found out later that they make smoothies, lots of them. I've never been a big fan, so I'm glad they had tea.) We found a table and settled in, a shaker of poppy seeds took the place of every other restaurants salt an pepper.
The wait wasn't too long, it only seemed that way because of the too-loud music. A couple of people came in a picked up some takeout, a couple of athletic looking young ladies ordered and sat and chatted. A young, long haired, bespectacled man opened up his laptop and chowed down on his bowl of healthier choices.
Ours arrived. Real plastic, non-disposable bowls and real silverware.(Not really, the silverware was actually made of stainless steel, non disposable as well, a green statement of some kind I imagine.) Orange bowls, mine around cereal bowl sized, Angel's was more of a serving bowl. Angel's business keeps her upright and moving around all day, every day. She needs more food than I do.
The food was absolutely beautiful. The sweet/sour chicken was glazed to a high shine.The red peppers also bright and glossy, the pale rice was like a canvas for the bright, crisp colors. The chicken tasted every bit as good as it looked. "Better than most Chinese restaurants." She declared. I couldn't disagree. Under the sweet glaze there was still a crunch, then moist, perfectly tender chicken.
Adam dived into his wrap after a close visual inspection. His wrap came with tortilla chips, apparently the only kind of chips offered."Really good." He said as he dived in again. After he was done he said that the spice came on a little strong near the end, but that didn't stop him form eating the whole thing.
I couldn't finish all mine, the rice was good but there was just too much for me. I wasn't even able to eat all the chicken chunks, I let Adam have the last couple. He seemed to like them as much as we did.
At the end of the serving line was a condiment table. There were salsas and sauces. I noticed some hummus. I've always wanted to try hummus but I was never bold enough to order anything that included it in fear that I might hate it. I half-filled one of the little serving cups and took it to the table. Angel and I both tried it by itself. It took a bit to get past the grainy texture and analyze the taste, what little it had. It wasn't as strong as I expected it to be, it had almost no flavor at all. The texture itself was a little off putting. I was glad I tried it, but could not think of any dish or meal that it would actually improve. It wasn't nasty, it was just not great.
Not bad, not bad at all. CBW has locations in and around greater St. Louis, and three in Southern California. For those of you in Maryland, Kentucky, etc. You'll just have to come and visit to try it out.
I wouldn't call it 'health food, but it was certainly healthier than any fast food joint regardless of how many salads they claim to sell (I'm guessing none). It's good to have options like this around. I hope it catches on and stays successful. Lord knows the current living generations of Americans spend a lot of money on 'convenient' food, at the high cost of an ever-increasingly obese nation. I'm just saying it's good to have choices like this, quick, convenient, tasty, without all the excess frying oil.
The price wasn't too bad, the bill came to nearly twenty eight dollars, less than ten bucks per person, comparable to a full super-sized combo dinner at you know where.
I now know I wouldn't turn down a lunch trip to CBW, they've got pretty good stuff.