Eating healthy fast-food is near impossible. But more and more, there are cafe’s, food carts, and salad bars that provide a quick, well balanced meal. And one of those is good ol Laughing Planet. Known mostly for their burritos and rice bowls, I was surprised on a recent visit of their new menu and increased focus on buying local and eating healthy (not that they weren’t before, I just recently “re-discovered” the place).
Laughing Planet has been around since 2000, their first location was on Belmont. Originally from Bloomington, Indiana, the chain has continued to grow over the years, now having 7 locations in Portland, 2 in Eugene, and 1 in Corvallis. That is amazing growth! It is obvious why, too. Because it’s good. Simple, thoughtful, quick foods. Hip, quirky interior design. No nonsense. They can keep their costs down by not providing table service and having their customers bus tables. I prefer this, makes it a more personalized meal when I can help my self to all the amazing hot sauces that they have and as much water as I can drink without having to worry about if the waitress is paying attention or not. Banana Nick loves his water….HE THRIVES ON IT (if anything this blog is great for me so that I can talk about myself in the third person…its an ego builder, this blog!).
On to the food. As mentioned before, heavy emphasis on Mexican fusion…bean/rice bowls, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. They also have salads, soups, a very good local draft beer selection ($4.75 a pint), and the most delicious smoothies this side of Sip or Kure . Their updated menu makes it very clear which items on there are vegan, gluten free, paleo friendly, or contain nuts…very eco groovy! I like how I can just scan the menu for those symbols based on whatever I am feeling that day. Last time in there I had the “Soylent Green” bowl…kale, broccoli, and tempeh on a bed of grains, topped with a pesto sauce. SO DAMN WHOLESOME! Kale plays a part in many of the dishes here, so you know that someone wants you to eat right. Nice to know you are being taken care of. Doused in some obscure mexican hot sauces and couples with a smoothie, man, that’s a great meal. The cuban bowl (plantains and sweet potatoes on brown rice) and the Marrakesh Bowl (veggies on a bed of grains, topped with Moroccan sauce) are also to die for. In my pre-Banana Nick days, I would order up a burrito, so I can vouch for them by saying that they are basically like the bowls, but wrapped in a tortilla. We havent tried their salads yet, these bowls are hitting too hard to pass them up.
For kids, they offer quesadillas, burritos, rice and beans, or taters and cheese…all for $3.25. Our kid loves the smoothies, too, easy to take a kid to this place. They have plastic dinos on all the tables for them to play with.
So go check it out if you havent already…for a quick, quirky, quilty (any other “qu” words?) healthy meal….Laughing Planet is the place to go when making salad for dinner is weighing on your mind because the night before you just made 3 for the next day and I think we are out of bell peppers and tomatoes, damn, looks like that salad is getting a bit soggy…F*ck it lets go to Laughing Planet.