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Take-out on the heathy side

Rollin' Oats has a case stuffed with take-out dishes you warm up, in addition to the offerings at its cafe.

By WILMA NORTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000


The holiday season isn't even over, and already we were feeling the need for a light and healthy meal. Rollin' Oats seemed like a good choice. We had been there for other things but had never tried the cafe or take-out case.

The cafe wasn't open yet on a recent morning, so I chose from the refrigerated case with salads, sandwiches and entrees packaged for quick and easy pickup and warm-up.

The first thing I put in my basket, the apple walnut chicken salad wrap ($5.95), turned out to be such a hit with my husband and older daughter that we got another the next day. The chapati (a flat Indian tortilla) was packed with the salad, made with organic chicken, diced red apple, walnuts, green onion, raisins, celery and red pepper in a curry mayonnaise. The sandwich was ample to share, especially with a green salad or soup.

We all liked the Thai soup ($1.99) a lot, too. It had no meat, but was filled with bamboo shoots, carrots, mushrooms and baby corn in a rich coconut milk broth.

We weren't as happy with the Thai red curry ($5.95). It looked and smelled good, with chicken, bok choy, carrots, celery, baby corn, rice and bean sprouts in a coconut milk sauce. But when we heated it, it had an unpleasant taste we couldn't identify, a sort of musky flavor. We had plenty of other food, so we ended up shoving this aside.

I got the salad Nicoise ($4.50), field greens covered with marinated potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, blue cheese, capers, sprouts, sesame seeds, olives, broccoli and cucumbers. For $4.50, it was enough for a meal.

We also enjoyed the Monterey salad. Eaten as a side dish, it lasted a couple of days. The salad ($4.99 a pound) was covered in a tart vinaigrette and contained black beans, corn, carrots, zucchini, celery, green and red peppers, onions, peas and lentils.

The "big old" chocolate brownie ($1.75) was just that, a slab of chocolate, made with wheatless flour. It didn't taste healthy (which is a good thing).

The cafe serves a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, vegetarian and free-range chicken and seafood entrees.

Items that are suitable for vegan, wheat-free and low-fat diets are marked. Some of the interesting sounding selections include an avocado reuben (avocado with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on grilled rye) for $4.95; a ratatouille lasagna for $4.95; a free-range turkey sandwich with garlic sauce for $4.95; and a poached salmon salad with yogurt dill dressing and seasonal fruit for $7.95.

Both days I was there, the refrigerator case was filled with take-home entrees, including a lentil meatloaf, a sesame chicken dish and a pizza with artichoke hearts. All were in the $5.95 range and appeared ample for two people with a salad or soup.

PINELLAS TO GO

Rollin' Oats

2842 Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) St. N

St. Petersburg

Phone: (727) 821-6825, market; (727) 895-4910, cafe

Hours: The market is open 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.; and 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. The cafe is open 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sat.; and 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sun.

Consumers: Two adults and two children

What we got: Monterey salad, Thai coconut soup, apple walnut chicken salad wrap, salad Nicoise, Thai red chicken and chocolate brownie.

What it cost: $24.91

Time it took: Less than 10 minutes

Pay with: Cash, checks, major credit cards

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