DINING OUT: Healthy eating made easy

Eating healthy might not always come easy but, at Dyker Heights’ Blend Salad and Juice Bar, it can.

“There’s not really anything else like this in Dyker Heights,” said co-owner Victor Anastasio of the side-street walk-in on 78th Street, just off 13th Avenue. Blend – a smorgasbord of DIY salads, smoothies, wraps and more – is grab-and-go only, something Anastasio says is perfect for those looking to eat healthy on the run.

“It’s express style, which we’ve found works for a lot of people” said Anastasio – who owns the eatery alongside his brother, Sal and friend Matthew Jamel. “A lot of times, customers will call ahead, and pick their order up on their way home.”

Even with nowhere to sit, the smell of Blend’s freshly made juices – and home-cooked diet delights – are enough to make anybody want to stay a while.

In our case, the snow was coming down outside but, luckily, we had Blend’s signature Chicken Soup and Vegetable Chili with Brown Rice (both $5 a generous pint) to keep us warm.
The Chicken Soup was loaded with vegetables, all of which complemented the melt-in-your mouth chicken. The Vegetable Chili kept us coming back – each bite more flavorful than the last. The chili, bedded with beans and rice, had just the right kick to keep us (more than) satisfied.

Instead of making our own salads (price varies by add-ons), we opted for Blend’s most popular, sampling the Caesar Salad ($6), the Power Salad ($10), the Farmers Salad ($10) and the Blend Salad ($10).

The Caesar Salad – Blend’s spin on the classic – was chock full of whole wheat croutons and parmesan cheese and topped with Blend’s signature Caesar dressing. The Power Salad – baby spinach topped with feta, avocado, tomato and walnuts – can be paired with any dressing, Anastasio said, but with Blend’s balsamic vinaigrette, it packed just the right punch.

The Farmers Salad was our favorite. Its bed of mesculin greens topped with cranberry, goat cheese, chick pea and almonds was just the right combination of crunchy and smooth.

The Blend Salad, chock full of tomato, hummus, avocado and quinoa (a fan favorite also available to order as a dish side, or in a pint of its own if you please), kept us coming back for more.

To chase our salads, we sampled three smoothies – the Banana Nut Blend, the Berry Madness and the Cool Blue Blend ($4, small; $6, large, and $1 for extra protein, creatine or glutamine and $1.50 extra for a meal replacement) –all of which were delicious.

The Banana Nut Blend (banana, peanut butter and skim milk or soy) is a peanut butter lover’s dream while the Berry Madness (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and apple juice) and the Cool Blue Blend (blueberries, pineapples, coconut, lemon and pineapple juice) are sure to please any fruit fanatic’s palette.

For those who prefer something heavier, Blend offers an array of wraps ($7-$8.50) – all of them good for you! From the Mediterranean Wrap (grilled chicken, arugula, hummus and sun dried tomatoes) to the Blend Steak Wrap (grilled steak, avocado, brown rice and black beans), Blend’s menu offers something for everyone.

Finally, we sampled The Headache, a fresh-squeezed juice ($5, small; $7, large) Anastasio promises lives up to its name (but not in the way you think). The Headache, made up of apple, lemon, beets, carrot and ginger, is said to relieve headaches just as other menu items like the Weight Shredder (spinach, grapefruit and apple) and the Gains Maker (celery, apple and carrot) aid in weight loss and muscle gain.

“Our main goal is to help people who are trying to keep healthy,” Anastasio stressed, adding that Blend also delivers. “That’s what we’re all about here.”

1310 78th Street
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Free delivery ($8 minimum)

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