Where to Dine this Holiday Season

Organic Coup in Pleasanton serves a fried chicken sandwich with spicy veggies. Photo via Yelp.

Dining Out in December? Between parties, shopping and out of town guests, December can take a toll on us. If there’s no time to cook, here are 4 East Bay options that are fast, delicious, and (mostly) healthy.

The Organic Coup

PLEASANTON, CA – If it’s got to be organic, and you don’t mind that the selection is limited to chicken, then Pleasanton’s Organic Coup has your name on it. Founded by former Costco employees who believe in paying the highest wages in the industry,  offering great tasting clean food that is free of GMOs, and supporting organic farmers, Organic Coup is a revolutionary fast food joint trying to take over the marketplace.

Keeping with the “less is more” theory, Organic Coup serves up Mary’s organic air-chilled chicken cooked in coconut oil four ways: in a sandwich, in a wrap, in a bowl, or as chicken tenders. Did you want fries with that? You’ll have to settle for tater tots. They are fun to eat and will satisfy your potato craving.

Chicken is $8.99. No alcohol. Open Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm. 4825 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton. TheOrganicCoup.com.

Grass-fed bison burger with Umami mushroom at True Food Kitchen. Photo via Facebook.

True Food Kitchen

WALNUT CREEK, CA – If you’re in the vicinity of Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza, stop to enjoy a meal at True Food Kitchen. Based on the principles of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, the menu showcases a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.

The ancient grains bowl is a great choice. It’s filled with a colorful array of textures and the rich and savory flavors of miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow pea, grilled portobello and avocado. I added grass-fed steak to my bowl. Chicken, shrimp, salmon and tofu add-ins are also available.

If the holidays are wearing you out, opt for the medicine man iced tea featuring triple-brewed black tea, cranberry, pomegranate, honey and sea buckthorn for a pick-me-up.

Entrées start at $14. Full bar. Open Monday-Friday, 11am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am. 120 Broadway Lane, Walnut Creek. TrueFoodKitchen.com.

Iron Horse ranch salad served at In the Mix in Danville. Photo via Mariah B. / Yelp

In The Mix

DANVILLE, CA – If you conjure up images of organic mixed greens, romaine, spinach, fresh pears, almonds and gorgonzola cheese, then you will enjoy “The Blackhawk” salad or wrap at In the Mix Salads in Danville. Build your own if you’d like, but In the Mix features a selection of popular salads made to order that you’re sure to love. If you need a more portable meal, try any of the salads as a wrap.

The Iron Horse ranch is my go-to selection. This salad contains organic mixed greens, romaine and iceberg lettuce, BBQ chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese. It’s topped with crispy tortilla strips and tossed with a creamy ranch dressing. Salads are generous and can easily be split between two and paired with a cup of soup for a meal.

Salads start at $8.95. Wraps at $7.49. No alcohol. Open daily from 11am. Closing times vary. 11000 Crow Canyon Road #G, Danville. InTheMixSalads.net.

Shrimp and rice bowl served with carrots and snow peas at Thumbs Up Grill in Livermore. Photo via Yelp.

Thumbs Up Grill 

LIVERMORE, CA – Skip the drive-thru and instead pick up a bowl or plate filled with fresh vegetables and grilled-to-order meat at Livermore’s Thumbs Up Grill.

I decided on a plate, which could easily serve two, starting with a base of pineapple rice and a combination of chicken breast and steak topped with teriyaki sauce.

Both plates and bowls come with a choice of veggies. I opted for sautéed peppers and onions, then added a side of steamed broccoli, creating a healthy and delicious meal.

In addition to vegetables, plates come with fruit or salad. Taking the manager’s recommendation, I selected the pickled veggie salad, which was fabulous.

Bowls start at $6.75. No alcohol. Open daily 11am-9pm. Online ordering available. 975 E. Stanley Blvd., Livermore. ThumbsUpGrill.com.

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. Parts of this article were originally published in the December 2016 East Bay editions.