let’s go on an asparagus journey / noodles & company – la jolla, ca
Earlier this month I was invited to Noodles & Company to try an “Asparagus Feast” at their restaurant. As someone who enjoys the flavor and taste of asparagus, I was more than happy to take them up on their offer. It was a little harder though to find some cohorts to join me in this endeavor though. Apparently a lot of my friends don’t dig asparagus for some reason. This baffles me like people’s dislike of mushrooms baffles me. Y’all are weird is what I’m saying.
These are their shiny new springtime dishes. We had all of these and a lot more!
If you’ve never been to Noodle & Company before, let me sum it up for you: they’re got noodle dishes – a whole lot of them. It’s broken up into three types of cuisines: American, Asian and Mediterranean. They’ve got non-noodly things, too, but basically they’re thing is “all noodles, all the time”. All dishes as a base don’t come with meats, but you can add meat or tofu to any dish for an additional fee.
We had a little spot reserved for the 5 of us for dinner. Laura, Matt, Jake and T all joined me for the asparagus journey!
[springtime flatbread / topped with fresh asparagus, mushrooms, melted Parmesan cheese and crispy bacon]
One of the first appetizer we got was one of the new springtime items – the flatbread. It came on a thin, pizza-crust like flatbread topped with lots of melted cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and the star of the show: the asparagus. I’m pretty sure I was the only one at the table who already liked everything on this flatbread, so I was bound to like it. You get the cheesy goodness, saltiness and smokiness from the bacon, delicious mushrooms plus crisp, green asparagus. I think I ate like four pieces, at least. Yum.
To ease us into noodle territory, they also brought us out a platter of cheesy garlic bread with marinara. What’s not to love about bread, cheese and garlic? Nothing, I tell you. Just put it in your mouth and then move onto the next dish. Nom nom nom.
[asparagus stack / asparagus spears topped with feta cheese and bacon crumbles accompanied with a wedge of lemon]
Straight up, asparagus, yo! With feta and bacon… yeah. Put it in my mouth. Stat!
[garden pesto sauté / fresh asparagus in a light, lemon Genovese pesto combined with red bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, pecans, feta, and spinach atop a new gluten-free fusilli noodle]
This is the other “asparagus” dish. I put it in quotes because… can you see the asparagus?! I kind of had to dig around in the bowl for a bit just to find the asparagus and for something that *features* asparagus, well, I think it should be on TOP. Noticeable and very obvious. I mean, it was in there but really it felt like the asparagus was an afterthought in this one.
Overall though, the flavors here in this one is decent. The pesto could use a little more “oomph” but I liked the combination of ingredients here on this one. The cheese and pecan add different levels of texture to the dish along with the crunch of the asparagus and other veggies.
[penne rosa with parmesan crusted chicken / tomato cream sauce, penne pasta, mushrooms, tomato, spinach and wine, parmesan]
This Penne Rosa dish was one of the favorites among our little group. The sauce on the penne was light (the dish wasn’t drowning in sauce) and it had a nice little touch of spiciness from the sauce. Just a little kick in the pants, nothing too overbearing, mind you. The parm chicken was excellent – pounded out thin with a very nice crust, it was a great compliment to the dish.
[japanese pan noodles / caramelized udon noodles in a sweet soy sauce, broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, asian sprouts, black sesame and cilantro]
This was another favorite of the group from the “Asian” realm. Good mix of veggies. The udon noodles were done just right. Nice sauce.
[wisconsin mac & cheese / a blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, cream, elbow macaroni]
This dish is one of their most popular dishes at Noodles & Company. Let me be blunt and honest though: I don’t see how this is macaroni and cheese as I know it. In my world, the “cheese” is a “sauce” and not just “melted on top” of the macaroni. There was like… no sauce here. It was like a literal meaning of “macaroni” and “cheese”.
[steak stroganoff / marinated steak, mushroom sherry cream sauce, fresh herbs, cracked pepper, sautéed mushrooms, egg noodles and parmesan]
I liked this one mostly for the mushrooms. And the steak. It was basically egg noodles with mushrooms and steak. I like it when these two things are put together.
[wisconsin cheesesteak / marinated steak, mac & cheese sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, red onion, red bell pepper and mushrooms on ciabatta]
Jake wanted to try this and ordered it. I’m sorry, but steak should not be cut this thick for a sandwich like this. The cheese sauce was weird. A little too close to cheese whiz to my liking. One bite convinced me to never eat this again.
[jenga stack of rice krispy treats]
At the end of our meal, our hostess came by and gave us this gigantic rice krispies triangles. They’re made fresh every day at the restaurant and we used them to make edible Jenga. Or a puzzle. Or something. In any case, it was the most delicious game/puzzle thing ever. The krispy treats were nice and fresh tasting and really, really thick and full of yum.
All in all, I generally liked the food. Most of it seemed a little too bland or uninteresting to me and I think maybe they try and cater to too many styles of food in one place… but if you’re dining with a bunch of different people then it might be just the place for you to check out. There are some pretty good dishes here to try out for lunch, dinner or a meal while waiting to catch the latest flick at the Arclight Theater (have you been there?! It’s so rad!).
Noodles & Company
UTC – Food Court
4545 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92122-1212
* Disclaimer – Our dinner was complimentary thanks to Noodles & Company. I wasn’t paid to write this review and all of the opinions here are all from my own noggin’.
Do you like to put BACON in your mouth? Don’t forget to enter to win 2 tickets to the Big Bite Bacon Fest (click here, y0) at the San Diego County Fair on 6/16. Contest ends TONIGHT (Monday, May 27th) at MIDNIGHT PST!