I love eating in restaurants. It is a total luxury. To me, there is nothing better than savoring a delicious meal, prepared by a chef, enjoyed over good conversation with great company, and a perfectly paired glass of wine. I swoon.
My favorite restaurants not only have excellent food, they also have fantastic service. From the owner, to the general manager, to the chef, to the servers, to the host, it is people who make the experience at a restaurant exceptional.
Last week, I read an article in the New York Times that reviewed a futuristic quinoa restaurant in San Francisco. That a restaurant would devote their entire menu to quinoa is not the novel idea. Quinoa restaurants are apparently all the rage in the city by the bay. It is their service that made headlines: Restaurant of the Future? Service With an Impersonal Touch.
At Eatsa, the front-of-the-house service is completely automated. A diner orders one of eight quinoa bowls from a menu on an iPad. Swipes their credit card. Then, when their order is ready, it appears in a cubby. Voila.
While I generally embrace change, especially new technology that can make life more efficient and less expensive, there are both social and economic implications to this brave new world of quinoa food delivery systems. The jury is still out on technology and whether it will create more jobs than the ones it destroys. Although, no matter what the future holds, I think I will always be old fashioned when it comes to dining out.
Green Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Chimichurri
- 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, divided
- 1 shallot, quartered
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup cilantro, packed
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, packed
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 lb chicken, sliced
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 summer squash, sliced
- 1/2 cup of onion, chopped
- 2 cups of kale, stems removed, chopped
- salt and pepper
To make the chimichurri, combine the red wine vinegar, 3 garlic cloves, shallot, crushed red pepper, cilantro, parsley, and oregano in a food processor with a mixing blade. Pulse to combine. Then, start the food processor and slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil.
Reserve half of the chimichurri in a small serving bowl. Set aside. Pour the remaining half into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat.
Place quinoa in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, discard any remaining sauce. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the pan and set aside in a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, swirl to coat and add the zucchini and summer squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Cook until browned, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from the pan and set aside in a small mixing bowl.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Swirl to coat and add the onion, cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Mince the remaining clove of garlic and add to the pan. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the kale to the prepared quinoa and stir to combine. Assemble bowls by scooping a serving of quinoa and kale, adding the chicken, adding the zucchini and squash, and drizzling a tablespoon of reserved chimichurri.