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When you’re rushed for lunch, it is difficult to find healthful options close at hand. I started working full-time downtown over a year ago and was pleased with the organic salad options available at Downtown Deli, located inside Cottage Flowers. It met my healthful and convenient requirements, so I was bummed out when it closed. Thankfully, Mockingbird Kitchens moved into the space, and I’ve been impressed with the quality of lunch items offered. Owners Jim and Zoe pride themselves on offering locally sourced ingredients, and their “sustainable Fort Wayne” attitude makes this my kind of place. Here are some of my top picks from the menu:
Roasted Beet Sandwich ($7): Roasted beets, herbed citrus goat cheese, pickled red onions, arugula, and balsamic reduction on herbed focaccia. The earthy sweetness of the beets permeates this sandwich and is complemented well by the citrus goat cheese and pickled red onions. The tangy balsamic reduction and savory focaccia bread lend a nice finish, as well. It’s a great choice for vegetarians, but this meat-eater enjoyed it too. My only complaint about it is it’s not very filling – all those veggies sure are good for you, but they may leave you wanting more.
Shrimp Salad Sandwich ($9): Chilled poached shrimp, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, celery, butter lettuce and creamy citrus vinaigrette on herbed focaccia. This is the first item I tried on the menu, and it keeps bringing me back for more. The flavor and texture of the poached shrimp combined with the sweet corn and juicy cherry tomatoes creates an explosion of freshness. Add in the crunchy celery and butter lettuce, and this sandwich hits on all of the senses – taste, smell, sight, touch and sound.
Shrimp Cobb ($9.50): Chilled herbed shrimp, corn, hard-boiled egg, cherry tomato and avocado on mixed greens, with choice of dressing. This is my go-to. Nine times out of 10, I order this salad; it is just that good. Much like with the Shrimp Salad Sandwich, the shrimp and corn complement each other well. Add in hard-boiled eggs and avocado, two of my favorite salad accouterments, and this is near perfect. Order it with the cilantro lime dressing, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more filling, delicious salad in town.
Gravlax ($11): Cured salmon served with mixed greens, olive salad, hard-boiled egg, dill-shallot cream, and toast. Whenever smoked or cured salmon is featured on a menu, I have to give it a try. I suppose I could blame it on my grandpa who used to serve it before every Sunday meal when I was growing up. While this salad may not be for everyone because the flavors are so intense, it is definitely worth a try. The salty cured salmon pairs well with the olive salad, both of which are tempered by the dill-shallot cream.
For those with kids, Mockingbird Kitchens offers a fun $5.50 menu for the little ones, featuring PB&J, PB & Banana, Grilled Cheese with Tomato, Turkey and Swiss and Roasted Chicken Strips.
A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of partaking in Brunch at Barr Street Market, featuring some fabulous dishes prepared by the team at Mockingbird Kitchens, using ingredients from the local market vendors. Hopefully, they’ll take the feedback from participants and expand their offerings soon. The brunch, which boasted five full courses, was the best I’ve had in the Fort.