Someone told me about Zoë’s Kitchen in Ponte Vedra a few months ago, but it was only when I was cleaning out some old e-mails and found a Groupon for Zoë’s that I was intrigued. The Groupon had expired, but the body of the e-mail said that the walls of the restaurant were more colorful “than a Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper.” That was it. I had to check it out. Luckily there is another location in Riverside, which is much closer and one of my favorite parts of the city.

The walls weren’t covered with the rainbow swirls of ponies and kittens like the school supplies of my youth, but I was definitely into the color scheme.

I was also really into the restaurant’s philosophy: “Recipes derived from fresh ingredients such as vegetables, chicken, olive oil and feta cheese along with moderating consumption is Zoe’s philosophy on nutrition.”

Zoë’s is a very laid-back, fast casual restaurant, where you place your order at the counter and then they bring it to you at your table. I had a really hard time choosing what to have because everything sounded so good and was so fairly priced!

I ordered the Greek chicken marina sandwich and fiance ordered the Greek salad, which came on a bed of potato salad (dressed in vinaigrette, not mayo).

I was so relieved when the sandwich came out and was a reasonable portion — what you see above is half the sandwich, but together, the two halves were just the right size. Before I lost weight, I lived for those restaurants that served mammoth portions on the cheap. Now I live for those places that do the portion control for me. People think that to lose weight, you must have an iron will, but it is really more about putting yourself in the right situations and making the right choices. My sandwich came with a side of marinated slaw and it was sooo good. I do not like mayo-drenched slaw at all, but I loved this.

Fiance was happy with his salad, too.

After dinner, it was raining, so we couldn’t go to Memorial Park, where we got engaged, but I cannot go to the Riverside area without visiting what might be my favorite place in all of Jacksonville: The Florida Creamery.

It’s so fabulous inside, and it sells ice cream. I just adore it. I got a kid’s size dish of the birthday cake ice cream.

I no longer bring ice cream into the house, so when we go out for it, I don’t feel like I have to order the no-sugar, fat-free flavor. It was so fulfilling to indulge in just a little of real, honest-to-goodness ice cream. The Florida Creamery is also very good about proper portion sizes. I appreciate that many ice cream parlors are just trying to give you your money’s worth, but I order a small or a kid’s size because that is the amount I genuinely want. Fiance ordered a small dish of kahlua chocolate chip, and we ate it while basking in the fabulously Floridian decor.

Love this place.

I love going out for a nice dinner, but I equally enjoy a simple outing like this one, too. We are definitely adding  Zoë’s Kitchen to our rotation of quick, easy, healthy places to eat!

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