Thursday, June 15, 2017

Kickstand Cafe Arlington

There has been a cafe here for forever but it never landed on my radar, so I was a bit curious when I was invited to Kickstand Cafe in Arlington to try the Japanese-inspired snack Yusō.

They are located next to the Minuteman Bikeway and have free off-street parking. Good amount of outdoor seating and there was even a water bowl for the dogs. The current owner moved in three years ago.

The inside was quite large. You order at the counter and pick up there when the food is ready. They got quite busy at lunchtime, but the line moved quickly. A lot of people had parked at their tables and were working away on their laptops.

Lunchtime! Their famous Vietnamese fresh roll (2.25 each or 3 for 6). It was very light and fresh with a very pleasant peanut dipping sauce.

Today's soup was Thai Chicken (5.00) combined (4.50) with the Mini Chicken Salad on Iggy's toasted brioche (5.00). The mini chicken salad was very good and had fresh greens under the salad. The soup was really excellent, chock full of stuff with a little bit of heat.

Reuben (9.50). "On Iggy's dark rye with our own (spicy) Russian dressing, swiss and sauerkraut". I didn't try it, but it was reported that it was very good.

What is Yusō? Yusō, the Japanese-inspired snack, gives sushi lovers an answer to healthy snacking on the go, with no chopsticks required. The triangle-shaped rice ball – known as onigiri in Japanese – is a popular food all over the world, including parts of Asia, Europe and now the U.S. It's made locally here in Mass and currently there are four flavors available:
  • Smoked Salmon, with rich, buttery, cold-smoked salmon, seasoned with a touch of cayenne and lime.
  • Spicy Smoked Steelhead, made with sustainably farmed, smoked steelhead plus our own Vietnamese Sriracha sauce to give it a kick.
  • Sesame Chickpea, combining a house-made, vegan sesame chickpea filling with hints of garlic, red pepper, and lime.
  • Coconut Mango is a seasonal flavor and just released on Tuesday.
The two fish-based flavors provide more than a day’s worth of omega-3 fatty acids from smoked fish and four seeds, including flax, sesame and chia. At 200 calories or less per snack, each yusō has a balance of carbs, fiber and protein, ranging between 5.5 and 7.3 grams.

They have limited shelf life and can be found in the refrigerated section at a fairly large amount of retailers. The full list can be found HERE. They retail for $5 each, and I was told that they usually sell out.

The packaging is quite ingenious, the nori doesn't come in contact with the rice until you remove the packaging following the instructions on the bottom that I didn't see. This looks quite dense but it wasn't, the rice was light and the Coconut Mango seasoning was very good, and the seaweed wrapper was super crispy. It's also a quite a substantial snack, and I can't wait to try the other flavors. The Spicy Smoked Steelhead seems to be quite popular. 

Update: I now had a chance to try the other three, and they are really fantastic, and the fillings are excellent. I thought that the chickpea one would be boring but there is enough spice in there that it could be marked spicy.

Address 594 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476
Phone number (781) 583-6110

My lunch was by courtesy of the Kickstand Cafe, but all opinions are my own.
The Yusō was by courtesy of Yusō, but all opinions are my own.

Kickstand Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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