{SAMA} : Food for Balance

I’ve been a fan of healthy restaurant entrepreneur Shannon Salter Sliger ever since she opened d’tox organic juice in Midtown almost 5 years ago. In fact, my first trip to d’tox turned out to be some of my very first photos on Instagram (if you care to scroll allllll the way to the bottom)! Shannon has now opened her new love child {SAMA}: food for balance, a healthy, fast-casual Ayurvedic restaurant serving fresh juices, smoothies and other drinks, breakfast and dessert bowls as well as her carefully crafted Balance Bowls. I bumped into Shannon Tuesday night at Metro Fresh (if you live in Midtown and eat healthy, this is a place you wind up frequenting weekly). She reminded me of the Grand Opening so after I wrapped up with clients on Thursday, I headed up to Sama for a very late lunch.

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year-old Indian system using food as medicine. Brilliant.  The term ayurveda means “the science of life” and I first learned about this system when I studied vegan and live food nutrition in Arizona.  At the time my “Dosha” or particular personality type was pitta with some kapha tendencies.  Definitely feisty pitta.  However, now I am more vata/pitta and interesting enough, guess what Balance Bowl I happen to devour yesterday before knowing what my updated Dosha was.  Yup, you guessed it, the vata bowl.  How FASCINATING right?  Take your {SAMA} online Dosha quiz here.

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The location is spacious and inviting.  Definitely healthy energy, smell and vibe.  Right up my "always striving for balance and health" alley. To the right of the entrance is a calming meditation space with classes to help find your inner peace and balance (unfortunately I just missed the moving meditation class but met the adorable instructor Meegan Ellman check her out on Insta at megganmoon_ here → yeah that’s an underscore at the end).

Walking in, front and center, is a hot bar of custom ingredients  - think delicious turmeric cauliflower rice, seared sushi-grade salmon, iron-rich wilted greens, veggie options etc.  You get to choose and create your own bowl or choose from several pre-made Dosha options.

Whenever I go to a new restaurant that has “create your own” options, I’m too overwhelmed because EVERYthing looks good.  So I’d rather choose from the list of pre-selected Balance Bowl options.  Then on my next visit, after having tried a couple bowls, I will branch out and create my own version!  Click here for the full delicious menu!

The Vata Bowl (below) is the first menu item and caught my eye. This bowl is made with basmati brown rice, seared sushi grade wild-caught salmon, avocado slices, yellow summer squash with leeks and nutritional yeast, spinach, mango chutney and lemon tahini dressing.  It was satisfying and super DELISH!  The Vata Bowl could easily turn into my regular go-to Bowl.  The summer squash and leeks were so good I ate most of them on the Paleo Bowl too. 

The Pitta Bowl has cauliflower rice, falafel bites, avocado, kale leek saute, roasted sweet potatoes, cucumber mint raita chutney and cilantro green goddess dressing.  Sounds like a winner too and will probably order next time because the cauliflower rice is amazing!

The Kapha Bowl sounded hearty but I avoid corn - it is a combo of superfood grains, lentils stewed in tomatoes, roasted sunchokes, broccoli, grilled corn cabbage salad, green chili lime chutney and sunshine dressing (love the name - who doesn’t want to eat sunshine?!)

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The Paleo Bowl above resonated with me - cauliflower rice (OMG wow Shannon how did you make cauliflower taste like this?), turkey meatballs, spinach, summer squash, charred red pepper salad, coconut marinara and cashew green dream dressing.  I ate almost half of this and saved the rest for lunch the next day since I love leftovers.  It's one less meal to have to make!

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Yoga and meditation teacher Meggan said that the Kitchari (below) is her favorite so I ordered it as well.  Kitchari is a revered Indian dish since it is easy to digest and has cleaning properties.  A hearty carb-dish of split mung dal simmered in ghee (clarified butter) with warm spices and herbs served over brown basmati rice with cilantro and lime.  Since I didn’t have the garnish on mine, I added microsprouts when I got home.  This is a nourishing dish that would be perfect on a cool fall day and I plan on experimenting with the recipe and creating my own twist! 

The espresso shot below - made with Intelligentsia coffee was free at the Grand opening and after seeing their beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine I decided to order one.  I added Good Mood Mylk, crafted with vanilla almond milk, cacao and cordycepts medicinal mushrooms (good for energy and respiratory health).   A compliment to {SAMA}, I licked the mini espresso shot cup clean!  I’m not a big coffee drinker but I do appreciate the occasional speciality drinks and this one is exceptional.  Other MYLK options to add to espresso include the Mushroom Mylk made with chaga (aka the mushroom of immortality) and reishi mushrooms (boosts immune system and potential anti-aging properties).  Medicinal mushroom drinks are trending hard and I have several on my radar to try with future blog posts to follow... 

Reach out to me if you want to have a lunch date! I’m excited to work through the full {SAMA} menu and hope Shannon will open another location in Midtown!  So glad this Buckhead gem is open.... Bravo to Shannon and the amazing {SAMA} team!

If you are inspired to check out {SAMA} for yourself and share the love can you please do me a favor and let the staff know that you read about {SAMA} on the Nutrition Atlanta blog!  APPRESH!

xo- Jennifer