Dining Out: Fusion offers fitness, healthful food

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Why: An unlikely pairing of food and fitness has come to Vancouver, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options that reflect a healthful lifestyle.

Fusion Fitness & Nutrition stocks its menu with ingredients such as quinoa, millet, sprouted whole grain bagels and smoothies mixed with almond milk or coconut milk. Gluten-free substitutions for bread and wrapped sandwiches are available and many ingredients are organic.

The fitness element of Fusion comes in the form of regularly scheduled exercise classes held in adjoining rooms, complete with club-like restroom facilities.

Atmosphere: A simple open kitchen and dining area have been combined to create a cafeteria or deli feel, although petite in size. Light green bamboo-like veneer tops tables and a window bar. Bar stool seating is used throughout. Stained concrete floors add to a clean, streamlined appearance.

What I tried: I stopped in for lunch and ordered the Turkey, Pepperjack Cheese & Mango Chutney Panini paired with the Chicken and White Bean Soup. To drink, I had the Tropical Dream Smoothie.

The soup was served immediately. Although it was good, there was room for improvement. I found the flavor bold and appetizing, but the consistency was more like a stew than a soup. Most of the beans had been almost fully cooked down, leaving few whole beans in the soup. This, combined with the cubes of chicken and pieces of green chilies, resulted in a texture thicker than the average soup.

The ingredients’ flavors melded so closely that every bite was the same. I prefer the subtle variety found in soups where the ingredients maintain some of their individual flavor profile. Rather than a soup spoon, the dish was served with a teaspoon.

The sandwich was tasty, the mango chutney a pleasant departure from the standard cranberry chutney. The cheese was used sparingly and added a spicy edge. Combined with the mango, this aspect of the sandwich was very appetizing. A generous serving of turkey unfortunately kept the sandwich from being heated completely through.

The smoothie was disappointing. It was too thick for the straw and as it warmed, it became somewhat foamy. It’s made with pineapple, banana, cashew nut butter and coconut. I did not like the flavor of the cashew nut butter, though this is strictly personal preference. Of the other ingredients, the banana overwhelmed the rest.

Highlights beyond what I tried: Tomato Bisque is one of their most popular soup flavors. Among the breakfast offerings is Porridge, made with quinoa and millet, almond milk, cranberries, almonds, maple syrup and cinnamon. Salads include a Curry Chicken Butterleaf Lettuce Bowl, which combines chicken, red grapes, onion, celery, almonds and parsley with curried yogurt dressing, all served over quinoa.

Other observations: When I arrived, I was met with the smell of burned toast. I discovered why when I watched my sandwich come off of the iron, with its residue left to burn.

The staff were very friendly and well informed on the other aspects of Fusion Fitness & Nutrition.

Cost: All menu items are less than $8. Coffee and tea come in 12 ounce and 16 ounce sizes and range from $1.50 to $3.25.

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Telephone: 360-546-1112.

Where: 2702 N.E. 78th St., Suite 100, Vancouver.

Health score: Fusion Fitness & Nutrition received a score of 5 on June 16. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.