Information• Luxe, 700 Washington St., Vancouver. Online ordering hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. 360-735-9007 or www.eatatluxe.com • Low Bar, 809 Washington St., Vancouver. Online ordering hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. 360-718-8378 or www.lowbar98660.com
It’s noon and the thought of eating the Tupperware-encased leftovers on your desk is unbearable. By 12:45 p.m., your stomach is growling like a space creature from “Alien.” Can you get a quick, cheap, and healthy lunch in downtown Vancouver? I recently noticed a couple of restaurants offering online box lunches, so I ordered a box from Luxe Restaurant and one from Low Bar. Here is what I found out.
Luxe’s online ordering process was very easy. I ordered on my cellphone at 12:12 p.m. and I was told it would be ready at 12:41 p.m. I got a text and an email confirming my order. At 12:30 p.m., I got a text that said that my food was ready. When I got to Luxe my order was ready. Since I paid online, I grabbed my lunch and got out of there — the whole thing took maybe a minute.
For $8 (plus $0.67 tax), I got a salad, a bowl of tomato basil soup and a “crustini.” The salad was fresh and composed of a mesclun salad mix topped with chopped cucumber and tomatoes. The house-made balsamic vinaigrette was tangy, a bit sweet and a bit peppery. The tomato basil soup was creamy and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top melted and mixed into the soup, creating strings of cheese. The crustini was more like an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich than the bread stick I expected. It was a piece of artisan white bread (from Portland French) sliced into two triangles with melted Parmesan cheese on top. The crustini is best eaten hot, mine cooled on the way home and lost a bit of its deliciousness. Foode (also owned by Joseph Nutting and Joel Nehm of Luxe) will soon be delivering individual lunch orders to downtown offices (minimum order of $8) through www.foodefresh.com.
The online ordering process (using my cellphone) for Low Bar was easy and similar to ordering from Luxe. There wasn’t a soup and salad option, but there was a large salad for $8 (plus $0.67 for tax) so I ordered that. Protein (pork, tuna, ham, diced chicken, turkey) can be added for $3. Bacon can be added for $1.50. I decided not to add protein to keep the price at $8. I chose blue cheese as an extra (free) and balsamic vinaigrette for my dressing. I ordered at 12:18 p.m. and was told that it would be ready by 12:43 p.m. I got an email to confirm my order. I went to Low Bar and picked up my order. The bartender/waiter handed me my salad as I walked in — I was out of there in about a minute.
The salad was large and contained a fresh mix of mesclun spring greens combined with sliced half moons of cucumber, diced tomatoes, shredded carrot, and croutons. The croutons tasted house-made. The balsamic vinaigrette was whipped into a creaminess and had a nice mix of sweetness and vinegar. I don’t usually consider salad a meal, but this salad was substantial. I was disappointed that the blue cheese wasn’t crumbled on top, but as least I didn’t pay extra for it. I did get a container of Ranch dressing so I think I may have messed up when ordering.