Every day we get several requests to add nutritional information for more items. We’re working on it!

You can browse through the posts below to read more about our progress on this front and reasoning behind decisions we’re making on a daily basis that impact your nutrition. Or you can use the search function to look for something specific (e.g., Chickpea Fritter).

We take this stuff very seriously, it has to be done in a detailed way. We’re making good progress, but nowhere near where we expect to be someday. We’ve sent our more complicated items out to labs to be measured. This includes anything that hits a fryer:

– French Fries

– Falafel balls

– Eggplant

There’s just no way to know how much fat remains in those after frying unless you have a lab make the measurements.

On other items that don’t receive/ lose significant nutritional value upon preparation and cooking we’re able to use basic look-up tables. We started by using this website called Calorie King, now we have our own in-house table.

If you run a restaurant you may be interested in checking out our menu item template. We’ve made this available publicly. It’s pretty awesome, and we think you’ll find it invaluable:

Clover’s Recipe Template (including nutritional calculations)

 

Just What?

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I saw this at the HUB about 2 weeks ago. That’s a giant shipment of Just Mayo. I hadn’t seen mention that we’d worked it into our menu so I emailed Chris asking when it was going to go live and he told me we’re a week into it already.

We had a ton of debate about this change to a supplier. Since Clover started we’ve been testing mayo with the hopes that we’d find an option that tastes better than Hellmann’s (or at least was a bit cheaper). We had no luck and it was really frustrating. We tried all sorts of mayonnaise and we all would look at one another and admit that the Hellmann’s tasted better.

This pained us because the Hellmann’s commercial mayo has a thousand ingredients, most of which I’d have to look up to understand. And it has a good deal of cholesterol and some other stuff that’s linked to health issues. And it’s really expensive!

Ali, who used to run our catering, brought in Just Mayo from the grocery shortly after it came out this past fall. I thought it was awesome but we had some skeptics among our group. So we followed up and blind tested. Still skeptics. So then we had Chris make the items that use mayo (e.g., potato salad) and then blind tested that. This went on for months. We finally got to a place where we could agree that even those among us with the most sensitive mouths were enjoying if not preferring the Just Mayo. This all happened in the food development meetings, which by the way, you’re invited to join (Tuesdays at 3pm at the HUB).

But there was still some discussion. So that’s why Chris released it into the wild without fanfare. He wanted to see if there were any comments or objections. Now 1 week and tens of thousands of meals into this experiment we’ve heard not a peep. That’s from a company that captures thousands of comments/ points of feedback a month.

So there it is all, you’re eating Just Mayo. And that means our mayo has fewer, higher quality ingredients (10 total). And by the way, it’s vegan. So the menu is more accessible overnight. Enjoy!

New hummus

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Our hummus was not originally designed to be eaten alone on platters. We developed it with a sandwich in mind. Less cumin, less garlic, creamy enough to spread easily on a sandwich.

This year we decided our hummus needed a revisit. Chris and Ayr had just gotten back from NYC. They went to a hummus bar there, where they had something called rustic hummus. A thicker  hummus, not as smooth, with a little more texture. We came up with a recipe that requires less baking soda and less tahini, and makes a more consistent hummus from batch to batch.

On the platters at the restaurants, we’re dressing it with olive oil, tahini, zaatar, and smoked paprika. What do you think?

 

Breakfast sandwich nutritionals

Breakfast sandwiches

A few years back, both Ayr and I were convinced, we would NEVER be able to pull off eggs for our breakfasts. We didn’t like the taste of eggs at fast food restaurants. They are rubbery, and don’t have good flavor. There are a few (better diners, McDonald’s) that use griddles with fresh eggs and in the case of diners lots of fake butter to make a tasty egg, but that wasn’t feasible for us. Everybody else in our industry uses eggs that are pre-made-frozen or pre-cracked-boil-in-bag, with citric acid added so they don’t turn green. Most coffee-shops use microwaves that make rubbery eggs. Other fast food places use these fancy ovens that do a quick combo cooking method – radiant (infrared), microwave and impinged air, faster rubbery eggs. So we didn’t have eggs on the breakfast menu. Then Jeremiah (one of the first Clover managers in training) got us thinking of sous vide eggs, ala Momofuku. This is a method where you use very precise temperature control to allow the white to solidify while leaving the yolk custardy. We evolved that method and landed where we are now (minus the expensive equipment).

We’re currently selling about 230 breakfast sandwiches a day (and about 400 – 500 from March through early November). We boil eggs (Chip-in or Baffoni Farms) for 6.5 minutes in batches of 6-12 eggs at all locations throughout the morning to ensure we’re always serving fresh eggs. Most of our eggs were laid yesterday or the day before. We warm our pita, add sliced tomatoes (Backyard Farms hot-house tomatoes during the Winter, Lindentree Farm field tomatoes during the Summer), a slice of Grafton cheddar, a dash of salt and pepper.

I just finished analyzing the nutritional content. Seeing these made me pretty proud. Low calories, fat, and sodium, coupled with decent protein levels. The most important factor, of course, is taste. So let us know if we’re nailing it. Read on for our nutritionals, plus some context from the others in our industry.

Continue Reading →

Nutritionals are back

We haven’t been hiding nutritionals from you, we promise. We just didn’t have a clean way of reporting them. I spent a bunch of time updating the Recipe Template 2013 (that’s the one Ayr posted about) to include nutritional information. I fine-tuned the spreadsheet to make it easy for anyone to input information, and fixed a couple of glitches (the batch cells weren’t corresponding to nutritional yields correctly, the spreadsheet wasn’t coming out beautifully on iPods).

What this means for us is that we can now easily see calories, fat, fiber, protein, and sodium, right alongside our recipes. What this means for you is that you’ll finally Continue Reading →

Hibiscus tea nutritionals

Hibiscus is a flower that grows in tropical climates. It’s pretty tart and has an amazing deep red color when you steep it. There are several different ways this drink is traditionally prepared  by adding diffrent herbs, spices and/or sugar.  Our recipe: we double steep the hibiscus and add just enough brown sugar to balance some of the tartness without it tasting sweet.  It took us a while to find a balance between the two, but we think we found it.

We decided to put hibiscus tea on the menu when we first opened the MIT truck to give people a non-caffeinated drink option. This is for a 12 oz serving.

  • Calories: 44
  • Carbohydrates: 11
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Fat: 0

Iced Tea Nutritionals

This is another simple drink, but took us a little while to figure it out.  We use a really high quality loose leaf assam that we lightly sweeten with sugar.  To make it we steep assam for three minutes and strain it over sugar.  This is an important step because the hot tea dissolves the sugar.  If you pour cold water or tea over sugar it won’t dissolve completely and you’ll end up with a gritty drink.  What’s so hard about making that, well we found a couple of things through trial and error. If you over- steep tea or press it while you’re straining it, it will become bitter. Also, if you don’t steep it in enough hot water it will turn the tea opaque. This took us a while to figure out, but now that we have it down, we are really happy with the results.

At the restaurant, we keep it in an 8qt cambro that we drilled a faucet tap into.  We always label each batch with the date, type of drink and the initials of who made the drink on a piece of blue tape.  This way if there is a problem with the drink we can find out who made it and trouble-shoot what went wrong.  This process works great. Oh, and this is for a 12 oz serving size.

  • Calories: 31
  • Carbohydrates: 7.8g
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Fat: 0

Hot drink nutritionals

Finally…… More nutritional info!!!  I know I know…. I  have really been slacking on posting nutritional information and its 100% my fault.  We were off to a good start last year posting a few of our sandwiches; chickpea fritter, egg & eggplant, BBQ seitan and the soy BLT, but I got distracted opening up our first restaurant in HSQ.

Many people have also requested the amount of sodium in our menu items.  This is a tough one for us.  We prep our food on a daily basis and no two batches of soup, hummus or salads contain the same amount of salt.  These items are all seasoned “to taste”.  One day specific menu item might contain more salt on day than the next.

The next few post I’m going to be focusing on are our hot and cold drinks.  We’ll let you know how they are made and what is in them!

Hot honey ginger

Some call it a tea, we call it a hot drink, either way people are really digging it. The question that I get at least 3-4 times a day is “what’s in it?” The answer is simple… honey, ginger and water. Thats it! The honey that we have been using is a wild flower honey from Mello Farmstand in Rhode Island.  Art Mello has bee hives all along the Rhode Island coastline in Tiverton, Compton and Newport.  We like it a lot and have been using it in several of our recipes here (honey lemonade too).

To make our hot honey ginger drink we simmer fresh sliced ginger with the skin on, filtered city water and honey for 20 minutes.  We like to leave the ginger in when we serve it, so you might get a piece or two in your cup.

  • Calories: 65
  • Carbohydrates: 16.1g
  • Protein: 1.5g
  • Fat: 0g

The new cold

Alright everybody, it’s working. We’ve launched an entirely new approach to ice coffee. Expect to wait 60-90 seconds. Expect a better cup. That’s right. We think this is tasting straight-up better than the cold brew method. And we’re very happy to announce that caffeine levels are closer to where they should be.

I did some quick estimates and I think I was right about the cold-brew method being over caffeinated. Health associations give guidelines of 200-400 mg caffeine/ day max dose. My estimates (rough):

Assume:

– 2% by weight
– Cold brew takes 100% of caffeine from coffee beans (I still think this is likely close to the fact, but don’t really have any proof)
– I did my math right : )

2 oz espresso: 100 mg caffeine (50 mg/ oz)
10 oz hot coffee: 100 mg caffeine (10 mg/ oz)
10 oz cold brew (OLD Clover method): 283 mg caffeine (28 mg/ oz)
10 oz single cup iced (NEW Clover method): 100 mg caffeine (10 mg/ oz)

That’s not our muffin

I’m a pain when I go into food shops these days. I’m afraid I’m driving the staff crazy, and I know I’m driving my friends crazy. I’m always in research mode. 100% of the time.

Right now I have muffins on my mind. I suspect we can improve ours. But it’s going to take some serious development work. To start with we’re doing what we always do, talking to you all and asking what you think. What do you like about our muffins? What’s letting you down?

So that muffin there, it’s from Peet’s. And the poor guy behind the counter had to dig out the nutrition book from who knows where and look it up for me. Try asking for nutritionals at your favorite fast food shop. You’ll quickly start feeling like you’re not suppose to be asking those questions.

This bad boy: 580 calories, 30 grams of fat. That’s right: 580 calories! You may not know what that means, but I’ve been looking at this stuff a lot. That’s just crazy. That’s more calories and more fat than a Big Mac. No seriously, it is. Look it up. Or one and a half servings of our french fries!! That’s right. Eating that muffin is like ordering our fries, eating them all by yourself, then stealing your friends and eating half of his.

Our banana muffins have around 216 calories, 8 g fat, and 6 g protein. Sorry, haven’t gotten around to putting that up yet. Best of all, they’re 100% whole grains (whole wheat flour, oat bran, wheat germ). But do they taste good? If they don’t we need to change them, I don’t care how healthy they are for you…