Fresca on Addison's promotional copy proclaims, "We're not vegetarian. We just don't serve meat." To me, well, that makes a place vegetarian. Regardless, I entered the small eatery with a bit of trepidation, and I was making mental notes as to what other restaurant I might stop at afterward to fill any lingering needs.
To start, Fresca makes a curried butternut-squash soup that is, in a word, outstanding. The flavor profile is a little different, probably because no chicken stock is used, but the slight heat of the curry, the creamy squash and topping it all off with thin slices of toasted almond makes for a great combination. Next time I feel ill, I'm asking the wife to pick some up.
The garlic hummus and basil sandwich I tried was nice — not so heavy on the garlic as to offend but in need of a finishing drizzle of olive oil to enhance the flavor and moisture. I really enjoyed the egg-salad sandwich (pictured) — rough-chopped with big pieces of egg — but I could have done without the random pieces of kalamata olives that caught me by surprise every other bite. The entrées (ratatouille or curried vegetables) are recognizable to most omnivores, but for a really hearty meal go for the chili. Or, if you're looking for a solid, crusty pizza, Fresca's stone oven does an excellent job, and the breakfast pizza (faux bacon and a cracked egg) makes me wish they opened a little earlier.
Fresca's food is a bit different than what I'm used to. Much of what I tried seemed under-seasoned at first, but I realized I'm just accustomed to heavier, meaty tastes. The happy, smiling faces of the staff and the lighter, new flavors I found here have opened me up to some dishes I may not have tried otherwise. And, no, I didn't need to stop elsewhere afterward.
22 S. Addison St., 359-8638 Prices: Sandwiches, salads and pizzas $7.50; entrées $12. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.