Where: The Fruit Palette, 2413 Rice Boulevard, 713-523-7848
What $7 gets you: A gorgeously substantial salad filled with fresh greens, exquisite fruit and hearty toppings like bacon goat cheese, and candied walnuts.
Just when you thought it was time to cry uncle on those New Year's resolutions, in comes a new restaurant with fun, healthy fare that doesn't taste like cardboard, feet or sand. The Fruit Palette is a bright and lively space in Rice Village that glorifies the naturally sweet and nakedly delicious qualities of fruit. In addition to drinks, parfaits and frozen treats, the menu features six invigorating salads packed with the freshest seasonal fruit and gourmet ingredients like hearts of palm, jicama, avocado and feta cheese. All salads are $6.50. You can add chicken or tuna for an additional $2, but we think they're hearty enough as is. Try an exotic agua fresca on the side, and you'll have your fill of fruit, fiber and vitamin C.
Recommended: Yes -- for those of you looking for light fare with full flavor. After your salad, be sure to grab one of the frozen fruit bars ($3.29). Handmade daily with fresh fruit and natural juice, these portable pops are lightly sweet and wonderfully refreshing. You'll find a chunk or two of actual fruit in there, a welcome reminder that this heavenly treat started the day as mere produce. We like the key lime pie and mango varieties, but there are about a dozen to choose from.
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Bonus points: The Fruit Palette is a lovely, light-filled space with friendly service and free Wi-Fi. Employees are generous with samples, and it's right next door to the ridiculously frivolous, shockingly ancient, yet still-fun-to-browse Five & Dime. That's gotta be a bonus, right?