Anyone looking for an affordable yet nutritious meal in Fallbrook will find one in the Fallbrook Senior Center’s lunch served Monday through Friday (except on holidays) at the Fallbrook Community Center. The meal is available from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and always starts with a salad bar.
A variety of toppings for the greens includes raw broccoli, three-bean salad, sliced beets, cherry tomatoes and pickles as well as croutons, sunflower seeds and four kinds of dressing. Slices of French bread are also available at the salad bar while a choice of drinks is on a cart – water, milk, or orange juice and coffee at the counter.
John Star, a Fallbrook resident since 1964, said he hasn’t had a bad meal yet at the center and “nobody can complain about the salads because they make them themselves.”
A hot lunch is then served; the filled plates carried to each table by volunteers. The day I went, March 6, the entrée was roast beef with mashed potatoes and broccoli. The slice of beef was well done, easy to cut with a butter knife, and covered with tasty brown gravy. The smooth mashed potatoes had small pieces of red potato skins in them and the broccoli was well-cooked and buttery without being mushy. For me, it was a delicious meal of fresh, not processed, food.
Since it was the first Wednesday of the month, it was also the birthday lunch for March and featured piano music, including “Happy Birthday,” courtesy of Bud Roberds. All members of the Senior Center born this month were invited to the meal where they were recognized and shared the dessert of birthday cake (marble cake with whipped cream for frosting) which was provided by Silvergate Retirement Residence.
Although cooked with seniors in mind, it is a nutritious meal for people of any age. Senior Center executive director Virginia Cooke said that each meal provides “at least a third of the daily nutritional requirements – vitamins A and C, protein and carbohydrates.” She also said that they vary the menu to keep it interesting. The most popular meal is BBQ ribs. Poached salmon is also very popular and good restaurant quality, Cooke added.
The meals are a good deal for the requested donation of $4 for seniors 60 and over and $5 for non-seniors. Chef Rudy Pedroza prepares 100 to 110 meals each weekday; 57 of them are delivered to homebound seniors. Forty-five to 50 meals are served to local residents at the community center, next door to the senior center on Heald Lane, with any leftover meals frozen for delivery to the homebound seniors who request them for the weekend.
The senior center also started a new program last year called MOM – more on the menu – in which it delivers bags of fresh fruit and vegetables on Fridays to the homebound seniors. For more information on the meals and the qualifications of homebound seniors for home delivery, call the Senior Center at (760) 728-4498 or stop by the office at 399 Heald Lane. Menus for the month are also available at the center or at www.fallbrookseniorcenter.com.