Do any of you readers have a restaurant pet peeve? I sure do, and that is salads. I love salad. Specifically fresh vegetable tossed salad. When I order a salad I expect it to be cut up pieces of a LOT of fresh veggies. Some lettuce. Not just plain old iceberg, but red leaf, or Romain, or some lettuce and some fresh spinach, all tossed together with cut up cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, green, red, and yellow bell peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes, zucchini, shredded carrots, some broccoli florets, quite often cooked, chilled peas and corn, with grated cheese and a grated egg sprinkled on top along with a few bacon crumbles. If I have some pickled artichoke hearts or black olives, they go in the mix. However, when you go in a restaurant and the pre-dinner offering is soup or salad and you chose salad, what do you usually get? Very typically, a bowl of lettuce. If you are lucky there might be a few (very few) sprinkles of shredded carrot and maybe one cherry tomato. Even if you specifically order a salad as the meal, it has to have a fancy name (chef, or Caesar, or Cobb, or whatever), and there are a few more ingredients, but mostly a bed of too much lettuce.
The only way I have found to get a REAL salad in a restaurant is to go to a special salad bar restaurant. There is one in Albuquerque called Souper Salad. I have actually had to ban myself from going in there any more. I used to eat there often, but I walk through the door, my brain disengages and stupid takes over. In that place you can build a fresh veggie salad that could fill a bushel basket, and also several types of pasta salads, potato salad, fruit salad, plus various puddings, strawberry shortcake, a good choice of soups, a taco bar, a potato-creation area,various breads, pizza slices—and on and on. Once you have done as much damage as possible, there is an ice cream bar! Oh my goodness! My idea of Heaven, but for a Diabetic who is also watching her weight, well, I just stay away. I simply cannot seem to keep my brain plugged in when I go there, so I don’t anymore. How sad.
Anyway, if you want a truly great salad, make it yourself. I do, in my most enormous mixing bowl, and then eat it over a few days. Delicious. I don’t have a specific recipe here. Just get creative. Cut up and throw in a bit of everything in your local store’s produce section, toss and chow down. Yum!