Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chicken Salad Salad

Margaret: Well yee-haw Grandma! This was delicious. Just delicious. They have the best chicken salad at Potbelly's. Since I like my little salad sammitches so much, I would gather a huge amount of chicken salad and pair it with a tasty crouton and BOOM! Delish. The salad part is good too, fresh cukes, big chunks of provolone cheese, little cherry tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and oddly enough, cranberries. And if you swing it right, and mix in all the chicken salad with the rest of the salad salad, you really don't even need salad dressing. I was hungry and this salad rules. I'm giving it an A. It would be an A+, but I honestly believe that no fruit should touch meat, so it loses its plus for the cranberries. But for the size, money and quality, this is BY FAR, my favorite salad so far. Thank you Mr. Potbelly! A.

John: YUM! I was worried about this one. I'm not a fan of Potbelly's. Something about the bread doesn't work for me. Or maybe its because I made it to a second interview at their headquarters (in the very same merch mart) a couple years ago and didn't get the job. Luckily this isn't our sandwich blog - Also this is the first time I've been able to choose my own (1000 island) dressing. Everything was great. I even liked the cukes. I really liked the craisins. AND I figured out why - they feel like cheese when you bite down on them. That kind middle texture in a salad that lets you know a bite of something special is coming. You may notice this is the first salad to be served in a container that wasn't black or clear. I don't know why that matters. A.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chicago Pita
Greek Salad w Gyro Meat

Margaret: You know, when a girl is hungry, and is working off massive amounts of detoxification from her weekend in New Orleans, it was nice to see some salad with some meat on it! I agree with John, hot meat and salad is gross, but this was definitely better than the Great Steak hot meat salad. The gyros meat is delicious. There were lots of fresh veggies (green peppers, cukes, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese, which I delicately picked out)and the lettuce was cold and crisp. Also, they give you two little pieces of pita bread and I made two little gyros sammitches, I love little salad surprises like that. I thought the salad dressing didn't really go, a vinagrette with gyros meat? I think it should have been a nice cucumber-ranchy one, that almost would have tied in the meat with the lettuce. It was a big salad too, I didn't finish it even! B

John: Hot meat and salad! Why why why? The concept always throws me. Am I supposed to eat the meat off the top or just mix it all up? I don't know. I'll tell you this. I love Chicago Pita for their gyro. Ipso Fatso - I should love the Gyro Greek salad. And I do. This was a really big - fresh - filling - awesome salad. I ate it down to the empty box and sucked the rind of the Pepperacini. Thats a good sign. If Gyro and Feta are your "jam" then this salad is for you. B

A Break from the Greens

After a brief vacation to The Big Easy, your SaladDaze Staff is back with relaxed cracks!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Au Bon Pain
Tuna Nicoise

John: Loved it. This is my kind of $5.99 salad. Classic recipe (Tuna, egg, boiled potatoes, tomato, no olives please) and good quality ingredients tossed with a lightly seasoned vin & oil. They could have used blanched green beans to really make it spot on to what my idea of what Tuna Nicoise is. On the side I chose a rosemary breadstick covered in pretzel salt that was also perfect. This was the restaurant I've been looking forward to least. The Mart location is chaos. No real lines or system of any kind. And if you don't want one of the pre-made salads from the case (you don't) then its going to take a while to get your food. We waited maybe 10 minutes and had to endure watching everyone who came after us get their sandwiches first. Still as far as salads go this one was great. Left feeling like I had eaten something good for me. Isn't that the point of a damn salad in the first place? Would have been an A- but the time it took pushed it down to B+.

Margaret: BLAH, YUCK, PATOOEY, GROSS! Oh man, I hated this salad. I hated it so much that I still hate it even as I'm writing. I swear to pete the description said this was tuna SALAD, but it wasn't. It was chunks of disgusting tuna on wilty lettuce, some tuna tomatoes, tuna potatoes and tuna egg bits. Okay, maybe I just don't like tuna (I like tuna salad, add mayo to anything, it'll make it better, and this includes to our love life)but I thought the whole salad blew. I tried to pick around the tuna chunks and eat the potatoes and egg, but it just didn't happen. I got some large piece of chewy bread that was delicious compared to my tuna lettuce. There are like...a bajillion more salads from Au Bon Ass (I eat here a lot, they make a wicked turkey sammy on wheat, yum, still hungry) and I'm scared of the salads that are coming. I don't even want to think about this salad anymore because just remembering tasting it is making me a little ill. D- (it would have been an F, but I can't flunk the salad because I hate plain tuna right? RIGHT?)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Southwest Chicken Salad (Grilled)

Margaret: Well, leave it up to me to screw it all up! The one day I'm responsible for the salads and I can't get my picture of it and I have no idea how much it cost. But it was 5 something dollars. In any case, today we had the Southwest Salad with grilled chicken from Mickey D's. And I really liked this salad. It had yummy little tortilla strips, grilled chicken chunks that were much better than Pazzini's chicken gum. There were little pieces of corn and beans, was very good. There was a lot of it too, I felt like I was eating and eating and eating. The salad weighs in at 320 calories (not sure if that includes the quite tasty southwest salad dressing), which is pretty good considering I bought us two 300 calorie cheeseburgers just in case. All in all, I liked the Southwest Salad. I'll give it a B+.

John: Great! I love "exotic" salads. The way they take the unique flavors of far away lands and recreate them for me to enjoy at the overpass oasis of my choice. I had to slam it a little to still feel like a gourmet. Crisp fresh ingredients (all real feeling and tasting) with a decent southwestern Newman's Own dressing for like 5 bucks. If you put this in a different to-go box you'd never know it was made by a world crushing corporate clown. Really. It was a huge portion on top of it all. Johnny likes. Extra half point for the REAL LIME to squeeze on top. I'll bet the fried version is just that little bit tastier AND that little bit worse for me. A-.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Market Fresh Chicken Club

Margaret: When John rolled that D20, I prayed, PRAYED for something good to eat. And I got it! I GOT IT! Now granted, it's a salad with fried chicken on top and that's hard to beat, I mean, put a cheeseburger on top of any of these salads and they'll get an A. But even without the chicken, it still would have been pretty good! The egg was a nice addition, little bits of cukes and some cherry tomatoes (which I cannot stand, but I understand their importance in salad-land), all came together for a perfectly pleasant salad experience. I thought the bacon was unnecessary and a little too smokey for my taste and the lettuce had a distinct "plastic bag" sort of taste, but with the suggestion of Ranch Dressing (YAY!),I found the salad to be quite tasty. Can't beat the price either. Know what I did? Ate the whole "salad" part and saved my little chicken fingers for afterwards. Like dessert. This salad gets a nice solid B.

John: Finally a good salad. Chicken tenders, bacon, cheese, egg, tomato and cukes with Buttermilk Ranch for $4.99. It was full of textures as you ate it - which I am discovering is the key to a good salad. That "mouthfeel" of a bunch of things coming together. This salad might have gone as far as A- but I know it wasn't really all that good for me - 630 calories. AND I had to beg the lady working there to get one. I know working at Arby's must not pay a ton but come on - make eye contact once during the order. B+

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Roasted Chicken Salad

John: Delicious roasted chicken breast, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on a bed of field greens with our house dressing. What a LOAD. Dry boiled chicken, tomatoes and tiny white bits on a bed of lettuce with a tiny cupful of brown liquid AND AS A BOUNS dried out leftover day-old flatbread they use for pizza crusts. It was truly the plainest blandest salad I've ever eaten. For $6.49 I was expecting some sort of premium salad. A meal of a salad. Instead I got a bowl full of good ingredients (everything was fresh - except the rock hard bread) that didn't combine to form anything. When I got back upstairs to the office I made a Bologna sandwich on white with squeeze mayo to get the taste of the salad out of my mouth. High cost with no payback • F+ (the + is for the grape tomatoes)

Margaret: You know, seriously, how hard can it be to make a damn salad? When John had rolled the D20 and said we were going to Pazzini's, I thought: "hot damn! Now I can get me a good salad!" Yet, alas, as John mentioned above, this was horrible. It wasn't quite as gross as the Great Steak Company, but it also had nothing interesting about it at all. Rubbery chicken on hunks of lettuce with gross little tomatoes on top. At least with the steak salad, we knew we were heading into something icky, and were likewise prepared. This, I truly expected something delicious. Blech. Not only was there rubbery chicken and gross tomatoes and chunks of lettuce, that's ALL there was! There was no more! They have plenty of toppings over at Pazzini's, throw on some cukes! Some sprouts! Something to cover up the fact that I basically ate chicken gum. Boo. Boo Pazzini's chicken gum salad. I didn't finish it, and whatever salad I don't finish (cause I'm a hungry girl) gets an automatic D. It was slightly more edible than the steak, so no minus, but a nice solid D. Oh, and a P.S. The bread was stale and tasted like dirt. Boo.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Great Steak & Potato Company
Great Steak Salad

John: So you are on a reality show. Lets say Fear Factor. And lets say that you need to eat a pig brain, a pig heart and a pig's wanker. Smart money says eat the penis first to get it out of the way while you still have the stomach to do it. Todays salad follows the same line of thinking. Lets get the grossest salad out of the way while we can still stand eating salads. The Great Steak Salad! For $4.99 you get the contents of a Philly Steak dumped on lettuce - steaming hot. I'm not a big fan of hot toppings on a cold salad but off we go. And you know what - it wasn't half bad. Somehow the lettuce didn't wilt and the flavor of low-cal Italian went with grilled onions. I would never get this again BUT if you are on the Atkins this is right in your target zone. As a salad its a failure. As a sandwich without a bun served on lettuce - its great alternative to eating 6 hard-boiled eggs for lunch. C--.

Margaret: Ew, I thought this one was disgusting. It was like a gross sandwich threw up on a mediocre salad. I successfully pushed away the steak and ate that, and then tried to eat the salad portion, which consisted of a lot A LOT of lettuce, two cuke slices, two tomato halfs and after I dug around a little, a very small carrot. The steak doesn't taste that bad but when you're eating mouthful after mouthful it starts tasting too much like animal. And then when I started to just try and eat the "salad" part, there was still hot meat and hot onions floating around. I had the ranch dressing (of course) and maybe that didn't help, but I'm not sure a dressing of pure gold would have tasted any better. The plus point about this salad is, there was no way I was eating the whole thing, so I agree with John in that it's good for weight-loss, cause its gross, and you won't want to eat it anyway. For me, it gets a D. Minus. A D-.

Friday, May 11, 2007

She said...

So, this is our salad blog huh? I like.

John has said pretty much everything I wanted to say, but let me just preface this experiment with one thing:

I'm very particular about my food.

So this should prove to be most interesting. I find salads with fruit in them to be an abhorence of nature. Fruit and lettuce are not meant to go together.

I'm very particular about my dressings as well, meaning, I like Ranch. So these fancy Au Bon Pain dressings are going to be interesting as well.

So know this going into it, I'm going to be stepping out of my salad comfort zone, and entering into a dangerous, unchartered, untasted territory. All in the name of love.

Wish me luck.

The Rules

Ten locations in the Mart have salads on the menu. We will be using a d20 (nerd talk) to randomly generate which restaurant we will go to that day. At that point Mags and I will agree on an as yet unreviewed salad for both of us to have for lunch. No toppings may be added or removed (except for black olives which I would rather die than eat) from the salad as designed by the restaurant. If it comes with a "suggested" dressing - thats the one we must use. A photo and a "he said - she said" will be posted for y'all. So many rules for weeds and croutons.

The Restaurants:

1 McDonalds
2 Potbelly
3 AuBonPain
4 Tokyo Lunchbox
5 Quiznos
6 Pazzini's
7 Arby's
8 Chicago Pita
9 Great Steak and Potato Company - I am as shocked as you are
10 Starbucks

It begins with a single forkfull

Over the next X days and weeks my sweet lady Margaret will be eating and reviewing every salad available for lunch at Chicago's Merchandise Mart. Rough estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 salads so we better get snacking. Why no review today? I'm having a last meal. McD Surf and Turf (Big Mac and Filet O'Fish) with an iced tea.