Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Asian Salad

Margaret: Well, yay for the asian salad from Starbucks huh? It looked good going in, but John and I are too smart for that now, we know looks can be deceiving. But this looked delicious...the chicken, like yesterday, was very good (um hello? McDonalds?) and the rest of it was yummy, all kinds of little gifts in there with a tangy Asian taste, and you know, that's sort of what it felt like too, like getting a little present. The container is deceiving too, it looks like a small salad but its really packed and the bowl is deep. I liked this salad and glad that Starbucks showed us they could do it right from yesterday. I'm going to give it a B and not an A, and here's why...although I thought the salad was quite good, it was so tangy that I couldn't really see myself eating the whole thing. A few bites were enough for me, so...B.

John: Don't let the beige on beige on beige of this photo fool you! This was great. Edamame and black sesame seeds at a coffee shop! YUM! Its as good as the California Pizza Kitchen Thai Salad - and thats saying a lot! Everything was crunchy - everything was tangy. I like this salad as much as I hated yesterday's. If you are "on the go" and want to grab some food at Starbucks - grab this - it eats like a meal. A+. Really. Yes A+. I will eat this again and again until it gets cancelled by the bucks.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fiesta Salad

John: It may not have lettuce - but its labeled "salad" so away we go. Really tasty chicken strips top a mix of fire roasted corn, black beans and salsa. The chicken is awesome. Thats where the yummy ends. The bulk of the salad is composed of cold roasted corn. Cold corn. Who eats cold corn? If you took a room temp can of Green Giant Nibletts and dumped cold salsa on it - you'd have an exact duplicate of this junk. Really. There is no way anyone can eat this for lunch and feel good about what they just had. NO WAY. Too many calories in corn (320!) combined with a mushy mushy mouth feel make this an easy D. If the chicken had sucked it would SO be an F.

Margaret: It was the best of salad times, it was the worst of salad times. Pardon my waxing, but this salad so accurately fits the bill. So yeah, first bite of the salad was of the chicken on top. Grilled chicken, and to my surprise, it tasted like actual chicken! It was good, it wasn't chewy and gross, and I thought, "Yip!", finally someone got the chicken right. And if Starbucks can get a couple of pieces of frozen/grilled/whatevered chicken right, why can't everyone else? (I'm looking at you McDonalds). And then I dug into the mish-mosh that was the rest of the salad. And it just tasted like mushy mexican food. The taste was okay, I kinda liked that, this one had a texture problem. So even though I liked the taste okay, and the chicken okay, there was something about the rest of the salad that made it hard to swallow, like peas...you have to push them to the back of your mouth and wash 'em down with water/beer/vodka, whatever. This was the same, just something that made it really gross to finish, and I sucked down a lot of Diet Coke getting the corn mosh down my throat. So..it was okay, but almost inedible...C.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Au Bon Pain
Garden Salad

Margaret: Okay. Fine. This was a perfectly good salad. Which is really annoying. Why? Becuase that means that Au Bon Shit knows how to make a perfectly decent salad. Granted, there was way too much dressing on it, but that's just become ABP's signature now. It's like how my signature is to do everything perfectly. Right? Right. To my surprise, the salad had sprouts on it! SPROUTS! I love sprouts! We've had almost every single salad at ABP and they put sprouts on ONE salad? If you have sprouts people, use the sprouts. Don't sit on the sprouts. Use them. People like them. Sheesh. I don't know, it was a fine salad, one of the better ones there. But it wasn't fabulous either. I'll give it a B-, the minus is for the fact that just walking into Au Bon Pain puts me in a bad mood. Crowded, unorganized and expensive. But hey. I love a good sprout.

John: Unremarkable. Yet I must remark. Lettuce sprouts tomato and cucs for just over $5. For that price I expect at least one fun ingredient. Here we go. The cucs made the dressing wet. The sprouts soaked it up and made it dry. So this salad was somehow wet and dry at the same time. So I give it an A and an F. I can't wait to not have to eat at Au Bon Pain ever again. C.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Veggie Salad

Margaret: Well, my head is as jumbled as my salad today. The Potbelly's vegetarian salad is just...too much. In the words of Mr. Mies Van der Rohe, "less is more." And this is very true in this case. Yes, there are lots of yummy things on this salad, artichoke hearts and chick peas and red peppers and they're all very good, very good. But I just think its too much. It doesn't all go together, it all gets too messy and ends up tasting like nothing all mixed up like that. I mean, its still miles ahead of most salads, but honestly, I could have done without maybe two of the ingredients. Granted, she asked us if we wanted "everything" on it, and of course we said yes (its like how Morgan Spurlock always had to supersize if they asked), but ... meh. I'll give it a B-, its still good, its just not great.

John: I was ready for this. Like some sort of "last hurrah" that we were saving for the end (we are so close) as a treat. Well I'm nothing but disappointed in this one. It took me a bit to figure out why I wasn't enjoying every bite like the other Potbelly offerings. Here's the trick with this salad - too many "preserved" ingredients. Chick peas, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers ALL OUT OF JARS. There was just too much of a wet brine flavor to enjoy this. My dressing went runny right away. Potbelly I'm going to use a tone I normally save for speaking to McDonald's so be ready. YOU NEED TO THINK THESE SALADS OUT A LITTLE. Where was the carrot? Absent. Why? Because Potbelly doesn't put carrots on sandwiches. And if it doesn't go on a sandwich then there isn't any place for it at a sandwich shop. Thats why this salad fails. The other three (lovely, lovely and lovely) all mimick a sandwich on the menu. This is just handy toppings on lettuce. Thanks for trying. C+.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Make Your Own Salad

Margaret: Wow, what a relief. Seriously, to sit down, and eat a salad and FINISH the salad because it was delicious. Well...I feel...satiated. We had the "choose your own" today and I appreciate the choices I had. I had the field greens, mozzarella, cucumbers and onions and oddly enough in this salad world of ours, everything tasted like what it was! The lettuce tasted like lettuce, the onions tasted like onions and the little crumbles of mozzarella were delicious, especially when it came down to the bottom of the bowl and it was this ranchy, cheesy goodness. The service at Pazzini's is unbelievably ridiculous, they take forever, but at least this one was worth waiting for. I almost licked the bowl. A. Yup, you heard me, A.

John: Romaine OR Field Greens with 3 toppings of your choice for $4.99. Now thats a deal. Tons of thing to choose from. Mostly Italian ingredients but still - thanks for the choice. I pretty much got my classic "salad bar" salad. It was awesome. Everything was fresh. The only snag in the day was the service. Everything went into the computer like 3 times even though the lady making it was standing right there. Also they kept giving away our ham and cheese pannini so we'd have to wait for a new one and then they'd give it away and we'd have to wait for a new one. So here is my review. Get this if there is a short line. Skip it if its chaos. I'm also going A on this one. Good work Pazzini - you snuck in to the top five!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Southwest Chicken Salad (Crispy)

Margaret: Well, I liked the grilled chicken southwest salad pretty well, which is rare for a Mickey D's salad, so I was okay getting this one with the grilled chicken. There's some kind of "pre-sauce" that comes on it and I started to dig in. Blech, I thought, this salad tastes like poo. Then John pointed out the actual salad dressing and that I hadn't put it on yet. So when I did put it on, the salad tasted much better! It's an okay salad I guess, I really like the little tortilla chips and corn and beans, and am impressed that Mickey D's has the inclination to put all that extra stuff in there. But I'm telling you, make sure you put the dressing on (at least some) because without it, it tastes like a big bowl of plastic lettuce. I dunno, I guess a C+

John: Oh McDonalds. This was your big break. I liked you grilled version of this salad alot. Today's was kinda limp by comparison. I thought it was still pretty good actually (once the dressing and lime go on to cover the taste of the lettuce) but not as good as last time. I finished it and that earns a solid B. Farewell Mcdonalds. Now that we have eaten all 8 of your salads I no longer have a good reason to go there. Well Monopoly........

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Au Bon Pain
Riviera Salad

Margaret: I'm no dummy. This time, we only ordered one salad from Au Bon Pain. Even though I was tempted by the "ranch dressing" which I love, I knew better than to order myself a whole salad, why you ask? Because, this one has GRAPES and CRANBERRIES. Blech. With ranch dressing? Blech. So I had my requisite few bites of the salad and it just...doesn't taste right. The ranch tasted funky, the salad tasted funky, there is just something so off about the Au Bon Pain salads, I mean, you can't even get ranch and lettuce right? WHY? WHY OH WHY? It is a mystery that this salad blogger may never get to the end of. So...I'll give this a C, because I didn't think much about it at all. Totally, completely in every way a mediocre salad.

John: A tragedy! The Grapes of Ranch. Too sweet. Too hard to eat (grapes are slippery devils) without shoveling. Must be a ton of sugar (2 fruits) in it. Every bite tastes the same. Like the Puggle - why does this even exist? At least is was fresh lettuce. C+

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chicago Pita
Greek Salad

Margaret: Well, the Pita Pavillion didn't amaze me with this one, but it was really just due to the cheese. The salad "looked" delicious, but I honestly only had a few bites of it because the goat cheese, or feta, or whatever moldy looking cheese they had on it just doesn't do it for me. But dang, they're just so pleasant there, and the chicken gyros I had was fabulous. So...this ones hard because really, the salad looked the way it should, I just couldn't bear to eat more than a few bites, so I'll go with a solid C on this one.

John: My least favorite from Chicago Pita so far. Good stuff but the lettuce in the bottom was a touch "overchilled" at some point in the cooler and had lost its texture. That kept me from really digging in the way I wanted to - feta I love you. Its good but for the extra buck get the gyro meat. C.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch

John: Want to know how this one tasted? Take a look at the fancy SALAD DAZE PICTURE IN PICTURE. Thats how its tasted. Like rotten lettuce that was chopped in a dirty wood chipper sometime way back when Britney still had her babies. YUM! I think the Bacon Ranch is the worst of the offerings at McDs. Even deep frying couldn't save this one. F. BOOOOOO.

Margaret: Well, I have not too much to say on this subject, we all know how Mickey D's handle their salads, which is not very well at all. The crispy chicken is always tasty, I'm not going to deny it, almost everyone loves a chicken finger and some ranch dressing. But once you get into the lettuce and the cardboard carrots, it all goes awry. The lettuce tastes like plastic bag, so you end up just eating fried chicken and that is not really a salad. It's fine, but I'm bored with Mickey D's salads, they're sub-par and I know have not one ounce of something good in them. C-.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Raspberry Chipotle Chicken

John: Chipotle makes you think SouthWest doesn't it? Me too. There isn't a thing about this salad thats SouthWestern. Not even the dressing. I'm a pepper man and I couldn't taste any heat in the "sauce" that came with this salad. The only actual difference between this salad and the roasted chicken we just reviewed is the dressing. Really none of the Quiznos salads are any different once you take the "toppings" off of it. All in all it was fine but really this is just a Chicken Club Salad with a Raspberry Vin. So for lying to me, I give you a C+.

Margaret: Yes Quizno's you are very creative! Take a regular roasted chicken salad, put a raspberry smoothie on it and call it something fancy. Yes, you are very smart! Blech. You know, the roasted chicken salad was fine the way it was, there is no reason to put a raspberry smoothie on it just so you can have another salad to put on your menu. It doesn't taste good. I'm sorry, it just doesn't. It wasn't even raspberry vinagrette, literally like a thick smoothie on chicken. Blech. You know, I'm not in the best mood anyway today, but when Quizno's tries to pull a salad switch on me, I get very pissy. Yes okay, the little pita pieces (especially when the cheese gets stuck on it) are very good. Mmmmm. Oh wait, no they're not, because they're drenched in Jamba Salad dressing. Blech. Boo to you, I'm bringing your average way down Q to the Z, you get a big fat D. D!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Au Bon Pain
Chef's Salad

Margaret: You would think I would have learned by now that I should really toss my own salad because having someone else do it just doesn't hold the same satisfaction. This salad from Au Bon Pain was at least edible, as opposed to the other 999 salads from there. Plain old Chef's Salad. Au Bon Pain might be stingy with some of their more attractive salad items, but they are NEVER stingy with the vinagrette salad dressing. It literally drips off the fork, the lettuce, and any other poop ABP puts in there. It's just too much and you can't taste anything else in there besides the dressing. There's just something about the salads over there that I cannot stand. I'm not sure if its the wilty lettuce or drenched tomatoes, but they just never sit right with me. They always taste "off" and just look kind of unattractive too, a good salad should have myriad colors, reds and oranges and greens; the ABP salads always have this army green color with a splash of sad red or olive black. This one was fine, but it wasn't delicious and they have enough ingredients (much like Potbelly's) to make something delicious. I'll give it a B-, because I ate it, but I didn't want to.

John: Weird how dressing seems to be the natural enemy of auto-focus. Anyway. I dug this one. In my digging I discovered a truth about Au Bon Pain - You have got to hit it on a good day. Just like McD, these salads live and die by how fresh the BAG of ingredients is. Its reminds me of those claw games that they have at Chuckie Cheese. The secret to those is pick the prize that CAN be won - not the prize you want to win. Get the salad whose ingredients look the freshest - (you can take a peak over the glass before you order) - not the salad you have a taste for. Is this right? NO! Is this the way of the world? YES! I'm feeling good about this one. A-.

Stop Asking to See It!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Roast Chicken Salad

Margaret: This was a pretty good day for Quizno's. I was kinda hungry today so we went with the roasted chicken salad. I have a funny feeling these Quizno's salads are secretly not very good for you, but still, it was pretty good. Roasted chicken, bacon, tomatos, onions, cheese, all the classics. They have a very yellow honey mustard dressing that was pretty good, I didn't use much, it was just a little too yellow. But my favorite part of todays salad was the warm pita that they give you. It's always really soft and yummy and you can make little salad sandwiches with it, but today, the cheese from the salad melted all over the warm pita bread and it was all kinds of delicious. This wasn't so bad...I'll give it a solid B.

John: Better than the "theme" salads at Quiznos by a long shot. This one contains just what it should. I also thought the dressing was kinda odd. My only bitch is the price. Two salads and two drinks somehow costs like $20. Bee.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Chicago Pita
Caesar Salad

Margaret: Sometimes I just have to wonder why its so hard for people to serve good food with a smile. When we walked up to Chicago Pita today they were full of smiles, there's some convention at the Mart today and it was packed. But the Pita people smiled and recognized us, wondered why we weren't getting our regular order and made sure to smile over someone's pretty new ring. The salad was good. It's weird to get a Cesar salad without chicken or anything, but it was still really good. Fresh lettuce and tons of cheese took the place of the chicken and its huge still, even without much on it, it was still big and delicious, much like myself. I give it a B+, perfectly good salad, but the plus is for the smiles and the freshness of their food. You know what? Add another plus, B++ for the chickenless Caesar.

John: To borrow from Full Metal Jacket, today's salad is "too bookoo". Good through and though - just a little big for me. I would rather see this reduced in size and price to a SIDE CAESAR. As always the staff at C.P. was awesome. Today there is some sort of bridal show in the mart - so its full of tourist types. While everyone else got their order called out by number, ours came out as "Margaret and John your lunch is ready!" Suck on that hot bridal models from Iowa who were crowding the straw dispenser. Not to copy my lady but B++++++++