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My Week in Salads

by Krista

Walgreen's Salad After a few weeks of being away from home and my regular eating habits, I start to crave vegetables in massive quantities. So it was that after I returned from Brazil, all I ate every day for lunch was salad. Luckily, even though American food has a terrible reputation for heaviness and saltiness and deep-fried-ed-ness, America does excel at salads.

I started at the new Walgreen’s on State Street. I give them six months before all they offer is Doritos and Cheetos and People magazine. But in the meantime, they have a large selection of lunch salads, and they’re super cheap too. My Southwestern Chicken salad was $5.10. (+/- a few cents. I forget exactly how much.) There were only 1.5 pieces of chicken in the salad, and the tortilla chips were a bit on the stale side, but the dressing was pretty awesome. If I were on a budget, I’d eat this salad more often.

Macy's SaladOn Tuesday, I hopped over to 7th on State at Macy’s. I am a sucker for their Shrimp Tostada salad and their pretzel bread. This is not a low-calorie salad, but it is pretty damn delicious. I normally try not to eat the bread or the fried tostada that forms the base of the salad. I focus on the greens, the shrimp, and the black beans (hidden under the lettuce). This is not a cheap salad — it generally comes in around $11 bucks — but it’s pretty darn good for the price.

Chimi Chop Salad at Native FoodsMy favorite salad of the week has to be the Chimi Chop Salad at Native Foods at 218 S Clark Street in the Chicago Loop. Another $11 salad. But no meat! Only veg. I don’t know if it’s the “warm shaved Native Peppered Seitan” (no idea what that is) or the dressing or what, but this is a damn good salad that I think about often in my spare time. I am not kidding.

Au Bon Pain Mediteranean SaladOn Thursday, I popped into Au Bon Paid for their Mediterranean Salad. This came in around $7.50 or so. Meh. Ice cold and not enough going for it. A sad, sad salad. But the balsamic dressing was nice.

Admittedly, on Friday I took a break from salad. I had a craving for some Indian food, so I went to the only place I could find in The Loop serving a curry. The place is called Curried and it kinda, well, sucks. Firstly, they screwed up my order. Secondly, if screwing up my order wasn’t bad enough, when I went up to the counter to deliver my gentle, “Hey um, so I don’t think this is mine,” the guy at the counter told me I must have made a mistake. Um, no. I didn’t make a mistake, you did. Jackass. And thirdly, while the saag paneer was nice, the chicken tikka felt like it must have come out of a box.

Atwood Cobb SaladDespite Friday’s slip up, today, I was back on the salad. I caught up my colleague Mark — he back from London, me back from Brazil — over a Winter Cobb Salad at the Atwood Cafe in The Burnham Hotel. I used to stay at The Burnham all the time for work in the old days, back when I lived across the pond. I will always have a soft spot for the hotel and its restaurant. But with or without my faded memories, this was a very nice salad. Could have used a bit more dressing, but otherwise, quite nice. Pricey though. My portion of the bill came to $24, with tip and tax. I got a lot of ingredients though, for $24. But still…sigh.

The Verdict: If I had to rank the salads, I would say…
1. Native Foods, Chimi Chop
2. 7th on State, Shrimp Tostada
3. Atwood Cafe, Winter Cobb
4. Au Bon Pain, Mediterranean Salad
5. Walgreen’s Southwestern Salad

That’s roughly $58 on salad, plus the $11 I spent on curry for $69. Wowzers. And I wonder why I have no money.

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Flavia February 6, 2012 - 6:45 pm

I admire people who can eat salad as a meal. The times I’ve tried, half a hour later and I’m starving again. Great post, though. I like how you give your “verdict” at the end of each post so much I’ve adopted the idea for my boutique review posts. Hope you don’t mind 😉

Mr Noodles February 7, 2012 - 2:09 am

“American food has a terrible reputation for heaviness and saltiness and deep-fried-ed-ness”

LOL but surely you must have found Brazilian food similar in some respects? Especially the saltiness!

Mark April 7, 2012 - 7:04 am

Wow the 3rd salad just seems like DELICIOUS! Is it parsley there is in?

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