Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On today's "Ask Jimmy" we learn about salads...

From: XXXX
To: Uncle Jimmy
Sent: Wed, June 9, 2010 4:39:54 PM
Subject: salads

there's a fellow foodie at work that i go back and forth with daily.

he was wondering if you could tell us:

a. some of the best salads in the city (preferably simple green salad)
b. the best vegan salad in the city

told him you were the best person to ask this question.


Dear XXXX,

Oh my. Well you know salad is my favorite food... although technically it is not one food which is what f&$cks my sh*%t up when I'm playing the "What food would you take to a desert island" game, so I guess I should say salad is my favorite "foods".

Anyway, here are some idears -

Take-out type of situations:

I love Whole Foods Salad Bar. I can't help it. Embarrassed? Slightly. Going to stop eating there? Hell no.

The Whole Foods on South Street sucks as far as Whole Foods' salad bars go (and I should know considering that I've been to most of them in the United States). This is how much of a loser I am: I actually have an iPhone app that I use for locating WFs when I drive cross country. But anyway, I digress... Yeah, so the SS WFs sucks, but it works, and I would probably go there five days a week if I could (not sure about the WFs on Callowhill... might be even better... haven't been for awhile). Any salad bar really is my jam. There aren't many in the city.

What else?

Gia Pronto on 20th and Market has a real good Asian inspired salad. I can't remember what it's called... the Thai Salad or some such name. It has tofu, sesame sticks, carrots, water cress, and sesame ginger dressing... LOVE any salad w/ tofu in it and there aren't many round these parts that I've found. They serve it with this dank ass seedy roll that probably packs about 700 calories but OH! it's so good. I crave that salad for some reason.

Old Nelson has a good Asian inspired salad as well... This one's got cucs, carrots, red onion, peanuts and chicken.... and actually the same sesame ginger dressing. It's massive... I love the whole peanuts.

I used to go to Rustico in No Libs and order the spinach salad with pancetta and tuna salad (it was a special creation that I made up... I just ordered the spinach salad and asked for the pancetta and tuna salad on top). For some reason I remember it being insanely good. The sweet and peppery spinach paired with the crunchy salt of the pancetta and a hit of creamy tuna salad. Mmm... It also may have had something to do with the fact that I worked a block away and Rustico was my only option and I'd rather stick a fork in my eye then eat pizza every day... (not that it would be pleasureable, at least for awhile, but it would be my hypothetical equivalent of giving up on life, wearing sweatpants, forgetting to shower and starting to smoke Winstons).

Cosmi's Deli on south 8th street makes a tossed salad with grilled blackened yellowfin tuna. It's just this huge delicious and gorgeous piece of tuna sitting on some greens for like 8 bucks. It's awesome.

Gettin' Fancy:

Hikaru has a delicious seaweed salad with three types of marinated seaweed... no greens, just seaweed. Their house salad makes my eyes roll back in my head, the ginger dressing is so fresh and delicious. The salad itself is just real simple... Small serving of ice berg lettuce, one carrot, one cucumber, and one tomato slice, but oh that dressing.

Horizon's Spinach Salad will make you want to kill a man with glee. Everything they serve at Horizon's is Vegan and everything I've eaten there has been stellar... XXXX uses the Horizon's cookbook. I went to her house for dinner the other night and she made a chilled cucumber soup and another dish... roasted cauliflower. Both were other worldly. Just checked and it looks like Horizon's must have removed it from the menu but it looks like the replacements wouldn't disappoint:

The Continental has a calamari salad that is Yummy-licious. It is finely chopped, lightly dressed and served with a good bit of fried calamari on top. You know I'm not the biggest fried food person but this works. It's big enough to split as an entree... big.

Of course there is the Toms Special Salad at South Street Souvlaki with f&$%ing taramosalata (whipped caviar and olive oil... what, what!?!?!?), dolmas, olives and feta cheese. Mmm! You know first hand that you must go there order that salad and the grilled octopus. You must not go alone, take a pal, and consider yourself blessed. Remind him that he must not be lured in by the siren call of ordering anything else... remember the buckets o' pita. More then enough food. And cheap! Boo-yeah.

The Spinach Salad with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, gorgonzola and candied peach pear at Sabrina's is a good hangover salad. I don't technically count it as a salad since there is enough fat in the form of oil, nuts and dairy to give you a raging fupa, but if you need to cure an achin' head it might be just the thing.

Had a mango shrimp salad at Honey's Sit n' Eat once that was definitely noteworthy but I think it was a special.

I love the smoked salmon salad at Tria. Oh Yes. It comes with citrus marscapone cheese and gorgeous caper berries. It's not that filling but it's REALLY good. XXXX gets the goat cheese salad and she loves it too.... looks like they're all good though (below)... I just can't stray from that damn smoked salmon:

Smoked Duck with Strawberries, Pistachios, Grana Padano, Spinach and Citrus-Mint Vinaigrette $10

Arugula with Beets, Goat Cheese, Crushed Almonds, Red Onion and Balsamic Vinaigrette $8
Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, Caper Berries, Citrus Mascarpone, Arugula and Lemon-Pepper Vinaigrette $9½

Mixed Greens with Mission Figs, Gorgonzola, Pine Nuts and Gorgonzola-Pine Nut Vinaigrette $8½

Salad of Grilled Asparagus, Artichoke, White Beans, Tomato-Onion Relish and Pine Nuts $8
Smoked Chicken and Lancaster Bacon Salad with Black River Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette $9½

Last, but not least, Mama's has wonderful traditional Israeli salad.

God, there are so many more but that's all the steam I got for now. I could get more specific... is your friend a veg? Vegan? Dp they want something healthful? Or just delicious? Tell him we should "cook" salads. The best salad I've eaten in a long time is XXXX's... she puts out a big bowl of fresh butter leaf lettuce, cucumber, thinly sliced carrots, shredded raw beets, red onion and avocado and then serves it with sides of hot quinoa, pickled cabbage and freshly toasted spicy pumpkin seeds... throw on a little nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt... HOLY HELL! that's some good stuff.

Hope that helps.


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