Burns My Bacon: Never-Ending Salad Ingredients


Before I became food-obsessed I was very happy eating chicken caesar salads all of the time.


I ate them as a starter salad, as an entree, and once in a while – in a wrap. My favorite chicken caesar salad wrap is from the chain, SaladWorks. My sister and I would always eat there whenever I came home from college. I’m trying to think back on our orders: I would sub-in hard boiled eggs for croutons, and I think she kept the croutons in, but maybe added tomato? Sherry – remember?

Unfortunately, there are no SaladWorks in my area (although I just discovered the closest was in the dreaded land of University of Maryland’s College Park). I have long desired a similar concept in DC. I wanted lots of salad and wrap choices. Both stock orders and make-your-own.

In the past couple years, however, DC has caught on to the salad bar trend: Sweetgreen, Chop’t, Mixt Greens… And just like cupcakes, we take that trend and turn it into a never-ending nightmare. Yes, nightmare.

And now what I’ve asked for. Well, I’m regretting it. I just can’t get into the over-stuffed salads. I’m never satisfied when I choose my own, usually with spinach, chickpeas, avocado, goat cheese and beets. Which sounds freaking awesome, but is somehow dry. Or there’s not enough avocado. In fact at Chop’t they so heavily beat the avocado into the salad that instead of supple chunks, the avocado coats all the ingredients without any real avocado texture and flavor.

Maybe I can’t select the proper combination when there are so many choices and when I like so many different ingredients. And the salads and wraps that are created by the chef, well, it’s hard to choose that option when there’s the opportunity to create my own.

Should I just return to romaine, chicken and parm cheese?

(Photo @ Mixt Greens by Endless Simmer)

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  • BS March 4, 2010  

    oooh I so-oh-oh disagree! I love making my own salad. I usually do roasted red peppers, breaded chicken and cucumbers, plus some kind of cheese (maybe feta, maybe blue), and some kind of crunch (almonds, walnuts, croutons or chow mein noodles)…If it’s a crazy kinda day I’ll sub mandarin oranges for the peppers.
    I think you gotta keep trying for a basic combo that works. Hold back at first, then once you find a 3-way ingredient mix that floats your boat, go crazy from there.

  • westcoast March 4, 2010  

    This is dangerous territory you have embarked on here…fighting words. Now, I will admit, finding a combination of flavor that works at these places is a bit tiresome and sometimes expensive, but here’s where I have ended up — spinach, smoked tofu (Chopt’s smoked tofu is ridiculously good), fried onions OR chinese noodles, any cheese OR no cheese, walnuts, apples, jalepenos, and radishes. Now does that sound good? Not really. But does it taste good? At least three days a week. The chicken caesar wrap at au bon? I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

  • westcoast March 4, 2010  

    jalapenos…yeah, I saw that

  • gansie March 4, 2010  

    you’re right – smoked tufo rocks.
    ABP does have the best caesar wrap at the moment. i dont want to hear otherwise.

    and maybe i just have to branch out more? maybe chickpeas aren’t right for salads?

    it’s just so over-whelming at all of these places!

  • JoeHoya March 4, 2010  

    Just a heads up, Gansie, but there absolutely IS a SaladWorks in DC. Or at least there was last time I checked (which admittedly was a while ago).

    It’s in the Union Station food court, and their chicken club has been a go-to of mine for years.

    Careful ingredient selection and editing is definitely key.

  • 80 Proof March 5, 2010  

    The ABP chicken caesar wrap is just ok. Too much wrap for me; I always end up finishing eating the end with about 37 layers of wrap. The ultimate cannot be found in DC, or on the East Coast for that matter. It’s the chicken caesar wrap from Crazy Bowls and Wraps, based in the St. Louis area. I only ate about 100 of them during college, and still get cravings for them constantly…mainly when I’m eating ABP’s.

    Looks like they just opened one in San Diego of all places, maybe they are finally expanding!

  • Pingback: What Did I Do Wrong | Endless Simmer April 20, 2010  
  • BS November 5, 2010  

    don’t know about DC but in NYC these places usually limit you to 4 – 5 ingredients. But one just opened near my work offering UNLIMITED INGREDIENTS. This is such a problem. I might have to start making them take lettuce out to make more room.

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