Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Back In My Salad Days

First, this is simply a post about salads. In the US, salads are a first course or an appetizer, but in many countries . . . those with more refined palates, salads often come after a main course or at the end of a meal. They are a way to cleanse the palate or add a little roughage to a protein. But in the US, a salad is the beginning of things.

In Los Angeles, salads, like sushi, are what french fry deprived women eat to feel full without feeling guilty by eating a real meal or without running to the bathroom at a culinary treasure like say, Luques on Melrose, to you know what before the main course.

When I lived in Santa Monica, my brilliant friend M (pronounced em), came for a visit from NY where she was working as a parallel and making plans to escape to Paris (which she eventually did). While visiting, she mentioned, "I am really into salads these days," and she made us (and by us a mean M and me) a salad with greens and avocado and scallions and tomatoes and a dressing made with nayonaise and sesame and it was delicious. But, at the time I was tiptoeing across my 20's and was a little too thin to appreciate a good salad as anything other than a prelude to a kiss (and by a kiss I mean a large bowl of pasta). For, I had been dieting on vodka and yoga and, let me say, I had found my bliss!

These are some Los Angeles salads that I like:

Briganti South Pasadena
Insalata di Rugoletta e Carciofi--is an arrugola salad with baby artichokes hearts,topped with shaved Parmesan, lemon and olive oil. I love this salad because it is simple and clean. The salad dressing is simply lemon and olive oil and this is perfect because you can actually taste the ingredients of the salad.

Fritto Misto Santa Monica
Greens and Gorgonzola is baby greens, Gorgonzola cheese, Roma tomatoes, and toasted walnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is piled high on a plate and is perfect for sharing (actually, Big D and I almost always share the salad/appetizer course because this ensures that we can make it through dessert.

Canele Atwater Village
Shrimp salad with parsley and celery root is one of the freshest palate cleansing salads I have had. I love the use of parsley as an actual salad ingredient rather than a garnish. It makes the salad extremely soothing and yet bold and unexpected at the same time.

Cafe Beaugolais Eagle Rock
Mixed Green Salad has perfectly ripe pieces of tomato, fresh greens, a creamy dressing and pieces of french bread smeared with herbed goat cheese. Come on, that's just damn good.

Il Buco Beverly Hills
Tricolore Radicchio with Belgium Endive, Arugula, Balsamic Dressing, and Shaved Parmesan Cheese had the quintessential balsamic dressing, the perfect mix of greens and the shaved Parmesan has that perfect sharp bite. It's just perfect.

1 comment:

ellemabelle said...

Hey! You did mention something about my salads, but I don't think I ever put any avocado in that. But scallions for sure. Hey u have to add that salad at the york to this.