Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Salad Bars

I rarely get the salad bar at restaurants.  Too much effort.  "Wait,  I have to get up and prepare my food myself?  Why did I actually go out to dinner again?"

Now they have places that are purely a salad bar.  There is no main course or appetizers, just salad.  Of course, they try and include such salad mainstays such as the shrimp basket or the pizza in the back windows.  This is a great way for fat people to feel like they are doing something to stay on their diet but get their usual calories at the same time.  

One thing I really enjoy is the opportunity to pick my kind of lettuce.  Will it be the dark lettuce or the light, fluffy lettuce today Abe?  I have always wondered, when rabbits are given the choice of dark lettuce and light lettuce, what is their preference?  If I had to guess, I'd say it is 50-50, depending on the rabbit's mood, time of year and their current cholesterol level. And if a rabbit's buddy is out, do they say, "Save some of the dark lettuce for Cal.  He loves that stuff!"

 I always pick the dark lettuce because it is "better for you".  It makes perfect sense to go for the healthy alternative... I tell myself as I pour on 32 ounces of Ranch dressing.  

I am a boiled egg man.  Nothing tastes better than boiled eggs sprinkled atop a heaping pile of vegetables.  Boiled eggs are a risky proposition at a salad bar though.  Who knows how long those things have been sitting in that bowl, atop a few ice crystals?  And who peels these eggs?  Do they come to the salad place prepeeled by sweat shop workers in China?  And if they are prepeeling the eggs, when do they have time to make the Kathy Lee line of clothing?  Or are there a bunch of guys in the kitchen that get together and peel eggs every 10 days... or whenever the eggs are out - whatever comes first?  It seems like it would be a lot of wasted time, just sitting around and peeling eggs.  To save money, they will eventually just put a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the salad bar with a sign that says, "Peel your own damn egg!"  If they ever do this, I will be happy to accommodate as I am truly against underage sweatshop workers in China.

Another bypassable item in the salad bar are the little, round balls of nothing.  Have you seen these things?  They are white, about the size of a marble and taste like a wet rice cake.  This is just filler material for the salad.  It gives the salad some buoyancy, but does little for the flavor. I also hate the beets in that red syrup.  Why in the world would anyone (besides my dad) put that nasty crap on their salad?  Even Dwight Shrute passes on the canned beets in the salad bar line.  

It seems that every time I reach for a cherry tomato, I am unable to fully grasp it with the tongs and it ends up rolling across the floor.  What is the salad bar etiquette for that situation?  Do you pick it up and put it on your own plate or do you place it back in it's proper spot?  Perhaps you should just leave it, or go get a manager?  I am never sure, so I almost always end up picking it up and placing it on my own plate, making sure that it is resting on the very edge of the dish, unable to contaminate the rest of my food.  I am sure when I do this, people are wondering, "Is he really going to eat that?  Didn't it just fall on the floor?"

By the time I have reached my seat, I have dropped the tomato three more times and chased it through the entire establishment, hitting my head on highchairs and tripping over old ladies legs.  It had been quite an ordeal, but at least I have saved myself from embarrassment and shame. 

Another salad bar haphazard is the accidental dropping of one item into the next.  I once dropped a fish cracker into the Blue Cheese dressing and spent the next 25 minutes trying to get it out with a butter knife and a miniature fork. I was very fortunate that the old man behind me was of Asian decent and had been a fisherman most of his life.  He told me of his life in an old Okinawa fishing village and how he had helped a young American boy learn karate once.  As he spoke, he dipped a long strand of noodle into the dressing, stirred three times and pulled out the fish cracker.  Amazing and resourceful at the same time.  What was even more amazing was the fish cracker was struggling to get away.  

If you put tuna fish on a fish cracker, I bet the cracker will be totally disgusted.  Even if you were dead and crusted over, how would you like someone else's guts spread all over you?

By the time I get to the dressing portion of the salad bar, I am exhausted.  I just want to be done with the entire nightmare.  I grab the handle what looks like Ranch dressing and pour one or two ladles on top of my foot tall creation.  Of course, they make the ladle handle two feet long, and with the sneeze guard hanging down like a rigid blockade, it is very difficult to bend your arm in such a way as not to spill the dressing all over the bowl of olives that are six inches away.  And, of course, the word "Light" has been rubbed off the handle of the two foot long ladle from years of wear and tear on silverware death row.  

When I am finally able to sit down and enjoy my massive, thousand calorie creation, I take one bite and realize my fat free dressing mistake... Ugh, gross!  Fat free dressing!  Why do salad bars just assume that everyone goes there is on a diet?  And oh crap... I forgot to get my Diet Coke.  DO I REALLY HAVE TO GET UP AGAIN??


brandi (and tim) said...

This is a really funny post, Abe. Good job.


Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha, thanks Brandi. Somehow I get the feeling you are just pandering to my need to be complimented. BUt I will take it anyway.