Anyone who knows me knows I’m a horrible snob when it comes to chain restaurants. I’m also a snob about a bunch of other things too. I won’t get into that now. I’m not proud of my food snobbiness. But it is what it is. I just don’t understand the concept of eating at an Applebee’s or waiting in a line wrapped around the building to eat the ‘never ending pasta bowl’ at Olive Garden. I drive by, see the line and wonder why? Why, when there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from? If you live in Rochester there is absolutely no reason why you should be standing on line outside an Olive Garden in sub-zero temperatures waiting for breadsticks, soup and salad. You should be eating good, proper Italian at Roncon’s or Rocco. Now that’s food I would wait on line for. (I just ended a sentence with ‘for’ and it bothers me. Must move on and not obsess).
With that said, I have to come clean that yesterday I ventured into a California Kitchen. I was hungry, had to use the restroom and would have felt really bad if I’d used the restroom and didn’t have lunch. Somehow that just seems wrong. Using a restaurant to heed the call of nature.
I belly up to the bar. That really doesn’t sound attractive does it. Do people really ‘belly up’ to a bar? Bygones. But I didn’t want to eat alone at a table for four. The menu consists of approximately one zillion choices. Ranging from pizzas to tacos to salads. Too much information makes my brain stop working. But I remember my friend and hair stylist (who is totally, totally amazing. she works at dosha. ask for Kristina.) raving about the Arugula Quinoa Salad. Problem solved. That’s what I’ll have.
This was my salad…Quinoa (which is the super grain of the moment) with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, toasted pine nuts and Feta tossed in our housemade Champagne vinaigrette. That’s it. Simple. Fresh. Delicious.
My server whose name I totally don’t remember (sorry. he was really nice) presented me with the most gorgeous salad ever in the history of the world. It was so beautiful I had customers asking what I’d ordered. Yes, these people were having food envy and I wasn’t going to share. Because that would be weird. Sharing my salad with strangers.
It was ginormous. Or seemed so at the time. I was thinking there’s no way I’m ever going to finish this. I came close. I wanted to eat it all because it was so good, but I was afraid the server would think I was a big old moo cow for eating the whole thing. I’m quite sure my server could care less. I could eat this salad every day and be a happy girl. So now I must replicate the recipe so I can enjoy it in my own home when I can’t make it to California Kitchens and when I don’t have $9 to spare. Totally worth every penny by the way.
So moving forward I will keep a more open mind regarding chain restaurants. I’m such a liar. That so isn’t going to happen. But I will be happy to eat at a California Kitchen any day of the week.
Until next time…Moose out