There is nothing simple about getting your salad tossed these days. I know that this is NYC, and especially at lunch time, people are not messing around. That said, recent visits to places that specialize in custom salads- Chop’t, Just Salad- have left me in a state of anxiety akin to getting my shoes, sweater, and coat off, laptop out and liquids discarded in a timely manner as to not gum up the works. The process for salad selection is rushed, furious and chaotic, ending with such a violent pulverization of your selected vegetables that you will be lucky to recognize what you ended up ordering.
I have a theory that vegetables are disgusting, that is why is salad dressing was invented. Think about it- salad dressing is one of the most fattening and caloric food items around, and that is what it takes to make vegetables taste good to people. Clearly, I am the type of person that relies on other elements to make salads exciting, such as cheese or crunchy noodles, but my whims change from day to day. When I go to a salad place, in addition to the salad creations that the place has created, I would like the simple opportunity to peruse the vegetables and see what strikes my fancy. I would simply like to see what they have available to put into my salad, without being rushed and forced to make a decision. It is exponentially easier to order on the internet, where you can click away as many little vegetable selections as you would like, in your own time, than to try to build your own salad on the fly at any of these places. A recent visit to Just Salad found me squinting at a board of options as I waited in a huge line, only to be met with a person wishing to know what I wanted before I could even see any food. Next I waited for them to scream my name, at which point I was able to see all of my little ingredients ( I kept it simple by picking one of their pre-made options and adding two additional vegetables for $4 each) in their little bowl, awaiting their gruesome chopping fate. After the samuarai type beating of my veggies, I once again squinted at a board to chose my dressing selection, and then moved on to yet another area to pay. I honestly felt dazed and confused by the end of it, and that was before the sticker shock.
I know the answer to this is to make my own salad at home, and I understand the pressure of a lunch time rush, but I think that there needs to be a little bit more love and patience at the salad bar. Give Peas a chance….