Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Citerella Salad

I had a salad the other day. I had to go out of my way to get it. I purchased this salad in large part because I've been working at the same place for two years and I've gotten tired of most of the fast and cheap options in the neighborhood. I can't count the times I've had pizza, bagels, falafel, and most other things in the nearby blocks. In short: The eateries on offer are old hat.

It was with great joy then that I received word from a coworker that a gourmet grocery store a few blocks north had good preprepared salads. I was also informed by this same individual that the salads, while not cheap, were not outrageously expensive. I looked forward to the moment when I might have the opportunity to purchase such a salad.

The chance came around three in the afternoon one day when I found myself hungry and with a lull in the work I had to do. I remembered the conversation with my coworker as I made the short jaunt up north for my purchase. I wondered what the salads would look like. Would they be large or small? Would they have any cheese in them? What dressings would they have?

I entered the establishment, a ritzy place called Citerella, and made my way past the olive bar to where the salads were located. I saw that I had a number of choices. A couple salads contained meat and so I disregarded those immediately. A woman next to me was examining the standard salad with cherry tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and onions. After a few moments of looking she set the salad down and walked away. I decided she was right about the standard salad. I considered for a moment a Mediterranean salad, but it looked a little insubstantial. In the end I selected a spinach and blue cheese salad. On my way up to the register I also picked up an "olive pocket", which looked like a roll with a bunch of olives on the inside.

Back at work I sat down, ready to enjoy my lunch. I took a bite of the olive pocket first. It was more or less what I expected: Bread and lots of olives. Next I opened up my salad. For a second after I opened it, and no more than a second, everything seemed fine. After that a smell reached me. It was the smell of spoiled spinach. I took a closer look at the salad. Some of the spinach looked alright, but at least half of it had dark edges. Some was dried and yet moist, thin and fragile and slimy. I took a closer smell. I didn't like it at all.

I checked a clock and saw that I wouldn't have enough time to go back to the store. I frowned. I was going to have to make the best of the salad. I set about picking out the bad spinach as best as I could and then poured all of the dressing, blue cheese, and croutons onto what remained. Even having taken these measures the spoiled spinach taste reared its head. Each bite, while not revolting, had that slightly sour aftertaste. I poked through a little more and got rid of a few more suspicious leaves. Still, it wouldn't suffice. What I had on my hands was a bad salad. I ate a few pieces of the blue cheese, which was okay. I closed up the salad container and ate the rest of the olive pocket. I went back to work, still hungry and feeling a little queasy at the thought of food.

Spinach Salad: F
Blue Cheese: B
Olive Pocket: B
Queasy Feeling: D
Coworker's Advice: D-
Overall Experience: D