There’s a minor stigma that surrounds salads, which can sometimes be characterized as “bland” and “tasteless.” This can be particularly true of I.V., where the money spent on a pricey, gourmet salad could instead be put into a delicious boat of buffalo chicken cheese fries, with extra dollars still left over. Despite salad’s occasionally bland reputation amongst meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, I’d like to speak for all the green people in I.V. when I say a perfect bowl of salad makes me mentally and physically happy. A crisp blend of vegetables, when paired with a cohesive dressing, can not only be a symphony in your mouth but can also serve as a healthy meal that doesn’t leave you drowsy.
So where in I.V. can one let themself indulge in the perfect salad? Here are all the most popular salads available in I.V., ranked according to the quality of ingredients, flavorful-ness of dressing, and price.
The most popular salad at Silvergreens is the Gaucho Cobb Salad, which contains crispy chicken; although the salad has been taken off the menu, it is still made upon request. Roasted corn and cheese crisps enhance the tangy jalapeño ranch dressing, which is balanced by crispy lettuce and soft tomato textures. It’s a large salad, enough to satisfy your stomach and the $10 you paid for it. The flavors and textures of the salad work well together; however, my only criticism would be the size of the ingredients. Some lettuce bits are overwhelmingly large and some cheese crisps required a bit of mouth stretching.
Final verdict? Four out of five caesars.
South Coast Deli
At South Coast Deli, the most popular salad is the Fowl Play, a Western-inspired salad made up of romaine lettuce with chipotle ranch dressing and cowboy favorites, black beans, cilantro, and bacon. The salad comes with tender slices of soft chicken breast smothered in house-made barbeque sauce, the perfect duo for a typical gaucho. Flavors of the barbeque sauce and the chipotle ranch harmonize with the help of subtle cilantro and heavenly crispy onions. The size of the meal and abundance of crispy onions soften the cost of the salad, which amounts to a rather hefty total of $11.
Final verdict? Four and a half out of five gauchos.
Known best for their pizza and beer, Woodstock’s also offers a variety of salads, the most popular being the Brother Tom’s Salad. With soft spring greens mixed with bulky hunks of cucumbers and thin sticks of carrots, the salad doesn’t point you to a certain theme, and instead conforms to stereotypical salad conventions. There wasn’t any meat in the salad, and if anything, it was more fitting to call it a side salad than a main salad, possibly complementing a pizza or a pasta. At the price of $8, the price is not worth the ten mouthfuls of spring greens and cucumbers you receive.
Final verdict? Two out of five pint nights.
Isla Vista Food Co-Op
Because the Co-op is a local grocery store, it’s no surprise that its most popular salad is made from the Co-op’s very own seasonal greens. Fresh ingredients and local produce embody the $6 meal, yet it was still the most disappointing of the salads. The dressing was strangely sweet and overpowering, clashing with the flavors of arugula and raw onion. Carrot slices were more peels rather than whole pieces, and the raw onions cut through any hint of an overall scheme.
Final verdict? One out of five local farmers.
Unsurprisingly, 7-Eleven, a convenience store, has salads. 7-Eleven has chicken caesar salads on romaine lettuce, the exact same one your mom bought you in high school. Everyone knows the drill, pour the dressing, close the lid, and shake; then add croutons. The experience was nostalgic but the taste was even more familiar. The lettuce was thankfully crispy and the ingredients were fresh. This salad overcame convenience store norms of being packaged and unfresh. For exactly five dollars, you can easily enjoy a sentimental meal that will satisfy your budget and your belly.
Final verdict? Three and a half out of five high school lunches.