For some time now, doctors, girlfriends and opinionated street urchins have been telling me to add more greens to my diet.
And, despite my protestations, they've made it clear that lime Jolly Ranchers don't don't count. So, I decided to go to the Rye Ridge Shopping Center over the weekend and check out the Chop'T Creative Salad Company. Even though it's my belief that long, cutesy names usually mean a disappointing product.
Don't believe me? Then go back and watch "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar." And in six days when it's nearly over, call me and repent.
Still, our new local salad bar has much to recommend it. Make that too much. There are so many options that by the time you've checked off everything and told the counter person what you want, the day is just about shot. Plus, you've signed up for weekend maneuvers with the Marines.
First off, you have a choice of four free toppings. You can also add one additional topping, if you order before noon. Of course,the way they work it, you can start ordering at 11 AM and not be done until after noon. Or, if you legitimately order this in the PM, you get ribbed for being a late riser and a slacker. And they make you do a lap.
The toppings (or in this case "choppings"), however, are worth the hassle. Chop'T features jalapenos, beets, cucumbers and chick peas. Of course offering chocolate 'jimmies' seems to defeat the purpose of eating healthy. And no matter what the menu says, there's not enough difference between them and "sprinkles" to fool anybody.
There are also oranges, granny smith apples, pita chips and sunflower seeds. However, the staff warns that the last two eaten together can have very upsetting side effects. Perfectly normal people have been know to break into "Kumbaya," immediately following.
The long version? Hey, any time you do that song, it's the long version.
Once you've made it through the Free Choppings, then it's onto the Bermuda Triangle that is the Premium Choppings.
Here you can choose among things like house roasted turkey, egg whites and "Naturally raised steak." As opposed to, I guess, steaks who were brought up by foster parents. Apparently, one bite and anyone can tell the difference.
Maybe the most amusing part of the Premium list was the choppings known as "Free Bird." The day that I was there, various long-haired dudes were calling this out to the counter man, to no avail. I kept telling them they needed to flick their lighters, too. But my suggestions fell on deaf ears.
The cheeses are plentiful and upscale, as well. You can get feta cheese, crumbled cheese and goat cheese. They also will serve your salad with pecorino, but you really need to smile when you say that word to the counter man. And people who mispronounce it are often last seen running from the place with a meat cleaver whizzing over their heads.
Then we come to the surfeit of dressings, which is the liquid version of Multiple Personality Disorder. That's right, if Sybil was a salad dressing, she'd be on display here. You've got your Balsalmic vinaigrette, Dijon vinaigrette, Caesar, Steakhouse Blue Cheese and Smoky Bacon Russian. There's also something called "Buttermilk Ranch," which is so thick and artery-clogging, it comes with a free two day supply of Crestor.
And yet, it's so delicious, you really don't care.
I could mention the soups, the snacks, the sweets, but if you're anything like me, you'll soon be licking the screen of your notebook. Then again I could also say that Chop'T has a Po' Boy salad, a Palm Beach Shrimp Salad and a Kebab Cobb. These all run between 500 and 800 calories. Whether that's for the whole dish or just a spoonful, I'm not sure.
And no matter.
The Mexican Caesar I finally decided on was ample and tasty. And if this is what it means to take care of yourself? Well those tears you see are tears of relief. All this time, I thought that eating healthy just meant peeling the skin off a hot dog. But I was wrong. So very wrong. Chop'T? Where have you been all my life?
Follow Port Chester Patch!