Salad Guy

Went to a new place where you make your own salads. Well, they make it for you, you just tell them what to put in it.

Not sure the idea makes sense as a business model, but there you have it.

The set-up did give me ample opportunity to talk to the salad-maker. He told me you get to choose four ingredients (on top of your lettuce), so I chose tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Then I asked, “What’s the least popular item that people ask for?”

(This, by the way, is one of my favorite questions to ask in restaurants. What is the least-often-ordered item on the menu? Sometimes I ask my dining companion–Marny always hated this question, she always responded irately, “Why do you care?!”–and then we see who’s right by asking the waiter. At Jerry’s Deli, it’s the Romanian Skirt Steak. Since that was the first place I thought up the question, those who know me well will often refer to this as the “Romanian Skirt Steak” question.)

Anyway, the guy said, “Probably celery.” I said, “Not beets. Or baby corns?” He said, “No, people love beets.” The least popular ingredient is not always the strangest, I guess. Sometimes it’s just the most boring.

So I picked kidney beans as my fourth ingredient, and looked at the guy gleefully before saying, “Weren’t expecting that, were you?”

He said, “No, I was totally heading towards the onions. Good call.”

(That book 4-Hour Body says you should eat beans in every meal.)

I added chicken and bacon to make it delicious and we settled on a dressing. Overall, the salad was about as good as a salad bar. I don’t know, there’s just something about seeing it made that makes it not taste as good as a pre-thought-out salad. I mean, I love salads at like the Cheesecake Factory and CPK, but I would never go to the salad bar at Ralphs.

Free Bacon Upgrade

I just got back from the dentist (just a cleaning) and I have to tell you, the periodontist or whatever she’s called (the lady who actually cleans my teeth), that’s someone who is great at talking!

And what’s amazing about her is that she can have a whole conversation without you responding in any way.

“How’s work going?” she begins, though she knows you can’t answer with anything more than a shrug and an “Unh.”

Then she launches into her daughter’s college graduation. How she just moved back home. She doesn’t have a job yet. She lost her shoes in the move back home. “I’m lucky I haven’t had to update my resume in thirty years.” In her day, you used to line up a job senior year of college, you didn’t wait to move back home before you start looking.

My responses were a series of “hm,” “unh,” and “uh huh”‘s.

I think my technique of actually listening to the other person and having a two-way conversation is more satisfying. But she must be used to droning on and never getting any response.

After the cleaning, I stopped at a new salad place where you check boxes next to a list of ingredients and they make the salad to order. I noticed there were two bacons listed. So I asked the pretty, young salad-maker what the difference was.

She said one was bacon bits and the other was real bacon. I said, “Why would anyone choose bacon bits over real bacon?”

She said the real bacon was more money.

I said, “I don’t care if it costs a hundred dollars. I want the real bacon.”

So she made my salad and when she rang me up, she whispered, “Free bacon upgrade.”

I looked around conspiratorially and put my finger to my lips in a “shh” motion. Then I put the $1.50 change in the tip jar.

Before I left I said, “I will think of you when I eat this bacon, and I mean that in only the most innocent way possible.”

She laughed and I went back to work to eat my salad.