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Salad Bar Salad from Northwestern All Spice Cafe (0.55/lb)

Item Purchased: Salad Bar Salad (0.55/lb)
Location Purchased: Northwestern All Spice Cafe / 251 East Huron St. / Feinburg Pavilion 2nd Fl./ Chicago, IL
Price: $2.90 + tax
Purchased on: 02/04/08

Review: The cafeteria in Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial hospital has garnered higher praise than any hospital cafeteria I know of. It was even featured on the excellent Public Television program, Check Please! when it was called the Spice of Life Cafe (hell, it might still be called that, but All Spice is what turned up on the receipt I’m looking at).

Notice, in all of the reviews you can find online, how nobody comments on their salad bar. There is a good reason for that omission. Is anyone out there familiar with the restaurant chain, Ponderosa? You know, the one that bills itself as a steakhouse but is really just a cheap all you can eat buffet place? If not, just think of your local suburban strip mall buffet place and zero in your thoughts on that salad bar. What do you see?

Let me guess: bulk bagged iceberg lettuce, dusty shredded carrots, vats of imitation bacon bits and impossibly cubed hard boiled eggs (how do they cube those things?! Got the image in your head? Good. Well, I’m sad to report that the salad bar at Northwestern hospital is only a tiny bit better. There are, for example, baby spinach greens offered, but they tend to be toward the wilting side of things. You can also add cubed plain tofu to your salad for an extra charge (salad is priced by weight).

I decided to go with the typical greens, cucumber, tomato, carrots and a bit of fried chow mein noodles for a crunchy topping. I also added a healthy dose of garbanzo beans which, though they gave the salad texture and flavor, weighted my plate down. Next time I would skip the flimsy cucumber and disgustingly mushy tomato slices.

The best thing that can be said about this salad is that it is inexpensive. Elsewhere in the cafe there are fresh, made-to-order salads for a few bucks more. You’ll be much better off going that route than taking the cheapskate route I chose.

Rating: 1.75 / 5

2 Responses to “Salad Bar Salad from Northwestern All Spice Cafe (0.55/lb)”

  1. anonomous Says:

    Presentation looks good!!! the picture should rate a 4.5………

  2. prairiegal Says:

    All Spice Cafe has a variet of food “stations”, one of which is a salad station. They used to make a decent size salad for the price. But then they went to a smaller container, same price though. Today I bought a salad and the container has shrunk again. The salad seems fresh enough, but the amount is definitely NOT worth the price. I won’t be back. I tried to find an address where I could write a complaint, but can’t seem to locate one. I guess when you have thousands of employees and hospital visitors going through, they aren’t too worried about losing customers.

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