At Chowder, even we find ourselves in food ruts from time to time. And my rut usually involves the Whole Foods salad bar. What a surprise, then, to be greeted by a new, expanded spread at my favorite overpriced food purveyor today. Huzzah!
Instead of spending 10 bucks on my usual spinach salad, I could spend it on two kinds of chickpea salad! Couscous with mint! And several types of similar-looking Indian food!
Of course, dealing with such variety requires strategy. It’s important to avoid what I call “Salad Bar Syndrome,” a mindless state where, faced with innumerable choices, an overwhelmed customer starts loading up on everything he or she likes, resulting in a hodgepodge meal of clashing flavors and textures.
It doesn’t just happen at salad bars; buffets and dim sum brunches are common breeding grounds, too. (For a worst-case scenario, go watch the teenagers ravaging Fire & Ice.) And at last week’s Taste of the South End, which benefited the AIDS Action Committee, even I succumbed.
Yes, I know: Variety, spice of life, blah, blah, blah. Here’s what I learned: eaten in rapid succession, foodstuffs that are fabulous alone—cream puffs from Flour Bakery, Pho Republique’s shrimp shumai, and Icarus’s gloriously fatty maple-smoked bacon with white beans—will combine to ruinous effect. Two glasses of Champagne in BoMag’s VIP lounge didn’t help, either. I spent the rest of the evening rocking on the edge of my tub, wondering what I had done to deserve this heartburn/headache/nausea combo.
And so, looking at Whole Foods’ new offerings today, I made the prudent choice: to skip the tempting salad bar array, and grab a prepackaged Greek salad instead. I suppose I’ll sample the Indian food when I go back tomorrow. A rut is a rut, after all.