Salad Days

3 Mar

...Glory Days, well they'll pass you by, Glory Days...

Once upon a time, I was a dancer. So, after being on hiatus since college and after not stepping foot in a dance studio for more than a year, I decided it was high time to break out the old ballet slippers and show them some love. A good ballet class is work, both mentally and physically, but it’s a great way to start a day. I left feeling energized, with a sense of accomplishment, and headed to the office. By the end of the work day though, I just felt tired. I drove home from the office late, traded dinner for a handful of potato chips and crashed on the couch watching Happy Feet on DVD.

This all sounds much more pathetic when actually typed out.

How in the world did I ever have the energy to make a healthy dinner after school, work and rehearsal years ago?  While we all complained about it in school, we had the university dining hall-and its extensive salad bar. Everything from beans and chick peas to greens,  dried fruit and nuts at my disposal. All pre-washed (presumably), pre-chopped and pre-paid-for.  Apparently we even had a carrot juicer-how did I miss this? Incidentally, the salad bar was pretty much the only thing left open by the time I was done with rehearsal. I probably ate salad five out of seven nights a week.

One of the last things I want to do after waking up early to dance and then spending a day in front of the computer is find an open grocery store and peruse the overly air conditioned produce section, go home, wash, chop and store the veggies, hard boil some eggs, find some healthy dressing, etc.  It’s just not gonna happen on a week night.

If I’m in the mood to spend an arm and a leg to get salad bar convenience, I’ll head to Whole Foods and make my own. Another option is Mrs. Winston’s Green Grocery on Ocean Park in Santa Monica (if you’re leaving the 24 Hour Fitness, for example) but keep in mind they are only open until 7pm and, like Whole Foods, charge you by weight (this only plays in my favor at Yogurtland).

And, true to form, my two favorite prepared salads in Los Angeles actually come from a candy shop, Little Flower Candy Company Café in Pasadena. One is butter lettuce heaven and the other is beet and cheese perfection. A trip to get either is an excuse to bring home bags of Little Flower’s truly mouth watering sea salt caramels and cinnamon marshmallows, all made fresh and without any preservatives. L.A. Weekly’s Pulitzer Prize winning foodie Jonathan Gold is a fan as well.

If you‘re a westsider thinking I’m not driving to Pasadena for a salad no matter how amazing it is, try the salads at Literati (organic greens and free range eggs) or seasonal farmers’ market  ingredients at Clementine.  Serious yum.

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