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Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 – Best Salad

Espresso Yourself House Salad with Vegan Creamy Jalaepno Dressing

Vegetarians and vegans eat a lot of salads whether they intend to or not. I think it’s almost safe to say that we eat more salads than we really want to because we are occasionally forced into salad as our only dining option in situations where the only diversity in choices are focused on omnivores. It has been a joke in our family because when my mother-in-law would be bragging about some new restaurant she really liked she would realize that she was talking to a family of vegetarians and would add, “They have salad.”

Roasted Beet Salad at Elk Creek Cafe

Salads have come a long way in the past 30 years. It’s not just the salad bars (which are not being judged for this award) that have added established choices of field greens over romaine or *shudder* iceberg lettuce. Most restaurants outside of diners know that they need to have a base of decent greens under the veggie toppings and a huge portion of dressing won’t dress up any sub-par salad. Arugula, kale or mixed herbs; content is vital.

Chefs have gotten a lot more creating with their toppings too. I think back on the days when I considered myself lucky to at least be served a couple of slices of pale refrigerated tomato and white onion rings topped on a huge bowl of crunchy white lettuce. Along with the change in greens are the quality of even off season ingredients. The Green Room Bistro & Café in Carlisle made good use of Golden Delicious Apple and Candied Walnuts on a salad I enjoyed there in the middle of winter.

The Green Room, Apple & Candied Walnut Salad

It was difficult to choose between so many salads with different and seasonal ingredients, Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim was a close second with it’s consistent Roasted Beet salad.

Props go to the Spats Cafe and Speakeasy in State College for their Creole Chopped Salad. The entrée sized salad is currently $8.00 but is huge, hearty and rib sticking. It can also be ordered demi de partie for a reduced size and price.

As I mention in my restaurant review of Spats (can be seen here) the Creole Chopped Salad always comes out super chilled with a wonderful range of textures, veggies and flavors. It does include a cheese, lettuce and a sweet creamy dressing. There is nothing else like it anywhere in the area and we both really enjoy it.

Creole Chopped Salad @ Spats

Although it is not vegan, it packs in so many different vegetables like broccoli, corn and tomatoes. I had to look hard to determine that there was actually some romaine lettuce in it. It comes ungarnished and really doesn’t photograph as well as some other salads but the flavors are grand and has been consistent over the past decade.

Congratulations to Spats Cafe and Speakeasy for their Creole Chopped Salad beating out so many other diverse salads in this region and being chosen to receive Pennsyltucky Veggie 2011 Best Salad.

Do know of a Pennsyltucky restaurant whose salad can beat this one in 2012? If it’s in central PA (see map here) and is a regular vegetarian menu item, let me know and I will include it in the judging next year! Drop me, Pennsyltucky Veggie, a line or feel free to leave a comment!

About trueindigo

vegan, runner, blogger, mom, model, artist, tarot reader.

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