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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How much iceberg lettuce is too much? (i.e., What should the phrase "mixed greens" mean?)

Mixed greens? Really?

I had a bad day Monday, food-wise. Kinda on a workout-diet thing, so been eating a lot of salads.

Now, when you eat a lot of salads, the lettuce in said dish becomes very important. It's hard enough to live without my nightly sghetti-n-meatballs+bottle-of-red dinner. I don't need shitty lettuce compounding my dining misery. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. Twice.

Several times for lunch, I've enjoyed the chop-chop salad at Tin Drum by the office here at Atlantic Station. It's not fine dining, but it's fine. At least it was, because when I've had it before, the salad had, as promised, Bibb lettuce. I love Bibb lettuce, no matter what you call it — Bibb, Boston, limestone, butterhead (giggle), doesn't matter. Give me a head of Bibb, some salt, pepper, olive oil, and good balsamic, and I'm set for the evening. What I got, though, was a huge bowl of chopped iceberg lettuce. I was ... less than pleased.

Then I went to dinner at Fresh To Order. I like that joint because I can get something healthy and a glass of wine for about 15 bucks. I ordered a greek salad, with mixed greens. The result was what you see above. I let the company know that a plate of mostly iceberg with a hint of romaine and two leaves of red oak did not, to me, constitute "mixed greens."

To Fresh To Go's credit, I received an email apologizing and explaining the company's policy on mixed greens. It said:

I apologize if the mix of the greens was too heavy on the iceberg for your liking. Our standard “mixed greens” are a blend of iceberg, romaine, and red oak lettuce. We certainly offer many different options of greens, including “baby greens,” which is a blend of field greens and likely what you were expecting. In keeping with our name, we make our food to order and are always happy to swap out ingredients to make sure you have a perfect experience.

To be clear, then: good place, good customer service response, and I'll simply order the "baby greens" next time, which seems to be more what I think of when I conjure an image of mixed greens. As does wikipedia, as you can note by the entry and photo below. All this is to say: was I wrong in my assumptions? What do you think "mixed greens" means at a restaurant?

Wikipedia entry for "mixed greens":

Mesclun (French pronunciation: [mɛsˈklɛ̃]) is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces and endive in equal proportions, but in modern iterations may include an undetermined mix of fresh and available lettuces, spinach, arugula (rocket, or roquette), Swiss chard (God's Breath), mustard greens (Dijon's Child), endive, dandelion, frisée, mizuna, mâche (Lamb's Lettuce), radicchio (Italian Spinach), sorrel, and/or other leaf vegetables.

Now thats mixed greens

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