The Super Bowl: putting the best salads of Marin to the test

Minna Friedlander

An informal poll inquiring about the all-time favorite salads of my classmates, yields the same response over and over again: “Comfort’s Chinese Chicken Salad is the best!” say most students. While it’s not a scientific finding, it’s pretty clear that the restaurant in San Anselmo has developed a reputation for a tasty go-to meal for those seeking a crunch.

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Comfort’s Chinese chicken salad

Sold for $8.50 in a Chinese take-out box, the well-known salad includes shredded iceberg and Romaine lettuce, along with thinly chopped boneless chicken pieces. In the perfect bite I can taste the sliced green onion on top followed by the crunch of roasted chopped almonds. To bring the salad to life it is dressed with a sweet rice wine vinaigrette and hint of Chinese sesame oil.

But beyond Comfort’s Chinese Chicken, because you can’t eat the same salad day after day, there are a lot of local options to satisfy every craving. Here are some of the best I’ve found:

The Southwestern salad served at Cafe Del Soul in Mill Valley is a salad you must try.

The foundation of this salad is red leaf lettuce and ripe red tomato. On top is fresh cut onion and avocado sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese. Although I enjoyed this salad, it could have gone without the cheddar cheese. In the magnificently colorful presentation, the visual of cheddar cheese seemed appealing. However, after the first bite I decided to take off the unnecessary garnish, because its bland flavor did not mesh well with the other ingredients–specifically the avocado. After removing the unwanted topping, I could enjoy my $11.75 Southwestern with every bite tossed in a chipotle dressing.

Rustic Bakery's chopped salad
Rustic Bakery’s chopped salad

Located in Larkspur, Rustic Bakery offers a chopped salad for $9.95 that appeals to me because of its ultra farm-fresh local ingredients. Chopped Romaine, hard boiled egg, tomato, bacon, scallions, and local Pt. Reyes blue cheese, all tossed in a sunny champagne vinaigrette, make this mouth-watering salad essential, when you’re desiring a back-to-basics, refreshing Italian style salad on a hot day.

Foodniks in the Tiburon Cove Shopping Center is a hidden lunch spot offering salads in a to-go box. The best one in my opinion, is their Caesar sold for $11.50. With Romaine lettuce, Asiago croutons, pickled red onions and a creamy lemon-caper vinaigrette, this salad is worth going out of your way for. In fact, Foodniks is located a bit off the freeway, and a ways down Tiburon Boulevard, so make sure you’re hungry for a salad before making the drive.

Blue Barn's Ahi tuna salad
Blue Barn’s Ahi tuna salad

In the mood for something different? Just a few minutes away in Town Center, Blue Barn’s Spicy Tuna salad is unlike any other. This unique salad includes a large range of ingredients such as delicious spicy Ahi tuna–served rare, mixed greens, chicory top, mango, thinly sliced avocado, soba Thai noodles, snow

peas, cucumber, scallions, sesame seeds, and a tangy miso ginger vinaigrette. If you have an empty stomach this salad is the one to get. The Spicy Tuna’s ridiculously large portion will definitely satisfy your hunger. Although I found this salad to be delightfully appetizing in all aspects, I wasn’t as happy after receiving the check of $17, tip included, all for just one salad.

But despite how overpriced the Spicy Tuna was, I highly recommend trying this unusual salad. If you do, you might find out that you like it as much as I did. And then you’ll never go back to eating a greenless meal again.