I’m only a recent convert to the Cobb Salad. I grew up in a time and place where salads consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers with any variety of gloopy dressings available, preferably something mayo based in my household. I was probably 21 before I had a salad I even remotely enjoyed: the Chef’s. And these I became obsessed with. Meat and cheese in a salad? Hell yes! Still, it would be many more years before I began my true love affair with the wide variety of “breadless sandwiches” that make up my current repertoire of lunches.
A few years back, I was obsessed with the Wine Cask’s chopped salad. I went there often for business lunches, and happily ordered the same thing every time. All that diced salami and cheese made eating salad seem like a luxury rather than a figure-friendly sacrifice. But one day, as restaurants tend to do, they changed their menu. My precious chopped was gone. I had always avoided the Cobb because the idea of eggs in my salad was unsettling. But there I was, sitting at a table full of elegant ladies, each of whom had ordered the Mediterranean or the Cobb. My choices were few: 1) order the Kobe burger and look like an uncivilized tomboy, 2) order the Mediterranean…not really an option as I hate Kalamata olives, or 3) order the Cobb and hope for the best.
When the salad arrived, I was amazed. SO MUCH STUFF other than leafy greens! Avocado! And the bacon…Nueske’s thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon. To die for. No one ingredient was overpowering, but this thing was basically a BLTA, plus chicken, plus eggs, plus blue cheese! Possibly the best salad I’ve ever eaten to this day.
Sadly, at $15+ a pop, the Wine Cask Cobb is a little steep for my everyday lunch budget. So I reserve that experience for meetings with VIPs, and have become a regular at the Nordstrom Cafe down the street. They have lots of great salads, but their Cobb is incredibly hearty and filling. I skip the blue cheese, but amazingly I’ve come to terms with the eggs. Somehow it just wouldn’t be a Cobb without them. If you haven’t tried out your local Nordstrom Cafe, go there next time you’re shopping. Order a salad and the coconut cake (since you only had salad for lunch.) I promise it will be a lunch to remember.