The Summer Salad

As you might have picked up, I recently moved to the DC area. I’m living in Arlington and working in the city. This is definitely a big change for me because I’ve never spent an extended period of time in the DC area. Everyday I’m learning new things about the area, but I wanted to share my favorite thing so far: the salads. I know this is a little random and perhaps unexciting to many people, but this is a luxury I have not experienced yet.
When I say salads, I mean the several great salad fast food places they have here like Chop’t and Sweet Green. I realize that these places are pretty common in metropolitan areas these days, but they’re relatively new to me. Having lived in Williamsburg, central Connecticut, and Lewisburg, PA in the last three years, I didn’t really get exposed to the trendiest new restaurant chains.
So last summer I raved about the Whole Foods salad bar, but this takes salads to a new level. For those unfamiliar with these places, it’s not like they’re re-inventing the fast food wheel, they’re just doing it with salad. The restaurants typically have about eight or so salads on their menu. They are usually a combination of traditional options like a version of a Ceaser, something kind of Greek, a southwestern option, etc. And then you have the option to make your own where you can pick a certain number of veggies, protein, crunchy things; whatever you want.
I typically go with different options depending on the specific restaurant. For example, Sweet Green is a little more earthy/organic and I love the “Spicy Sabzi” which is a combination of kale and spinach, spicy quinoa, spicy broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, basil, roasted tofu, and I substitute dried cranberries because I don’t like the beets. And the dressing is Siracha and a carrot vinaigrette. Don’t you just feel healthier reading that description!Sweet Green
The Sweet Green is near my apartment (and conveniently on my walk back from the gym), but Chop’t is in the city just a few blocks from my office. I usually get the “Vegetarian Powerhouse” when I’m at Chop’t. It includes spinach and romaine, edemame, broccoli, carrots, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, and a “spa” balsamic vinaigrette.chopt
Plus the closet food option to my office, Devon and Blakely, has a great make your own salad option that is perfect for grabbing a quick lunch at work. The make your own option is always a little stressful for me because I never know what to choose, but I usually go with spinach, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, edemame, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and a balsamic vinaigrette. Pretty basic, lots of veggies and a little crunch.
So basically, I have turned into a rabbit here in DC and I’m loving it. I’m trying to find some moderation because it’s not always the most economical option, and I kind of wonder if I will burn out on salads. But right now, things are lean and green.
What are your go-to Summer meals? Do you like ordering from the menu or are you a make-your-own fan?

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