Summer Salad Daze

So many salads, so little time.

We all know that summer can be short-lived, so we have to take advantage of it while we can. But instead of making hay while the sun shines, I’ll be eating salad.

Lots of it. Mounds of crisp green romaine, spicy arugula, sassy watercress, intriguing radicchio. Goat, bleu, feta and fresh mozzarella cheeses. Impossibly sweet cherry tomatoes, zesty scallions and radishes, crunchy carrots and pea pods. Bring ‘em on.

I’m an equal opportunity salad eater. I’ll do vinaigrette or creamy dressings; seafood, steak or chicken; hell, I’ll even eat some grilled marinated tofu. Just one caveat: no Miracle Whip. Or raisins. Otherwise, I’m good.

Here are the North Shore salads that have me in a daze. Don’t get in my way!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad at Lulu’s, Evanston: crunchy mixed greens, grilled beef, cilantro, mint, peanuts and a crispy spring roll … what’s not to like? It hits all of the tastebuds.

Lime and Cilantro Chicken Salad
at Nordstrom Café, Old Orchard, Skokie: baby greens, romaine, jack cheese, roasted peppers, tomato, corn, pumpkin seeds, cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Bold Southwestern flavor.

Grilled Salmon Nicoise at Convito Café, Wilmette: greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, egg, nicoise olives, red wine vinaigrette. Big, bright bistro flavors.

Jenniper Salad at Three Tarts, Northfield: goat cheese, dried cranberries, cucumbers, greens, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. A standard. Throw in a mini chicken tarragon wrap for complete happiness.

Chick Fattoush Salad
at Pita Inn: romaine, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, parsley and chicken shawarma with lemony vinaigrette and pita croutons. A little spicy, a little exotic, a lot good.  (Wheeling location at 122 S. Elmhurst Rd; Skokie location at 3910 Dempster St.)

Ahi Crunchy Salad at Yardhouse, Glenview: seared rare tuna, field greens, asian slaw and crispy wontons, soy vinaigrette. So much right with this salad it’s hard to know where to start. Mmmmm.

Thai Chopped Chicken Salad at Panera Bread: roasted edamame and carrots, red peppers, thai vinaigrette, pepper-mustard sliced chicken, wonton strips, cilantro, romaine, cashew brittle, peanut sauce drizzle. Currently a test product only available in the Chicago market. Run—do not walk—to the nearest Panera.

Mediterranean Shrimp Salad at Wildfire, Glenview: grilled shrimp skewers, spinach and chopped lettuce, goat cheese, olives, artichokes, snap peas, lemon vinaigrette, flat bread. These shrimp gladly gave themselves up for your salad delectation and delight.

Greek Salad with Gyros at Cross Rhodes, 913 Chicago Ave., Evanston: feta, cucumber, tomato, thinly sliced sweet onion, kalamata olives, red wine vinaigrette, and thinly sliced hot gyros. Simply the world’s best. I’m a bit partial—I’ve been eating this salad for twenty years. Gotta have it.

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