Monday, October 29, 2012

Tender Greens (Santa Monica)

I must apologize yet again for my rash inconsistency since moving to LA. The transition has been rough, odd, fulfilling, and suspenseful all of which have caused a number of my former hobbies to take a back seat. Another more pertinent reason is the high cost on the west side of Los Angeles which tends to inflate the price for everything as you may discover in this post. Even with all of these barriers I am consistently trying to rekindle my passion with writing and critiquing food.

Now that I am done complaining we can proceed to our next stop. Tender Greens is a local chain of restaurants catering to the stereotypical Southern California resident. They serve a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and small platters consisting of healthy locally grown organic produce. Luckily the closest location is right off the famous 3rd Street Promenade which is walking distance from both my home and work.

My first experience came during an impromptu lunch gathering on a Friday afternoon. The choice was surprising because my coworkers don't come off as being very health conscious. Regardless I welcomed the opportunity to try something new. Once we arrived we were greeted by a line walking out the door which is not surprising due to the high volume of people the neighborhood attracts.

While in line we basked in the gorgeous 75 degree sunlight with a mild breeze while scanning the menu. Before I knew it I was in front of the attendant who takes orders. Still unsure of what to get I happened to randomly pick the grilled octopus salad. Once you place in order you are subjected to walk along the open kitchen in an act of culinary torture. As I walked passed all the different food being prepared I could not help but second guess my decision.

At the end of the line I was presented my salad along with a fresh lemonade I had to go with it. Once I paid we ruthlessly searched for a place to sit in the chaos that is the lunch rush. We were lucky to scrounge a table in their outside patio area. The salad is rather large which is a good thing since it costs $11. I was given a generous portion of octopi which went well with the grilled lemon vinaigrette that is was topped with. Basking in the gorgeous sun on an October afternoon I could not help but reminisce of my weekly visits to Sweetgreen for a light salad followed by a walk along the Waterfront in Georgetown.

(Chipotle Barbeque Chicken Salad) 

Enjoying my first experience I decided that spending my next Friday afternoon here would be ideal. When the day rolled by to my utter surprise it was a sunny cloudless day (get the massive amount of sarcasm). The line wasn't as hectic this go around which was a pleasant surprise. When it was my time to order I decided to order the chipotle barbeque chicken salad as well as a pomegranate lemon bar to treat myself for a hard week of work.

Once I was finished the culinary death march I was presented my food which made me $18 poorer. The salad consisted of romaine hearts, avocado, queso fresco, green onion, and crispy tortilla strips all topped off with a cilantro lime dressing. It was light and refreshing as expected, you can really tell the ingredients are of the highest quality.

(Pomegranate Lemon Bar)

After finishing my salad I proceeded to the lemon bar. While my time here has been short I can easily say this is one of the best things I have eaten in LA so far and one of the best snacks I have ever eaten. Each pomegranate seed burst with a tsunami of flavor that jolted my senses and matched well with the sweetness of the lemon. I am not much of a sweets person as you may know but I will definitely have this again in the near future. 

 All in all I am pleased with this restaurant. The food is good but pricy for me to go to everyday. The lines can be long but it is well worth it. When you go you can get a salad, a sandwich of sorts or a platter which consists of a meat (or tuna) with some delicious mashed potatoes and a side salad. A must try if you are in the mood for healthy food in the Santa Monica area. 

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