Salad showdown

As always, apologies for just posting now. Sometimes life gets in the way. That’s why this here post is combining two days’ worth of stuff.

So yesterday for lunch, and the day before for dinner, I had almost essentially the same meal: a leafy salad with walnuts, cheese, cranberries, and vinaigrette. Why not compare the two? Consider it done!

Lovely, no? And even nicer when it's bustling.

In this corner: Waterhouse Tavern & Grill
Why I was there: Trivia night, since the Oscars preempted our usual trivia gig
What it is: Right next to the Paulina train station, a narrowish but deep space with brick walls, chandeliers, and high banquettes/stools. Loved the cozy, softly lit atmosphere and the TVs scattered every few tables showing Blackhawks or Bulls.
What I had: The Waterhouse salad, because I needed a good salad to dial down the carb meter that day. I ordered it with chicken, just to add some protein.
On the side: The Boy and I split an order of soft pretzels, which were big enough to share with the whole table.
Price: $7.50 for the salad, $3 for the chicken on top, and another $7.50 for the pretzels
Overall impression: The dish was *huge*. If I had known, I wouldn’t have gotten the chicken topper! (Though I’m glad I did, it was warm and perfectly seasoned, and grilled just right.) Every forkful held at least one morsel of cranberry, walnut, bleu cheese, or green apple chunk. Very satisfied and got a lot for a great price. Also, the pretzels were scrumdiddlyumptious, all gooey and hot and tender, with a good honey mustard dip.

It's a van, it's a pop-up restaurant, it's lunch! (Photo by foodtruckgroupie.tumblr.com)

And in this corner: Taquero Fusion
Why I was there: I didn’t bring lunch from home (bad Burbgirl!) and went to a midmorning doctor appointment (don’t worry, nothing wrong) that went w-a-yyyyy too long. This was the quickest thing as I rushed back to the office.
What it is: Taquero Fusion itself is a food truck, one of many serving Chicago. In this case, the taco/Latino fusion cuisine was presented not at curbside but in the office building’s lobby courtesy of Fooda, a service that brings “pop-up” restaurants to random places. The food servers had their wares in chafing dishes on long tables draped with Fooda banners.
What I had: The Fusion salad, which is essentially the Waterhouse salad minus apple but plus croutons, with manchego cheese in place of the bleu. I skipped adding chicken this time, so as not to completely rerun the previous night’s meal. I opted for the salad instead of the soup because it seemed easier to carry on the train, and instead of the tacos because I didn’t have to worry about it getting cold.
On the side: Since it was only 89 cents, I got an order of chips and salsa.
Price: $7 for the whole shebang
Overall impression: It’s really hard to be fair, since between the ride back and having to wait for breaks between assignments at work (I’d used up my lunch hour–and then some–for the doctor visit) everything sat a while before I had a chance to eat it. So the chips, a mix of tortilla and banana, got a bit soggy and the salsa congealed. And the greens went a bit limp, although I have to say the croutons held up just fine. Overall, it was a decent meal for the price.

The winner: For sheer deliciousness and value, I’d have to go with Waterhouse. But if I had been able to eat the Taquero Fusion right away, the verdict might be different. (Then again, if I had been able to eat it right away, maybe I would have gotten tacos instead!)

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