It’s time to make amends for all the Christmas cookies, jelly-filled donuts, savory latkes, tamales, pierogi and second helpings of figgy pudding that may have been consumed over the last month.
It’s salad time.
Having lunched downtown for several years, I feel like I have eaten every salad available to me within a quarter mile radius of my desk. Fortunately, Downtown Detroit has plenty of rabbit food to choose from and the options are only growing. (There is even decorative purple kale planted in front of the Federal Reserve Building.)
One of the salad champions downtown is 7Greens (1222 Library), which has a bevy of gourmet options and you can build-your-own or choose from one of their creations. My favorite is Las Bear, which has an iceberg lettuce base and black beans, corn, avocado and a house-made chipotle ranch. Another gem is the Yoga Girl with baby spinach, kale, quinoa, carrots, roasted beets, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted tofu, Sriracha and miso dressing.
For something very simple, I’m a fan of Small Plates Detroit’s (1521 Broadway) quinoa and kale salad with just five ingredients: quinoa, kale, avocado, pomegranate and herb-citrus vinaigrette.
The power salad at Townhouse Detroit (500 Woodward) is available on their lunch and dinner menu. It’s packed with all the buzz-worthy foods: brown rice, red quinoa, jimaca and pumpkin seeds. It also has wild rice, chick peas, avocado and a honey-lime cilantro vinaigrette.
The new kid on the block, Maru Sushi (150 W. Fort) has a real winner with its kale salad. With everything else that’s in it — dried apricot, golden beets, potatoes, red onion, edamame, basil sour cream and Romano cheese — you may not even notice the kale. It comes with a sweet and thick poppy seed dressing and a crisp slice of baguette. Order it during the Maru’s express lunch, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. weekdays, and it’s just $13.
For a salad under $10, the hot spot is Green Room (120 W. Congress) and has been for more than 20 years. The carry-out only business features a well-stocked, build-you-own salad bar with five types of greens, and more than two dozen toppings.
Several of the dozen or so soups offered are made in-house, including the popular turkey chili. The Green Room also does catering, and often times items from the catering menu, like pasta salad and stuffed grape leaves, will show up in the salad bar.
For Oakland County diners, the Peas & Carrots Hospitality restaurant group is running a “Month of Salad” promotion.
For $99, guests can get a salad a day for the whole month at any of the group’s restaurants, which include Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham, Beau’s Grillery in Bloomfield Hills and MEX in Bloomfield Hills and at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills.
The restaurants are offering a special menu for the promotion — the salads on the regular menus are not included. Guest can build their own choosing among different lettuces, vegetables, dressings and other toppings.
When you figure that the deal includes lunch, dinner or carry-out through Jan. 31, it is a good starting point for detoxing from post-holiday carbs and sweets. The $99 doesn’t include tax or tip, and protein add-ons costs extra.
In this country many people view January as a month to reset and start the year off right, and that includes watching what they drink, as well as eat. Gyms and exercise classes are fuller than usual, and I have several friends that participate in “dry January” where they swear off alcohol for the first month of the year (even more strive for “damp January” where they simply try their best).
Check out the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for information on sobriety beyond the post-holiday detox. Visit niaaa.nih.gov for information.