Some coworkers and I went out to lunch last week at T.G.I. Friday’s and, as I had a late breakfast that day, I didn’t really want something too heavy. I started looking over their lunch menu and noticed that they had a Cobb salad — and considering that Cobb salads have both avocado and blue cheese, I could hardly resist. But, if you’re not familiar with Cobb salads, here’s the gist of how they got started:
One night in 1937, Bob Cobb, then owner of The Brown Derby, prowled hungrily in his restaurant’s kitchen for a snack. Opening the huge refrigerator, he pulled out this and that: a head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing. He started chopping. Added some crisp bacon — swiped from a busy chef. […]
Now, I don’t think the T.G.I. Friday’s version had watercress and I can't recall whether it had chives, but this was a fantastic salad. As described by their menu, their Cobb salad has “chilled chargrilled chicken, crisp bacon, avocado, Colby cheese, egg, black olives, tomatoes and Bleu cheese on salad greens”:
Grilled chicken: Unlike some poseur grilled-chicken ### salads (like the grilled chicken Cesar salads that some restaurants have), the chicken was sliced into bite-sized pieces. It always annoyed me when restaurants slapped4” slices of chicken onto a salad; but, that wasn’t the case here.
Bacon: This was real bacon, natch, and not some of that soybean-based fake bacon. And, it was cooked to a point of crispiness (but not yet crunchiness) which, as I see it, may the optimal texture for salad-based bacon.
Avocado: Here’s where the salad really shone. Of course, I'm a bit of an avocado fiend as it is and I'll order nearly anything if avocado is a primary ingredient. However, nothing ruins an avocado-based dish more quickly than unripe avocado (bleh). But, this avocado was ripe and soft — I really couldn’t believe that Friday’s hadn’t screwed this part up as restaurants so often use almost-ripe avocados on hamburgers and the like.
Hardboiled egg halves: Other than overcooking them, it's hard to flub a hard boiled egg. And, sure enough, these eggs were cooked properly and halves (which meant that I didn’t have to manually slice them myself).
Diced black olives It doesn’t look like diced olives were part of the original salad, but they worked well here. And, like the eggs, it’s hard to incorrectly add olives to a salad ;).
Blue cheese: Like the avocado, the blue cheese was another stand-out in this salad. Really, I was expecting a few pea-sized bits of blue cheese scattered throughout the salad, but the blue cheese in this salad was generously sized, of which some chucks were almost approaching the size of those bite-sized (cube-shaped) candybars that are popular around Halloween.
At the time I ordered it, I was thinking to myself that I’d “just have a salad” and that I’d order “something more substantial” next time. But, this salad had a deliciousness that surpassed my expectations and I’ll definitely have one again sometime.