Friday, March 14, 2008


In my search to find some good places to grab lunch around my work, I wandered into Cosi the other day. Cosi is a chain that's starting to gain in popularity amongst the growing numbers of lunchers looking for something fresh yet quick. With freshly baked signature breads, a plethora of different salad and sandwich ingredients, soups and pretty reasonable prices, they are gaining a lot in popularity.

I've been trying to find a lunch entree that I can eat on a regular basis that is still healthy--not an easy task when going out!--so after combing the options (their website has assortment of nutritional data for their menu), I went for the Bombay Chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette. I can't comment on the bread, but it certainly looked and smelled delicious.

The salad was made extremely quick, although it's always annoying when you have a question for the person taking your order and they don't understand English beyond names of different menu items so you have to wait while they wait for another co-worker to finish what they are doing to come over and listen to your question by which point your insignificant question makes you feel like you're really needlessly holding up the line.

The salad was decent with some interesting ingredients though maybe a bit too bitter lettuce although I know some prefer it that way. However, the only glaring problem with the salad was that all of the ingredients were being kept in stainless steel buckets buried in pile of ice making all of the ingredients icy cold. As any good chef knows, most flavors are subdued when they are too cold. It's why expensive cheese is allowed to sit on the cheese board before being eaten, why ice cream is best when it is soft and just beginning to melt, and why college students will throw cheap alcohol they want to taste as little of as possible into the freezer.

Tomatoes in particular is an example of a food whose flavor benefits greatly from being at room temperature and when they along with the other ingredients are icy cold, it really brings down the whole salad. I know this might make it more difficult to provide lots of different fresh ingredients if you can't keep it stored in ice buckets all day, but the fact remains that the salad itself suffers. Really though, I don't see why they can't at the very least heat the chicken up slightly before adding it to the salad at the end. Even Subway will throw it into a microwave.

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