Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Salad from Spain's Fresc Co Chain

My Salad

I hate buffets and I hate chain restaurants, especially when there is so much good local food to be had. But surprisingly one thing that we haven't encountered too much around here despite our presence on the Mediterranean has been a simple salad. Sure, there have been plenty of olives, tomatoes, and bell peppers to be had, but a pile of leafy greens was something that we needed to reset our systems after all of the sodium and cholesterol that we've been ingesting. So we popped on into one of these salad bar chains that seemed to be a Spanish version of Souplantation or Fresh Choice from back in California.

It really was pretty much the same thing: pay a flat fee, grab an institutional tray and utensils, and get unlimited access to a long salad bar. There were also other stations featuring soup, pasta, and pizza...and unattractively thick slices at that. Inevitably making an appearance was that ever-present hallmark of such buffets: the soft-serve ice cream machine. I was hoping that we would have at least encountered some local twists within the spread, but that was really limited to a large selection of olive oil, some grilled eggplant, and a salty fish soup. That, and some tangy little oranges and a selection of local wines.

In the end, I got the same feeling that I get when going to Souplantation: I was physically full from the unlimited food but emotionally a bit disgusted by the cafeteria-like experience. At least it was healthy, and in that sense, our mission was accomplished. Time to go back to more ham and beer now.

1 comment:

lobstersquad said...

Hi: I have to ask. Are you coming to Madrid on this trip? I´d be happy to recommend places. I´m suffering for you. That marmitako looks revolting, and the idea of Fres Co just about kills me.
Not that you´ll find a basic green salad here, either. Spain is the country of the olives-beets-boiled egg-asparagus-carrots simple salad. On iceberg lettuce, of course.