Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Handlebar Salad

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago which was an absolutely fantastic time between whirlwinds of food, meeting family, and catching up on sleep. Many great stories came out of the long weekend but one eating experience surprisingly stood out among the rest. Perhaps it was because it was the final good eats of the trip.
Sunday afternoon Matt and I ended up at a small bar in downtown Chicago called Handlebar Bar & Grill. Thanks to Android technology and the ability to google 'vegan restaurants' near Chicago we found ourselves surrounded by band posters and fake crows, and being waited on by what I can honestly only describe as a "hipster."
First of all, any restaurant in which about 90% of the menu can be made vegan wins my vote. Second, I experienced the best salad dressing of my life. I love salad with a burning passion. Not only is there overwhelming research on the health benefits of leafy greens, it is also way too much fun to concoct salad dressings (and very remeniscent of chemistry labs...).
The Handlebar Salad is obviously the house salad consisting of arugula, walnuts, parmesan (I opted out of this ingredient), and pear, topped in a champagne honey mustard dressing. I am not sure what made this dressing so amazing but I was floored. Absolutely floored. Here's my attempt to recreate, however due to being a poor college student (and under 21) I had to skip the champagne but you gotta make do with what you got!
The Handlebar Salad

3 c greens (1)
a small handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped (2)
1/4 of a pear, thinly sliced (3)

Honey Mustard Dressing
2 T vinegar (I used brown rice vinegar)
1 T oil (I used olive oil)
1 T mirin (use Champagne instead, if available!)
1 t dijon mustard
1 t honey
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

(1) I used Pesticide-Free Spicy Salad Mix from Sunseed Farms
(2) from Earnst Farm
(3) I used a Bosc pear from the farmer's market but I don't remember the name of the vendor, unfortunately
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