February 13

Eat and Run: Daily Greens in Portland

The new salad bar in the Public Market House offers lots of variety and fresh ingredients

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

This is the time of year when your body starts to rebel against all the winter comfort food.

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John Conzelman, owner of Daily Greens, composes a salad for a customer.

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A salad at Daily Greens, located in the Public Market House in Portland.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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DAILY GREENS

WHERE: Public Market House, 28 Monument Square, 2nd floor Portland; 747-4920

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

WAIT: Just as long as it takes to make your salad

PARKING: On street or nearby garage

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

That soothing chicken soup you had in November to ward off an impending cold now makes you a little ill when you think about eating it.

No matter how creamy the mac-n-cheese, no matter how delectable the meaty pot pie, there comes a time when your palate hits a wall. You’re done with couch-potato food, and your brain is screaming for vegetables that do not come in the form of a slow-cooker stew.

If you need a little push toward the spinach and the carrots and the kale, here it is: There’s a (relatively) new salad bar in the Public Market House called Daily Greens. It’s one of those places where you pay by the pound ($7.99/lb) for all the greens and veggies you want to pile into your plastic container. The odd thing about Daily Greens is that, while you obviously choose what you want in your salad, the guys behind the sneeze guard are the ones who make it for you.

They appear to be careful about it, but it’s still a little awkward since no one knows but you how many spoonfuls of chickpeas you want, and do you want one artichoke heart or three?

The process is spelled out for you on their sign, just in case you’ve been living under a rock the past 30 years and have never been to a salad bar before. You start with your greens, then move on to toppings and end by selecting a dressing. The fun part at Daily Greens is the variety of items they offer. The greens are actually fairly simple – spinach, romaine, iceberg or “harvest blend,” which is kind of like a spring mix.

But then you move on to toppings, and there are (they claim) more than 40 to choose from. I counted 40 exactly on their board the day I visited, and they were out of a couple of things I asked for, but I suppose that’s a minor point. They still had plenty of toppings, and some of them are refreshingly different: watermelon radish, hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds), bulls blood (a type of microgreen), apricots.

I started my salad with the harvest blend greens, which – like everything else at the bar – seemed really fresh. Toppings are divided into categories – vegetables, microgreens, fruits, nuts and seeds, protein, cheese and “crunch,” a category that includes croutons, sesame noodles and tortilla strips. I asked for some chicken from the protein list, and the employee making my salad kindly stopped after two or three slices to make sure he wasn’t overloading with this heavier ingredient. I added red onion, gorgonzola and walnuts. I asked for peas but they were out, so I added snap beans. I wanted bulls blood, but they had basil instead and I passed.

Somehow, corn kernels I did not ask for ended up in my salad.

The menu includes a nice selection of dressings, including some that are vegan and gluten-free, such as cranberry citrus vinaigrette and ginger sesame vinaigrette. I chose my favorite, blue cheese, but the honey mustard with bacon and the Parmesan peppercorn also sounded good.

When it came time for the weigh-in, my salad came to $7 and change, and I had enough moeny left from my 10 bucks to buy a blood orange San Pelligrino.

Fewer calories, less guilt, but still plenty of flavor.

Take that, winter.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

mgoad@pressherald.com

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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