Yesterday I went somewhere that I have been dying to go to for months. A wonderful restaurant that I had only heard about. Sweet Tomatoes!
OK yes, technically Sweet Tomatoes is a buffet. But not only a buffet: a salad buffet, theMecca of all salad buffets. If you are a current or previous coworker who makes fun of me for eating giant salads day in and day out, then you will understand why I had been dying to go to Sweet Tomatoes. A current coworker suggested that we go here (he does after all see me eating salads everyday) and I was all about it.
I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of my food because I forgot my phone . But I got a hugeee salad with lettuce, spinach, celery, raw and cooked beets, sunflower seeds, a little bit of feta, cucumbers and lots of dill pickles. I also got soup, fountain diet coke (free refills) and a big bowl of froyo with sprinkles. This entire meal costs only 12.95. And I actually got it for free because my coworker bought it for me for my b-day (belated). But seriously, 12.95 for all you can eat???
So did Sweet Tomatoes live up to expectations?
Uh YES, did you read above?? Unlimited diet coke, salad, and fro-yo. I will admit, some of the items in the salad bar looked a bit sketchy. Some of the other patrons looked a bit, well, sketchy. But I avoided the sketchiness, as well as most of the pre-made stuff (pasta salads, coleslaw, etc) and just loaded up my plate with fresh vegetables and I found everything to be delicious!
Sidenote: Have you guys ever tried jicama? They have it in the salad bar. Gross!!
In general I don’t think buffets are the cats meow because let’s face it; all they really do is encourage overeating (and I did leave feeling very full). But a salad buffet is something I can get behind. They also did have pizza which looked soooo delicious but I’m still not eating gluten or wheat so I forced myself to stay away (it was really hard). I totally wish there was a Sweet Tomatoes closer to me, I would probably eat it everyday.
In recipe-ish news, I went to one of my fav grocery stores on Sunday night—Treasure Island, and saw that they had fresh okra on sale for a dollar something a pound. I have never tried fresh okra (only pickled) and was intrigued by it. So, I decided to buy some. I know that the common way of cooking it is to grill it (I know=I think). But I didn’t want to steal my neighbors grill just to cook okra. Better to do it at a more appropriate time, like say, when having a BBQ. So, I decided just to spray it with PAM, sprinkle with sea salt and bake. I baked it for 12ish minutes at 350.
I had read to make sure not to overcook okra or it gets slimy, so I took them out and took a bite. I didn’t really love the taste and I think the texture grossed me out too. They were kind of slimy, yet still really chewy and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the seeds. I want to like okra, so I keep trying it (hey, it usually works), but still can’t say I love it, or even like it for that matter. Does anyone have any advice for me on better ways to cook it so that I will like it?
In other news, check out my latest blog post about the Green City Market on the See More Shopping blog! My friend Liz is the owner of SeeMore Shopping which is a really cool website which gives database listings and updates on all of the stores in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs! I worked with Liz right when I first moved to Chicago doing shopping events and online work. I’m going to be regularly blogging for SeeMore on not only food related events, but also my other love: shopping!! So, go check it out if you have a chance!
Speaking of shopping…..for any of you deal-loving city dwellers, Zara is having a huge sale right now! I would highly recommend going. I got a leopard skirt that I talked myself out of buying last time I was there and a t-shirt for only 8 dollars! Mer and I both wanted a hot pink work pencil skirt but it was still 60 dollars. Not bad, but neither of us really needed it. We were thinking about splitting it but then still couldn’t decide. To make ourselves feel better about being responsible, we balled and crinkled it up to show how easily it gets wrinkled. HA, that did make me feel a lot better! Especially because we all know I don’t do the ironing around here!
Have you guys been to Sweet Tomatoes before? How do you feel about buffets in general?
Do you like shopping as much as me (that is probably not possible). But do you like shopping or hate it?