A couple of weeks ago, a Chopt restaurant opened reasonably close to my apartment and, from the first time I saw the "Coming Soon!" decals on the windows, I imagined myself trading a diet filled with foil-wrapped Wendy's burgers for brightly colored Chicken Tinga salads.
I honestly said the words "BROCCOLEAF FOR DAYS" as I walked into the restaurant on opening day, an attitude that lasted for exactly one singular day. It was partially because I can't quit Wendy's, partially because none of Chopt's salads came with a Frosty, and partially because it was just kinda expensive for a weekday lunch.
So, in an effort to both save money and eat more salad (or just eat less food with the words "three juicy patties" in the description), I ordered an Easy Speed Salad Maker, and again started to picture myself as someone who eats all the salads.
Buy: Easy Speed Salad Maker, $17 at Zootzi
You've probably seen this bowl (which has plenty of lookalikes on Amazon), or watched Eater or Barry Lewis' My Virgin Kitchen review it. The idea is that you fill the slotted bowl with your salad stuff, attach it to the tiny accompanying cutting board, and then slice through those knife-guides to make a fast salad without having to pick one of your fingertips out of the lettuce (I may or may not have problems with knives).
I tested this thing last night. I pulled both pieces out of the box, filled the bowl with my salad stuff — a boring assortment of lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and carrots — and immediately learned that only a quarter of that amount would fit inside it. Although the package promised that my salad would be done in 60 seconds (also, Done in 60 Seconds would clearly be the worst Nicolas Cage movie), I spent the first three minutes pre-chopping my ingredients so they'd fit in the tiny bowl and then another couple of minutes taking more lettuce out, while trying to find the right spot for the tomato.
According to the box, I should've made, like, six salads in that amount of time, but I was still hesitantly slicing two handfuls of lettuce and wondering why it wasn't working. I was legit ready to chuck the entire thing into the yard, when my boyfriend pointed out that I'd put it together backwards: There are two pieces and I'd flipped the base upside down. (Yes, Barry Lewis did the same thing and no, you don't want me around if you're building IKEA furniture).
After putting the cutting board piece right-side up, we were in business ... sort of. The end result was kind of chopped, but trying to slice the tomato through a pile of lettuce turned it into a squishy salad soup. Plus, the cucumber and the carrot chunks were still too big to eat in one bite, and the cutting board is made of such soft plastic that it was geometrically scarred after one use.
Technically the bowl did work, but it took way more than one minute, even without my poor attempts at spatial awareness. Chopping each veggie individually would be easier and less messy, and you wouldn't have a two-part salad bowl to clean afterward.
On the bright side, the bowl looks like it would be the perfect size to hold a large order of Wendy's fries. We'll call that a win.