Ever since my first trip as a tot when I got carsick after swallowing the fluoride (I also ended up in the ER once after drinking furniture polish; even my freak childhood accidents are taste-based), no good has ever come of any of my trips to the dentist beyond the occasional hit of nitrous oxide. Until now: Dr. Eric Van Zytveld (if only Eric were spelled with an “h”; he could be the star of some kind of cross between

200px-630507549Littleshop.poster.cropped )

just told me to eat more steak—you know, for the iron content. Sweet! Because I’ve got leaves coming out the kazoo right now, & I don’t even know where that is.

Take Radda’s signature salad of Belgian endive sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts & grana padano & dressed with truffled “citronette,”

Raddasalad

i.e., vinaigrette using lemon juice instead of vinegar. Lemon-fresh it was indeed; in fact, the truffle was negligible by comparison. Which was no skin off my nose, since A) that would be gross, especially if I confused it with the cheese shavings & B) I thought there was plenty going on as it was—citrus-tartness, chicory-bitterness, filbert-earthiness, the cheese’s salty tang. (In fact, I lost far more naso-epidermis to my $12 polpetti con cannellini;

Raddameatballs

at 6 clams a small meatball, neither should have been dried out, which both were. Since Radda’s a sibling of Mateo, & since I dig Mateo, & since my pals liked their

Raddasandwich Raddagnocchi

chicken pesto panino & gnocchi alla bolognese, respectively,

though, I could nonetheless be suckered into going back for dinner sometime, especially if they’ve still got that fettuccine with rabbit, pomegranate & cauliflower (in Italian, coniglio, melagrana e cavolfiore—how almost comically gorgeous is that?) they’re listing now; after all, the prices, with no plate except the bistecca over $16, would be hard to beat so long as the food were too. I’m snarky, but I’m easy.)

Or take the Cherry Creek Grill’s Macho Salad—a moniker every septuagenerian from the prefeminist era must think is just a hoot—

CCGmachosalad

but the thing is popping with flavor muscles, I’ll give it that. Actually, though, with more avocado & chicken chunks than there are shreds of green, as well as slabs of fresh goat cheese, corn, ripe tomato, plentiful homemade cornbread croutons, almonds & dates—& not that Deglet Noor crud I’ve recently bitched about here & here, either, but luscious Medjool nuggets—it’s really more like an enlightened, oven-liberated casserole than a lunkheaded salad.

Or take the be-all end-all of the local bowl o’ sundries—Racine’s Nutty Cheese Salad.

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A top seller since the fern-bar era, it could’ve just as easily been dubbed the Cuckoo Cashew Salad, or the Loco Avocado Salad, or the Bananas Bananas Salad. Apparently, however, it could no longer be called the Preposterous Popped Wheat Salad, since the menu no longer lists the ingredient, which is a bit of a shame, but only a bit. It doesn’t even really call for the chicken I got on top—a little mixture of banana, avocado, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, grape tomatoes & shredded white cheddar & fontina cheeses atop mixed greens with a creamy, not cloying or sharp, honey-mustard dressing goes a long, long way. As does any given one-liner from the wisecrackers behind the bar, who according to a friend all attended “the Henny Youngman school of bartending.” Heh.