Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Salata

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a very relaxing Memorial Day Weekend (if you were lucky enough to have Monday off, that is)! It poured all day - all weekend, really - in Austin, but it let up enough so that we were able to enjoy a beautiful evening. It was the perfect day to stay inside to do some classroom crafting, as well as some baking, but more on that in a later post.

I have a wonderful restaurant review for you guys today, but first, let's get through the routine news.

Breakfast + Workout

I woke up to rain this morning, so I let myself lie in bed for a little while before eventually getting up to make my usual scrambled egg whites and spinach (but first, I made my bed).

I planned to attend a 10am BodyPump class at the gym, so I packed a few of my banana-oatmeal-almond butter muffins in a Ziploc bag and ate them just before class began. I really love taking BodyPump classes, but I also don't take them regularly enough to not feel sore the next day. So, I have a feeling I will not want to get out of bed tomorrow!

The bicep and lunge tracks were particularly challenging this morning, and I have a love/hate relationship with what I think are called progression lunges. We started off by putting one leg on an exercise step (sans blocks), and one on the ground directly behind us in a reverse lunge position, simply moving up and down with 5-lb weights in each hand.
Up and down movement - legs remaining in this position (Source)
We then progressed to keeping that simple lunge movement, but we added to it by bringing that back foot back up to the starting position on the step before taking it back and completing that same reverse lunge movement again.

Step One 
Step Two
After eight reps of that movement, we progressed into our final movement, which meant that instead of stopping that back leg at the platform, we brought our knee up, as if we were doing high knees. This one killed me, but as always, I was glad I didn't quit!

Step One (Source)
Step Two 
Step Three

Now for the exciting part of this post! I think I've mentioned a couple of trips to Salata before on this blog, and I absolutely LOVE it (the fact that there is one located so close to my house in Houston is one of the greatest attractions to moving back home). So, when Brooke reached out to me about reviewing the recently opened Austin Salata, I jumped at the opportunity. This Salata opened just over a month ago, and I have driven by it quite a few times, but I had not yet had an opportunity to stop in. So, this past Thursday, Dylan and I drove out to the ArborWalk Shopping Center to enjoy a healthy and refreshing lunch.

We were greeted right away, and I was told to ask for Kasey, the franchise owner for the Austin and San Antonio locations. She was so sweet in explaining how everything worked, and told us that she would be the one taking care of us today.

Salata offers salad and wraps, and though we both went for the salad options, I saw someone eating a wrap and I vowed to get that next time, as it looked great! Anyway, the way Salata works, and the reason I think I like it so much is because it reminds me of many frozen yogurt establishments, in which you get to create your very own dessert. The salad option might just be a little bit healthier!

So, you start out by picking your greens - I went with spinach, and Dylan went with the romaine hearts, but you can also choose from mixed kale/spinach as well as mixed greens. I'm a creature of habit, and I have always only gotten the spinach, but everything always looks great.

Going down the line, you can then choose to add as many fruits and vegetables as you please. And they have just about everything you can think of. You can see all that there is to choose from in the picture, but I added black olives, green olives, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, and chopped pineapple to mine. There is seriously so much to choose from, and you can add as many ingredients as you want with no additional charge, as each salad starts at either $7 or $8, for the small or regular, respectively, and the only additional cost is for the protein.

There are also options to add sliced and chopped nuts - Dylan added some sliced almonds to his - as well as cheese, though you guys know I had to pass on that one!

Once you get through with the fruit and veggie toppings, you get to the wide array of dressing options. I unfortunately didn't manage to snag a pic of the different dressing options, but they have all the usual options - balsamic vinageriette (my fav), ranch, honey mustard, caesar, and they also have options such as ginger lime, mango, and sun-dried mango. What I love about Salata is the fact that they let you sample as many dressings as you would like before committing to putting one on your salad. Bonus points, for sure!

Moving on down the line, next you have an option to add protein. Not one to pass on meat or seafood to go atop my salad, I went with the Herb Marinated Grilled chicken, but you can choose from so many options, such as Pesto chicken, Spicy Chipotle chicken, and Asian BBQ chicken. 

And for your seafood options, there is Herb Marinated or Spicy shrimp, Baked salmon, Krabmeat, and a Seafood mix. So, in other words, something for everyone!

Finally, you can choose between three types of bread, which comes with your salad. You can choose between pesto bread (Dylan got this, and I was immediately jealous), wheat bread (not pictured here - I chose this option, and it was also excellent), and spicy chipotle bread. I have no doubt that that one would taste excellent as well. They send the bread through a toaster oven so that it is nice and warm by the time it gets to you. More bonus points.

And finally, though we did not choose to add any soup to our meal, you have the option to add either a cup or a bowl of broccoli, tortilla, or tomato basil soup. I'm sure it will be perfect in the colder months, as I cannot seem to fathom the idea of soup during a Texas summer!

After we were checked out at the register, we were given cups and encouraged to try their different flavors of lemonade. Dylan remarked that this is truly a healthy restaurant, as they don't even have soda as an option.

I started out with water, but Dylan started with the raspberry lemonade, which was our very favorite throughout the entire meal. We also tried the peach lemonade, as well as the Arnold Palmer, and while both were excellent, the raspberry won the gold that afternoon.

Overall, I can't say enough about my experience at Salata, and I think Dylan would second that notion. I love the build-your-own salad concept, because there are so many times that I like the sound of a salad, save one or two ingredients, so I like that I am able to customize this to whatever I want. Like I mentioned earlier, the options are truly endless, so you are sure to find something that suits your taste. And, there is no judgment for asking for topping after topping after topping - it is your salad, after all! We also loved how fresh all of the ingredients were, as well as the fact that all of the employees take care to make sure each topping container never got too low.

In the state of Texas, Salata has locations in Austin, Houston (Sugar Land and The Woodlands, included), Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as in Addison, Fort Worth, Irving, and Plano. Salata can also be found in California, so click here to find one near you. I already know I will be making a return trip very, very soon.

So, a huge thank you to Brooke for reaching out to me with this opportunity, to Kasey for taking such good care of us, and for the Salata chain as a whole. I give you guys five stars, and I absolutely love the concept of this next generation salad bar. It's fast, easy, healthy, and delicious. So, stop by Salata and be ready to eat good, look good, and feel good.

Over and out - I'll check back in with y'all tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Kelli, thank you so much for the amazing review! You are the cutest and it was so fun to meet you and Dylan. Stop by anytime and good luck in Houston!