Simply Food: T-Bones Style Salad

Sometimes I order a salad off of the restaurant menu because I feel like I need to eat some vegetables and greens. In these cases, I am making a healthy choice. There are times when I know I have to load up on vegetables. Choosing a salad for my meal is a great way to eat healthier and usually means I won’t be consuming as many calories as I would if I chose something else. Other times, I choose a salad off of the restaurant menu because it is the most delicious dish listed. This just so happens to be the case with the T-Bones Salad.

T-Bones is a restaurant in Las Vegas. It is in the Red Rock Casino and not very far from where we live. There have been times when I have craved this salad and begged Claud to take me there so I can eat it. It’s that good. Well, maybe I don’t beg. This salad is not the healthiest dish on the menu because it has bacon and cheese. It is a chopped salad, which I love. Chopped salads are so delicious because they tend to have lots of great ingredients all mixed together so that each bite contains all of them. I think chopped salads are my favorite. The T-Bones salad contains bacon, Gorgonzola cheese and is smothered in a creamy dressing. I always order it without the bacon; secretly wishing they will put it in there anyway. Without fail, it always arrives with the bacon! I never complain. I just eat it anyway and thank goodness it’s in there because the saltiness of the bacon makes the salad taste scrumptious. I do try not to get it but I really love bacon.

The salad is beautiful when it arrives. They bring it to me shaped like a cylinder. It looks small too, but it is packed and formed into this shape and once you break it up on your plate, it is bigger than you think. The first thing I do when the salad is finally sitting in front of me is to ask for some freshly ground black pepper. Black pepper goes so well with the Gorgonzola. Then, I dive in, savoring every tantalizing bite. The salad is pretty rich and sometimes I can’t finish it. I always give it my best shot.

This week I wanted to eat a T-Bones salad. I had that craving I occasionally get. However, T-Bones is not an inexpensive restaurant and dinner there wasn’t in our budget. So, I decided to take it upon myself to make a homemade version. How hard could it be? I know all of the ingredients and I could just wing it on the dressing. So, off to the store I went to find what I needed. I bought vegetarian bacon. I know, gross? Well, it wasn’t bad after all. The whole house smelled like bacon as it cooked. Jack wandered out from his room knowing Claud wasn’t home (Claud is the only real meat eater in the family) and said, “mom, you’re cooking bacon?” He was horrified. I told him it was vegetarian bacon. Those words didn’t rid him of his disgust. I can’t win with him. This bacon comes out a bit crispy, almost like a cracker but it works well as bacon bits for this salad because it does have a distinct bacon flavor and crunches like bacon bits. I don’t think it would be too satisfying alongside scrambled eggs. I also bought avocados because this salad always has loads of chopped up avocado in it. The avocado mixed with the Gorgonzola creates an out of this world texture and flavor.

Everything was coming together well. Although, I was surprised at how long it takes to chop everything up into tiny pieces. They must do this all ahead of time. My dressing, which was a simple vinaigrette with Dijon and white wine vinegar, tasted just like theirs. It might be exactly what they use. Finally, I wanted to figure out how they put it into the cylinder form. I looked into my cupboards searching for the right shape. I decided on a ramekin. I stuffed some of the salad into the ramekin and turned it over onto the plate. It worked perfectly. It looked just like the T-Bones cylinder. More importantly, it tasted just like it too and costs so much less. I did have to do all of the chopping work, but it was well worth it. This salad is worth the money when you have it and definitely worth the time to make it at home.

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