Article and photos by Justine de Jesus
I have to admit – I haven’t always been the biggest fan of salads. As a self-professed carnivore, treating myself meant indulging with a typical burger at Shake Shack, or xiao long bao at Dim Sum House. Salad never fell under my list of cravings; salad was always the supporting character. I didn’t hate it (hate is a strong word), but it was never the highlight of any meal. It was less about the taste and more about making sure I didn’t OD on the unhealthy stuff.
The campus food scene has certainly tested my limits – turns out you can’t actually eat ice cream EVERY day. But funnily enough, it has also managed to change my attitudes towards the humble salad. Honeygrow, Sweetgreen, Beefsteak, HipCityVeg, JustSalad: the rise of the healthy eating trend means that you can grab a salad at almost any block around campus. This variation also means that salad isn’t just a pile o’ mysterious green stuff: more and more restaurants are paying attention to making sure these salads stay fresh and innovative, so people like me don’t have feel like eating healthy is such a chore.
The folks over at Beefsteak have mastered the art of staying fresh. This spring, they have updated their menu to provide Penn students with a new range of dishes sourcing the best, in-season ingredients. The other week, Penn Appetit’s Social Media Director Nicole and I got the chance to join Beefsteak for a private tasting for their spring menu, and trust me: we loved it.
(1) The Beefsteak Burger
If you know me, you know me + tomatoes = a big fat no. When the tray of Beeksteak’s returning favorite, the Beefsteak burger, emerged from the kitchen, fear was just one word to describe the expression on my face. However, the whole miniature thing was really getting to me; as a food blogger after all, I knew I had to be open to trying anything. In all honesty, if there was one thing to convert me from my tomato-phobia, this could be it. A fresh, hearty tomato paired with a vegan mayo and a perfectly golden olive oil bun.
(2) Santorini Salata Bowl
Nicole and I were promised that the Santorini Salata Bowl was an explosion of flavors, essentially combining multiple salads in one. Although the bowl does in fact feature a wide array of components – a rich and smoky red pepper hummus, asparagus with garlic yogurt, wheat berry salad – the flavors complement each other perfectly, creating a bowl that reminds me of the flavors from my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. In my opinion, the best part about bowl was the hummus and curried cauliflower – when you do want to opt out of eating meat, the Santorini bowl is one way to still indulge in a savory treat.
*quick drink interruption*
Although not unique to their spring update, one of my favorite highlights from the tasting was Beefsteak’s Lavender Lemonade – never in my life would I think that I would like the taste of flower, but here I am, channeling my inner Mary berry and digging the lavender vibes.
(3) Avo-Toasty Bowl
The last dish we tried was Beefsteak’s Avo-Toasty bowl. The first thing to point out is – CARBS. Again, as a recent salad convert, I jump at every time a salad dish includes a little side of toasted bread or crispy croutons. Needless to say, I think the photo says it all: Beefsteak is very generous with their beautifully golden toasted brioche bits. As hinted at in the name, this dish is perfect for all the avocado toast lovers out there – Beefsteak makes sure that the bowl isn’t too rich with their creamy avocado, which is paired with just the right kind of garnishes: pickled red onion, sprouts, and *drumroll* A. POACHED. EGG. I’m drooooling.
As we’re powering into these last few weeks of the school year, make sure to take care of your body and fuel up with some healthy meals to get through those late night papers and daily finals!