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Food & Drink

Best Salads 

Pluto's

The best salads are the ones you toss together yourself, and at Pluto's, a chain of eight NorCal quasihealthy fast-food joints, you (almost) do just that. Each venue has a well-stocked salad station where you tell the server behind the counter what you'd like; happily, the ingredients at hand are several steps above what you might find at your typical salad bar. Choose from impeccably fresh field greens, romaine lettuce, or baby spinach as your foliage du jour. The fun part is deciding which of the two dozen fixings to throw on top: Grilled fennel? Blue cheese? Sweet walnuts? Jicama? Grilled tri-tip? Broiled sausage? Roasted red peppers? Grilled portobello? There are five dressings to pick from (Caesar, honey mustard, cilantro-lime, Gorgonzola, or a nice, sprightly balsamic), and the end result is an amazingly satisfying, salubrious, and delectable meal for under $7. (The housemade Rice Krispies Treat makes a nice chaser.)

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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