Best Salad - 2007
Cobb Salad at Cafe Boulud
Of course, it's just a chicken salad, but that's like saying a Silver Shadow the one just now pulling up at the valet station is just a car. Or that the six-foot-six bruiser in the Armani suit sitting at the corner table is just a football player. If you're wondering what chicken salad is doing on the lunch menu of a place that carries the imprimatur of a chi-chi New York chef like Daniel Boulud, just consider its pedigree. We have Robert Cobb, who invented this salad for starlets at his L.A. eatery the Brown Derby, to thank for what amounts to the centerpiece of an unimprovable luncheon particularly when it's served on good china in a cozy room flooded with natural, midwinter Palm Beach light. The Cobb salad has survived since 1936, a classic beloved by hotels like the Brazilian Court, because, like a Shakespeare poem or a Jackson Pollock painting, it harmoniously reconciles contradictions. And also because it's the best hangover cure a $20 bill can buy. Hence, chunks of poached chicken breast, creamy avocado, kernels of sweet corn, bits of crisp salty lardons, heirloom tomatoes, barely firm egg yolks, blue cheese tossed with buttermilk dressing and the freshest salad greens go a long way especially on a Saturday afternoon to help you forgive yourself for the night before. Honestly, you probably looked adorable with that lampshade on your head.