From "Our Salads"
What sets Mandy’s apart from all the other salad joints out there?
A lot. But mostly: ratios and top-quality everyyyything—plus very caring staff and the ambience of our locations (more on that later). We’re essentially a salad lab, one with weekly creative meetings where we try all the new flavor combinations of the season and also retest our current menu items. We’re always thinking about ratios, both in the balance of our dressings and for our salads as a whole (e.g., no sogginess!).
It’s really easy to f*#k up the ratio of a salad (too soggy, too much acid, too bitter), so getting it right is something we spend a lot of time on. Our general rules? Well, texturally, we like to make sure there are equal parts creaminess (avocado in almost every salad, or a nice soft cheese!), crunchiness (pita, tortilla, toasted nuts or seeds, or a crunchy vegetable), tartness—either from citrus (lemon or lime) in the salad dressing or tangy fruit in the salad (pomegranate seeds, pear, apple, cranberries)—and always—always—fat (olive oil, mayonnaise, egg, cheese, nuts, or, yes, avocado again).
Our flavor combinations are often globally inspired, but whenever we can, we use local and organic ingredients (almost always). We have a special “Monthly Salad” every month, and these are always in line with the seasons. During our Canadian winter months for example, we use fewer tomatoes and berries, but we ramp up on pears, apples, pumpkin, kale, and of course root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, squash, leeks, garlic, and fennel. And we crave our grain bowls (more about those on page 173) and farro and seeds to keep us going through those −30°C months!
In the summer in Quebec, it’s a produce free-for-all and an annual reminder of how lucky we are to live where we do. A combination of fresh blueberries, melons, corn, peas, tomatoes, and peaches all make appearances in our salads. And being located on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River means that spring brings a whole host of crabby, clammy, shrimpy, lobstery seafood goodness our way too.
Copyright © 2020 by Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe and Meredith Erickson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.