Tossing Salad: Marlene’s Market and Deli

By weeklyvolcano on June 1, 2009


Marlene's Marlene’s Lunch
Price: $6.29
Rating: four out of four croutons
Croutons four


The sun has woken up and the temperature has peaked above 50 degrees. All is good here in the Pacific Northwest as summer awaits us and attitudes begin to improve. I feel motivated to detox my Volcano-induced, alcohol-laden liver with a fruit and veggie cleanse lasting approximately five days. After this cleanse I do what I can to keep on the straight and narrow, and Marlene’s always has the successful meal I need to accomplish this: Marlene’s Lunch.

Description: Tender, spring greens are tossed in Marlene’s secret spices (shhh!) and a light oil/vinegar combination. Full crowns of raw cauliflower and broccoli are included in this mix, as it’s all topped off with fresh tomato slices. In tow alongside this lettuce mixture is a solid warm brown rice mound housing cubes of soy cheese generously tucked inside. There are soy cheese options, and they come as Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese. I always pick the Pepper Jack because I love my stuff spicy, but in the end you can hardly taste the peppers.

Taste: Don’t come to this salad looking for anything sweet and creamy. There’s no ranch-style dressing, and no buttery croutons (thank God). Come for the tang of it all and the unadulterated freshness of each ingredient. There’s enough flavoring in Marlene’s secret spices (shhh!), so don’t fret over the bland-looking mound of brown rice. Because even still, the cheese begins to melt as it sits inside that brown rice, giving you hunks of gooey treasure as you explore the bowl’s endless bounty.

Conclusion: I think it’s the simplicity of this salad, and its pureness, that keeps Marlene’s Lunch ranked at the top of my favorite salads list. There’s no sloppy dressing disguising the ingredients, and I LOVE warm toppings on a cold salad. Best part is, I can mix up the hot and cold all on my own.  Only my closest friends know this about me, and now I’m telling you: I have to come out even in every bite. Being able to grab a hunk of slightly melted cheese, a tad of rice, and a few leaves of salad makes my heart happy. If I don’t come out even, there’s no telling what will happen. Faces could get punched, walls taken out, babies could get dropped, who knows? I shudder at the mere thought of it, so I’m just going to stop right there.

[Marlene’s Market and Deli, 2951 S 38th St, Tacoma, 253.472.4080]