I vacillate between being utterly repulsed, and utterly enamored, with New York’s salad and hot food bars. To better sort out the bad eggs (gratuitous food pun), I’ve developed some general guidelines for tastiness:
Try using the small clamshell to keep your price point under or around one pound ($6.99/lb + tax at Alpine Gourmet Farm). Who really needs to eat more than a pound of food in one meal anyway? Think about it.
Start with some salad base, but avoid greens that are either drenched from dressing or soaking wet from being washed — adds water weight.
Keep the weight of all the food items in mind, which is why I generally steer clear of items like cucumber, orange rounds and potatoes in favor of roasted vegetables, noodle salad combos and leafy greens.
Be picky in what you choose in a macroscopic sense — inevitably, all those items are going to mix — and in the microscopic sense — avoid anything that later you might find questionable-ish— the point is to pay for only what you’ll actually eat.
Hot foods tend to be more of a gamble to begin with since they sit there cooking and cooking all day long. Once the hot food looks about as appetizing and ambiguous as road kill avoid at all costs.
COST: $5.68 at Alpine Gourmet Farm
PREP TIME: 5 minutes