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While running errands recently, I followed a craving for a good salad to Croutons. It’s a small restaurant in the Sorrento South Corporate Center serving up made-to-order salads, daily soups, and panini.

I ordered the Napa Valley salad ($7.95 for a regular/$6.95 for a small.) The combination of romaine and spring mix lettuce, roasted turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, red grapes, swiss cheese, toasted almonds, and herb croutons intrigued me. It comes with celery and cabernet vinaigrette, which I asked to replace with herb-mustard vinaigrette. You can have your salad dressing mixed into the salad or served on the side. I chose the latter. I fear overdressed salads. The only way to get the perfect lettuce-to-dressing ratio is to dress one’s own salad.

Never in my life did I think I would order anything that had kale or quinoa in it, but the Super Chicken soup ($3.75/cup) looked so yummy in its big shiny pot behind the display case that I could not resist.

When I first arrived at 11:00 am on Thursday there was only one person in front of me in line and one couple seated in the restaurant. I grabbed a seat, and by the time my food arrived four minutes after ordering it, there was no available seating in the dining room and a line out the door.

Super Chicken soup

When I took the lid off the soup container, I got a mini facial from the steam. It was that fresh and hot. The broth contained large shredded chunks of white meat chicken, kale leaves, tons of quinoa, carrots, onions, and bay leaves. I got some of everything on each spoonful, and the flavors married well. The sweetness of the carrots removed the bitterness of the kale, and the quinoa added a hearty texture. The onion and bay leaves complemented the seasoned chunks of chicken breast.

Although the restaurant was busy, the staff was super friendly. Someone forgot to put a spoon on my tray before delivering it to me. When I went back up to the counter to get one, the cashier, Monica, was very apologetic and quick to get me a spoon, all with a smile. Thank you, Monica.

My “regular” size salad could very well have been split by two people, though I ate it all by myself. I love sweet-and-salty flavor combinations, and the red grapes and bacon delivered, complemented well by herby crunchy croutons and Swiss cheese cubes. The roasted turkey got a bit lost in the flavor fest.

The total bill came to only $12.64 for a large salad and a satisfying cup of soup. It’s worth another trip. Or three.

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