Chickpea in the City

Chickpea in the City: Mixed Greens

Chickpea-in-the-CityNow that I am halfway done with my career at Loyola, many students (like myself) have begun their fall internships. Many of these internships are conveniently located downtown or near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. However, if you’re like me, your internship is sending you into unfamiliar territory. When you’re placed in a neighborhood where the street names sound foreign, finding a good spot to spend your lunch break may be a challenge. I am grateful to have found Mixed Greens (308 W. Erie St.), a salad/panini/pizza shop in the River North neighborhood, a few blocks from my internship.

This past weekend, I met with fellow social influencers and bloggers to sample salads and pizza off its menu. We started our meal with a few waters and kombuchas (a fruit-flavored carbonated beverage made with probiotics) outside on the patio before heading down a flight of stairs into the dimly lit restaurant space. Although the Chipotle-like set-up was a bit confusing and it was unclear what side of the line we began on, each of us either ordered a build-your-own salad or chose one off  the menu.

When I noticed the Sashimi Sunomono signature salad ($8.50), I decided I would take a twist on it by creating my own version. Typically the salad is comprised of mixed greens, seared ahi tuna, organic carrots,  snap peas, edamame, wasabi peas and a sesame shiitake vinaigrette. As I viewed the options before me, I ordered the first three ingredients and added avocado, grilled corn and tomatoes. I noticed that one serving of the ahi tuna (an added $3 charge) was just two thin six-inch slices, which seemed skimpy. Instead, I asked for extra ahi tuna and was pleased with the given amount, despite totaling up to $6 for the tuna alone.

Instead of picking one of the 24 offered dressings, I decided to use my avocado as a dressing by mashing it up into the mixed greens in my bowl. By doing this, I not only got a hefty dose of healthy fats but I also knew my “dressing” was only one simple ingredient, as I was not sure what ingredients were listed in the other dressings.

As I filed back up the stairs to the outdoor seating, I walked past the small tables lining the back of the restaurant. In the future, I would prefer to take my food outside rather than sit inside, as the seating area lacked light and warmth. I noticed many of the customers seemed to have the same idea, taking their meals to-go after paying at the register.

My group and I devoured our meals — each salad created for our taste preferences — while also sharing a few pizzas. Half of the group devoured the ham ‘n cheese pizza ($10.95), which was covered in prosciutto and truffle butter, while the other half of the group shared a cheese-less version of the grilled vegetable pizza ($10.95) that featured zucchini, onion and broccoli. Since I’m not a pork lover, I took a few bites of the cheese-less option and fell in love with the truffle oil glazed over the crust. The crusts were more doughy than crisp, but they were thin enough to not be overpowering. Each pizza was split into small bite-size squares that were perfect for sharing.

If you’re not in the mood for a salad or pizza, the paninis on the menu might win you over. Ranging from your classic “Call Me Reuben” ($8.50) to my childhood favorite, “Thee Turkey Club” ($8.50), there are numerous meat-filled options. The only downside to the panini menu is the lack of vegetarian options, with only one currently listed — a grilled cheese. Although I was not able to try the paninis during my first visit to Mixed Greens, I would recommend them to anyone interested in a simple sandwich.

Mixed Greens is primarily a salad joint and that is the one thing I would go here for time and time again, especially for a quick bite. As the cold weather approaches, I wouldn’t mind picking up a cup of the soup of the day ($3.50), which ranges from organic white bean chicken chili to vegetable soup.

Mixed Greens is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and has a second location in the Loop at 175 N. Franklin St. that is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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