Discovering the Valley’s tastiest bowl
We asked four popular eateries to put their most popular chopped salad to the test. Our discriminating judges: all bona fide salad lovers—women who like to crunch when they lunch. Each salad was rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
Emergency Room Regional Director
Owner, the Grapevine Agency
Writer (with daughter Violet)
Granville Café—Smoked Chili
Granville prides itself on providing the wholesome, organic ingredients. Who would have every known they make a kick-ass chili? The vegetarian, gluten-free version includes black and white beans, mushrooms, eggplant and tofu.
LB: Love the avocado and onion garnish. Feels light and healthy, yet it is filling and really tasty.
JG: Outstanding presentation. Colorful and interesting with diverse ingredients. Chunky consistency. Didn’t love the onion rings.
DJ: A colorful, south-of-the-border medley. Love the onion rings on top! Great consistency. Hearty and very much a meal.
12345 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-506-7050 granvillecafe.com
Blue Dog Beer Tavern—All American Beef Chili
This hot spot is loved for its expansive menu of artisanal beers, killer burgers
and laid-back, friendly vibe.
LB: Traditional, hearty, and I liked that it was meatier. Great taste and the perfect thickness. Could have used more beans.
JG: Good, basic chili. I like that there is a little grease along the top and that it has a meaty creaminess.
DJ: Simple with only a few ingredients, mainly ground beef. Enjoyed the thick and floury consistency.
4524 Saugus Ave., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-2583 bluedogbeertavern.com
Mendocino Farms—Vegan Chili
It’s called a “Sandwich Market,” but the artisan menu for locally owned Mendocino Farms includes chili made with soyrizo.
LB: Smells delicious. More soup-like in consistency. Like the smoky flavor. Very good for vegetarian. Wish it were a bit thicker.
JG: Peppery with a kick. Vegetarian with a meaty taste to it. Not thick enough, but it would go well with a grilled cheese.
DJ: Wouldn’t have guessed it was made with soyrizo! Nice amount of spice and heat. A bit too soupy. Definitely need bread to make it more satisfying.
14141 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-205-9744, mendocinofarms.com
Crave Café—Vegetarian Chili
This bustling café, open 24 hours a day, always seems to have a sidewalk crowd. Maybe stick to the sandwiches?
LB: I like the thickness of this chili. It’s a little bland and gravy-like. It’s OK. Not my favorite.
JG: This has a blander flavor and is a bit greasy. It’s a bit chewy and could use some “kick.”
DJ: This has a saucy, chewy consistency. My least favorite of the bunch.
14504 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-7888, cravecafeshermanoaks.com
Cactus Taqueria just opened its fourth location in the former Manny’s on the corner of Moorpark and Woodman. The interior and exterior of the taco stand has been completely modernized and renovated into the Cactus brand. The expansive menu includes well-priced choices ($1.35 to $10), including all the usual Mexican food suspects as well as a good variety […]