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It’s another birthday dinner for my nephew and another visit to Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar.  I visited Bad Daddy’s for the same nephew’s birthday last year and had the veggie burger.  A helpful reader pointed out the burger is not vegan (thanks, vegan community!) so, even if I still weren’t off veggie burgers, the black bean burger at Bad Daddy’s is off the table.  Ha Ha.  I’d have to avoid it anyway, as I’m avoiding fried foods, so what is there for me to eat?  I perused the menu online and saw Bad Daddy’s has a create-your-own salad option.  My entire family thought that sounded good and so we braved the cold and drove to the Southlands’ Mall.

I claimed a tiny pencil and menu and began ticking boxes.  I chuckled a little to find black beans and chickpeas as options for the salad but they were NOT listed under the add-a-protein section.  Five years as a vegan and it still amazes me that no one seems to realize how protein packed beans are.  However, I didn’t have to pay an extra $3.00 to add my black beans so I kept my mouth shut and ticked my box.

With the ability to check seven boxes plus the choice of greens, I thought I could build a filling salad.  The options at the top of the menu are Small and Giant and, while I winced at the thought of paying close to $9.00 for a salad, I figured a giant salad would fill me up and maybe even have some left over to take home.

Salad Menu

The Create-Your-Own Menu

Let me preface my next statements by saying I have no complaints about Bad Daddy’s service.  The staff are friendly and willing to answer questions.  I asked our waitress about the Greek Orange-Oregano Vinaigrette and was told it contains feta cheese.  I thanked her and chose a different dressing.  Midway through our meal, a manager visited our table and asked how everything was.  So, no complaints about the staff.  Everything else about my visit was disappointing.

The first disappointment was the size of the salad.  I paid $9.00 for a bowl of greens.  I had to poke through them in order to find my seven ingredients and I discovered my definition of “giant” and Bad Daddy’s differed.  Second, my mother got the wrong salad.  She’d ordered strawberries and avocado on hers and added chicken (she’s not vegan) none of which she received.  The waitress was apologetic and kind and hurried off to make the order right.  I was tired or I would have realized my order was wrong as well.  As you can see from the above photo, I checked the box next to avocado.  My salad arrived avocado-less.  Like I said, I was tired and halfway through my salad before I noticed and even then couldn’t be sure I’d really ordered it.  Perhaps I’d only meant to and hadn’t checked the box.  My receipt arrived with my salad ingredients listed and, sure enough, I was supposed to have avocado.  Should I return a third time to this restaurant, I’ll make a note of what I ordered, or fill out two menus, so I can be sure I get all my ingredients.

A weird happening was the gnats.  Us salad eaters were all grouped at the end of the table and were forced to wave away these tiny light brown bugs.  I couldn’t see anyone else at the table with a bug problem.  This amused me a bit.  Why? Because I cannot recommend anyone eat at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, even if they aren’t vegan.  My nephew and his mother ordered 10oz burgers that were piled with buttermilk dipped and fried bacon.  The whole thing looked like a heart attack on a plate.  The rest of the meal choices weren’t any healthier.  I suppose no one goes to a place named Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar looking for health food but I was horrified and then amused as I saw none of those plates seemed to attract the gnats.  It’s not that I enjoy fighting off gnats but not even minuscule bugs will eat that stuff.

Ultimately, I found this visit disappointing.  And expensive.  My $9.00 salad wasn’t accurate or filling: I had to eat a supplementary dinner when I got home.  Fortunately, it isn’t a favorite with my family and I only have to go when my nephew has his birthday dinner.

Salad Photo

My “giant” salad. $9.00.

Did the salad tick my diet boxes?  Let me see:

Vegan?  Yes.

Macrobiotic?  This is up in the air.  I’m not sure how balanced my salad ingredients were and I was a little leery of the bowl.  Was it aluminum or stainless steel?  I just wanted a glass bowl.  Or to be eating at home.  Or both.

Raw?  Again, yes and no.  Raw greens and unprocessed nuts but the oranges were canned and the beans necessarily cooked.

McDougall Approved?  Yes and No.  The dressing contained oil.  I should have asked for it on the side because my greens got a little slimy.

Vegiterranean?  Again, the oil is a problem.  Instead of the dressing, I should have asked for half a lemon.

My disappointing experience was mostly my fault.  How do people know something is wrong unless I tell them?  Also, I considered rounding out my salad with a side dish order of fresh fruit but the side dish menu I saw online wasn’t printed on the restaurant menu.  I didn’t ask about the fruit so, again, can’t really complain that I left the restaurant hungry.  Maybe I’ll do better next year.  Or, maybe my nephew will choose to go somewhere else.