Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant that absolutely shook you? I’m talking about a meal that’s so delicious, you can’t stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards? For me, it was Connie and Ted’s Celebrity Salad, and the experience completely took me by surprise. I was vacationing in Los Angeles, California, with my family, and they wouldn’t stop talking about going to Connie and Ted’s for dinner. Since I’m not familiar with L.A., I assumed they were talking about having dinner at a friend’s house! Much to my surprise, we rolled up to a restaurant in West Hollywood. I was filled with dread about the pretentious and overpriced meal we were about to have.
Connie and Ted’s couldn’t have been more different than my expectations. I assumed we would be eating in a snobbish and uptight environment. Instead, I walked into a family-friendly, naturally-lit space filled with wooden tables and bright-red chairs. I took one peek at the menu and realized that this may be a West Coast restaurant but the inspiration came from the classic fish houses, clam shacks, and oyster bars that fill the New England coast.
As I perused the reasonably-priced menu, I was impressed by the simply prepared fish and shellfish options. The server told us that they’ve been in business for 58 years and seafood has always been their specialty. They have a few menu staples, but they always keep the menu fresh and rotate things around with a handful of seasonal dishes. A restaurant doesn’t stay in business for that long unless they serve delicious food and have great service, so I became really excited about the meal.
Connie and Ted’s Celebrity Salad
I could barely listen to the server as he informed us about the night’s specials. Something on the menu, the Celebrity Salad, had caught my eye. Its simplicity absolutely infatuated me – the salad was nothing more than two different types of tomatoes, simply dressed in balsamic and olive oil, and topped with basil and green onions. It sounded so refreshing that I knew I had to order it!
We started with some super-fresh oysters from the raw bar before enjoying some of their famous “wicked good” clam chowder. My family enjoyed the lobster rolls and the house-made fettuccine pasta (topped with clams and mussels, of course), and no one could complain about the unbelievably fresh catch of the day (which was wild-caught and sustainable, in addition to being delicious). It was all so tasty, but I was blown away by my salad.
The no-frills preparation could have made the salad taste plain or boring, but honestly it was one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. The use of sea salt really brought out the natural flavors of the beautifully arranged, multi-colored tomatoes, and the balsamic-and-oil dressing added the perfect amount of fat, acid, and sweetness. I was hooked after one bite.
This recipe for Connie and Ted’s Celebrity Salad is so delicious that I’ve prepared it multiple times since returning home. It’s really best with juicy, summer tomatoes that are bursting with flavor. You can also make it in the wintertime with hothouse tomatoes.
Yields: 2 servings | Calories: 107 | Total Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 462mg | Carbohydrates: 10g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 2g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 2
- 2 beefsteak red tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 cup yellow grape tomatoes, sliced
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly (use the white end)
- 6 fresh basil leaves, slice leaves into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
- Arrange red tomatoes on a large platter, add yellow tomatoes, green onion, and basil.
- Drizzle salad with oil and vinegar, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Enjoy!
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