Review published August 2006
IT’S HOT. It’s hot and you’re positively wilting. It’s hot and you’re wilting and you’re grateful you’re not a piece of lettuce, because if you were you’d be in grave danger of turning into that black juice that collects in the bottom of the lettuce bag when you’re so hot and lazy you can’t even bring yourself to open the fridge to fix a salad.
The irony is that a cold, crisp salad is exactly what you need. If you can’t manage on your own and you’re in St. Louis Park, maybe Yum! Kitchen & Bakery can be of assistance. Yum boasts a small, but delicious selection of cold salads, sandwiches, and soups that will rescue you from the doggiest of dog days.
The BLT salad is the most basic: lettuce, tomato, and bacon, tossed in a buttermilk dressing. It’s a simple but decadent number that you’ll keep eating and eating. More interesting but no less addictive is the spring berry salad with mixed greens, strawberries, blue-berries, candied walnuts, and Cambozola, a smooth, Brie-like blue cheese from Germany. Dressed in maple vinaigrette, this salad is very sweet, but the bitter greens keep it from being dessert.
The standout is the B-3, which features Bibb lettuce, roasted beets, and bleu cheese. Topped with spicy pecans and finished in citrus vinaigrette—which, like the maple, is available to go—this is a true dinner salad. The presence of beets reminds one of fall flavors, but the lettuce is light and buttery, and the blue cheese makes it all sharp and refreshing.
If you’re not feeling like leafy greens, Yum has other cold dishes that go down just as nice. The deli salads—egg, tuna, chicken—are all serviceable, but you’re better off going with the wonderful shrimp club sandwich. This variation on the golf-course favorite substitutes shrimp for turkey, and throws in some avocado for good measure. Add a cup of Yum’s gazpacho and you have the perfect picnic.
Many of Yum’s desserts are too rich for an August day, but the rhubarb upside-down cupcake succeeds in being dense and sweet, yet also refreshingly tart. If you must have chocolate, stock up on Yum’s Nut Goodly bars (a takeoff on the Pearson candy company’s classic Nut Goodie) and pop them in the freezer for a cold gourmet treat. But that might mean too much effort. Take it easy on yourself. Go slowly. It’s roasting out there, and you need to stay fresh. MM