A great Cobb salad is a thing of beauty. Named for — or perhaps invented by — Robert Howard Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby in Hollywood, the salad emerged into American gastronomy some time in the late '30s or early '40s. But now, here, in the very town that produced the Cobb salad, a great Cobb salad is hard to find.
Which is why I was kind of thrilled to find a very good version at the counter of one of Grand Central Market's newest tenants, Valerie. The coffee/bakery/lunch counter is an outpost of Valerie Confections, the small local chocolate and bakery company that has shops in Silver Lake and Mid Wilshire — as well as the one that's opening soon in Echo Park.
The Grand Central Market location serves breakfast and lunch on weekdays, as well as cakes and pastries. The lunch menu is fairly succinct — a few sandwiches and salads, including the Cobb salad.
A Cobb salad is all about the proportions. At Valerie, the ratio of crisp lettuce to smoky, thick bacon, sweet cherry tomatoes, sharp blue cheese, creamy avocado and generous chopped egg and chicken is pretty spot on, and makes for a lunch that's both fresh and filling.
$13 is a lot to pay for lunch at Grand Central Market, but this salad is HUGE. In fact, the picture above is of a 1/2 serving — I shared the salad with my lunch companion and they were nice enough to split it for us. Half a salad was plenty to fill me up for lunch, especially since Valerie gives out complimentary chocolate chip cookies after lunch, of which my son declared: “These are the best chocolate chip cookies other than the ones we make at home.” That's high praise.
Valerie at Grand Central Market is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
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