Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wild Pear

Wild Pear is a bistro on State Street in downtown Salem, Oregon. They mainly offer their twist on the usual bistro lunch menu (soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers). Wild Pear even offers mouth-watering pizza for the pizza lover and decadent desserts if the sweet tooth is on overdrive.

A sampling of their menu (sandwiches section)

People on a diet may now commence hating me (again)
The decor is wonderful. I did not take a picture of the left side of the interior, but it's basically a bunch of brick wall with a couple of paintings/pictures. It gives Wild Pear a nice bistro feel. I also like that the place gets good sunlight, brightening the room up. It's a great place to eat your lunch. It's unfortunate that it's really just a lunch place (with happy hour in the afternoon); I wish they were open for a breakfast or dinner option as well.

I went with their chicken-hazelnut salad sandwich ($6.95). The sandwich consisted of cut-up cubed chicken, chopped hazelnuts, red onion, dried cranberries, romaine lettuce, and cucumber-dill dressing between two slices of toasted multigrain bread. It came with a side of chips, but eh, the chips looked like slightly upscaled Lay's potato chips.

Nice tight wrapping on my to-go order

The sandwich was awesome, just bleepin' awesome.

First, I'm happy that the chef toasted the bread (as I requested) because the creaminess of the cucumber-dill dressing would have otherwise rendered the bread soggy and unappetizing. Even though I put the leftover sandwich in the refrigerator and took it out a few hours later, the bread still firmly held the chicken hazelnut salad in place.

I loved the cucumber-dill dressing. The bits of cucumber added to the crunchiness of the sandwich and, when combined with the dill, really gave a fresh, herb-filled sensation in every bite. Of course, it also gave the sandwich its much-needed lubrication (who wants to eat a sandwich without condiments anyway?). The dressing also felt quite light. The onions added even more fresh crunch to the sandwich while adding a bit of bite. The lettuce was fresh (crisp and a nice dark green). I also enjoyed the extra nutty dimension I got from the hazelnuts (in the chicken salad) and the multigrain bread.

Just nitpicking here, but there was too much dressing in the sandwich. The dried cranberries got lost in the fray. Frankly, you could blindfold me and I would not recognize cranberries were in there.

I still had an amazing lunch for the $6.95 price. The cranberries can work here, but more may be needed -- with less cucumber-dill dressing.

In closing, Wild Pear's menu is quite impressive. They take sandwiches to the next level. I urge people to give Wild Pear a try. If you get the chicken-hazelnut salad sandwich, you should be leaving Wild Pear a happy panda. Perhaps their I will try their pizza or one of their desserts next time. I'm a huge fan of this place and will return. 8.5/10

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