It was $8.99/lb, so I was pretty careful as to what to pick. I chose a bed of arugula, avocado mustard greens, and some walnut raisin leaves, with quinoa seeds, and a dash of apple vinegar.
Somehow I managed my way through a very confusing checkout line, with four short lines and register counters numbered from 1-40 (yes that is the volume of traffic there). You basically have to guess whether to proceed or not when a number is called, much like a four way intersection without traffic lights.
I ended up navigating to counter number 27, where I met a cashier who wanted to know where I'm from. It goes without saying that I was a bit flustered when he had asked me that, because I was expecting a quick in-and-out (not the burger). I responded that I'm a CBC, and he told me why he had inquired, mostly because he was interested in studying the Asian population. He said that he had noticed that Chinese people do not like to be assumed that they are from mainland China. I explained to him that this is because there are many sub-groups from the "Asian-Pacific" category, and that there are many cultural and political sensitivities involved. For instance, Taiwanese people generally do not like to be classified as Chinese, possibly because they do not want to associate themselves with communism (don't blame them, I wouldn't either). Bottom line is that China does not equal the Chinese government, but because of the communist's systematic brainwash, people often associate it as such.
It was a really interesting conversation, and I was surprised and humbled that he took the time to understand the cultural issues of the Asian population. However, I can't say the same about my salad. Perhaps because I had dosed too much vinegar on it, it was waaay too sour. I couldn't really taste the true taste of the salad, just savored the sweetness of the raisin whenever possible. I had to pick out two really spiky crab-shellike pieces out of my mouth, which I assume is from the walnuts (hopefully they were, because the seafood section was not remotely close to the salad bar).
Nonetheless, I finished it. I thought my portions were tiny, but when I glanced over at the lady sitting next to me, she had even less food! I guess everyone is a bit price-conscious these days, even when you know you're in Columbus Circle, which is expected to be a high-expense shopping mecca. Of course, there's always the option of making your own salad, but after a week of battling small kitchen bugs, I can't stomach the thought of eating in Raid. Guess I'll stick to store-bought foods for a bit longer. Oh well, at least this gives me a reason to go back to Cafe Zaiya tmr to check out their 50% off specials =)
Whole Food (Salad Bar)
** (2/5 stars)
Kids-not-really-friendly (especially during peak dining hours)