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SECTION FN w INSIDE QUICK CITE 5 The Palm Beach Post KITCHEN COUNSELOR Follow these simple steps to make a light and crisp meringue. PAGE 2FN STORING LEFTOVERS To avoid harmful bacteria growth, don't take a large pot of food (soup, stew, pasta sauce) directly from the stove to the fridge. Instead, put it in smaller, shallow containers. .. (DINING at ...L,...! ' ML the RESTAURANT SAMPLER . g . pi 1 olosion Dune deal: Greek chef hits the beach H . J Sliced, sealed and sanitized, these salads are stirring up produce departments with his sales. Si. o By Jan Norris Palm Beach Post Food Editor Fans of the original Royal Greek Restaurant in Lake Worth will be happy to know the former chef is at the beach Lantana's public beach, specifically. Chef Constantine Panai joined chefs Gianni Calo-miris and Timothy Lepre at the Dune Deck Cafe, just north of the Ritz-Carlton on State Road A1A. The oceanside eatery was known for its breakfasts and lunches, but this season added the dinner menu to feature the best from the chefs. Great view, too. It's open every night from 5 to 9. "Park at the meters," said one of the servers. "You don't have to pay." (That's only after 5 p.m.) Poor Cafe Protege. First, the gourmet restaurant attached to the Florida Culinary Institute on 45th Street in West Palm Beach had to endure the non-appetizing view of Interstate 95. Next, a Cracker Barrel, the shrine to country cooking went up next door. Now, Rachel's, billed as an "upscale gentlemen's club," is being erected across the street. "The owners and chefs come in quite often," said Protege chef Tom McEachern. "They've offered us all free passes." Rachel's which has branches elsewhere including Orlando touts a 20-plus-feet lunch buffet and a "five-star" menu. (Doesn't say who gave them five stars.) B The West Palm Beach GreenMarket continues to attract a variety of vendors; a popular one is Susan Dodge's freshly made waffles and pancake booth. But they're not limited to Saturdays; they're available weekend mornings at A Bistro & Wine Bar that Dodge owns with her husband, Granville. The restaurant at 206 Clematis St. was the former Napa Valley Wine Bar. They still offer wines, but now have weekend brunches, and daily lunches, tapas and light dinners. Wine tastings are every Wednesday night. H Open and closed: Some Sal's Italian restaurants in the area are closing, and in some cases, being replaced by Cooker's . . . Yellowtail's has replaced Basil's in the Village Commons Plaza in West Palm Beach ... Las Hadas, a Delray Beach Mexican restaurant, has moved to Third Avenue, to a bigger space ... a new Red, Hot & Blue Memphis Pit Bar B-Que has opened in Delray Beach at 1705 S. Federal Highway . . . Uptown Cafe in downtown West Palm Beach moved to 221 Datura St.; its menu has expanded and it's open 24 hours . . . Koo Koo Roo, a chain restaurant from Southern California featuring skinless flame-broiled chicken and other heart-healthy foods, opened at 7036 Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton. Takeout meals are a focus here. By Jan Norris Palm Beach Post Food Editor Want the coolest, hottest greens in the market? Go for the bags- , j Those mixed-green salads in sealed bags have taken the produce world by storm. "They're not only the fastest growing segment of the produce department, but they're No. 1 or No. 2 in the whole retail (grocery) operation," said Robin Sprague, spokeswoman for Fresh Express. The Salinas, Calif., based company is the pioneer of bagged salads. Their appeal is what consumers of the '90s want: convenience and freshness. If you're not familiar with these bestsellers, they're bags of cleaned and cut-up lettuce, cabbage, and other salad fixings. Kits contain toppings and dressings. You just open and pour: instant Fresh Express started with a simple garden salad in 1989, Sprague said. They sold $8 million in bagged salads that year; last year, the figure was $378 million. The company branched into ethnic-type salads and uncommon greens. "We started with cole slaw, and a basic iceberg lettuce-carrot-radish mix. Today, we have several mixes such as the Italian Please see SUMBACKPAGE ; -:r -v. ' v - i" Ms Are bagged salads really faster? Recipes for main-dish salads V Photo illustration by SHERMAN ZENTStaff Photographer Bagged salads offer both convenience and freshness, which are just what consumers of the '90s want. The fresh fixings also come in many varieties, from Caesar salad to a taco mix with tortilla chips. BACK PAGE RATING THE GREENS Ruskin Salad Mix XL Fresh Express Caesar Salad Kit Fresh Express California Crisp Garden with Romaine Salad Publix Italian Salad Blend Weight: 10 ounces (3 servings). Greens fee: $2.19 In the mix: Romaine lettuce and radicchio leaves. Our opinion: Not a bad buy. A head of radicchio is pricey and will spoil quickly. This salad tasted slightly dried out. Fresh New Star . Express Romaine American nearts Salad Mix Size: 3 romaine hearts (these are Weight: 10 ounces not sold by weight). (3 servings). Greens fee: $1 99 Greens fee: $2.29 n the mix: In the mix: Iceberg Prewashed, lettuce, romaine, cleaned romaine shredded red cabbage. lettuce hearts shredded carrots and (inner leaves), radish slices. 0ur opjnion: A best Our opinion: Worst buy buy a regular of all we examined. head of romaine About 90 percent of costs 79 cents; this package was with that comes iceberg lettuce, wasted outer 6 percent was romaine leaves, and and the rest consisted normally, romaine of the other must be washed vegetables. Nothing carefully to remove special. g"t. Fresh tasting and cnsp. Weight: 8 ounces (2Vi servings). Greens fee: 79 cents In the mix: Escarole, romaine, cabbage, carrots Our opinion: A best buy. Packed in Miami, so it's probably fresher than salads packed out of state. More flavor than icebergbased salads, too. Weight: 7.5 ounces of romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese. With 2.5 ounces dressing. (About 3 servings.) Greens fee: $2.69. In the mix: Romaine lettuce, Parmesan Caesar dressing, cheese garlic croutons, premium aged Parmesan cheese. Our opinion: This is a one-shot salad, not one you would Keep around after opening. Closer to 2 servings than 3. Dressing's good, croutons are OK and the salad greens fresh. Weight: 12 ounces (4 servings). Greens fee: $1.19 In the mix: Iceberg and romaine lettuces, red cabbage, carrots. Our opinion: Slim on the romaine, red cabbage and carrots, but otherwise, a better buy than the Amencan Salad Mix. Good fresh taste. A soggy season The rain has done a number on Florida strawberries, but you can still find a nice crop at the produce stands and stores. Story, Back Page .