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THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 3 The Palm Beach Post nc SECTION FN Q 0 I C CITE I s r d e TOD 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. -. 3 (s a Q RESTAURANT SAMPLER pi pi 01 osion Dune deal: Greek chef hits the beach 1 v n Sliced, sealed and sanitized, these salads are stirring up produce departments .willi big sales. o if) - J V Yft. . r 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.) a 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. 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 By Jan Norn's Palm Beach Post Food Editor Want the coolest, hottest greens in the market? Go for the bags. 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 salad. - 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 Are bagged salads really faster? Recipes for main-dish salads flame-broiled chicken and other heart-healthy foods, opened at 7036 Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton. Takeout meals are a focus here. Photo illustration by SHERMAN ZENTStatf 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 New Star Romaine hearts Fresh Express Caesar Salad Kit Publix Italian Salad Blend Fresh Express American Salad Mix Fresh Express California Crisp Garden with Romaine Salad 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 sl'ghtly dried out. Weight: 8 ounces (2'A 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 favor tban iceberg based salads, too. Weight: 7.5 ounces of romame 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 ater opening. Closer to 2 servings than 3. Dressing's good, croutons are OK and the salad greens fresh. Size: 3 romaine hearts (these are not sold by weight). Greens fee: $1.99 In the mix: Prewashed, cleaned romaine lettuce hearts (inner leaves). Our opinion: A best buy a regular head of romaine costs 79 cents; with that comes wasted outer leaves, and normally, romaine must be washed ca'efu!'y to remove gr t. Fresh tastirg and cnsp. Weight: 10 ounces (3 servings). Greens fee: $2.29 In the mix: Iceberg lettuce, romaine. shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots and radish slices. Our opinion: Worst buy of all we examined. About 90 percent of this package was iceberg lettuce, 6 percent was romaine and the rest consisted of the other vegetables. Nothing special. 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. 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 American Salad Mix. Good fresh taste. Story, Back Page - - .