Cafe Society

Sweet Tomatoes isn't saucy enough for singles

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The doors of the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant at 14015 East Evans Avenue in Aurora open up to a hefty, oval wooden salad bar where customers get salads first -- and pay at the end of the bar. That's a clever business decision, since if folks are going to do a hog & jog they'd only get away with a few tongs of lettuce.

I grabbed a war-torn plastic tray and studiously examined the bowls of chopped iceberg (ew), rather rusty-tipped Romaine and wilty, pre-prepped Asiago Caesar salad. The chilly bin of mixed baby greens and spinach looked fresh and hydrated, and the long bar of salad vegetables and fixin's was clean and organized, but the choices were typical, no-frills choices like slabs of pickled beets, cuts of celery, garbanzo beans in their cloudy broth, clumpy shredded cheese, cold peas, mushy tomato wedges, dry button mushroom slices and two containers of pickles.

I decided to be a risk-taker and scoop myself two of the featured pasta salads: Mandarin shells with almonds and tuna tarragon. They did not look promising, but I'm a game-day player.

I stacked my salad plate with greens, cheese, red onion slivers, sliced black olives and daubed the whole masterpiece with blue cheese crumbles and then slathered it with blue cheese dressing for that double-blue-cheese effect. Besides, salad bar dressing is usually bereft of chunks.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz