A long time ago, in an office cafeteria far, far away, I developed an all consuming chicken salad habit. I ordered the dressed bird in sandwich form, mostly, and occasionally on a bed of greens minus the bread. This was my lunch order five days a week for at least a year, and maybe longer. I had another chicken salad stint later in life when became obsessed with making chicken stock and needed to make use of excess chicken. I've eaten a lot of the stuff.
Over the years I've developed some requirements for chicken salad capable of making a lasting memory. It should have texture or some sort of crunch from nuts or celery or anything else with a bit of snap. Chicken salad should never be dry, and it helps if it has a little something extra to build layers of flavor. My all time favorite variation was one I made myself, with poached chicken, a pinch of curry powder, cilantro, cashews and golden raisins.
Maybe that's why I was so excited when the chicken salad sandwich pictured above was placed in front of me; It reminded me of an old friend. I was near Urban Acres during lunchtime and decided to stop in. Forget the everyday mayo, celery, onion combination that's used over and over again at every cafeteria and deli everywhere. This sandwich had real character. Just look at it.
Those aren't raisins but dried cranberries folded in to the mix, and they lent a chewy texture and sweetness. If the pistachios didn't offer enough crunch, the radishes sure did. They were sliced so thick they were practically radish halves. And why make use of lettuce when so much kale is available this time of year? That's a lot of garden fresh veg for a sandwich this time of year.
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The sandwiches compelled me to review Urban Acres last year. I'm glad to see they're still using amazing local ingredients to make the stuff of beautiful lunches. I'm also glad to see that while some of the menu has shifted with the seasons, the meatloaf burger is still there. If I had to place a bet on who will serve the best BLT in Dallas this summer, I'd put my money here.