The last thing I wanted to do on my Monday after New Year’s, a day I had off work, was spend my day at Busch Gardens. But, I was asked to drive Taylor and friends so alas, I went. Our day consisted of driving to Busch Gardens, spending the day at Busch Gardens, making a few stops in Tampa and driving home from Busch Gardens. Originally, I was not planning on even going into the park. But, as plans evolved, I ended up driving someone else’s car so really had no other choice. I ended up not snacking on anything the entire day walking around and only ate lunch at Busch Gardens. Lunch was actually surprisingly tasty and the high point of my long day.
We ventured into the Desert Grill for lunch which is really the only place I have ever eaten at Busch Gardens. After waiting in a pretty long line, we were presented with our lunch choices. Aside from fries & sandwiches, there were also a variety of pasta dishes and salads. The special of the day was a Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad. It looked so delicious so I decided to go with it. You first picked up the tortilla bowl filled with the lettuce and all toppings then, went down to the next station and picked up freshly grilled chicken pieces. I gathered my bowl and then requested that my chicken be placed in a bowl rather than on my bowl. I ordered an Unsweet Iced Tea to drink and headed to check out. Another surprise was that the salad was only $8.99! This is almost free for an amusement park!!!
The salad looks surprisingly so good. The bowl was full of a mixture of lettuce with toppings of salsa, chopped tomatoes, red onions (which were removed right away), shredded cheese and sour cream. I was also so impressed with the amount of chicken that I received and how decent it actually looked. I mixed all of my bowl together but decided to keep the chicken on the side. I started eating the bowl mixture first because the chicken was quite warm. I was shocked to find the lettuce was extremely fresh, crisp and tasty. You would easily taste the varieties of lettuce that were included and they were all equally good.
I really liked how this salad included not only salsa but diced tomatoes as well. The salsa was your typical, runny jarred salsa but, the diced tomatoes provided additional consistency and flavor to the salsa. By no means was the salsa great but, it did have adequate flavors to make it decent. The sour cream was thin in consistency yet was good. While the shredded cheese was not overly flavorful, it provided that last bit of flavor to really blend everything together. I opted to not add my chicken to the salad at any point of eating but rather eat it with my salad. I would either add a piece of chicken to my fork before or after adding the bowl mixture. This worked out just swell and provided a tasty balance of food items.
It was a bit chilly on the Monday when we were at Busch Gardens and the warm chicken included with my salad was quite lovely. I first bit into the chicken expecting to find a pocket full of sodium. To my surprise, I bit into a good, tasty piece of chicken. The chicken tasted like it had been cooked rotisserie style for just the right amount of time. Rather than being chewy & overcooked, the chicken was juicy and easy to chew. I also really liked the fact that the chicken was being cut just moments before it arrived in my hands. This helped the chicken maintain its juices until just moments before I consumed it. The rotisserie flavor was there but not overly powerful. The chicken tasted as if it was marinated or seasoned with just simple flavors – salt, pepper and herbs. None of these components overpowered the others, which was a huge benefit.
I ate the entire salad but did not eat any of the bowl. While it was indeed edible, I was simply just not interested in it. The salad was very filling and I did not really get hungry again until dinner came around. I am still so surprised by how fresh & tasty this salad was. If this salad was available locally, it would surely become one of my all-time favorites. Great flavors, variance in texture & temperature, great price and overall tasty quality really set this Southwestern Salad with Grilled Chicken apart. On top of all of that, this salad was from Busch Gardens. Who would have ever guessed?