Playing Hookey


As it has for millennia Spring arrived yesterday, March 20th at 05:14 a.m. Universal Time, or 1:14 a.m. EDT.

I have a good case of spring fever this year. I have these mad urges to go walk in the woods or along the river. The urges are winning. I have really enjoyed this early spring. All of my life I have wanted an early spring. So this year has been wonderful. I hope it is as wonderful where you are.

Spring Fever explains why there is no blog post today. Just a recipe.

I have been out and about playing hookey!

Featured Recipe     Spinach Salad with Strawberries

One of the best salads I have ever eaten in my entire life was at the Christopher Inn in Columbus,Ohio.

The Christopher Inn was a round hotel in downtownColumbus. To say the least it was unique.

So of course in today’s mad, mad, mad world anything that unique must be demolished and torn down to build another parking lot. All that survives of the Christopher Inn today are a few pictures on the Internet.



Picture from The Columbus Public Library Website: Columbus Neighborhoods

In its heyday they had a great restaurant whose signature salad was a spinach salad with strawberries. It was one fantastic salad.

The salad dressing was fantastic too. I have never found anything like it, not even through the magic of the Internet. Believe me; I have tried to find it.

I can eliminate any and all creamy dressing from the get go. That does not leave many left to try. But I still have not found the one I remember. It was an oil-based recipe and while not clear, it was not creamy either.

The salad below is my feeble attempt to pay homage to the Christopher Inn’s spinach salad.  This is not the Christopher Inn recipe; unless you count the spinach, strawberries, and red onions. That is the only resemblance of the recipe below to the Christopher Inn’s salad.

The Christopher Inn salad did not use bacon. The dressing is nowhere near the Christopher Inn’s version. It is just something I like. I hope you like it too.

The strawberries today were unusually tasty and ripe for this early in the year. The spinach was excellent too.

Did I mention how delicious and how easy to make this recipe is? Consider it said.

NOTE: HELP: If any of More Thyme’s Columbus readers (or former Columbus residents) remember the Christopher Inn and their Spinach Strawberry Salad and have the recipe I would greatly appreciate it if you would share with us. I will make it and publish it here at More Thyme with thanks to you.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

For the Salad

1 bag 6 ounce of spinach

8 strawberries

½ red onion

4 slices bacon

For the Dressing

4 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons* citrus juice (lemon, lime, or orange)*)

1 tablespoonDijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

*Limes are fickle. Some have lots of juice. Some hardly any. Two of today’s limes were juicy. One was dry as the Sahara Dessert. I had ½ lime left by the time I got 4 tablespoons of juice.

**Lime is my favorite in this dressing and is what I used today. The tart of the lime with the sweet of the honey is simply heaven.

Here is what you do:

Wash the spinach. Dry completely. Divide it among 4 plates.

Cook the bacon till crisp and make BIG crumbles.

Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries in half. Slice the onion into as thin slices as you can make.

Combine honey, citrus juice, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until emulsified.

Look at the glorious color of that salad dressing. OoooEeeee. I licked the whisk.

Scatter some strawberries over each plate. Scatter some onions over too.

 Scatter some bacon crumbles over the salad.

Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad.

Bon appétit!!!



This is a Recession Buster Recipe©.  At only $1.64 per person I doubt you can find any salad in any restaurant as good and as inexpensive as this one.

For the Salad

1 bag 6 ounce of spinach      $1.99

8 strawberries                     $1.02              

½ red onion                        $0.35

4 slices bacon                      $1.00

For the Dressing

4 tablespoons honey            $0.70

4 tablespoons citrus juice     $1.25

1 tablespoonDijon mustard   $0.26

Total cost = $6.57
Cost per person = $1.64

Quote of the Day

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! 

Mark Twain



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6 comments to Playing Hookey

  • I’m here for the first time and I love how you share your recipe! Very nice step by step and detailed info (even about the cost!). I thought I’m pretty organized but you are even more organized! =) This salad looks wonderful – as soon as I saw Dijon mustard in the ingredients I know I love this salad dressing too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Roberta

      Thank you, Nami for such a lovely comment and compliment. I saw your interview on Maureen’s blog, TheOrgasmicChef. And I visited your blog. It is beautiful. You have great recipes too. Thanks for stoping by.

  • Bob janes

    I loved getting that Christopher Inn salad as well. Are you sure it was a spinach salad? I recall it being with mixed greens but you may be right. That salad, and the El Mercado salad from the Sheraton Hotel (now a Marriott) are two I wish I had the recipes for!

    • Roberta

      I am about 90% certain, Bob, only because I did not like cooked spinach at that time. But this salad was so delicious it made me change my mind.

      I am not at all familiar with the El Mercado salad from the Sheraton. What was that saald? What was in it? If you can tell me maybe I can try to rectrate it.

  • Bob janes

    It was prepared in a very large bowl in view of the patrons in the El Mercado Room on the first floor of the Sheraton Hotel at Broad and Third Streets in downtown Columbus in the 1977-1985 or so era. The salad may well have been just iceberg lettuce with some large pieces of chopped tomato. The dressing was unique. I remember seeing the preparer put mostly mayonnaise in a bowl with Worcestershire sauce. I know there were other ingredients but that remains a mystery to me. On the lettuce and dressing they added thin strips of ham and swiss cheese, topped with large butter and garlic croutons. The restaurant was known for that salad, and sold it as a main course for lunch. During business lunches there, it looked like half the customers were eating that salad for their lunch.

    • Roberta

      Do not remember that one. But then I did not eat at the Sheridan that often. Just did an internet search. Could not find a recipe. However, since 2007 two people sent a request to the Columbus Dispatch for the recipe, the most recent in May of this year. However, it appears that no one has the recipe. I could not find it in the Dispatch archives. Sounds like it was just a basic salad with a special dressing. I also did a serach for Mercado dressing and came up with nothing. I’ll keep at and see what I can find. Sounds delicious.

  • El mercado salad from the sheraton. salad: iceberg lettuce, spinach greens, mushrooms, red onion, celery, thin ham and turkey and swiss cheese strips, croutons. dressing: saute 2 cloves of pressed garlic in 1 TBSP butter, set aside to cool, mix 1 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce 2 TBSp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp red pepper, salt and pepper to taste, mix this with garlic/butter mix, and dress salad.