Summer is often a terrible time for many people, including me. As the uncomfortably cruel and rigidly taunting sun beats down on me, salty sweat drips down my head as I desperately try to find a cooling balm to bring my core temperature back down to a normal range, oftentimes failing miserably.
But this is when I raise my sunburned hands to the sky and thank the equally-heliophobic Wendy’s for its yearly berry salad. For 2020, it’s the Summer Strawberry Salad.
On a cool bed of crisp green lettuce — mainly romaine — sits a Tuscan cheese blend dusting, cuts of applewood smoked bacon, succulent grilled chicken breast, and surprisingly candid candied almond slivers. The salad’s complete reason for being, the sliced bits of strawberries, lay in the leafy shade, giving the entrée its summer branding and doing it remarkably well.
Gently spritzing the large helping of zesty champagne vinaigrette over the top of the salad, it managed to slide down into every nook and cranny, guaranteeing a savory experience. The strawberries are plump and notably firm, not a bruised berry in the bunch.
Each juicy bite, like a fruity fire extinguisher, cools me down internally as I nibbled carefully, enjoying the salad wholeheartedly. The tangy dressing, with its olive oil feel and garlicky taste, offers a decent counterpoint to the abject sweetness of the strawberries and, even more so, the candied almonds.
The romaine lettuce leaves were also surprisingly fresh. Bits of the Tuscan cheese — featuring a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Fontina — tantalizingly resting on them with the vinaigrette acting as a delectable glue keeping them in their place. The bacon, though predictably salty, mixes well with the grilled chicken, the candied almonds giving a sweet aftertaste that was definitely needed.
But what it all comes down is to the strawberries in the nomenclature. While I would have liked more of them, they held this summer salad together perfectly, especially in the half-salad I ordered, the large size only about two dollars more.
In these cruel summer months, Wendy’s has gifted us with a berry-good meal-deal that has me counting down the heated days to next year’s salad unveiling. But, until then, this will definitely do.
Purchased Price: $5.69
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 21 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 45 grams of protein.