Eat Drink Style Iron Chef: Battle Souplantation???

BR and I love Souplantation. Why did we frequent such a place when we had all the good restaurants in the Wilshire/La Brea area? Simply because you can get a decent variety of things to eat. I actually like their macaroni and cheese. With virtually no meat available, this is heaven for vegetarians and anyone that has a double-digit balance in their checking account. Sadly, this holds true for the both of our poor souls. On our Nth visit to Souplantation for lunch, we decided to entertain ourselves and take things to another level.

Me: “You know what would be funny?”
BR: “What?”
Me: “We should do an Iron Chef battle at Souplantation, using all the crap ingredients they have.”
BR: “I can easily beat you.”
Me: *Scoff. “It’s on, you punk. Presentation, plating and taste are all accounted for.”
BR: “It’s on asshole.”

***Aaaaaaaairrrrrreennnnnnnn Keeeeeeeeeeetchuuuuuuuuuun*** (I think that’s what he says. Correct me if I’m wrong.)

As you can see, the tension was present even before we stepped foot into Craplantation. This was a serious issue. She had an advantage though. Her ex-bf, and my old co-worker at The Restaurant, had taught her some culinary skills. I, on the other hand, was basing all my creations on freaking Rachael Ray and Tyler Florence haha. Considering that most restaurants won’t give you access to the kitchen, this was going to be tough. No fancy German knives, no cutting board, no stove, no pots - nothing. At least give me a microwave oven. It was basically an episode of MacGuyver filmed at Souplantation.

Right after we entered we split off – giving each other dirty looks. She headed for the salad bar section on the left, and I headed for the right. I couldn’t let her see what ingredients I would use. I grabbed 4 or 5 plates and carefully examined my resources. I was really bent on the fact that we couldn’t use a stove and the only meat available was that rubbery white stuff they refer to as chicken. As for broth, I would only be able to use the salty chicken noodle soup broth. After about 45 minutes, we met back at the table and presented our best dishes. Keep in mind, nothing on here was bound to taste good so this was more about presentation and creativity. I’ve also included my own grades for each dish. Here’s what we compiled:

A. Iron Chef Dylan.
Using that rubbery white stuff and Cream of Mushroom soup, I simply made a pasta dish wish the cold noodles and garnished it with green onions that I got from the employee ‘tossing salads”. This was headed for failure because I didn’t have anything to at least heat the noodles and sauce. Disgusting. D+

B. Iron Chef Dylan. Well if you’re gonna serve pasta, a nice sandwich will be a fine accompaniment. Or so I thought. I grabbed two slices of their dry-ass focaccia and slapped chicken meat in there that I had shredded. I also mixed some spinach, onions, olive oil and vinegar together for a little ‘health kick’. I think it’s hilarious that Souplantation even offers different types of vinegar. What are they trying to be? Gourmet? This wasn’t so bad but it was definitely on the bland side. C+

C. Iron Chef BR. What in the world is that you ask? Not even BR knew. This alien life form took shape after she cut a piece of cornbread in half and ‘garnished’ it with what looks like a fried chow mein noodle, baked yam and pineapple. And for extra presentation points, she added raisins and a few drizzles of olive oil. I don’t think either of us tried this out. F-

D. Iron Chef Dylan. I continued with my healthy-dish spree and took a bowl full of garbanzo beans. I smashed them with my fork and added salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. I was trying to make hummus but this looked more like freshly thrown-up apple sauce. You like how I garnished the focaccia bread with the green onions? The garnishing still didn’t do any justice for this piece of shit dish. G+

E. Iron Chef BR. As if she didn’t have enough of that alien life form, she resurrected it even after the busboy shook his head in disbelief. BR wanted to take a simpler approach and really emphasize the true taste of the foil-wrapped yam that tasted like Playdoh. She finely pureed the yam flesh with her fork and laid it over another piece of cornbread. And of course, drizzled it with olive oil. D+

F. Iron Chef BR. Instead of mixing yams with the frozen yogurt/ice cream like any of those Iron Chefs would do, she did a take on a classic American treat: the Candied Apple. She crushed some peanuts and placed them on top of the Granny Smith apples and added a mixture of chocolate and caramel syrup. This was by far, the most interesting looking dish and it tasted good. A

G. Iron Chef Dylan. Why can’t I stay away from the pasta. I spent a good five minutes fishing out the noodles from the chicken noodle soup. I had to hurry because people were behind me. Using the noodles, I again added the Cream of Mushroom soup over the noodles, with a garnish of parsley. This was good from far, but far from good. D+

H. Iron Chef Dylan. You know, maybe I should just work for Olive Garden. My pasta dishes aren’t that much different from OG’s current menu. Using the same noodles that I had fished out, I added tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and the only cheese in sight – cheddar. This looked like a dish from Acapulco. G+

So who’s cuisine reigned supreme in Battle Souplantation? I’d have to say that it was, unanimously, NO ONE’s. The fact of the matter is that Souplantation is pretty gross, and there isn't anything you can do to make it enjoyable. They keep everything bland to stay on the safe side. It’s up to you edit your food with their salt, pepper and fine selection of Sysco vinegars and oils. I am not going to Souplantation for a while. I’ll have to give credit to BR for her Candied Apple dish. Good job buddy.

Thanks for reading. You may throw up now.

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