Will someone explain Cobb Salad to me?

Not the origin, which is Wikiable. I want to know why all the ingredients are all in their separate little piles, bacon over here, chicken over there, sliced avocado on one side, tomato on another, all usually piled high on a plate too small to properly mix the ingredients without dropping some on the table and/or floor? Is there a valid reason for not tossing the salad before serving it?

It’s just pure artistry. Frankly, tossed together, they start to look a little drab. Each ingredient in their own little pile seems to create a little color and flair.

The too small plate, that’s just somebody being an ass and not thinking or caring about either the customer or the staff that needs to maintain the dining room.

Some people don’t like one of the ingredients, or want different proportions. I for one can’t stand avocado on a salad, so the pile lets me remove it easily.

Can’t answer the “too small bowl” problem, though, because I agree with you there.

For me, it’s so that I can get a bite with the subset of ingredients I feel like at the moment. I can have a bacon and tomato bite and then an egg and bacon bite, etc. If you toss the salad, it’s a little harder to customize each bite.

Also, the hard-boiled eggs often break up if you aren’t careful when tossing them. That’s not really ideal.

I had a cobb salad yesterday that came already mixed up. I kinda wish it hadn’t been, the bacon was rock-hard and ruined the whole thing.

The bacon gets soggy fast when mixed up with the lettuce. The boiled egg is chopped, and leaves a slimy yellow trail throughout the salad. The avocados are soft, and leave coordinating slimy green trails throughout the salad. The tomatoes, if they are good ones, are acidic and make unpleasant little translucent spots on the lettuce if left there too long. (Which is fine if it’s right under the tomatoes so you know for sure what caused it; but not if you’re thinking it’s just old lettuce.)

And bleu cheese is just naturally disgusting, and should always be applied in a manner conducive to removing it quickly and completely. :wink:

The too small bowl is probably a marketing decision. If they give a bowl big enough to mix things around in, it makes the salad look smaller. By cramming everything into a smaller bowl, it gives the impression that you are getting more food.

If it wasn’t around for so long I’d say it was all about portion control. The small plate may be about prepping the salads ahead of time and the refrigeration space needed for them. With the typical ingredients it’s not what I would want tossed, but a good restaurant should toss it for you at your request.

It would be a personal choice of the resturant. Do all resturants in your area serve the ingredients seperated? Round these parts, all of the ingredients are usually served mixed together. I’ve had a few resturants refuse to finely chop the ingredients. Too much trouble, I guess? Tastes the same but the texture isn’t right.

My mother ordered a Cobb salad at the Disney version of the Brown Derby restaurant years back. It came in a large bowl, and the waitress pointed out all the various ingredients in their own separate little places, and then promptly mixed it all up in front of her. Supposedly that was the “authentic” way to have it, but Mom was disappointed that she lost the ability to customize as described by dracoi.

Yep, having et there in both Hollywood (in the day) and DW, that’s the 'right" way. But you certainly can tell them to skip the onions or whatever.

I love, love, love Cobb salad, and order it whenever it is available at whatever restaurant I happen to go to.

I am always surprised when some restaurants screw up something so simple, but they do. Sometimes the individual elements of the dish are not prepared properly (eg, over-boiled eggs, slimy chicken breast, etc…) or past their due date (eg, mushy tomatoes, puree-consistency avocado, etc…) , but when it is done well, Cobb salad is amazing.

The only ingredient that I don’t like in a Cobb salad is bacon because, well, I hate bacon, but that’s another story, so I always ask them to hold the bacon. Whenever they say they can’t hold the bacon I suspect it is because the dish was prepared ahead of time, and I am usually correct, so now if they tell me they can’t hold the bacon, I simply change my order. Believe me, you don’t want a Cobb salad that’s been sitting in a fridge for a while.

As far as the ingredients placed separately on the plate, I’d say I’ve gotten it this way more than 80% of the time. The other 20% the ingredients were all mixed up and, I have to say, I don’t care for it this way, but that could simply be habit.

Regarding the dish being too small, I agree. For some reason, more often than not, when I get a Cobb Salad there is more on the plate than should be in my opinion, and sometimes there’s so much that it is difficult to navigate with my fork without something falling to the table. I don’t know why restaurants do this, but the practice is pretty ubiquitous in my experience.

Is it rude to ask for another larger plate to transfer the salad to in order to eat it neatly without wearing it?

Not at all. I wouldn’t go back to any place that denied the request either.

I love it, also. Not meaning to hijack, but can you name some national restaurants that serve a great one?
I had a super-duper one at a Fridays (TGIF) in the Houston airport. I don’t know if all the Fridays do it the same.

Is avocado standard on a Cobb salad? I don’t recall ever getting it with the ones I’ve had in the past. Maybe regional variations?

Last time I was in the UK and ordered one, they were all out of cobb. Crappy drinks, too

Cobb originated in CA, so yes, it’s how it was made originally. I imagine in states where fresh avocados aren’t readily available they might skip them.

Or, GAG, as I have experienced, put an unripe piece on.
And as far as the bacon, regular bacon is OK with me, but some places, I think CPK in particular, use thickly sliced bacon, that yes, makes me feel like I am about to break a molar.

As far as piling it up, I like that, but it seems like I always have to order more dressing, as it seeps to the bottom before I can properly mix it without a mess, and then the bottom of the salad is way too drenched.