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Honestly, over the past few months we’ve much more enjoyed dining at home rather than getting out of the kitchen. When we compare the cost and the experience with our home-cooked dinners, it sometimes just doesn’t seem worth it. Don’t get me wrong — we enjoy dining out and taking a break from cooking. However, when we do, we want to feel it was something extra special. That’s exactly what happened when we celebrated John’s birthday recently with his parents at the Creamery Park Grille, a local little community restaurant housed in a historic Fountain City building. The food was both delicious and plenteous, and the service was outstanding. We all started out with the Creamery’s famous Seven-Layer Salad topped with the “secret recipe” house dressing.
Since we’d just moved into the neighborhood the same week, we’d eaten out often. Just a couple of nights before, we had dined at a larger chain steak house with friends. Each of us left feeling we’d spent too much money for mediocre food and a scary server—she was totally not on her game! It was an entirely different story at the Creamery Park Grille. A little personal attention and excellent service made a huge difference in our dining out experience. The servers were friendly, attentive, and helpful without being overbearing. The food was well-presented and perfectly prepared. We noticed that the owner was out greeting several tables and it was apparent that there were many regular diners—a testimony to his establishment.
As for the Seven-Layer Salad, it’s an old favorite with a creative twist. All the recipes I’ve seen in the past call for layering the ingredients and pouring dressing all over the top, then refrigerating until it’s all soaked into the layers. This salad, however, is tossed just before serving which keeps the ingredients crisp and fresh. I decided to try the salad at home and topped it with a homemade Buttermilk Parmesan Ranch Dressing — not quite the same as the Creamery’s version, but pretty tasty none the less!
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Easy 7 Layer Salad
- 1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
- 1 medium yellow or green bell pepper diced
- 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen green peas thawed
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 12 slices bacon fried crisp and crumbled
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coarsely chop the lettuce and place in the bottom of a large glass salad bowl or trifle dish.
- Next, layer the bell pepper, red onion, and grape tomatoes. Sprinkle the green peas evenly over the top.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Evenly spread the dressing over the salad, being sure to completely cover the top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese and top it off with the crumbled bacon.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
- To serve, gently toss ingredients together and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.