Like many Tampa Bay foodies, my husband and I love the Columbia Restaurant. As a iconic symbol in Ybor City for over a century, it has been a foodie destination for tens of thousands of tourists and homegrown foodies. While in the past hundred years, it’s expanded to multiple cities throughout Florida, one of my favorite lesser known spots, Columbia Cafe, sits inside the Tampa Bay History Center.
Nestled inside the center offering a smaller menu, guests can feast upon many of Columbia Restaurant’s staples, including Spanish Bean Soup, Cuban sandwich and my particular favorite, the 1905 Salad. In fact, for lunch or a lighter dinner option, you can order a “Half and Half Combo”: the 1905 Salad accompanied by a cup of soup or ½ Cuban with a cup of soup or 1/2 1905 Salad.
While the 1905 Salad served table side is hands-down my favorite, sometimes I find the piles of meat to be a bit too much. Such words are Tampa Bay blasphemy, but with tons of ham and Swiss cheese it can be a little on the heavy side.
Knowing that this salad is one of my favorites, Iron Chef Allan challenged himself to make a lighter, healthier version rich with leafy greens rather than boring Iceberg lettuce. (Again, it’s Tampa Bay blasphemy to call any of the ingredients in a 1967 boring. It’s a really delicious salad, not boring at all, but it could be jazzed up a bit with some baby greens. )
He definitely earned the title Iron Chef Allan with this beauty. Give him an ingredient or a challenge and he’ll raise the salad bar.
While Iron Chef Allan’s 1967 Salad (named 1967 after his birth year) stacks quite differently against the Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad, it offers the same bite with a little heat. By adding leafy greens and some shaved Parmesan cheese, the salad produces a full rich flavor. You won’t even miss the ham or Swiss.
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp garlic, minced
- Pinch of thyme
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Whisk together ingredients for dressing. Set aside.
- 50/50 mix of arugula and baby spinach
- ¼ red onion, sliced thin Asian-style
- 1 large vine ripe tomato, sliced into strips
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan
- Toss together greens, onion and tomato.
- Pour dressing over greens and toss through evenly.
- Sprinkle half of the shaved Parmesan cheese over salad. Lightly toss.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top. Chill for about an hour before serving.