Soup and salad days

Stephanie Brandenburg fixin’ a salad at Plum Good.

Stephanie Brandenburg fixin’ a salad at Plum Good.


Plum Good is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Plum Good

530 W. Plumb Ln.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 826-7586

Is it just me or does this winter seem bleaker than years past? The days getting noticeably longer helps, and so does bright, cheery places serving food made to warm you up on a cold day and keep the dream of a healthful 2010 alive and thriving. If that sounds appealing, then the nearly month-old Plum Good in the Plumgate Shopping Center might become your new favorite lunch spot.

It certainly was for my wife, Kat, and mother-in-law, Pam, with whom I visited Plum Good on a Sunday afternoon. This may be a perfect eatery for women—although men, don’t be dissuaded. It’s just that the lineup of soups, salads and frozen yogurts, though pretty well-done, left a hungry man like me needing something more substantive.

Walking into Plum Good, I immediately noticed the glass window nearly filling the entire wall overlooking Plumb Lane, and other surfaces painted and tiled in pink, plum and purple. Ordering is done at a counter, behind which are several crock pots, breads and little trays full of every salad topping imaginable from apple slices to seasoned tofu cubes.

Kat and Pam both ordered the eight ounce soup, fresh baked bread and side salad plate ($4.99). Plum Good tosses each salad in a large stainless steel bowl, leaving no bite undressed. Given the salad’s size, one could mistake the soup for the side dish. Both Kat and Pam picked spinach with beets and marinated mushrooms as their two toppings, and the kindly server gave Kat a free scoop of cranberries. For soup, Kat picked the potato and corn chowder with applewood smoked bacon and a slice of the rosemary olive loaf. Pam went with the chicken noodle with a slice of whole grain. Kat’s soup was creamy without being too rich, and made good use of potato and corn, but I wanted more bacon. Pam’s soup of chicken, egg noodles, celery and carrots was unfortunately way over salted.

Plum Good’s breads are delicious. Kat’s rosemary loaf was doughy and springy with a thin crust. Pam’s whole grain was sweetened with a touch of honey and malt and would be fine sandwich bread were Plum Good to serve this fine, filling accompaniment to soup—hint, hint.

I ordered the eight-ounce, spicy, vegan Texas chili in a sourdough bread bowl. The chili was spicy enough, but kind of plain, containing only pinto beans and corn in a simple tomato sauce ($4.99). The bread parts soaked with chili were a pleasure to eat, but the top and core pieces removed for the chili were a little dry. I also had the cheese boereg ($2.49), which consists of Monterey and feta cheeses and herbs between layers of phyllo dough and baked. I imagine it’s a much better plate fresh from the oven versus being chilled and then reheated. The dish was excessively oily and slid right off my plate as I tried to cut it with a fork. Pam thought I shouldn’t eat it, but Plum Good keeps those tables sparkling clean.

To end the meal, we all had frozen yogurt. Simply put, you grab a cup, fill it up yourself with any mix of several daily flavors, pick from the 30-plus toppings available, and then approach the scales, where your lack of self-restraint is measured at 39 cents an ounce. Pam picked strawberry, Kat had vanilla and strawberry with peanut butter cups, I had peanut butter and vanilla swirl with Heath bar bits and peanut butter cups. Mine topped the scales at just over 14 ounces. I blame it entirely on the denseness of toffee and the fact Plum Good offers two serving cups—one huge, the other huger.

Homemade soups, fresh salads and artisan breads, with a sin-free frozen yogurt happy ending all available at enticing prices. If you’re at all trying to be gracious to your body and wallet you might give Plum Good a try.