Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that salad heaven exists – and it comes with three different kinds of pudding and a gorgeous view. I ascended to vegetable Nirvana last week when I drove out to Laguna Seca Golf Ranch to make my acquaintance with what may be the longest salad bar in Monterey County. All 28 feet of it! Balesteri's at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch This all-you-can-eat extravaganza brings it with over 65 farm-fresh items. You could eat at this salad bar every day of the year and never eat the same salad twice. Vegetarians can fill their plates with garbanzo beans, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, two kinds of olives, pumpkin seeds, peas, and more – and many of the veggies are organic. Meat eaters can get their carnivore on with diced turkey, diced ham, albacore tuna, bacon bits and even more meat-tastic items. Since sometimes the best salads are the ones you don’t have to make, Balesteri’s also has many pre-prepared salads, including Chinese chicken salad, Italian sausage salad and a seafood salad with no defined nationality. Balesteri's at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch Being practiced in the art of salad bar hunting and gathering, I piled my plate high with three different kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sunflower seeds, cucumbers and three different kinds of cheese (so much for that diet!). I grabbed a fluffy dinner roll to make sure I covered the grain food group, and carefully carried my precariously balanced meal back to my table, from which I could enjoy sweeping view of the green hills around Laguna Seca Golf Ranch. Salad at Balesteri's at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch Clearly, Balesteri’s is getting its veggies straight from the source, because every piece of produce tasted like it had traveled straight from the field to my plate, with a brief stop to rinse off the dirt in between. Every bite was crisp and flavorful – and did I mention the three different kinds of cheese? And the sunflower seeds? This lunch salad felt like an indulgence. I thought my eyes had been bigger than my stomach, but faster than you can say “romaine!” my plate was clear. Balesteri's at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch Naturally, I returned to the salad bar for round two – dessert. The pudding looked delicious, but remembering that bikini season is almost upon us, I instead piled my dessert plate with luscious kiwi slices, pineapple cubes and watermelon bits. Every bite of fruit was so fresh and flavorful that I didn’t feel in the least deprived. But next time, chocolate pudding, it’s gonna be you and me. Laguna Seca Golf Ranch 10520 York Road Monterey, CA 93940 831-373-3701 x3