My awesome writers' circle celebrated their fifth anniversary, and even though I am a brand-new member with less than five months invested, they were kind enough to bring me into their fold, accept me, and feed me. Funny, there were a lot of comments about all the eating and drinking in my novel, as well. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know my day-to-day life revolves around food. So when you read my novel, you won't be surprised.

For this celebration, our fearless leader selected Houlihan's in Columbia. I had never been there before so I did a little online research and discovered it is part of a chain. The branch we visited is located in the same shopping center as Costco and Trader Joe's, near the intersection of Routes 175 and 108. The full menu is available online and the choices will surely make your mouth water.

On a Tuesday evening, Houlihan's was not overly crowded. Another great thing about dining there on a Tuesday is the half-price wine by the bottle. We shared a lovely Dancing Bull Zinfandel which was full-bodied and rich. The wine list is not terribly long, but there is a nice variety represented. Most bottles are around $30 without the discount.

Believe it or not, I actually ordered a salad for dinner. I've mentioned before that I rarely choose salads when I eat out. I am often disappointed by salads when they are not spectacularly fresh. And I feel that I can make a great salad at home. Since I go out to eat very infrequently, I usually choose to splurge and have a cheat meal. Often a burger and fries. And the list of different kinds of fries and sliders here is quite impressive. But the salad choices at Houlihan's really stand out.

I chose the Organic Power Greens salad which featured baby kale and swiss chard as the base, topped with goat cheese, almonds, fresh berries, grilled chicken, and a poppyseed dressing ($15.95.) The chicken breast on top was a perfect portion, about 3 ounces, and fabulously juicy and smoky. The greens were bright and fresh. The dressing was slightly sweet but not cloying. The combination of all the ingredients was a happy summer fiesta in my mouth. I ate every last leaf.

Even though I probably selected the healthiest dish on the menu, I walked away feeling like I had had a treat. And that is no small feat for a salad.

If you are looking for a comfortable, casual place for a celebration, you might want to check out Houlihan's.



  1. My husband and I are both on a low carb diet and Houlihans is a great option for us. They are very accommodating and will let you sub veggies in place of a starch. I love the wedge salad with steak!


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