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$13 at Dessert Gallery

Where: Dessert Gallery, 3600 Kirby Drive, Suite D, 713-522-9999

What $13 gets you: A decent, filling salad and bottle of Perrier, plus a few bites off of whatever awesome things your friends are having.

Usually, when a group of friends heads to a boutique dessert cafe, the one on the diet gets to sip coffee in the corner and pout while everyone else figures out how to expand their waistline. I thought I was going to be that sulking person last week. Thankfully, my friends decided on the Dessert Gallery, which, unlike most of its competitors has...drum roll...real food.

I settled on the Thai Chicken Salad, which sounded good - I am a fan of Thai chicken anything. What I got was a large, fresh salad with a delicious sesame dressing that tasted delightfully like lemon. The poor chicken was tossed in a hoisin sauce and a bit dried out, but somehow still a little gooey, an odd contrast to the rest of the salad. Still, it was satisfying, the flavors were well balanced, and the sesame dressing made everything all better.

Recommended: Yes. It's a little pricey for just a salad, but the quality is good. And there are good options for grumpy dieters.

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