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Urban Legend? "I'll Have the Salad...and a Baby"

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Even though I've eaten at Studio City's Caioti Pizza Cafe a bunch of times in the past, I never knew there was a bizarre urban legend associated with the casual eatery. Apparently, one salad on their menu is purported to induce labor in expectant women.

Today's "Only in LA" column in the Times checks in with the restaurant to see if the myth still holds. Steve Harvey explains, "The trend supposedly began after some very pregnant women from a birthing class dined there -- and then went into labor. All had ordered the romaine and watercress salad. One theory held that the balsamic vinegar dressing triggered contractions of the uterus." A quick call to Caioti confirmed that ladies looking to get their buns out of their ovens still order up what's called simply "The Salad." They are even offered a journal kept by the restaurant so they can record their visit, and those for whom the so-called miraculous salad works sometimes send in photos of their newborn.

A reviewer on Yelp talks about her encounter with the dish in question: "It was light, fresh, delicious and copyrighted! Note the little "c" next to the name on the menu. It consisted of super-crisp chopped romaine lettuce, watercress, walnuts, and Gorgonzola, tossed in a perfect balsamic vinaigrette dressing." Okay, fine, but did it work? She concludes, "I had strange sensations the same night after I ate it but it ended up resulting in a massive fart around 4AM. Bummer."

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Bummer indeed. So what is the connection between balsamic vinegar and going into labor? Some non-medical birthing websites like this one mention the salad, and even provide a recipe for something that sounds an awful lot like Caioti's copyrighted menu item. Other sites speak of the ancient lore that balsamic vinegar can be used to help with labor pains. Who knows? I'm just glad the salad doesn't encourage conception, since I know I ordered it the last time I was there. But just to be sure, I'm going to stick to eating their tasty pizzas and those fabulously buttery garlic knots they serve up.

Caioti Pizza Cafe
4346 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City
(818) 761-3588

Photo by LexnGer via Flickr